Netanyahu's Interesting Proposal to Nalbandyan: A New Role for Armenia

    • Politics - 08 November 2017, 22:22
“The Prime Minister raised the issue of Iran's attempts to establish a military presence in the region and its negative influence,” the message on the meeting of the Armenian foreign minister with the Israeli prime minister on the Israeli foreign ministry’s website states.

There are two interesting consequences. The first is that the official message of Yerevan on the meeting of the foreign minister with the Israeli prime minister does not contain a word about the statements of Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran’s military presence in the region.

The other interesting circumstance is that Netanyahu brings up the issue during the meeting with the Armenian foreign minister. Of course, Netanyahu does not specify the region when he expresses concerns about Iran’s military presence there but it is beyond doubt that the Israeli prime minister means the Near East and particularly Syria, i.e. what is closer to Israel.

In addition, there are tendencies and expressions of expansion of Iran’s military presence in that area.

This makes one even more curious to know why the Israeli prime minister is telling the Armenian foreign minister about this. It is also interesting to know whether Netanyahu had specially invited Nalbandyan to Israel to talk about this issue.

It is possible that this was not a priority on the Armenian-Israeli agenda but Israel uses every opportunity to express its concerns about Iran’s actions, which is clearly a key issue for Israel, considering Iran’s attitude to the state of Israel.

This may be the reason why Yerevan preferred avoiding this topic in its official message. At the same time, Tel Aviv would hardly discuss the Iranian issue without agreeing with Yerevan because this might at least arouse questions in Iran on Armenia. Consequently, Israel’s message and the statement on discussing Iran with Nalbandyan could be the same as forcing the Armenian side to accept the fact.

Is this possible or did Yerevan refrain from mentioning the topic of Iran but did not mind Israel raising its concerns?

After all, the fact that this issue was discussed at the Armenian-Israeli meeting does not mean that the sides agreed or discussed the issue of counteracting to Iran.

Moreover, it is possible that the Israeli side considered Armenia as a means of communication with Iran on certain issues. The relations between Israel and Iran are absolutely controversial but both are serious regional powers, therefore they need contacts, communication.

Armenia could be considered for this purpose. It is not ruled out that Israel has considered the option of Azerbaijan but is dissatisfied with the “Azerbaijani” communication and is looking for a new “provider”, coming up to Armenia with a proposal.

There is one more interesting circumstance. The Israeli prime minister had expressed concerns about Iran’s growing military presence in Syria earlier on August 23, during his meeting with the Russian president Putin in Sochi, underlining the importance of joint counteraction to Iran’s attempts. This meeting was also interesting because on the same day Serzh Sargsyan was in Sochi, and after his meeting with Putin Netanyahu met with Sargsyan. Were these meetings connected? Two months later Nalbandyan’s invitation to Israel and the conversation about Iran hint that there was a connection, and the Netanyahu-Nalbandyan meeting was a continuation of the meetings in Sochi on August 23.

There is yet another important circumstance. The vice president of the United States Mike Pence has announced about the intention of the United States to provide direct assistance to the Christian minorities of the region, not through UN which is not effective in their opinion. Pence has proclaimed a new policy of the United States on the Near East. In this context, it is interesting that a few days later the foreign minister is invited to Israel by its prime minister, given the close U.S.-Israeli relations.

In this sense, Armenia’s role of provider in the Near East is outlining, considering the historical presence and role of Armenian communities in the region which is not big in scale but is significant from the point of view of civilization.