Azerbaijan and Armenia blockade the work of the mediators and it is time to shift from mediation to force arbitration, said Wayne Merry on June 5 at Woodrow Wilson Center during a discussion of the Karabakh issue. Merry is a Senior Fellow for Europe and Eurasia at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington. According to him, the Minsk Group is unable to prevent escalation in the region.
Actually, the words force supposes deployment of troops in the conflict zone. Now, we should suppose that competition will kick off between the world centers for the right to fulfill the “force arbitration”.
It has already been stated in Armenia that such arbitration should be carried out by Russia. However, it is evident that other OSCE members would not allow a unilateral decision of this issue, though Russia’s frontier guards are at the Armenia-Turkey border. Most likely, the U.S. will state that the arbitration should be carried out jointly.
It is noteworthy that the Russian border guards defend only the Armenian borders with Turkey and Iran, while the borders with Azerbaijan and Georgia are controlled by the Armenian army. It is not clear how Armenia and Russia made this division though we often come across “external borders” of the CIS. In other words, the external borders are defended by Russia, the internal ones by Armenia. But Georgia has left the CIS, while the Armenian frontier troops are still there at the border.
As to the border with Azerbaijan, though officially there is no war, not the border guards but the Armenian detachments are at the border.
Actually, Russia is defending the “external” borders of CIS which includes also Azerbaijan. In other words, the Russian border guards do not perform the function of protecting the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. It can hardly be a function of the Russian base of Armenia which mostly targets “external enemies”, such as NATO as perceived by Russia, a member of which Turkey is.
So, the Russian military forces cannot defend Armenia from Azerbaijan. This means that other forces can assume such functions, the OSCE, for instance. It does not have its own military detachments but it can delegate the function to NATO.
Armenia has stated more than once that it is categorically against such intervention because Turkey is a NATO member. There have been discussions that the peacekeeping force should not be composed of forces of regional countries.
Perhaps, the OSCE will finally negotiate the mechanisms of investigation of border incidents. However, for full control, it will perhaps need mobile forces.