Opening of Armenia-Turkey border meets neither Azerbaijan’s nor Russia’s interests - February, 2010

Interesting comments to an Azeri news agency by Alexander Dugin, a well known political expert and Russian nationalist based in Moscow. Surely he as an experienced political analyst must know that Moscow is the primary party behind Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. If the Azeri provided text of the interview is to be believed, however, Dugin supposedly told an Azer journalist that the border opening business going on between Armenia and Turkey is an American project, implying that Russia is not involved.

Are we to believe that our pro-Russian authorities in Armenia, a nation that is also fully dependent on Moscow for economic and military survival, are flirting with Washington and Ankara independent of Moscow??? Not a chance in hell, especially in today's geopolitical climate in the Caucasus. I personally think that this is double talk by Dugin. I think Dugin here is cleverly attempting to calm fears in Baku by carefully covering up his government's regional policies; namely that of using Armenia to project the Kremlin's political and economic power in the region.

It seems likely that Dugin does not want to upset Moscow's already tenuous relationship with Baku. Let's not forget that with Baku recently feeling abandoned by Ankara, and isolated as a result of the Russian-Georgian war in the summer of 2008, this is an opportune time for Moscow to win "hearts and minds" in Azerbaijan. It is now apparent that Moscow has also been using the rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey as a cleaver political wedge, a divide and conquer technique. By pushing Ankara to the negotiating table with Yerevan Moscow has more-or-less managed to isolate Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey from each other, as well as gaining the West's reluctant participation in Moscow's regional agenda. Nevertheless, even a nationalist like Dugin, even in an interview with an Azerbaijani news agency, has to bluntly admit that Moscow will not support a war in the region and that the current political status in Nagorno Karabakh (in essence, Armenian control over Artsakh but not officially recognized by Moscow) is beneficial for it. Barring any foolish attempts by Baku to resolve the matter militarily, we can expect the current status quo in Nagorno Karabakh to be maintained for the foreseeable future; which I must repeat is only beneficial to Armenia.


Arevordi

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Russian political expert: Opening of Armenia-Turkey border meets neither Azerbaijan’s nor Russia’s interests

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Recent developments around the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have sparked general dissatisfaction in Azerbaijan. How would you describe them?

First and foremost, one needs to understand what is Russia’s attitude to the geopolitics of the Karabakh problem. Russia’s actions must be considered in this context. It is true that Moscow is fully satisfied with the current state of the conflict. Namely, the Armenian control over Nagorno-Karabakh is linked to the presence of Russian bases in Armenia. This is extremely important for the Kremlin, which fears to lose this strategic advantage. In the meantime, Russia is also opposed to exclusion of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan, because it can spoil relations with Azerbaijan. So, Russia wants to maintain the legal position keeping the Nagorno-Karabakh with Azerbaijan. Moreover, it is also a good base for improving relations with Baku. At the same time, Moscow is perfectly aware that the Azerbaijani people will never accept separation of Nagorno-Karabakh. Such a scenario destabilizes the situation in Azerbaijan which will blame Russia for this. Therefore, the Kremlin understands that the thing best for it is to keep everything as is. On the other hand, the U.S. is very interested in resolving the Karabakh problem, because any change in the balance of forces in the region will lead to destabilization. In the meantime, Washington does not mind to another hot spot in Russia's borders. So, Americans are stepping up efforts ostensibly to solve the problem. Thus, Russia is interested in a deadlock, and the Americans, roughly speaking, in a bloody stalemate. Washington can launch it quickly and quietly. The States can make several statements on recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence, which, of course, will cause a strong anger in Azerbaijan. As a result, Azerbaijan will be forced to react very harshly and resumption of hostilities is not ruled out in this case. Believe me, the U.S. needs only this.

Do you mean there is a stalemate in any case? How long do you think the current situation will persist?

It will last very long. When speaking about Russia, it is worth noting that it does not clearly back Armenia and is very interested in maintaining and developing good relations with Azerbaijan, too. So, the Kremlin will block any sort of resolution to the conflict. The only thing Russia wants is to oppose U.S. policy towards this region.

Azerbaijan does not also exclude a military solution to the conflict. What will the U.S. gain and what will Russia lose once military hostilities are resumed?

Russia’s position will be very neutral. Moscow is unlikely to support military action. Americans, by contrast, will support the war, and support both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thus, if the war starts again, Russia will lose first of all, I think. I perfectly understand feelings, emotions and attitude of Azerbaijanis. However, the cold laws of geopolitics, in my opinion, say that if this conflict comes out the protracted impasse which is unpleasant and humiliating for all parties, it will be impossible to achieve positive results, because the war will lead to nothing positive. Thus, today there is possibility to further improve the Azerbaijani-Russian relations, which in future could impact the resolution of the conflict. Why? Because the American initiative for opening the borders of Turkey and Armenia does not meet interests of both Azerbaijan and Russia. It turns out that the American strategy in the South Caucasus brings us together, and I think that we have not taken advantage of it adequately.

Source: http://www.today.az/news/politics/60707.html


Other related news:



Top Azeri Official Laments ‘International Support’ For Armenia

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The chief foreign policy aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday accused Russia and the West of supporting Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and thereby delaying its peaceful resolution. “I will be frank. I believe Armenia is backed by some powers which is why it is not willing to make any steps back in such a difficult situation while they realize their own situation,” the official, Novruz Mammadov, told Azad Azarbaycan TV in an interview monitored by the BCC. “Some virtual powers support them, otherwise, knowing Armenians’ trait, they would immediately beg for mercy from Turkey and Azerbaijan and ask to rescue them. They are still being supported by that virtual power.”

When asked whether that power is Russia, Armenia’s traditional ally, Mammadov said, “I also mean the West. At this period of negotiations strong pressure needs to be put on Armenia by the USA, Russia, France and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. Each time Armenia tries to demonstrate that everything depends on it and that no one puts pressure on them.” Mammadov, who heads the foreign relations department in Aliyev’s administration, has already made such claims in the past. In one televised interview reported in late 2006, for example, he complained that the mediating powers are “forgetting about” the need to restore Azerbaijan’s control over Karabakh and surrounding Armenian-controlled territories. “Unfortunately, we have never heard anything about Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity from them,” he said.

The Azerbaijani official’s latest remarks mirrored Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s strong criticism of the international mediators voiced on Sunday. Erdogan claimed that the Karabakh disputed would have already been resolved had the U.S., Russia and France “worked hard” enough. He faulted them for not putting sufficient pressure on Armenia to end “the occupation of Azerbaijani territory.”

Source: http://www.asbarez.com/2010/02/02/top-azeri-official-laments-%E2%80%98international-support%E2%80%99-for-armenia/

A Karabakh War May Have Global Impact, Says Analyst

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Video Dispatch: In the Caucasus, a Web of Alliances and Animosities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6M6GjUAavo&feature=player_embedded

An analyst for Strafor Global Intelligence has said that the continuing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can have global ramifications, regardless of the role the regional powers play in the conflict resolution process or in their positioning for regional dominance. “Things could get out of hand, not because Russia, Turkey or Iran want it to get out of hand, but because simply the internal dynamics of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan take over and we have situation like in 1914 when a local conflict in Bosnia created a global war,” said Strafor analyst Marko Papic in a video interview obtained from the organization’s Web site. Warning that Russia, Turkey and Iran could find themselves in a conflict that is out of their hands, Papic said that Nagorno-Karabakh is a very important topic right now because “the interplay of these major regional powers is going to depend on what happens in Armenia and Azerbaijan.” “Russian interests from start for this particular conflict have been to really involve Turkey in an intractable conflict that really cannot be solved. And this really wastes Turkey’s time and energy in a region where Russia feels very secure—it feels that its not going to lose any leverage over either Armenia or Azerbaijan because of inroads Turkey may make. Furthermore, Azerbaijan seems to slowly be drifting toward Russia, as it feels spurned by Turkish negotiations with Armenia,” added Papic. Strafor Global Intelligence is an international think-tank specializing in reports and analysis of global issues and events.

Source: http://www.asbarez.com/2010/02/01/a-karabakh-war-may-have-global-impact-says-analyst/comment-page-1/#comment-11096

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