Armenia May Become Alternative Transit Energy Route Between Caspian Basin And Europe - June, 2009

A day or two after Washington announced it will drastically cut aid to Armenia, president of "Russian Railways" Vladimir Yakunin appeared in Yerevan to discuss the creation of a strategic railway connection between Armenia and the Russian Federation (see web links below). Connecting Armenia to Russia via a major rail system has been in discussion for several years. The only problem was the presence of Western and Turkish interests in the Caucasus which for over a decade sought to isolate Armenia and sever the Caucasus away from Moscow's influence.

Needless to say, the geostrategic and economic significance of establishing a major rail connection between Armenia and Russia cannot be overstated. Beyond its obvious economic benefits, being an integral part of such a network can enable Armenia to provide the Russian Federation with secure access to Iran and beyond, thereby dramatically elevating Yerevan's strategic significance in the region. Moreover, such plans suggest there may be more problems ahead for Georgia and Azerbaijan.


As the Caucasian powder keg began to get increasingly volatile by the early summer of last year, Moscow announced on June 02, 2008 that it would begin the long awaited repair work of its main railroad in Abkhazia and increase its military presence. Soon after the release of this news there was talk in Yerevan about using such a railway by Armenia to connect Russia and Iran. Anti-Russian regional interests responded to this maneuver by Moscow by stepping up arms shipments to the regime in Tbilisi. The stage for a show down was now set. With Russia determined to reestablish its political and economic influence in its strategic underbelly and with the West as well as Turkey and Israel arming and funding Georgia - war between Moscow and Tbilisi, a mere proxy for the region's anti-Russian interests, was inevitable.

However, much to their dismay, Western intelligence services did not expect Moscow to react as forcefully and as extensively as it did when Tbilisi stepped out-of-line by invading South Ossetia. As the global community watched, the Russian Federation effortlessly brought Tbilisi to its knees by the fourth day of the war, and in doing so underscored the inherent weaknesses of its regional antagonists. Having bloodied a few noses, Moscow was now officially back in the game of superpower geopolitics.

Since Putin's rise to power Moscow has been gradually reasserting itself globally and reestablishing its presence within the southern Caucasus politically, economically and militarily. The construction of the Russian railway in the Caucasus is yet another severe blow to the Western funded railway project known as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK). Similar to the Western funded Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) natural gas pipeline, BTK's intention was to create a railway connection between Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan - needless to say, bypassing Russia and Armenia. Fortunately, as a result of the successful outcome of the Russo-Georgian war both Western projects are now more-or-less dead, and Armenia has been able to significantly elevate its geostrategic importance. This explains why Turkey's Abdul Gul ignored his domestic and foreign naysayers, swallowed his pan-Turkish pride and stretched out his hand to Armenia last September.

Regarding Armenian-Turkish relations: Looking at its development, it's quite obvious that Moscow is behind the matter. Moscow is attempting to use Ankara's vulnerabilities to drive a wedge between it and NATO. Moscow is also seeking to become the sole arbiter of the Caucasus region. In this respect, Armenia is Moscow's strengthening hand in the south Caucasus. Undermining or weakening the Armenian state is not an option for the Kremlin. Consequently, Yerevan is dealing with Ankara from a position of strength. And despite what one may hear from the mouths of ignorant and/or paranoid individuals amongst us, Armenia's territorial integrity, as well as that of Artsakh's, have never been more secure.

It is well known that during the 1990s Turkey spent much effort in attempting to export its national influence to the so-called "Turkic" peoples of Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is also well known that Turkey was one of the major behind-the-scenes culprits of the bloody Chechen insurgency against Russia and it also fully supported Azerbaijan's aggression against Armenians of Artsakh. Had the conglomeration of American, European, Turkish, Saudi, Pakistani and Israeli interests succeeded in ousting Russia from the Caucasus region (which was their primary intent for many years), their next victim would undoubtedly have been the fledgling Armenian state.

Well, needless to say times have changed and Turks may be savages but they are also political pragmatists. The Russian Federation is on longer on the defensive, it's actually on a global offensive now. US power is in decline and Europe is impotent. Moscow has been able to reinstate its military might in the Caucasus for the foreseeable future by crushing the region's Islamic insurgency. Moscow has smashed Georgia's aspirations to join NATO and it has isolated Azerbaijan. Moscow has monopolized the vast gas/oil distribution networks of Central Asia. Moscow provides Turkey's enormous industrial machine with most of its natural gas needs and a large portion of its oil needs. Moreover, to the tune of tens of billions of US dollars annually, Russia is one of Turkey's main trading partners.

Ankara's vulnerabilities became clearly apparent during the Russo-Georgian war. When bilateral trade and gas/oil transit had come to a full stop and Western power was effectively expelled from the region. Feeling a looming disaster, Ankara automatically went into a survival mode. Not only did Ankara side against its erstwhile partners in Tbilisi and flirt with the idea of abandoning NATO, it even began calling for a so-called "Caucasus Pact" who's membership was envisioned by Ankara to include Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan - as well as Russia and Armenia.

For officials in Ankara the reality of the moment was clear: If Turkey was not able to foresee the destruction of Russian power in the Caucasus region, as many diverse interests did during the 1990s but are no longer able to, it was now, as a direct result of geopolitical changes on the ground in the Caucasus, forced to dance to Moscow's tune. Thus, with Turkey and the West defanged, Moscow has begun to freely use Armenia as its main economic and military power base in the south Caucasus. From establishing communications networks to establishing gas/oil distribution networks, from establishing its railway system to establishing its military presence, Moscow seems to have major political and economic plans for the Caucasus region, and the Armenian republic seems to be playing a pivotal role in it.

Being a tiny, landlocked, resourceless and impoverished nation surrounded by enemies in a volatile place like the Caucasus, Armenia desperately needs to be an integral part of a major political/economic/military apparatus to protect and develop itself and get out of its current stalemate. The Russian Federation today provides Armenia this opportunity. For once in its modern history the Armenia republic is able to serve the interests of a major regional power and in doing so guarantee its survival in a desolate and volatile region. Let's hope our nation's leadership has the foresight to utilize this opportune moment in history to the long-term benefit of the Armenian state.

Arevordi

***

Armenia May Become Alternative Transit Energy Route Between Caspian Basin And Europe

http://asbarez.com/App/Asbarez/eng/2010/02/armenia-iran-pipeline.jpg

June, 2009

As Europe now seeks to build new pipelines from the Caspian, energy executives' eyes are turning to Armenia as a possible alternative to more pipelines through Azerbaijan and Georgia, says an article published in The Huffington Post. A pipeline across Armenia to Europe would be much shorter (and hence cheaper) than existing or prospective routes through Azerbaijan and Georgia. Since Armenia also has better relations with Moscow, a pipeline across Armenia would face less political risk. The EU and its US allies thus have a strong geopolitical interest in a deal," author of the article believes. "Despite these opportunities, Russia has more often been an obstacle than a facilitator of reconciliation in the region. It remains skeptical of Turkey's attempt to become a regional energy hub, loathes the government of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and has long benefited from instability that prevents the US and EU from building new pipelines," publication goes on saying. At the end of article, the author refers to Obama Administration's patient attitude, particularly, he states, "Obama's patient outreach to Moscow, coupled with Secretary Clinton's intensive mediation between the Turks and Armenians, were all necessary parts of the foundation leading to last week's agreement, as they will be to any future accord on Nagorno-Karabakh."

Source: http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/world/news/37888/

President Sargsyan Meets Director of the “Russian Railways” Company

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President Serzh Sargsyan today received the Director of the “Russian Railways” OJSC, the concession manager of the Armenian railway system, President’s Press Office reported. Emphasizing the Armenian-Russian friendly relations, President Sargsyan said: “We view Russia as our most reliable partner and prioritize the further reinforcement of bilateral ties,” the President said. Vladimir Yakunin conveyed to President Sargsyan the best wishes of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The interlocutors discussed the current state of the Armenian railway, the perspectives of development and the process of accomplishment of the commitments the parties have assumed under the concession agreement. In particular, they dwelt on the modernization of the railway, reconstruction of the rolling stock, the rails, technical re-equipment, othher issues. Vladimir Yakunin said to be generally satisfied with the work done in the recent period, adding that serious steps have been taken towards raising the effectiveness of management.

Source: http://www.armradio.am/news/?part=off&id=15178



Armenia attaches prior importance to strengthening bilateral ties with Russia

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Armenia's president Serzh Sargsyan today received Vladimir Yakunin , presidents of the "Russian Railways" OJSC, the concession manager of the Armenian railway system, RA president's press office reported. Emphasizing the Armenian-Russian strategic relations, president Sargsyan said: "We view Russia as our most reliable ally and prioritize the further reinforcement of bilateral ties.'' According to Serzh Sargsyan, transport in general, and railway transport in particular play a tangible role in that context. Vladimir Yakunin conveyed to President Sargsyan the best wishes of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin. The interlocutors discussed the current state of the Armenian railway, the prospects of its development. In particular, they discussed issues of modernization and reconstruction of the railway. Vladimir Yakunin said to be generally satisfied with the work done, adding that serious steps have been taken towards raising the effectiveness of the management.

Source: http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/politics/news/32820/Armenia_attaches_prior_importance_to_strengthening_bilateral_ties_with_Russia


Additional background information:

RUSSIA AND IRAN MAY RESTORE RAIL CORRIDOR THROUGH ARMENIA:http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/4614

RAILROAD LANDING: http://www.kommersant.com/p898706/r_1/Russia_to_repair_Abkhazian_railroads/

Hope for Rails: Russian initiative for Abkhazian section raises optimism for Armenian railroad: http://www.armenianow.com/?action=viewArticle&AID=3088&CID=2995&lng=eng&IID=1189

Construction Of Turkey Section Of Baku - Tbilisi - Kars Railway To Start In July:http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=231504&s=&i=&t=Construction_Of_Turkey_Section_Of_Baku_-_Tbilisi_-_Kars_Railway_To_Start_In_July


Armenia may become alternative transit energy route between Caspian basin and Europe: http://www.panarmenian.net/news/eng/?nid=38095

Symbolism vs Reality in the Caucasus: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elin-suleyamnov/symbolism-vs-reality-in-t_b_326684.html

Obamas Caucasus Diplomacy Under Radar: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-mankoff/obamas-caucasus-diplomacy_b_325350.html

Russia Georgia... and Iran: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-schweber/russia-georgia-and-iran_b_123028.html

Putin as Energy Tsar Russian Gas Outflanks US Missiles: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-fiderer/putin-as-energy-tsar-russ_b_118920.html

Diplomacy Could Fool the World or Change the Caucasus: http://www.neurope.eu/articles/97033.php

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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult for me because I had no assistance from anywhere. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside urged me to keep going; and I did. When Armenia joined the EEU and integrated into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago I finally felt a deep sense of relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my back. And when Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan reemerged in Armenian politics, I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back as I really needed the rest.

Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the internal urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal.

Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say anything if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however moderate the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what readers of this blog have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments. To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what. If you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or just attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself.

Please appreciate the fact that I have put an enormous amount of information into this blog. In my opinion, most of my blog commentaries and articles, going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Posts in this blog can therefore be revisited by longtime readers and new comers alike. I therefore ask the reader to treat this blog as a depository of important information relating to Eurasian geopolitics. Russian-Armenian relations and humanity's historic fight against Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you for reading.