The “Sleeping Volcano” of Nagorno Karabakh Begins to Rumble after 21 Years

While the Georgian Dream contemplates the appearance of the Prime Minister at the United Nations and is busy with its plan of destroying its political opponents, events of high importance are developing in the proximity of Georgia, the results of which will have a much bigger effect on the future of the country, and each of us, than putting the former Tbilisi mayor or even the entire United National Movement in prison. Starting from September 24, the situation around the Nagorno Karabakh has become unprecedentedly tense when Armenian and Azerbaijani formations confronted each other along the entire front line. For the first time in 21 years, the sides started using self-propelled cannons and salvo fire machine guns, i.e. the situation will be on the verge of a real war when the sides start bombing communication sites and commence large-scale attacks.

It first became clear on September 26 that the military clashes on the Karabakh front smelled like war. Armenia’s Presidnet Serzh Sargsyan, surrounded by bishops, appeared on live television and threatened to teach Azerbaijan a lesson and declared Karabakh as part of Armenia without any pretense.

“Karabakh is Armenia and an inseparable part of it!” With these words he addressed his compatriots. It is noteworthy that Official Yerevan has not recognized the independence of Nagorno Karabakh. This is why appearance of the President of Armenia is a certain symptom of approaching changes in the region. Military clashes clearly showed that the military advantage of the Azerbaijanis is uncertain. The television appearance of President Sargsyan confirms that. He did not exclude a missile attack against the Azerbaijani military formations on the confrontation line. The “sleeping volcano” of Nagorno Karabakh, silent for 21 years, is waking up. It ‘went to sleep’ after Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh and representatives of the Azerbaijani community of Karabakh, through mediation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States, signed a ceasefire (but not end of the war) agreement in 1994. This was a temporary ceasefire, i.e. a purely military agreement, which can last for three hours, two weeks or even 21 years. Its nature is unchanging. Note that Ossetian separatists often say: The ceasefire agreement with Georgians lasted from 1992 to 2008, i.e. 16 years. In the case of Karabakh, the so-called peace lasted longer. During this period, Moscow did everything to ensure military parity between the two sides. The armament of Armenia and Azerbaijan is more or less equal. This is why it is highly likely that the ‘awakened volcano’ of Karabakh is connected to a political maneuver by the Kremlin.

After the shots around Karabakh escalated into bloody attacks, Russia demonstrated its power and started an unexpected air bombing in Syria. Therefore, the rumor that the Azerbaijani authorities decided to ‘return Karabakh’ and plan to start a war is very doubtful: today the situation in the region (including Iran and Syria) is so tense that Ilham Aliyev just will not do it. Especially considering that on the Karabakh issue, US and Europe agree with Russia and, as usual, only want to maintain the status quo. Let everything stay as it is and continue negotiations, even if futile. This was the idea of the message from US State Secretary Hillary Clinton during her visit to Baku and Yerevan. Clinton’s heir John Kerry has not changed it since. The European Union will not support the start of a new large-scale war in Karabakh, i.e. Russia will have freedom to leave its blitzkrieg in Syria low profile. Choose between Syria, Ukraine or Karabakh – this is Putin’s message. Actually, Armenia has nothing to fight for either in Karabakh or around it: it already achieved everything it wanted and needed. But when we discuss who most benefitted from starting the bloody attacks of September 24, the response is simple – the Kremlin. The question is only who the Kremlin was giving the warning sign to with this move.

Protector countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan – Russia and Turkey - are at war in Syria. The apperance of Russian bombardiers in Syria was nothing more than a response to Ankara’s decision to deploy regular troops in Iraq. It is not excluded that confrontation of this front line will soon reach Georgia. In this situation, Georgia is threatened in the first case as a strategic ally of Turkey. The logic of military actions might bring Moscow to the necessity of crossing land routes from Turkey to Azerbaijan and it is only 450 meters from the central highway of Georgia to the so-called border of South Ossetia.

Georgia Today’s Zaza Jgharkava asks why.

01 October 2015 20:03