Iran vs. Azerbaijan, contd.

A conversation between me & Glenn Roccess


Good article, which makes me think so many different things.

1) With respect, as a Muslim, I must say that you have reached an inaccurate conclusion regarding the different sects in the Muslim world. Turkey is not Salafist country, but one steeped in Sufism; they are both conservative in their own way, but are otherwise quite different. For one, a Salafist would NEVER ally with a Shi’ite; ever. For another thing, Turks, even the religious ones, look down on Salafism as a intellectually deficient path to extremism.

2) I believe you are right about Russia’s financial limitations vis a vis its massive geography. I wonder if Putin also agrees, because the deployments they’ve made are mostly in former Soviet territory, and relatively-small in scope; just enough to make in impact, but not overly much.

3) For me, this is about Turkey settling a score with Armenia. Erdogan has made some steps publicly towards normalizing relations with Armenia, but that doesn’t mean he can’t snub them indirectly.

4) Even if Turkey does leave NATO, that does not mean they will make war on it; that would just be silly. The only real places they have room for maneuver are the Caucasus and the Arab world.

5) I would be interested to see if Armenia ever tries to retake NKB. Perhaps they will do what Romania did with Moldovans and just offer a whole bunch of them citizenship.


I’m sorry I took so long to respond. One thing I’ve learned to deeply appreciate over the years is correction, especially in the form of constructive criticism you gave. Thank you, and I mean that sincerely.

I will say that the references I can find don’t seem to state which is dominant in Turkey, but do support your point that a Salafist would never ally with a Shi’ite, especially since (I just learned) they are strongly influenced by Wahhabism.

I have to disagree about Erdogan’s motives towards Armenia — I think he’s much more concerned with stopping Russia from spreading their influence, which is why Turkey’s forces have opposed Russian mercenaries in both Syria and Libya.

You’re right that Turkey will not make war on a NATO member. It does seem more like the saber-rattling about Cyprus is more about “speaking to his base” in the same way Chinese leaders keep their “conservative cred” by threatening to retake Taiwan, but really don’t want to invade.

I don’t think Armenia will try to retake NKB for a long time, not unless there’s a real game-changer such as both Turkey and Azerbaijan falling into deep economic turmoil, or Russia actually being both willing and able to put forth sufficient force to back Armenia’s claim.

All this just goes to show that I really need to learn to dig deeper — and ask those who know far more than I do — before I go opening my digital mouth. Again, thank you :)


You know, this battle between Armenia and Azerbaijan might be the first example of a fair fight we’ve seen in a long time. By that, I mean it is not a super power like the US or Russia pounding a vastly weaker state, but two rivals who stand equal chance of winning.

To your point about Turkey countering Russia: I really had not considered Libya and Syria to be more than coincidence until you mentioned this.

The dominant form of Islam is Turkey is the traditional Sufi kind. Extremism has, by culture and government coercion, never gained much of a foothold in Turkey, or the Ottoman Empire before it.

So, there are a few schools of thought in Sunni Islam (which comprises like 85% of Islamdom). Salafism, which is pretty much the newest, categorically rejects Shi’ites and their ideas. This is because Salfism rejects all schools of thought that are not its own. Even mainstream Sunni Islam gets attacked pretty badly.

You know how the woke crowd tries to cancel people who disagree with them? Well, Salafis call those who disagree with them ‘misguided,’ therefore unworthy of study or consideration. Salafis are also a bit trigger happy when it comes to casting people out of their scholastic establishment. Long story short, Salafis would never, ever support a Shi’a.

Like the woke crowd, the Salfis think that if you disagree with them, it’s because your are wrong.

Now, it has been said that Iran had looked past its ideological limitations to support those who share common objectives; Salafis just aren’t capable of this. Shots fired.

Right, I think Russia has far too much on its plate to even consider helping Armenia in that way. Unless China just wants to be a real showboat and do it, nobody else will either.

San Jose, CA: Areas of expertise: Politics, history, and languages. Deep international experience

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