Russia Can Implement «Peacekeeping Operations» in Belarus Without UN Sanction? - 2007

The following news report is a very significant development in international politics. According to Kommersant, CST general secretary Nikolai Bordiuzha stated: “Any crisis spot in the world can become a zone of peacekeeping activity. Moreover, in the area of responsibility (Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) the bloc can implement the operations absolutely independently, without the UN sanction. The main thing is that in case the situation dangerous for stability and internal security of one CST members appears, our organization can solve it by own forces without external interference”, - was explained to Kommersant in the principal office of the organization in Moscow." 

Moscow is essentially stating that it will resort to taking drastic measures in defense of CIS republics if the need arises without attempting to gain international approval. This move by Moscow is most probably aimed against NATO and the United States and is a direct response to actions the West has taken in the region during the past fifteen years. Nevertheless, Moscow is clearly in the process of solidifying its political borders and reestablishing its political influences within former Soviet block nations.



Russia Can Implement «Peacekeeping Operations» in Belarus Without UN Sanction?


The decisions taken on Saturday on Collective Security Treaty (CST) summit in Dushanbe are turning this amorphous structure into powerful military-political bloc, Kommersant running. Belarusian analytical center “Strategiya” head Leanid Zaika thinks, the Kremlin wants to spread the KGB reincarnation upon the whole Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). According to Kommersant, now CST will begin to form its peacekeeping forces and the bloc members can buy Russian weapon at internal prices. These steps and recent appointment of Foreign Intelligence Service ex-director Sergei Lebedev for a post of CIS executive secretary mean that Moscow is going to work seriously for strengthening of the Commonwealth with the aim to stop the decline of Russian influence there and not to allow Color revolutions on the post-Soviet territory.

According to the ratified provisions on the peacekeeping forces, CST can form the peacekeeping brigades of international status. As CST general secretary Nikolai Bordiuzha explained “Any crisis spot in the world can become a zone of peacekeeping activity. Moreover, in the area of responsibility (Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) the bloc can implement the operations absolutely independently, without the UN sanction. “The main thing is that in case the situation dangerous for stability and internal security of one CST members appears, our organization can solve it by own forces without external interference”, - was explained to Kommersant in the principal office of the organization in Moscow. It is clear that by CST Russia is meant. It is hard to imagine that Armenia or Kyrgyzstan were concerned about the establishing order in Belarus. But the Kremlin has its interests here, which it can defend with weapon. A day before the CST summit, the new CIS executive secretary became FIS Director Sergei Lebedev. “This is the man who we need for the external policy of Russia that has foreground meaning for us – CIS, - Vladimir Putin commented this appointment. - Sergei Lebedev did not only lead the FIS, it may be said without exaggeration that he was engaged in state activity”.

By the nature of his previous office Sergei Lebedev was undoubtedly well informed about the situation in every CIS country. Formally FIS doesn’t conduct intelligence in the Commonwealth countries, it is forbidden by Almaty Treaty of 1992, according to which the secret services of the CIS members do not work against each other. In 2002 the treaty was prolonged. And Sergei Lebedev stressed many times that his department is fulfilling the treaty: FIS does not work against the CIS members, but “cooperate with their young secret services”. However, the experts suppose that finding out the situation in a CIS country is possible under the pretence of preventing the third countries secret services activity. It is not forbidden to FIS, but it is its duty. That’s why career intelligence officer Sergei can fulfill the most responsible tasks of the Center on the post-Soviet territory. Former deputy of Sergei Lebedev in FIS and present State Duma Security Committee deputy head Vitali Margelov thinks, that Sergei Lebedev will manage to from the good conception of CIS work: “On the threshold of the elections in Russia the president put right people on right places. That means we will work seriously in this direction: Lebedev has power not to allow the problems we have with Belarus, or Georgia, or Ukraine”.

However the attempts of Moscow to build a hard structure of the post-Soviet area can lead to the effect different from one the Kremlin expects. Many republics of the former USSR have accepted the existence of the CIS because the organization was ineffective and practically didn’t threaten their independence. Another thing is really acting CIS. Moreover, it is headed now by career intelligence officer. All these can make many states on the post-Soviet area turn back on Moscow and search patrons on the West or in China. The actions of the presidents of Georgia and Turkmenistan Mikheil Saakashvili and Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow, who refused to sign many documents in Dushanbe, became the forerunner of merely such developments. Such apprehension can already be heard in the CIS. - Lebedev is the right man for looking over the CIS. He, like Putin, is a typical secret service officer from the last USSR period, - Belarusian analytical center “Strategiya” head Leanid Zaika declared to Kommersant. – They are evidently going to spread the KGB reincarnation upon the whole Commonwealth. The main thing today is not to break it down to the end.


Russia Vows More Arms For Bigger Peacekeeping Role

Russia promised on Saturday to sell more weapons at cheaper prices to its ex-Soviet allies in exchange for their playing a bigger role in peacekeeping operations in the region, including conflict-torn Georgia. The deals on peacekeeping and the sale of Russian military hardware were among more than 20 documents signed by the leaders of the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) during a summit in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

"CSTO members will now get special equipment at domestic Russian prices," Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters after the summit. The grouping, which includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, has grown more active in the past few years as new rifts have appeared in Moscow's relations with the West. Russia, alarmed at peaceful pro-Western revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia, has stepped up security cooperation with the leaders of Belarus and some Central Asian states. Russia's security umbrella is also seen as an important survival instrument by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko and Uzbek President Islam Karimov, blamed by the West of crushing democratic freedom at home.


Moscow, which alone carries the peacekeeping burden of the broader Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which groups 12 former Soviet countries, said during the meeting it wants more active participation by its allies. "The CIS peacekeeping force is now deployed in (Georgia's breakaway region of) Abkhazia, but it is 100 percent Russian," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters. "We have always wanted more states to take part in this work." Under the agreement signed at the summit, each CSTO member state will allocate a detachment for a peacekeeping force that could be used should a joint decision be made to launch a mission. Lavrov said the agreement was not drafted with any specific country in mind. But the declaration drew attention to conflicts on the fringes of the CSTO member states. "We are concerned by a conflict potential which has been accumulating in the immediate proximity of the CSTO zone of responsibility," it said. "This is fraught with the creation of new division lines and mutual suspicions." CSTO Executive Secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha did not rule out that Abkhazia and another Georgian breakaway region, South Ossetia, could be options for a joint peacekeeping mission. "The use of the peacekeeping force in Abkhazia and South Ossetia is possible if all sides involved in the conflict agree," he told a news conference ahead of the summit. Pro-Western Georgia wants to win back control of the two provinces, which broke away in the early 1990s, and blames Russian peacekeepers for backing separatists. Georgia, which is seeking NATO membership, wants the Russian peacekeepers to be replaced by a neutral force.


On rumors that Russia will open a second military base in the Republic of Armenia:

Establishment of Russia’s 2nd Military Base in Armenia will Complicate Critical Situation in Region: Azerbaijani Defense Ministry

Representative of the Press Service of Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, Ilgar Verdiyev, said on 25 September that the establishment of Russia’s 2nd military base in Armenia will lead to complications of the critical situation in the region. Representatives from Russia’s Defense Ministry are on a visit to Armenia. During their visit to the Armenian capital, they will meet with senior officials from the Government and the Defense Ministry of the country. According to certain information, the talks will focus on the establishment of Russia’s 2nd military base in Armenia. Russia’s 102nd military base is currently located in Gurmi in Armenia. Military expert, retired colonel-lieutenant Uzeyir Jafarov considers that the establishment of Russia’s 2nd military base in Armenia will not be very simple. According to him, currently such a step by the Russian side does not seem realistic. “It will cause protest among countries of the region. In addition, establishment of the military base will be an expensive project. Moreover, opening a military base envisages implementing a number of political procedures,” he said. According to Jafarov, Russia considers its key task is to expand and strengthen the military base in Gurmi. The military expert considers the establishment of Russia’s 2nd military base in Armenia as dangerous to Azerbaijan. “Official Baku should sharply criticize this issue,” he said. According to him, the Azerbaijani side should not consider it as an internal affair of any country. “Firstly the interest and security of the region should be ensured. The actions of the Russian side may cause tension in the region taking into consideration the non-settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It is possible to forecast sufficient seriousness of this tension,” Jafarov said. The military expert highlighted Azerbaijan’s possibilities to stand against it. Official Baku should raise this issue at an international level with a requirement of the grounds for the need of Russia to establish a 2nd military base in Armenia. “The Azerbaijani side should raise a serious question with OSCE. Because, Russia, as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, has undertaken several obligations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, but takes steps in complicating the situation in the region. Official Moscow should explain this,” Jafarov said. The Chairman of the Karabakh Liberation Organization, Akif Nagi, said that through its actions, Russia expands its military opportunities in the South Caucasus and demonstrates its force to countries of the region. “The Azerbaijani side should seriously protest to Russia, who is a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group,” he said. The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries started in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of Azerbaijani lands including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. Since 1992 to the present time, these territories have been under Armenian occupation. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a cease-fire agreement at which time active hostilities ended. The co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France and USA) are holding peaceful negotiations.


In other news:

Russia And The Kosovo Card

Look before you leap is as sound a principle in foreign policy as it is in life. Yet, once again, the Bush administration is preparing to leap into the unknown. Even though lack of foresight is universally viewed as a leading cause of its Iraq debacle, the United States (with British backing probable) is now preparing to recognize Kosovo's independence unilaterally _ irrespective of the consequences for Europe and the world. Kosovo has been administered since 1999 by a United Nations mission guarded by NATO troops, although it remains formally a part of Serbia. But, with Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority demanding its own state, and with Russia refusing to recognize U.N. mediator Martti Ahtisaari's plan for conditional independence, the U.S. is preparing to go it alone. Instead of thinking what Ahtisaari deemed unthinkable, a partition of Kosovo with a small part of the north going to Serbia and the rest linked to the Kosovars ethnic brethren in Albania or a separate state, the U.S. plans to act without the U.N.'s blessing, arguing that only an independent Kosovo will bring stability to the Western Balkans. That argument is debatable _ and the record of the Kosovar government suggests that it is wrong. But the U.S. position is unambiguously misguided in not foreseeing that the ``Kosovo precedent" will incite instability and potentially even violence elsewhere.

Why the rush to give Kosovo independence? Many serious disputes have gone unresolved for decades. The Kashmir question has lingered since 1947, the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus since 1974, and Israel's occupation of the West Bank from 1967. Yet no one is suggesting that unilateral solutions be imposed in these potential flashpoints. Nevertheless, the U.S. _ and most European Union members _ argue that Kosovo's situation is sui generis and will set no legally binding international precedent. But Russia sees things very differently. Indeed, it may seek to use this precedent to re-establish its authority over the nations and territories that were once part of the Soviet Union. Spain and Cyprus with their worries over secessionist-minded regions, are worried by any possible precedent. Romania fears the fallout from Kosovo's unilaterally gaining independence on neighboring Moldova. The worry is that Russia will unilaterally recognize the breakaway Moldovan territory of Transdnistria, which Russian troops and criminal gangs have been propping up for 16 years. Ukraine _ the great prize in Russia's bid to recapture its former sphere of influence _ is also deeply anxious. It fears that Russia will encourage separatist tendencies in Crimea, where the ethnic Russian population forms a majority. (Crimea was ceded to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev only in 1954).

Russia may decide to abuse the Kosovo precedent further to divide Ukraine's population between Russian speakers and Ukrainian speakers. But the biggest risks posed by unilateral recognition of Kosovo's independence are in the South Caucasus, a region that abuts the tinderbox of today's Middle East. Here, there is a real danger that Russia may recognize breakaway regions in the South Caucasus, _ and back them more strongly than it does now. Even before Vladimir Putin became Russia's president, the Kremlin was making mischief in Georgia, issuing Russian passports to citizens of Abkhazia (the largest breakaway region) and pouring money into its economy. Russia's supposed ``peacekeeping troops" in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia's other secession-minded region, have in fact protected their rebel governments. Russia has also been enforcing a complete trade embargo on Georgia in the hope of weakening the resolve of its pro-Western president, Mikhail Saakashvili. Should Russia recognize Abkhazia's independence, Saakashvili might be tempted to respond militarily to prevent his country from unraveling. Renewed conflict in Abkhazia would not only bring the risk of open warfare with Russia, but strain relations with Armenia, as there are near to 50,000 Armenians in Abkhazia who support the breakaway government.

Another risk in the South Caucasus is that Russia (with Armenian support) will recognize Nagorno-Karabakh's self-proclaimed independence from Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh, historically Armenian, endured a bloody secessionist war between1988 and 1994, with 30,000 killed and 14 percent of Azerbaijan's territory occupied by Russian-backed Armenian forces. Since then, oil has fuelled an Azeri military buildup. So the government in Baku is far more prepared to respond to renewed warfare than it was in the 1990's. Moreover, it has neighboring Turkey on its side. Turkey is already enforcing a punitive economic embargo on Armenia, including closure of its border. Military projections by the US have repeatedly suggested that Azerbaijan would lose such a battle, even with newly purchased equipment and Turkish military support. Armenian forces are well dug in and have received a significant boost from Russia's diversion of heavy weaponry to Armenia from some recently closed Georgian military bases. Iran also must be factored into this equation, as it is becoming a strategic investor by building an oil refinery just across its border in Armenia, partly as a security measure in case of a U.S. attack and partly to relieve its petrol shortages. Moreover, Iran remains eager to contain Azerbaijani revanchist claims over the large Azeri minority in northern Iran.

The conflicts in Transdnistria and the South Caucasus are usually called "frozen conflicts," because not much has happened since they began in the early 1990's. Any unilateral move to give Kosovo its independence is likely to unfreeze them _ fast and bloodily. And such potential bloodshed on Russia's border may give Vladimir Putin the pretext he may desire to extend his rule beyond its constitutionally mandated end next March.


Russia, Former Soviet States, And China Form The Counter NATO Alliance

Russia, former Soviet States, and China have come together a long way to form what can be termed as the counter NATO alliance. The SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), which comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and the CSTO(Collective Security Treaty Organisation), which is made up of Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia and Belorussia agreed to cooperate on Friday in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan. The alliance will officially work in security, the fight against trans-national crime and illegal drug trafficking. But in reality it is an alliance to protect central Asian oil and gas reserves from the NATO and Western countries including Unietd States and Europe. Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia and Belorussia, the CSTO members, have agreed to be ready to provide forces for UN peace-keeping purposes. The Russian and Chinese news media are calling this new agreement as the ‘Russian-Chinese NATO’ that will challenge NATO all over the world.


Armenia to Hold Rotating Chair in CSTO Next Year - Bakiyev

Next year Armenia will hold a rotating presidency in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the president of Kyrgyzstan, which currently chairs the CSTO, said Saturday. "Next session [of CSTO] will be held under Armenia's chairmanship," Kurmanbek Bakiyev said at the CSTO summit in Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe. The next summit of the regional security organization will be held in Moscow in May or June 2008 together with the summit of the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec), Bakiyev added. Earlier in the day the leaders of CSTO member states signed more than 20 documents. The documents stipulate the formation of a coordinate council on illegal migration and extraordinary situations, a legal basis of peacekeeping activities, and military and technical aid. In particular, the CSTO countries will be able to buy Russian weapons and military equipment on Russian domestic market prices, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. "Significant concrete results were reached [at the CSTO summit], mainly in the sphere of military and technical supplies. We have agreed on and finally adopted a list of documents allowing the CSTO states to buy Russian weapons and military equipment on Russian domestic prices for their armies as well as for special services," Putin said. Meanwhile, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon called on the organization to play a more active role in strengthening the peace process in Afghanistan. "We [the leaders] have discussed the reinvigoration of our efforts in regard to the Afghanistan issue so that the CSTO could considerably contribute to the peace process in this country," Rakhmon said adding that the CSTO turned into an effective and internationally acknowledged organization since it was formed 15 years ago. Tajikistan has an acute problem with the narcotics trade, due to the constant flow of illegal drugs from neighboring Afghanistan, which supplies over 90% of the world's heroin. Heroin production in Afghanistan has increased 20-fold since the Taliban was toppled by allied forces in December 2001. Tajikistan is now a transit country for Afghan narcotics bound for Russian and European markets. The CSTO comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This year the organization will mark a 15th anniversary.


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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 realization 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 as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. 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 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 something 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 continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers 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.Therefore, if you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or simply attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself. Moreover, 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, some going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Articles 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 the evils of Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you as always for reading.