Traditionally, threatening a neighbouring nation to rain down fire on them used to be the stuff of official channels and quite obvious foreign policy actions – recalling ambassadors, cutting off diplomatic ties, saber-rattling speeches in Parliament, broadcast on all major radio and TV networks. On August 7, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev took the game to another level as tensions with long-time nemesis Armenia rise once more concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh, an unrecognised de facto independent located within Azerbaijan’s borders, but where most of the population are of Armenian descent.

Aliyev’s Twitter account is quite surreal in itself – a continuous, 1812-tweet monologue that’s been going on since he joined the social network in May 2010. He follows only two other users, CSPAN and Brian Bonner, an editor with the Kyiv Post.

Most of the Azerbaijan President’s tweets are plain propaganda and promotion of what he boasts are his country’s egalitarian values, and praising Azerbaijan’s religious diversity, like a one-man PR department.

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But near the end of July, clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces near Nagorno-Karabakh’s unofficial borders, described as the bloodiest in the past decade, pushed Azerbaijan President Aliyev’s buttons, with him hitting the keyboard in a fiery sequence of highly-threatening rhetoric.

The dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh dates from the end of the Soviet Union. While legally within Azerbaijan’s borders, it’s controlled by Armenia, which deployed troops to defend what they consider to be their land, hence President Aliyev’s claims that Armenian military presence on what he considers to his country’s territory amounts to a military occupation.

The Nagorno-Karabahk Defense Army, the Armenian military branch responsible for defending the disputed territory, fields approximately 45,000 troops (regular and reserve) equipped with Russian-made weaponry, but no armoured combat vehicles. This is a fraction of what the Azerbaijani military can field – over 500 infantry fighting vehicles as well as over 300 main battle tanks, including Russian T-90 and T-72 tanks.

This conflict, like so many on the planet, has been going on forever and knows no end, only now it reached the virtual sphere. Which brings an important question: Will social media be a new official communication channel, or are we just dealing with a reckless president talking nonsense?