‘I do not expect to see a large scale war between Azerbaijan and Armenia’
The guest of Azeri.Today is vice president of the prestigious American private intelligence company Stratfor, former special agent of the United States Diplomatic Security Service, one of the world's best specialists in the fight against terrorism.
- Mr. Stewart, you worked as a special agent in the United States Diplomatic Security Service, whose duties include protecting US diplomatic missions, US diplomats and foreign high-ranking officials. How difficult was it to ensure the security of American diplomats? What difficulties did you encounter?
- Keeping American diplomats safe is a challenging job because they work in many parts of the world where there are serious threats from terrorists and criminals. They also need to leave the relatively safe confines of the embassy to do their jobs. Some diplomats saw security as antithetical to their jobs, but I always viewed my job as equipping them to do their jobs safely. One of the primary difficulties comes from dealing with foreign governments, which are in some cases hostile to the United States, or simply not trained to U.S. standards.
In addition to protecting U.S. Secretaries of State George Shultz, James Baker, William Christopher and Madeline Albright, I also served on teams that protected Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, Yasir Arafat, Mikhail Gorbachev, and a number of other foreign ministers and foreign royals."
- You have extensive experience in the field of terrorism. You have participated in hundreds of investigations into terrorist attacks, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. What is the difference between the terrorism of the 1990s and today's terrorism?
- I worked many cases involving Marxist groups, and we’ve certainly seen a large decline in Marxist terrorism since that time. I was also able to investigate some of the first al Qaeda attacks and certainly the jihadist threat remains quite relevant today. In fact, I believe that in the United States the jihadist threat is more similar today to jihadism in the early 1990s than it is to 9/11-style terrorism."
- International terrorism poses a serious threat to humanity - the IS militants are operating in the Middle East and Europe. Russia, the United States and other countries are struggling with this evil, but all is useless. Do you think there is a "vaccine" against ISIS? How can IS be defeated? Is there an effective method of dealing with them?
- I believe that one of the best vaccines against the Islamic State is reality. They preach a utopian ideology that promises their followers heaven on earth, but when they actually were able to conquer territory and govern, it turned out to be the opposite – people found living under the Islamic State to be terrible. I believe that more attention needs to be paid to the reality of life under Islamic State rule."
- Do you think IS poses a serious threat to the South Caucasus countries?
- Honestly, no. I believe that they do pose a minor threat, but I do not see their ideology having much appeal in that arena. It does appeal to some, but I do not see it gaining much popular appeal. Because of this, I believe the threat they pose will remain limited -- especially as the group is losing power and their losses on the battlefield prove that they are not somehow a divinely blessed organization that will conquer the world.
- Do you think there is any hope that the US will make efforts to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under Trump? Do you think a large-scale war between Azerbaijan and Armenia can be expected in the short term?
- I honestly do not expect to see the Trump administration focus much attention on settling Nagorno-Karabakh. There are frankly many other things begging for the White House's attention, from Iraq and Afghanistan to North Korea. I do not expect to see a large scale war between Azerbaijan and Armenia either, although the situation is likely to remain quite tense.
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