Head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration's Department for Work with Law-Enforcement Agencies Fuad Alasgarov spoke in an interview.
Q: Today the draft military doctrine is one of the most debated topics in society. We have been waiting for this document for a long. However, the reaction towards the document is ambiguous. There are different comments and questions in this regard. We would like to clarify some of them. Why the doctrine was developed for such a long time?
Alasgarov: First I would like to note that a working group on national security policy was established in 2004 under the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's order and the working group began to develop a national security concept. Mr. Aliyev approved the national security concept May 23, 2007. This concept is the basis for development of the military doctrine, foreign policy strategy and concepts in economics, culture, science, education, health, transport, etc. Given this, the working group was tasked to develop a draft military doctrine and other documents stipulated in the national security concept. We are talking about the great work, which should cover almost all spheres of the country's life. The draft military doctrine was recently represented by Mr. Aliyev to the Azerbaijani Parliament.
Military doctrine is a very serious document, which defines the conceptual foundations of the military security system designed to protect the country against internal and external threats. Simultaneously, the doctrine is an integral part of the national security concept. Such a serious document required particularly careful consideration. In addition, the similar instruments of different countries, the experience of their use in practice and, accordingly, results were studied while developing the doctrine. It was necessary to choose the most optimal way of ensuring military security of Azerbaijan.
Q.: Some media reports urged that the doctrine did not specify the allies and opponents, except Armenia, that the document is blurred and it does not reflect specifics. What can you say about this?
A.: Probably, no one would deny, that at present Armenia's occupation of the Azerbaijani lands is a major factor adversely affecting the country's national security. In addition, the Armenian occupation is the main real military threat to our country. Therefore, this fact clearly reflected in the draft military doctrine.
Regarding, allies and opponents, I want to note that the draft doctrine laid down such an approach, under which defense policy is determined not based on our sympathies in relation to any state, but depending on the national interests of Azerbaijan and in view of threats to those interests. Just this approach - determination of responses to the challenges allows making the doctrine flexible and durable. This is a very important point. The draft doctrine, as many similar foreign documents, indicates that the document is open for changes and refinements that reflect the dynamism of the security environment.
However, the experience of other countries shows that as a rule conceptual documents, including military doctrine are updated after a certain period. On average, this period ranges from five to 10 years. During this period, the doctrine should remain adequate document. If the country's permanent and long-term interests are at top level, it can be achieved.
The military doctrine along with the national security concept is the basis for preparation of the strategic defense review and other conceptual documents, which will continue to specify and develop the regulations of the concept and doctrine.
In general, according to the national security concept, Azerbaijan, which pursues a multilevel balanced foreign policy, is interested in establishing friendly relations with all countries on the basis of universally recognized norms of international law. In other words, we are interested in friendly relations with other countries.
Q.: Given the recent developments in the region, the opinions were voiced that as a result of geopolitical changes yesterday's partner can become the enemy. And from this point of view, some commentators affirm that it was necessary to specify the potential external threats.
A.: The doctrine quite clearly defines threats, the military-strategic basis for military security, the main tasks of the armed forces in peacetime, during the period of real threat and war, directions and prospects for military building.
Thus, the external political and military threats are continuing occupation of the Azerbaijani territories by Armenian Armed Forces, possible external military intervention in Azerbaijan's internal affairs, foreign military dependence; territorial claims by neighbouring states; activities aimed at destabilizing the internal political and socio-economic environment, including support for separatist and religious extremist movements, sending illegal armed groups and training of terrorists to send to Azerbaijan's territory from other countries, participation of neighbouring countries in intergovernmental conflicts, the existence of internal conflicts, military operations, armed rebellions, or any other forms of military or military-political instability in those countries; violation of the regional military balance or exceed the level of defence sufficiency, as well as the establishment of military bases, the concentration of groups of forces, weapons and strengthen other forms of military presence near the state borders and territorial waters of Azerbaijan; violation of Azerbaijan's state borders by the military groups, worsening of border disputes or conflicts, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and advanced technologies of military industry.
Q: Issues related to the deployment of foreign military bases also provoked strong debates. In which cases can foreign military bases be deployed on the territory of Azerbaijan?
A: The deployment of foreign bases on our territory is not allowed according to the draft doctrine, except the cases provided in the international agreements, in which Azerbaijan participates. However, Azerbaijan reserves the right to a temporary permission to deploy foreign military bases on its territory or foreign military involvement in any other form, in the case of radical changes in military and political situation.
Q: For example, in case of war against Azerbaijan?
A: This reason is included.
Q: Some people argue that integration into Euro-Atlantic organizations is not indicated as a strategic objective, although this provision is in the concept of national security. What can you say about this? What relations will we have with NATO?
A: I reiterate. Military doctrine is derived from the concept of national security and its integral part. The doctrine, determining defense policy in peacetime, also envisages bilateral and multilateral military-political cooperation with partner-countries. Taking into account the principle of indivisibility of security and the fact that our region is an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic space, Azerbaijan supports the efforts to establish security in this sphere. It will continue cooperating with NATO on the basis of mutual interests, as it is defined in the draft military doctrine.
Q: You have mentioned about directions and prospects for military establishment, reflected in the draft military doctrine. Can you speak in detail?
A: Of course, military doctrine is a document based on current realities. It is directed for the future. Therefore, the prospects for military establishment have great importance. In general, the improvement of the efficiency of command and management bodies of the armed forces and other armed groups, a gradual transition to form other armed groups on the predominantly professional basis, the acquisition of skills for the modern defensive and offensive operations, the increase in effective coordination between the armed forces and other armed groups are considered as the priority areas. Strengthening the military men's social protection should be also mentioned among the priorities. Naturally, I noted only a few priorities.
The policy of supply, the formation and development of Azerbaijani military-industrial complex have essential role in the draft doctrine.
The main directions of military-industrial complex are to ensure the maximally possible independence in meeting the needs of armed forces and different military formations in defense production and the competitiveness of the local military-industrial complex on foreign markets, i.e. to develop the export potential of our military-industrial complex.