In recent days the Azerbaijani mass media published the presidential order of Ilham Aliyev regarding the dismissal of a group of high-ranked military servicemen.
Major figures of the General Staff of the Armed Forces were among those dismissed: first deputy chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Eyvaz Jafarov; chief of the Main Operative Division of the General Staff, Major General Elbrus Orujev; and Colonel Murad Hamidov. It has also been announced that two more officers were dismissed in addition to those mentioned.
After a few days these statements disappeared from the pages of all Azerbaijani media outlets. Several of them apologized for the false information, others simply deleted it.
What did happen at that staff meeting on March 28, led by the Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan, Zakir Hasanov?
“All the same, there was a dismissal of highly-placed officers of the General Staff. The events of February 24-25 of this year provided the primary reason for the dismissal of highly-placed generals of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.”
This is stated in the analytical review from the CDSI (Caspian Defense Studies Institute).
The organization’s site states that the dismissal of Eyvaz Jafarov, Elbrus Orujev, and Murad Hamidov were specifically a response to the operation carried out in February.
“The operation was undoubtedly directed by Najmeddin Sadyhov, the chief of the General Staff himself. But the fact is that, in order to protect himself, Sadyhov shifted all the blame onto others and sacrificed more than twenty highly-placed officers of the General Staff”, says the statement from the Caspian Defense Studies Institute.
According to information from the institute, failures during the recent operation and the General Staff’s responsibility for them, became a topic of debate in the government in the beginning of March.
The institute’s review also says that “there is information suggesting that the decision has already been made in the government to undertake a fundamental restructuring of the General Staff. For this reason, discussions are also focused on the person of Najmeddin Sadyhov as head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, and there are doubts about whether he will retain his position”.
We remind our readers that, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, on the night of February 24-25, units of the Armed Forces of Armenia made attempts to penetrate positions of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan. Both sides reported losses as a result of the armed clashes.