How can you regain air superiority

"Dangerous illusions of superiority"

Interview. In three to five years, Azerbaijan could successfully implement its threat to retake Nagorno-Karabakh, believes conflict researcher Benedikter.

The press: Stepanakert opens an airport, the Azerbaijanis have threatened to shoot down planes. Is a new war looming?

Christoph Benedikter: I don't think the situation will escalate to any great extent. However, there are around 100 deaths on each side of the ceasefire line every year. Small escalations occur when the Azerbaijanis are dissatisfied with the negotiations. As far as possible, Baku sanctions any action taken by the Armenian or third party.

What do you want to create with these limited setbacks?

One wants to give the impression that an uncontrollable escalation is possible.

Is there currently one party to the conflict who is pushing ahead with escalation?

Both sides cannot and will not give in. By not giving in, the Armenian side creates a reason that the Azerbaijanis cannot resist the attempt to escalate. The problem is: the Armenians have what they want. Just by not giving in, they provoke from the other side's point of view.

Baku lost the war but wants to regain all territories.

It will not go on a peaceful path without compromises. A face-saving solution that Nagorno-Karabakh remains nominally under Baku's sovereignty, but is de facto independent, is not wanted. If a state begins its independence with a traumatic loss of territory, it is difficult. Furthermore, as long as President Ilham Aliyev has the Karabakh conflict, he can play this card domestically. If he were to resolve the conflict, he would lose an instrument for securing power.

Azerbaijan has been massively upgrading for years. When could Baku carry out a successful military strike?

Armament quickly creeps in dangerous illusions of superiority. An Azerbaijani attack could be successful in three to five years at the earliest. However, Baku's armed forces are demotivated in the team ranks. The question is also whether the military can bring together the individual branches of arms. If it is possible to establish an air superiority and to coordinate it properly with the armored forces and the infantry, it becomes dangerous. som

("Die Presse", print edition, October 3rd, 2011)