Interesting Signals from Armenia and Azerbaijan to NATO

    • Comments - 09 July 2016, 11:50
The Defense Army of Karabakh informed about Azerbaijan’s attempt at a reconnaissance-in-force in the direction of Aghdam, which was pre-empted. This is the first such attempt after the ceasefire following the Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting in Vienna. Azerbaijan’s attempts to violate the ceasefire following Vienna mostly involved firing, seldom grenade launchers were used but there were no attacks.

In this context, the information reported by the army of Artsakh is evidence to Azerbaijan’s specific step, at least in the post-Vienna period. So, the question is whether Baku’s attempt to violate the ceasefire contains any political signals. Is this the aim why Azerbaijan has “resumed” reconnaissance “violations”?

Interestingly, Azerbaijan is using a “different” way of violation of the relative ceasefire established for a long time now ahead of the NATO summit and Obama-Putin telephone talk.

This telephone conversation took place a few days ago and they discussed inter alia the issue of Artsakh conflict. According to the official press release, Putin presented the results of the meeting in Saint Petersburg, and Obama commended Russia’s efforts for settlement.

Several issues occurred after the meeting in Saint Petersburg as to whether it was Russia’s attempt to form a “separate” process. No doubt the other co-chairs of the Minsk Group France and the United States also had such concerns. As a result, the co-chairs of these countries attended the meeting in Saint Petersburg and did not leave Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia alone, and announced repetitively after the meetings that they view Saint Petersburg as the continuation of Vienna.

The statement of the French ambassador in Armenia following the meeting was interesting. He said that although the concluding statement of the meeting in Saint Petersburg did not mention the introduction of an international mechanism for the maintenance of the ceasefire and only the increase of the number of OSCE observers was mentioned, the mechanism remains the primary issue.

Azerbaijan, though, leaked that Saint Petersburg was a “separate” attempt, either due to carelessness, or to try Russia’s’ reliability. An official of Aliyev’s staff announced that the return of five territories was discussed there. Russia said it is an irresponsible comment and accused Azerbaijan of being “leaky” and said the Artsakh process requires silence. This was followed by an outbreak of the Russian-Turkish reconciliation.

Then, apparently, Obama’s interference was needed. Interestingly, it happened in a period when the Russian media detected Putin’s new “disappearance” from the public arena. They found out that since July 1 he has not attended any public event, several were cancelled, his visits to other Russian cities were cancelled. At this stage, the Obama-Putin telephone conversation took place where Putin reported on Saint Petersburg.

Apparently, it has been explained to the Russian president in detail that he will not be able to implement his “peacekeepers for territories” plan, and there is no alternative to the agenda of Vienna, the mechanism of introduction of a ceasefire.

Is it accidental that Azerbaijan attempts to violate the ceasefire after this telephone conversation?

The introduction of the international mechanism of maintenance of ceasefire changes essentially the situation in the Artsakh area and the Caucasus in general. This is not an automatic process but it is also obvious that the United States has started a fundamental revision of the centennial Russian-Turkish system of security in the Caucasus, evidence to which is U.S. Secretary Kerry’s July 6 statement on providing military assistance to Georgia.

The stakeholders of the current security system Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan do not have the economic and political resources to resist this process. The only resource is the blackmail about military escalation.

In addition, not only after the warning to Putin at the level of the U.S. president but also ahead of NATO summit which, according to international experts, may become the most important one since the end of “cold war”.

In this context, the statement of the U.S. co-chair Warlick is interesting, who said this is a good chance for discussions of the issue of Artsakh therefore he is leaving for Poland.

The new outline of the international security system, as well as the security system of the Black Sea-South Caucasian region may be completed. This means that the Artsakh issue will be viewed in this context.

On the eve of the visit to Poland Serzh Sargsyan confirmed several important appointments in the Armenian armed forces. It is not accidental that these appointments preceded his visit to Poland, and this is actually Armenia’s “reserve” in the fields of the NATO Summit.

The actions of Armenia and Azerbaijan ahead of the summit are interesting. Armenia presents at the important summit of NATO aiming to complete the outline of the global security system the new personnel which will participate in the new system, and Azerbaijan once again illustrates that it is a steady threat to this system.