By Seymur Mammadov :-
Azerbaijan today is an island of security, peace and stability in the region, which is moving steadily and rapidly forward, successfully implementing major regional projects. Under the leadership of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the country has been achieving success in all spheres of political, social, economic, military and cultural life. Meanwhile, there are external forces that cannot watch in peace the growing prosperity Azerbaijan, which has gained a reliable reputation in the international arena and has established itself as a peace-loving and tolerant country in the world community. Moreover, these external forces are ready to implement their dirty intentions, those of which may even include terrorist attacks, in order to spoil the international image of Azerbaijan, spread fear and panic among the Azerbaijani people, and set up the civilians against the central government, the ruling party of Azerbaijan and President Ilham Aliyev himself.
I would like to cite a few important facts. The first part of July 2018, was remembered by Azerbaijanis for terrorist acts in Ganja, which is the second largest and most significant city in Azerbaijan after Baku. Radical Shiite groups, operating under cover of religion, financed from abroad, carried out a number of terrorist acts in the territory of Azerbaijan. The first terrorist attack occurred on July 3, 2018 in Ganja.
There was an assassination attempt against head of the Executive Power of the city, Elmar Veliyev and his bodyguard Gasim Ashbazov. The Russian citizen, Yunis Safarov, (Azerbaijani by nationality) who committed the crime, was immediately arrested and disarmed by police officers. During the investigation it became known that Yunis Safarov planned to kill Elmar Veliyev back in January 2018, but his efforts were not successful. At the moment, the state of Elmar Veliyev and his bodyguard is at good condition, and they receive qualified medical assistance.
According to the official information of law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan, earlier Younis Safarov was sent to Syria by Tohid Ibrahimbeyli, who currently lives in Iran. The purpose of sending Yunis Safarov to Syria was for him to undergo military training and participation in military operations.
It was determined, that Tohid Ibrahimbeyli, who regularly makes radical calls against Azerbaijan, as early as January 2017, called for the assassination of the head of Ganja Elmar Veliyev on the site of radical Shiites. From 2013 to 2016, Tohid Ibrahimbeyli collected a number of Azerbaijani citizens in the Iranian city of Gum with the aim to further transfer them to Syria to participate in military operations as part of illegal armed groups. The second attack took place on 10 July, 2018 in the same city – Ganja. A group of people (about 150-200 people), who are supporters of a radical religious movement, tried to violate the order in the square in front of the Ganja Executive Power.
Armed with knives and daggers, they attacked high-ranking police officers, resulting in the death of two police officers – the deputy head of the Main Police Department of the city of Ganja, the police colonel Ilgar Balakishiyev and the deputy head of the Nizami district police department, the police lieutenant-colonel Samed Abbasov. As a result of decisive measures by law enforcement agencies, those illegal actions were stopped, dozens of people were detained and brought to justice. Currently, the political situation in the country is stable, law enforcement agencies continue to operatively search for fugitive terrorists to detain. During conducting the investigative measures, the law enforcement agencies reached to an Armenian trail. The joint statement of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Security Service of Azerbaijan states that “the facts on hand give grounds to say that some of the participants in the crime were closely associated with a religious extremist organization cooperating with Armenian special agencies.”
Two days after the dissemination of this statement, on July 15 in the morning on the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border in the direction of Gazakh, the intelligence and sabotage group of the armed forces of Armenia made an attempt to break into Azerbaijani territory. According to the information of the Ministry of defense of Azerbaijan, the units of the Azerbaijani army not only managed to prevent the penetration of the enemy into their territory without losses, but also captured the Armenian saboteur. It was Karen Kazaryan (born in 1984).
But that’s not all: activists of radical religious groups, being in a desperate situation due to the fact that they could not succeed in their mission , tried to repeat the events of Ganja and in Sumgayit . On 15 July, a law enforcement operation in Sumgayit detained 18 activists of radical religious groups who were trying to disrupt the social and political stability of the city by creating riots and confrontation.
So, what conclusions can be drawn from the events in Ganja?
The first conclusion. The perpetrators of the terrorist attacks have nothing to do with religion, as many of them were previously convicted. And the bloody crimes committed by them under religious slogans are nothing but a crime against Islam that promotes peace, respect, tolerance, justice and mercy. Here, the place will recall the words of Olivier Roy, one of France’s leading experts on Islamic terrorism.
In his recently small published book “Jihad and Death. The Global Appeal of Islamic State”, he writes that half of the activists of radical religious groups have a criminal record for small crimes, and are radicalized in prisons or gyms, without the participation of a local mosque or religious community. Roy claims that about 70% of the 4,000 ISIS fighters (their activities are banned in the South Caucasus countries), who were able to gather information, have scant knowledge about Islam, and prior to choosing Islam as their religion, they were already radicals. Roy calls them “newly born Muslims” who lead a free life prior to their sudden conversion to violent fundamentalism. In addition, this is not the radicalization of Islam, but the Islamization of radicalism, which is required in fundamental research.
The second conclusion. The Azerbaijani people fully support the course being conducted by President Ilham Aliyev. Activists of radical religious groups expected to enlist the support of the overwhelming majority of the people to fulfill the mission of seizing power, because without the support of the majority of the people, the seizure of power was reduced to zero, but they failed to persuade the Azerbaijani people to their side, on the contrary, the residents of Ganja and other regions the countries strongly condemned the bloody actions of criminals and evaluated it as a terrorist attack against statehood.
P.S. Since Azerbaijan gained independence, not only once armed provocations, terrorist acts and coup d’état were attempted to be carried out against our statehood ,yet all of them failed. The main reason that the terrorist attacks had no effect was that, as President Ilham Aliyev stated at a recent meeting with the participation of the leaders of law enforcement agencies of the republic, – it is the existence of unity between the Azerbaijani people and the authorities.
“I have repeatedly spoken on this matter, I want to say once again: the unity of the people and the authority is the main condition for our stability. Unity of people and power cannot be violated by any force – neither external nor internal, “the president noted. Indeed, the main pillar of stability in Azerbaijan is the unity between the government and the people, the close unity of the Azerbaijani people around President Ilham Aliyev.
The presidential elections held this year again demonstrated this to the whole world. More than 86 percent of Azerbaijan’s population supported the country’s president in the elections.
All these facts, the figures once again show that the Azerbaijani people believe in their leadership, fully supports the foreign policy pursued by the president of the country, the reforms he is carrying out in the spheres of political, economic and social life. Under the leadership of the country’s president, the country’s potential is being strengthened in the political, diplomatic, economic and social spheres, as well as in military construction, at the front and in sports fields. Therefore, no power, neither internal nor external, is capable of breaking the will of the people. The people have already made their choice, the people want to live in a stable and secure country, and this is possible only with the current government …
The author is the director of the International expert club “Eurasia-Azerbaijan”, editor-in-chief of the Azerbaijani news agency Vzglyad.az