In the midst of the escalation of the crisis between Iran and Azerbaijan, which reached the level of threats, warnings and the exchange of accusations between Baku and Tehran, and the Iranian army conducted a military maneuver on the borders of Iran’s neighbor in the northwest, the name of an Azeri Shiite militia called “Husseinion”, which calls itself the “Azerbaijan Islamic Movement”, was repeated. .
Since Tehran strongly protests the relations of the Republic of Azerbaijan with Israel, the group issued threats to the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan, and the Israeli embassy in Baku issued a warning to its citizens in Azerbaijan, according to what was reported on accounts on the social media platforms of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
This group, like all Tehran-backed militias, “expresses itself with symbols inspired by the symbols of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.”
At a time when some see that the “Hussainis” are just a small group, but the Iraqi, Lebanese, Yemeni and Syrian experience proves that all militias started in this way, and gradually organizational structures are created, if necessary, that can grow as a complete organization with combat units that have a political faction, where This is how the Lebanese Hezbollah was born.
It is noteworthy that Azerbaijan is inhabited by a Turkish Shiite majority and has extensions among the 25 million Azerbaijani Turks in Iran. They view the Republic of Azerbaijan as a national extension to them, and there are organizations affiliated with them that call for secession from Iran and the formation of a united state with Northern Azerbaijan, which is the name they give to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On the other hand, Iran is trying to strike at the Shiite sectarian chord among the residents of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The establishment of the “Husseinion” group is only a prelude to influencing the Azeri street in the event of the deterioration of Iranian relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan, and also for a possible confrontation with the Israeli presence on the territory of Azerbaijan, if necessary.
Azerbaijani Islamic Resistance
More about “Husseinion”
The group calls itself the “Azerbaijan Islamic Resistance Movement (Hussaini), and its flag is very similar to the flags of the Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah in Lebanon and other militias loyal to Iran.
The founder of the group is called “Tawhid Ibrahim Begli”, and he is a fierce critic of the regime of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
There are not many details about the group’s structure, plans and leadership but due to the fact that the group is armed, its existence poses a long-term danger to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In addition, this potential danger may extend to the Shiite Azerbaijanis residing in Russia, the Caucasus, Turkey and Europe, especially since the Azerbaijani government bodies accuse the group of conducting extensive contacts with the Iranian security and military services.
Ibrahim Bigley in the dress of Shiite clerics
In early 2016, “Tawhid Ibrahim Begli” announced, in front of 14 students of religious sciences from the Republic of Azerbaijan who were studying in Qom and Mashhad, that he intended to establish the “Husseini Brigade” or “Hussein Lar” in Turkish Azeri, and claimed in the first step that the goal He is participating in the war against ISIS in Syria.
It is known that all the militias that Iran formed from among the Shiite community in Afghanistan (Fatimiyoun), Pakistan (Zainabiyoun), Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Iraq (Kataeb Hezbollah and Harakat al-Nujaba) and sent them to Syria to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. ISIS.
As part of the plan announced by “Ibrahim Begli,” he sent these 14 religious talismans from Qom, after a day of training only to Syria, and joined an Iranian military unit stationed near the Syrian capital, Damascus, and Ibrahim Begley immediately stated in Damascus that their intention was not only The fight against ISIS, but also for military action on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, according to Baku media.
Despite this, the Husayniyun Movement stated that its only goal is to confront Takfiri extremists in Syria and has no plans to expand its activities in the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the extent that some members of the movement participated in the Nagorno-Karabakh War (2020) for the benefit of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Azeri sources report that Qassem Soleimani is the one who launched the so-called “Azerbaijan Islamic Resistance Movement” and called them “Hussayni”. These sources publish a photo of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, the external intervention arm of the Revolutionary Guards, and the leader of Husniyun “Tawhid Ibrahim Bigley”.
Communication with Iran
The father of Tawheed Ibrahim Bigley is “Alam Ibrahim Lee” and his mother is “Sudabh Ibrahim Lee”, and this family is based in the Iranian city of Lankaran and later settled in the city of Mashhad in eastern Iran.
“Tawhid Ibrahim Bigley” participated in a conference held annually by Iran under the title “Islamic Awakening Conference.” On the sidelines of the conference, Bigley met, in his capacity as the head of the Association of Militant Clerics in the Republic of Azerbaijan, with the Gharani Guide Ali Khamenei, and spoke during the meeting about the conditions of “Muslim” prisoners. in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In 2017, Ibrahim Begli attended a ceremony in the Iranian city of Zanjan with a Turkish-Azerbaijani majority in a ceremony titled “Nardaran Martyrs’ Remembrance”, and spoke about the incident of the attack of the Special Police Forces of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the 2015 Arbaeen ceremony on the Shiites of Nardaran region in the Republic Azerbaijan, killing four of them, he claimed.
Three years later in 2020, “Tawhid Ibrahim Bigley” spoke about Qassem Soleimani in the documentary film “Leader of Hearts” and some members of the “Hassanion” group visited the tomb of Qassem Soleimani in the city of Kerman in 2020.
After Ibrahim Raisi’s victory, Ibrahim Begli congratulated, in a message, Ibrahim Raisi on his victory in the Iranian presidential elections in 2021.
Arrest of group members
It is noteworthy that the Azerbaijanis who participated in the Syrian war through the “Husseinion” group were arrested after returning to their country. Among them was “Mir Zahidov”, a member of the “Husseinion Brigade” who is in Syria, and was sent to Sheki prison in 2021.
Azerbaijan accuses Ibrahim Begley of exerting unremitting efforts and extremist views against the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, according to Azerbaijani sources. The Azerbaijani police had previously arrested him during a protest march in front of the Israeli embassy in Baku and the court detained him for seven days.
On July 3, 2018, the security service of the Azerbaijani government arrested a member of the “Husseinion” group named “Younis Safrov” on charges of attempting to assassinate the governor of the Ganja region, and on July 14, 2018, a number of others close to Ibrahim Begli were also arrested.
In 2020, the residence of Faliq Wali Ov, members of the Husaynids, was found on Russian soil and handed over to the Republic of Azerbaijan on August 17. He was charged with belonging to a “criminal group”, “military training outside the Republic of Azerbaijan for terrorist purposes” and “participating in the activities of armed groups outside the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, and was sentenced to eight years imprisonment by the Serious Crimes Court in Ganja.
In general, the Azeri media, including agriposten, describe the “Husnayun” group and its leader as being under the control and will of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and as an armed force made up of Azerbaijani citizens and trained in Syria who enjoy the support of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.