Iran forms new IRGC-backed armed militia in Azerbaijan

Amid the growing tensions between Iran and neighboring Azerbaijan, several accounts on social media belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) stated that a newly-announced “resistance” faction has emerged in the Republic of Azerbaijan, called the Huseynyun.

While next to little is known about the group – allegedly formed in 2019 during the Syrian conflict, only to be formally activated recently – the Huseynyun bears all the main hallmarks of other factions in an alliance with the Islamic Republic, known as the “Axis of Resistance”, yellow and green color co-coordination and clutched assault rifle included, similar to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Although Tehran has previously sought to export its revolution to Azerbaijan, it had never found much success. For example, the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan (AIP), established in 1991, the same year as the founding of the republic, was dissolved four years later, after being accused of being covertly funded by Iran with the aim of overthrowing the government and turning the country into an Islamic republic.

Nevertheless, the IRGC’s Quds Force has been active in Azerbaijan since the early ’90s. Some former AIP members also found their way into Azeri Hezbollah, which has existed in the country since 1993, with arms and funding from Iran and Jaysh Allah, established in 1995, and once plotted an attack against the US Embassy in Baku.

in 2012, Azeri authorities convicted 22 members of an illicit network handled by the IRGC who were found guilty of conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks on Israeli and Western targets. Other than Iraq, Azerbaijan, being a Shia-majority country, would be unique compared to Iran’s involvement in other countries, but also due to the progressive attitudes to religion in the country.

Any further provocations perceived by Tehran in Azerbaijan may not lead to a conflict in the conventional sense, but the emergence of the Huseynyun is an indicator that Iran has options to confront its enemies across the border in the Caucasus through unconventional means.

Source: Middle East Monitor
Also read: IRGC commander Saeed Mohammad appointed as advisor to president 

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