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The United States wants to continue holding some capability in the area to threaten to penetrate the North Caucacus, which would be a dangerous and unlikely maneuver. The Russians are not dismissing the Americans’ willingness to do the dangerous and unlikely. A war is raging in Ukraine, and the U.S. could use another card in negotiations with the Russians. On paper it is an excellent idea, but quite insane in reality. So, the question now is whether Georgia is prepared to pull closer to the United States in return for military aid, and whether Azerbaijan is willing for the same reason. But since Azerbaijan and Russia seem suddenly linked, that’s not going to happen. Russia seems to have secured the Caucasus and turned the unlikely into the unthinkable. The U.S. has Armenia, which does not give it much credibility. Therefore, Russia has sealed, for now, its southern border.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/russia-seals-its-southern-border/

But in the run-up to the Ukraine war, Azerbaijan also turned to Moscow. Its president, Ilham Aliyev, whose father was once a KGB official and a politburo member, travelled to Moscow two days before the invasion to sign an alliance agreement with Vladimir Putin. Azerbaijan later agreed to buy gas from Russia, raising questions whether it was using that to meet commitments to the EU.

Azerbaijan’s latest attack last week on Nagorno-Karabakh lasted only 24 hours. During the assault, a number of Russian peacekeepers were killed by Baku’s forces. Aliyev rang the Kremlin to apologise the next day, and the matter appears largely closed without Moscow making any significant complaint.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/sep/25/azerbaijans-nagorno-karabakh-victory-highlights-limits-of-russias-power

Why is Azerbaijan suddenly allied with Russia? Russia was much closer to Armenia, but after Azerbaijan captured a contested territory from Armenia, it seems Azerbaijan is trying to ally itself with Russia preventing the U.S. from using that card to threaten the south of Russia. Did Azerbaijan or Russia publish any public statement explaining why this alliance agreement with Russia was signed?

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  • Related: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/84337/… TBH I'm fairly surprised by the timing myself (when EU still needs gas) but fact of the matter is Az relations with Europe took at turn for the worse recently. OTOH, the Turkey-Az axis was always rowing mostly just their own boat. politics.stackexchange.com/a/81426/18373 Jan 30 at 10:28
  • I don't believe there was anything signed. It would also be weird for Azerbaijan to buy Russian natural gas since it's sitting on large oil and gas reserves and also having Turkmenia just opposite it on the Caspian.
    – alamar
    Jan 30 at 10:54
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    "preventing the U.S. from using that card to threaten the south of Russia." Not in the least obvious that anyone but paranoid Russian war hawks think that the U.S. ever had any such intentions.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 30 at 22:18
  • @ohwilleke With Azerbaijani goodwill U.S. could swamp south of Russia with smuggled arms for astroturfed Dagestan insurgents while still having plausible deniability. I don't see what's especially paranoid here.
    – alamar
    Jan 31 at 0:08
  • @alamar "the insurgency was officially declared over on 19 December 2017" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insurgency_in_the_North_Caucasus A seven year old conflict is old news and not a plausible threat.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 31 at 0:10

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Azerbaijan is a Turkey's satellite but also former Soviet member state. The peace is between Turkey and Russia, they had always good terms on various reasons. Most importantly, they share ideas about society, democracy and human rights, and about all values so important in the western mouths.

Second most importantly, having good terms both with the West and with the East is a way to profit a lot, this is what the West see as treachery in the case Hungary, because it is small. Turkey is too big to coerce it, but it was not accepted into the EU. Instead, it can now combine the Russian oil with the USA fighter planes and believe me, that worths a lot in that region!

Azerbaijan is Turkey's satellite state. They are even understand the language of each other. There was a deal behind the walls. With the ukrainian war, both West and Russia wanted Turkey on their side, and both needed to pay a lot for anything which had been support in any direction. Most importantly, Turkey has closed the Bosporus before military ships, causing that Ukraine has no fleet on the Black Sea but Russia has. Ukraine also can not get weapons with sea transport.

For accepting the Finnish/Swedish NATO membership, USA needed to pay them a lot of good new fighter aircrafts.

And, for being roughly neutral and on good terms with this enemy of the NATO, Russia, Russia needed to pay with Karabah. And they did, even if he needed to betray its own old ally (Armenia). Karabah became Azeri land now, on paper.

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  • What could Russia do if for some reason it would reject that deal and not "pay" with Karabakh, and Azerbaijan will go on offensive anyway? I don't think these are related, Russia-Turkey relations are just pragmatic, as are Russia-Azerbaijan and Turkey-Ukrainian BTW.
    – alamar
    Jan 30 at 23:31
  • @alamar It could have helped the Armenian army, as it was promised. They had won, however 1) the army should have been removed from the Ukrainian battlefield 2) Erdogen had been angry and possibly he had allowed the western battleships to enter the Black Sea. | Erdogan was already very angry as Russia has ended the grain deal.
    – Gray Sheep
    Jan 30 at 23:36
  • Armenian MoD has announced that Armenian military is not present in Karabakh. How would Russia help Armenian army where it's not present? Fight instead of them? They did react like they expected that to happen.
    – alamar
    Jan 30 at 23:41
  • For the context, Lugansk/Donetsk People's Militia did show up in Ukraine, and moreover they are between the most motivated troops in the conflict who made significant gains and suffered significant losses while doing so.
    – alamar
    Jan 30 at 23:56
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    "Karabah became Azeri land now, on paper." Huh? It was always theirs "on paper", according to most UN states (IIRC including Russia). It became so in reality in late 2023, with the dissolution of Artsakh. Jan 31 at 5:01

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