U.S. Intelligence Official: Fighting could flare between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Admiral Dennis Cutler Blair, 3rd Director of National Intelligence

A top U.S. intelligence official has indicated, that the situation in the Caucasus could get tense with fighting erupting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held an open hearing on 2 February 2010, entitled “Current and Projected Threats to the United States,” as the latest in an annual series of hearings examining US national security issues.

In his testimoney before the Senate Committee the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis C. Blair made some noteworthy remarks concerning the Caucasus and Armenia. Admiral Blair, speciically, noted, that the unresolved conflicts of the Caucasus provide the most likely flashpoints in the Eurasia region.

Regarding Armenia-Turkey, Azerbaijan and Karabagh, Blair added that “although there has been progress in the past year toward Turkey-Armenia rapprochement, this has affected the delicate relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and increases the risk of a renewed conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The Director of National Intelligence also expressed concern, that the Russian President Medvedev views former Soviet countries as Russia’s “zone of privileged interests”, thus “potentially undermining the US-Russian bilateral relationship.”

These statements come only a week after Stratfor, a US based think-tank, came up with a similar analysis warning, that the Karabakch conflict might get out of control due to increase in bellicose rhetoric of Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents.

PS: Some quotes used in this post were brought to my attention through a message sent out by the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS).

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