Who in Baku needs Great Karabakh Wall?

Who in Baku needs Great Karabakh Wall?

Construction of the 3-meter-high wall was launched in 2011 and mostly aimed to protect the front-line villages.

Construction of a wall between the conflicting states has become, so to say, trendy during the past few years. Israel built a wall at the Egyptian border, Cypriote Greeks isolated themselves from the Northern Cyprus, and the U.S. is going to fence off Mexico. Baku decided to join the “trend” by building a wall between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Construction of the 3-meter-high wall was launched in 2011 and mostly aimed to protect the front-line villages. Azerbaijani media already labeled the project the “Great Karabakh Wall”, failing, however, to provide a reasonable explanation of its purpose. The Azerbaijani Agency for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Areas has undertaken the initiative which is preliminary estimated to cost around 300 mln euros. The lion’s share of the allotted funds will probably be pocketed; so, what’s the purpose of this wall? According to Azerbaijani observers, the construction of the wall contradicts the statements of the Azerbaijani government that speaks of prompt “liberation” of Karabakh. They also claim that the Armenian politicians and media present the construction project as Azerbaijan’s reconciliation with the loss of Karabakh. Well, a different opinion would have been strange in Armenia. However, Ilham Aliyev needs to construct the wall, both for self-assertion and to demonstrate his care for his people, namely the population of the frontier regions “suffering” from shootings. Such logic implies that a wall built by Armenia would appear more reasonable: the snipers are killing the Armenians, and not Azerbaijanis. Still, a wall is necessary for safety reasons; in addition, it is needed to prevent cases of desertion. In a word, this is going to be sort of a Great Chinese Berlin Wall.

Actually, Aliyev is keen on gigantomania; he built a huge palace for Heydar Aliyev Foundation which later burned down, then he constructed a tower to rival BurjDubai, not to mention the giant flag which has fallen and torn so many times that even Baku media have stopped mentioning it at all. In addition, there are numerous monuments to Heydar Aliyev worldwide, and now comes the wall…

Well, if we take the matter seriously, the construction of the fence is first of all a fortification facility which can house sniper loopholes, radars and lots of other tools to track the enemy, including air defense. The latter is hardly feasible, but still, who knows? No wonder the information on the wall construction was publicized just now as the preparations for flights from Stepanakert airport are in full swing.

The thing is not whether the wall will be constructed or not; Azerbaijan will hold presidential elections in fall, with Ilham Aliyev winning the race. The information on this project is most likely a well-thought move for launching the election campaign. Aliyev will indeed win the vote, but he needs to provide sort of a show for the West so that the outcome of elections - approximately 70-75% of votes- is acceptable. Such unpopular moves will help Ilham Aliyev; they can’t but help since too much is put at stake. If suddenly he shares the fate of Mikheil Saakashvili, he’ll have hard times handling the situation; Georgia was a “beacon of democracy” for the West, and this is not the case with Aliyev at all. Meanwhile, the wall will be soon forgotten since nobody except for Azerbaijani leader really needs it.

Karine Ter-Sahakian
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