Now that the parliamentary elections are behind us the international community is once again turning to what is perpaps the number one problem in the regions – unresolved frozen conflicts and in particular, Nagorno Karabakh, says Onnik Krikoryan looking at the latest developments on way of conflict resolution examining RFE / RL, Today.az and Eurasia Daily Monitor.
No surprise to discover that mediators from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were in Yerevan earlier in the week before moving on to Baku. According to RFE/RL’s report posted on the day of their departure, the OSCE Minsk Group mediators have said they hope that the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents will meet on the sidelines of a summit to be held in St. Petersburg on 10 June. With presidential elections set to take place in both Armenia and Azerbaijan next year, there really is very little time and only a small window of opportunity for a long anticipated breakthrough framework agreement.
Speaking at an official reception ahead of the 28 May Republic Day in Azerbaijan, however, Aliyev continues to sound as bellicose as usual when it comes to the necessity of both sides making compromises in negotiations.
True, Azerbaijan is strengthening its military and has easily outstripped Armenia in what might yet turn into an arms race, but few analysts believe that they have enough strength to launch an offensive in the very near future.
While Oneworld Multimedia is looking for possible solutions to the conflict, Armenian Breaking News reports, that Turkey is inciting Azerbaijan to war in Karabakh:
«The Nagorno Karabakh conflict cannot be settled peacefully. Everyone should know that lands which were seized with bloodshed cannot be returned bloodlessly,» said lieutenant general Yasak Demikbilek, former chief of Turkish intelligence agency.
As noted also by Onnik Krikoryan in the post referenced above, the problem of seven regions in Azerbaijan currently under the control of Armenian and Karabakh forces, continues to bother politicians and activists in Armenia. Via Ahousekeeper I learned, that Anaid1708 has posted two video extracts from the presentation of the book “Liberated Areas of Armenia”, where Armen Ayvazyan (political scientist) and Zori Balayan (publicist, writer) speak about the importance of keeping these lands in the Armenian hands and putting this issue in the context of solving the Armenian Issue.
Someone told me that at one of these presentations the argument for keeping the territory was given as such:
There will eventually be war if the territory is given back, there will be war if it is not. Therefore, if there’s going to be war anyway, why give back the territory?
Of course, this is pretty much a pessimistic scenario from the Armenian nationalist side and I still have confidence that international peace keepers deployed around Karabakh can keep the two sides from each other although it won’t be easy.
Anyway, it’s a complicated issue. What’s the solution? Nationalists in both countries just seem to think that they can exist without contact or interaction with the other, but ultimately this leads to more hatred, the further isolation of Armenia and possibly renewed fighting.
Now, I am quite confident that Azerbaijan cannot take any territory or defensive positions in a conflict in the near future, but once it starts buying more and more air to surface and surface to surface weaponry such as rockets and strike aircraft I think this situation is not healthy for Armenia.
Sure, it can buy armaments at knock down prices from the Russian, and some might even be supplied gratis if they can first get through or over Georgia, but I think it’s easier for Azerbaijan to lead this potential arms race rather than Armenia to follow it.
On the other hand, Armenia and Azerbaijan are obliged to keep their military within certain constraints although I’m not sure who is actually keeping an eye on this and what they can do if they don’t. So, if and when Azerbaijan does finally get its military up to strength the only thing stopping it from launching an offensive is Europe and the U.S.
Russia I don’t think factors into the equation as they won’t enter into a conflict with Azerbaijan, I think.
Anyway, the long and short of it seems to be continuing isolation from regional processes for Armenia if there is no peace agreement and possible war in the future. Azerbaijan will not concede on the issue of at least 6 of 7 territories surrounding Karabakh so I guess that’s the only scenario that comes to mind, especially as we’re not even sure they’ll agree to independence for Karabakh.
The mediators and MFA here say they will in the form of a referendum, but Aliyev still keeps to his hard line position on the issue. Of course, it could all be for domestic consumption. And, of course, there’s another theory too. That is, having no peace deal suits the ruling regimes in both countries and prevents the process of democratization from continuing.
Seems to be somewhat of a stalemate and a Catch-22 situation, doesn’t it?
Incidentally, the quote from the former Chief of Turkish IT doesn’t really mean Turkey is inciting Azerbaijan to war. Instead it means that a former officer/official is just as some former soldiers here recommend Armenia enter into a war with Georgia.
Still, I don’t doubt that as military cooperation is high between Azerbaijan and Europe’s largest army something along those lines is being looked into. The only matter is when Azerbaijan is confident that it can take out defensive positions that are dug-in now for over 10 years.
That is unknown, but quite a gamble for nationalists to play with, in my opinion. A war this time round would be far different than before and would not be confined to Karabakh. Forget about artillery shelling border villages, I think it would go a lot farther too.
Not something that anyone should be complacent about. Still, for now the Armenian military is strong and able to repel any attack, but in the future? I really don’t know. At the very best, the economic cost of keeping military expenditure here in line with Azerbaijan will be difficult and eventually impossible.
It’s why some analysts say Azerbaijan doesn’t really want a peace deal, after all. It can afford to wait. It is uncertain whether Armenia can.
When looking for causes of this or that event in life, I usually ask two questions: who pays and who benefits. Let’s apply those questions to Armenia-Karabakh situation:
– who pays the costs of this sustained conflict?
– who benefits from keeping the status quo?
[…] which are referred to as the “Liberated Territories”. This issue was also discussed by Onnik Krikoryan and Anaid1708 […]
If you ever want to hear a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this post for four from five. Decent info, but I just have to go to that damn yahoo to find the missed pieces. Thanks, anyway!
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