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Baku Became Hub For Weapon Smuggling Into Middle East

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Baku Became Hub For Weapon Smuggling Into Middle East

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In recent months and years, Azerbaijan’s capital – Baku appears to have become a hub for the transfer of weapons from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, EADaily reported. The article is based on older investigations and revelations, as well as on new open source information.

Silk Way Airlines, an Azerbaijani airline, has turned Baku into a hub for the transfer of arms from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. From the capital of Azerbaijan, it delivers Soviet-style weapons to Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan, from where they generally enter Syria.

Previously, a private airline, it delivered cargo directly from Eastern Europe under the guise of diplomatic flights. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Azerbaijan itself began to actively export weapons to conflict zones.

The initial report in Silk Way Airlines actions began with an investigative report by Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, who lost her job in Bulgarian newspaper “Trud” following a report on the topic.

Dilyana, however, continued looking into the activities of Silk Way, as well as illegal sale and smuggling of weapons to the Middle East in her subsequent investigations.

In spite of the evidence, Silk Way airlines received a comment by Civil Aviation Administration (Republic of Bulgaria) that the flights were in order.

“With reference to recent articles in the media and particularly an article published at the Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia web site, stating that the operator, Silk Way Airlines from Azerbaijan has been involved in illegal transportation of weapons for terrorist organizations from/through Bulgarian territory, the Directorate General “Civil Aviation Administration” to the Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications of the Republic of Bulgaria would like to clarify the following:

All flights operated by Silk Way Airlines from/through the territory of Bulgaria, carrying special/military production on board, have been performed in accordance with all National and International regulations and legal provisions, with all respective permits, certificates and documents for transportation by air of such a type of sensitive cargo. Without any exceptions, Silk Way Airlines strictly adheres to all IATA and ICAO regulations for safe transportation of Dangerous Goods by air. The operator and the shipper of the cargo of each and every flight have been duly disclosed in a legal order, representing the origin, the route of the flight, as well as the consignor, consignee and the end user, by legal documents.

There is no room for tendentious speculations, that the cargo transported on board has been intended for known terrorist enclaves in Syria and other conflict zones in Central Asia and Africa. All flights have been operated under the strict control of the Directorate General “Civil Aviation Administration”, as well as under the control of a number of other National and International authorities responsible.”

SouthFront, too, carried out its own investigation in the flights of Silk Way, showing similar findings to those of Dilyana and EADaily.

EADaily observed flight activity in early November 2019, and it showed much of the same activity continuing without issue.

According to Flightradar24, the Silk Way Airlines cargo aircraft are still actively flying to Middle Eastern countries. In October and November, according to available data, they flew to Iraqi Basra and Kurdish Erbil. But the flights have changed, at least partially.

Thus, on November 5th, the Il-76TD cargo plane under registration number 4K-AZ40 made the flight Baku – Burgas – Baku, and on November 6th, Baku – Tuzla – Baku. On November 8th, it went to one of the countries of the Middle East (the portal gives only part of the flight route). But on November 11th, according to Flightradar24, the IL-76TD was definitely returning from Iraqi Basra to Baku.

Baku Became Hub For Weapon Smuggling Into Middle East

Click to see full-size image

At the same time, another Il-76TD of the Azerbaijani airline with registration number 4K-AZ41 made flights to Iraq on October 29th, November 7th, and on November 12th and delivered cargo to Kurdish Erbil.

Baku Became Hub For Weapon Smuggling Into Middle East

Click to see full-size image

The change in logistics for the delivery of goods to conflict zones through Baku may also be due to the fact that Azerbaijan itself is increasing its own arms supplies to conflict zones.

For example, in June 2017, the Ministry of Defense Industry of Azerbaijan announced the opening of a plant for the production of grenade launcher rounds at Sharg.

And at the 5th International Military-Technical Forum ARMY-2019, that took place in June 2019, in Moscow, the department announced that it would present a wide range of weapons for export – sniper rifles, assault rifles, pistols, assault machine guns, grenade launchers, unmanned aerial vehicles, mortars, various types of ammunition, etc.

Today Silk Way Airlines is one of the fastest growing private airlines. And experts have repeatedly asked the question of how the company, which started in 2001 with two An-12 and Il-76 aircraft, was able to grow into a large freight carrier.

Silk Way Airlines and its subsidiary currently operate 10 IL-76s and 11 Boeing 747s.

Investigative reporters believe this is due to arms transfers, Washington’s support, and possibly ties to the ruling class.

According to OCCRP, since 2005, Silk Way Airlines began to receive Pentagon orders for the delivery of goods to Afghanistan. The total amount is $400 million.

On the US Federal Procurement website, you can find, for example, a $4 million contract with Evergreen International Airlines, which mentions Silk Way Airlines. Moreover, the US State Export-Import Bank issued a $420 million credit guarantee to the airline for the purchase of 3 Boeing 747 transport aircraft.

At the same time, Silk Way Airlines has become a monopoly in the transportation market in Azerbaijan.

It got to the point that her rival for military orders, the American Kalitta Air, complained about the airline to the US Department of Transportation that “Azerbaijan is not an open and competitive market for carriers from the United States if they don’t conclude a contract with Silk Way.” According to the Americans, the airline controls not only all air cargo in the country, but also all related services.

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  • chris chuba

    As Putin said, the breakup and collapse of the Soviet Union was a great tragedy. A statement that has been intentionally twistedy by Neocons. To coin a phrase, it created a vacuum in the former Republics. Giving the countries in Eastern Europe sovereignty, sure but creating new countries out of whole clothe not so much. Russia could have survived intact with reform.

    • Toronto Tonto

      NOT ussr was going down period and Russia is too .

      • Jens Holm

        I partly agree. I see no possible improvements until they can elect all, which are qulified to Governess low as high.

    • occupybacon

      They tried many reforms before, they just couldn’t afford to support this republics

      • Jens Holm

        I dont think that was the point at all. Most of the reforms hardly was any improvements for being effective.

    • Pave Way IV

      Perhaps. But do most Russians even want places like Azerbaijan to be part of their federation? It was and is corrupt welfare state, and the US and Israel would have still moved in (covertly of course) to buy much of the government there. It’s that kind of place. I think Russia’s time and effort was better spent on the Russians rather than clinging to every last piece of the Soviet empire.

      • Jens Holm

        USSR also was a trade Empire named COMECON in western terms. Here its very important having trade partners – as producers as well as users.

        I think its the other way around and the new copuntries – or the main parts of them – didnt want the Russian systems even they knew none else.

        Russia of today also need partners. I think its easy to compare with the Western Economies. We dont have to like all joiners and affiliated, but we help each other very much.

        Look at Your computer, Your smartphone or Your car. They are made by many countries and has changed the world.

        • Pave Way IV

          I’m not referring to commerce or trade. Israel and the US have always sought to impose the Lebanon model for Azerbaijan: weak, corrupted, exploitable and controllable. It was part of the so-called New Periphery Doctrine to encircle Iran. The president, Aliyev, and his mafia ruling tribe would have played Russia against the US/Israel, the same way Erdogan plays Russia against NATO. Waste of time and resources for Russia. Besides, the Soviets already did them a favor by carving Azerbaijan off of the Persian Empire. Something the Russians probably regret happened, but oh well…

          • Jens Holm

            Yes, Iran is a very impåortant part of it.

            But You seemes to forget when thoise parts of USSR was taken as well as Sovjets made things even more complicated by moviung people around, making parts to Kolkoses and sockoses as well as devellopig oil resssources there.

            Most of Your kind really dont understand, that Communisme and Islam has taken old Chritins parts and many in the world actually dont think, that has to be as permanent as Russia, Iran or Turks think.

            I wnder if You know who made rgar Mafia and why it exist. Let me remind You fx USA and even Israel has its own.

            I feell very offensive against You artifial claims for this and that excusing Your total dominance in dirty ways like that.

            I allow me to add that Russians certainly has divided all relative new taken big areas incl. most of Caucasus and East of it long before some from USA and Mossad did anything there.

            Simple maps show where Russians has moved people intpo tose areas, which also fx include adding Russians to Ukrainians.

            And finally I feel a kind of fine some look up in the behind of Iran. Iranians as they where by the Shah and USA well assisted by GB and Russia didnt make me feel well. BUt for the last many Years its even worse for the world having someone like Iran and needs for USA and Mossad to spend time and money on it.

            Therefore I also feel fine, when Caucasus and East in an open way can devellop and give an income and develloment both ways.

            Let me also remind You how Sovejet didnt allow Tjetjenia to be their own Autonome as well as Dagestand and several others in that neighborhood is “protected”.

            Fx the best protection for Iran would be not to devellop nukes orpretend to. But OH NO, thats not even an option for the longbeards in Qaum.

            I see exact the same for their friends in North Korea by lousy devellopments and priorities will have many starvers this winther again and by threat will let the producers of extra food give them that for free adding nukes as threat above it.

            And who arethe stupid ones? We wsterns are, because we dont let them starve and find a population level, they can handle.

            Turks now gain are protecting nporthern Iraq against Kurds living there too.

          • Pave Way IV

            FFS, take another hit off the bong and calm down, Jens. I am not defending any US meddling in places we clearly don’t belong. And I don’t care what Russia does or does not do because the Cold War is over and Iran is not the least bit of threat to me as a US citizen. Are those the proclamations you don’t like me making?

            Of course I’m responsible for my country’s actions anywhere, but surely you realize the US State Department doesn’t consult with me first before their usual clownfuckery, right? And quit paying money to the UN if you don’t like it. Denmark is a representative democracy, isn’t it? The UN was a nice idea when it started, but they’re worthless whores today.

            And in case you forgot, it was a Danske Bank that help the Aliyev Mafi launder the €2.4 billion stolen from Azerbaijanis in bribes/kickbacks to the EU, US and themselves in 2012-14. Why didn’t you stop them? More surprising is why Danske ignored the Russian Laundromat operation that started a year earlier. Don’t you hate those guys? I think I remember Danske claiming they didn’t speak Estonian, so they were unaware of the illegal activity. Heh – Danish sense of humor! I know, Danske’s €200 billion money-laundering operation was small potatoes compared to the trillions the US banks funnel around for criminals in graft and corruption, but still… does the queen know about this?

          • Jens Holm

            I am afraid not only Danske Bank is used o has used those very criminal methods. In Scandinavia money seemes to have being washed through Nordea(a scandivian bank) and SEB(swidish big one) and several other.

            So far Danske Bank has closed their offices totally down and fired all employed, but the top-top in here in Denmark must have known a lot, because that small part in Lituania never could make that much money from the air – as fee as tranporter.

            Unfortunatly their punishments will take years and are in many levels.

            That goes for the other banks too. Its not even over and more like the police and the court systems find many small extras “only in milllions” – and I hadly have 1 myself compared to that.

            I hope for new and bigger jails and to make them full. Azerbejdjanis only are a part of it and they are very few but very rich. Most Azerbejdjanis cant be like that as well as Danes are not like Danske Bank at all.
            ——————-

            Our public control of banks are not good enough. Its also very complicated. As I see it, they hardly has controlled the foreign parts of them.

            Telling we have not participated in some Russsian initiative might be correct, but our Court system still is engaged around the crisis from 2008 where many are ounished and a few has done nothing.

            O only can wish Russians good hunting about this. Its not about like or not. We certainly are not friendly to Russian Oligarcs as well.

            I m sure our Queen know all about it. Even old, she is one of the most clever queens we ever has had. Even so its here job to accept Goverments elected by we all Vote.

            The Danish Góverment has learned a lesson and try to upgrade control, but I thik they are willingly but too slow.

      • You can call me Al

        Correct – About 95% of the population is Muslim. 85% of Muslims in Azerbaijan are Shia Muslims while 15% are Sunni Muslims.

    • Jens Holm

      Unfortunatly it seemes correct. Those countries hardly has been real countries ever but Khanats and Emirats infected by Txars and later on USSR.

      Sowhat can Putin expect. Those have to find their feet and smugling is only one of their many problems.

      My best advice for Pution any time will be to reform Russia to a modern state in stead of being “Mega”, what the new states are.

      I of course can see Putin has forgotten he send socalled legal weapons in shiploads to fx Syria himself.

      I of course is biased some, but if eerybosy else can send weapons to fx Syria, Iraq, Turks and Yemen – Why should Eastern Europeans not be allowed as legal and illegal trade.

      Reforms in USSR was not an option even 10 -20 years before Gorbatjov. Leaders should have been in WW2.

      I am sure USSR ever could remain intact. And why. Because it should not. But I agree they could have delayed the deroute. Something is teerible wrong in system, which has to use condoms on baby bottles.

    • You can call me Al

      Russia has survived with reform. Did you mean the USSR ?.