Iran moves Troops to South Caucasus region after Azerbaijan and Armenia seen preparing for war
Iran has recently intensified its involvement in the South Caucasus region, particularly in the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. While international efforts seek to reconcile the two nations, Iran’s actions are exacerbating tensions and potentially escalating the situation. This article examines Iran’s role in the region, its arms dealings, and its proxy warfare tactics, shedding light on the complex dynamics at play.
In early August 2023, Iranian Land Forces, possibly including elements of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), were observed amassing near the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Official Iranian sources, including the IRGC’s Telegram channel, confirmed this buildup, and videos showed Iranian troops and armored vehicles near the border river Araz, as well as along the Armenian border. This military posturing raises concerns about Iran’s intentions in the region.
Iran’s typical modus operandi involves propaganda campaigns to assert its influence. In this case, the IRGC disseminated videos directly threatening Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Israel, which is a strategic ally of Azerbaijan. One video, ominously titled “Warning to Aliyev,” showcases weaponry and simulated territorial capture, presumably targeting Azerbaijan. The video also includes a warning to Israel, beginning with the words “Israel, beware.”
Reports suggest that Iran may be considering introducing its armed forces into Armenian territory, possibly in coordination with Yerevan. This move aims to thwart the establishment of the Zangezur transportation corridor by Azerbaijan and Turkey. Iran views this corridor, often referred to as the “project of Zionists and NATO,” as a threat to its regional interests, as it could disrupt crucial covert shipments to and from Iran.
To bolster Armenia and maintain influence in the region, Iran facilitated Armenia’s purchase of Indian weaponry worth approximately a quarter of a billion dollars. This move was part of a joint effort involving Russia, Iran, and India to supply Armenia with high-quality military equipment, including drones, tracked vehicles, missiles, and radar systems. These actions are intended to create a balance of power and deter Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Israel from advancing into the Syunik region of Armenia.
Iran traditionally relies on asymmetric warfare and proxy groups to compensate for its conventional military weaknesses. Armenia has emerged as one of Tehran’s proxies in this strategy, employed against Azerbaijan. The Iranian Ambassador to Armenia, formerly stationed in Syria, holds a position of both diplomatic and military significance, indicating Iran’s intent to escalate tensions in the region.