International community showed sensitive reaction to escalating tensions along the frontline. Some experts emphasize that these events may cause global-scale constraints. Furthermore, fair resolution of the conflict gains urgency. President of Azerbaijan firmly reiterated this aspect. Being a powerful head of state and the commander-in-chief, Ilham Aliyev once again manifested his unwavering position. This can be regarded as an important step in the direction of Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh conflict resolution.
Response To Aggressor: Armenians’ Calls For Peace Amidst Panic
Armenia’s political leadership is displaying utter hypocrisy. Tensions along the frontline in the Azerbaijani territories have surged as a result of activity of Armenian reconnaissance-subversive groups. Sustaining heavy casualties the enemy abandoned the battlefield and resorted to diplomatic hypocrisy. The motive and source of this is well-known, however, different circles are trying to purport the situation in line with their self-interests and in such a fashion that the substance of the problem is overshadowed.
Such a conclusion is impelled by the recent media publications. First, the fact that all the problems stem from Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijani territories gets sidelined. Western and Russian media is emphasizing ”condemnation of the loss of life in general” and ”inadmissibility of the casualties among the innocent youth”.
Azerbaijanis are the ones who oppose this the most. And society that lost thousands of martyrs, since regaining independence, is the one that seeks peace the most. Yet, essentially the issue is about withdrawal of the aggressor from the occupied territories. Regrettably, this is the very subject that the big powers are failing to remind Armenia about. Therefore, the ceasefire is constantly violated and Armenians continue with their political and geopolitical insinuations.
Second, since the conflict erupted, Azerbaijan maintained a self-defense posture. The most recent case was not an exception. However, this time around, it was clarified, that owing to policy conducted by Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani army has grown extremely powerful, by becoming South Caucasus’s most capable regular army with advanced operational readiness. This was the very factor that sowed panic with the enemy and compelled the Armenian leadership to put the mask of a bogus peace lover.
Third, visit of the Azerbaijan’s head of state to the frontline and issuing of necessary orders demonstrated country leadership’s determination to the rest of the world. Invading army was duly confronted. Military uniform wearing President Ilham Aliyev was at the forefront, while S. Sargsyan turned to his patrons. The reason was clear – the Armenian military was weak and he could not face the families of soldiers whose lives were lost.
Significance of the Sochi meeting must not be downplayed. Some experts argue that the meeting was futile. However, in Sochi, President of Azerbaijan reiterated the need for the Armenian troops to withdraw from the Azerbaijani territories. Ilham Aliyev recalled four UN SC resolutions and emphasized the need of their implementation. This was reiteration of Azerbaijan’s commitment to the principles of conflict resolution and readiness to defend its cause under any circumstances. In light of this aspect, the Sochi meeting must be seen as a positive development.
Notably, Sargsyan relied on Putin’s diplomatic proficiency and played a supporting actor role. This is one of the most remarkable elements of the Sochi meeting.
Geopolitical Mistake: Sacrificing Justice to Bogus Interests
Dissemination of information serving various geopolitical self-interests, instead of analyzing the actual substance of the developments along the frontline, the Sochi meeting was a vivid manifestation of the fact that some circles are yet to abandon their malicious intent. Furthermore, it was once again made clear that Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh conflict has serious implications for regional and global geopolitics (see: Ariel Cohen. Armenia and Azerbaijan: On the Brink of War? / ”The National Interest”, 8 August 2014).
This aspect of the problem deserves an emphasis. Experts are evaluating the escalation of the situation in the Nagorno Karabakh from three different angles. First, this may lead to full-scale war between two countries of the South Caucasus. In that event, Azerbaijan’s strength is acknowledged as an axiom and options to salvage Armenia are suggested.
Second, experts are assessing the issue from the prism of the struggle of the geopolitical interests of the U.S. and Russia. In that context, Washington and Moscow are articulating their opposition to war. Against this backdrop, Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity remains sidelined. As if, the key issue is confined to America and Russia reaching common ground.
Third, number of experts are trying to evaluate the Sochi meeting not in the context of conflict resolution but in the sense of creating an image that Putin is the peacemaker and that he has the final say in the Caucasus (see: Ариэль Коэн. Путин, как миротворец: сможет ли он предотвратить новую войну за Карабах? / ”Голос Америки”, 11 August 2014; Ованнес Мандакуни. Сочи и его последствия / ”1in.am”, 12 August 2014). Perhaps Moscow does not want to see inflaming of a war in the South Caucasus, and initiates talks called for ensuring membership of both Armenia and Azerbaijan to the Customs Union.
Yet, such an evaluation exposes perilous objectives because in that event, first, tensions at the line of contact are fomented at the behest of a third party; and second, such a situation can be provoked at any moment in time.
Can someone’s peacemaker image be forged at the expense of innocent blood? We believe not, and no head of state would want to be in such a situation. Russia would be reluctant to have an increasing risk factor at its southern doorstep and be more willing to ensure stability. Some Western experts agree with such a thesis.
Principal of the ”International Market Analysis” (Washington) Ariel Cohen addressed this point from several perspectives (see: Ariel Cohen. Armenia and Azerbaijan: On the Brink of War? / ”The National Interest”, 8 August 2014). The author approaches the problem from the aspect of pressing issues of regional and global geopolitics. He notes Azerbaijan’s successful energy policy and highlights some intricacies of American and Russian geopolitical objectives in the region.
In the broader sense, he attempts to connect the Middle East and Ukraine conflicts, geopolitical processes in the Eurasian space, and interests of Turkey and Iran in the context of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Presumably, the above mentioned factors played certain role in the recent incidents at the line of contact.
It is fascinating that A. Cohen argues that all of this fails to provide enduring stability along the line of contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He ends his article with the following remark ”apparently no one has forbidden the ”divide and conquer” principle”.
This is where the truth lies. As long as Armenia is not rigorously demanded to abandon the occupied territories, people will continue to perish. Most notably, none of the big powers that ”regret” loss of young lives at the frontline had called upon Armenia to pullout its soldiers from the conflict area. This is why after the Sochi meeting Sarsgyan returned to his hypocritical political rhetoric and tried to assert himself as a peace-loving leader (see: Интервью Сержа Саргсяна телеканалу АрмНьюз: полный текст / ”1in.am”, 12 August 2014).
Armenia’s head of state admits that Azerbaijani tanks could easily reach outskirts of Yerevan ”but there would be someone to punish them”. What does the Armenian politician imply? Surely, he refers to his patrons. This is the logic of the Armenia’s foreign policy! At one point he says to be “proud” of the Armenian army and then he admits that there are helpless in the face of Azerbaijan.
The real cause is that the big powers are doing their best to defend Armenia. There would be no escalation in the region of conflict had they chosen to restore justice instead of protecting the aggressor. Thus, recent events in the Nagorno Karabakh are a sign for the OSCE co-chair states that reads – be fair!