US and Russia face each other on ‘the silent front’ in Nagorno-Karabakh
PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Quite logically, when there is a military conflict, the role and participation of peacekeepers is more than advisable. They are the first step in a long ceasefire process, but they are the basis for building an environment that will bring peace to the civilian population and a new “negotiating table” between the warring parties.
The events in Nagorno-Karabakh over the past month have forced a number of Western countries to turn their faces to the military conflict and seek a way to influence it. Russia has so far refused to deploy peacekeepers in the region. Earlier this month, I wrote an article that was partly related to the lack of responsibility on the part of the Russian Federation and Moscow’s role so far as a person who “neither heard nor saw.” Moscow’s indifference stems from hidden motives in the arms trade. Russia secretly hopes that the fighting will not stop, because this way it has the opportunity to sell weapons to both countries – Azerbaijan will pay for it in cash and immediately, Armenia will take a loan from Moscow.
Turkey’s role is the same. Ankara is developing a strong military industry amid a deep financial and economic crisis in the country. The fronts that Ankara deliberately opened in Libya and Syria are gradually losing the luster of a military training ground. While Russia has the legal right to be in Syria, Turkey is forced to look for new opportunities to show its potential on the international stage.
Thus, on the agenda is a statement by the National Security Adviser to US President O’Brien, who proposes a radical solution for the inclusion of peacekeepers from the Scandinavian NATO countries. Interestingly, he proposes this action without the consent of Armenia and Azerbaijan. This assumption is still in its infancy, but was shared for the first time this week in Los Angeles at a meeting between O’Brien and the Armenian community.
O’Brien’s idea may appeal to the public. Russia’s and Turkey’s non-participation in this process of pacification and cessation of hostilities speaks to the West’s desire to get involved in fighting the fighting. The idea of the United States not being a direct mediator will also appeal to the public, given the uncertainty during and after the US presidential election. Unlike his predecessors, Trump has not waged or started a single war in his entire term. On the contrary, he withdrew US troops or began such a process not only from “former” hotspots, but also from partner countries in the North Atlantic Alliance.
However, Russian military analysts see hidden motives in this proposal. Their logic is based on theirs own – under the pretext of Scandinavian peacekeepers, the United States will steal its military, its military counterintelligence, its agents and financial analysts from the Pentagon, which will outline a future financial benefit to the United States. Russian military experts do not see a real difference between Russia’s current inaction and the US initiative for Scandinavian peacekeepers in the region.
Russia fears that if this happens, Moscow will lose political and military influence in the region – something it would not allow to happen for the second time in its backyard. Moscow could lose a loyal ally, such as Armenia, and a reliable customer, such as Azerbaijan, which would undermine the authority and position of the Russian government. In a possible move by Washington, Russian political experts believe that the Americans will use another chance to try to influence Russian influence in recent years, whether they are interested in the outcome of the war or the peaceful existence of civilians and innocent citizens on both sides of the barrier.
Paradoxically, US action or Russian inaction may be a prerequisite for a second front in Nagorno-Karabakh, but this time between Russia and the United States. Something like the Cold War, but in an updated version. Of course, the current events in Nagorno-Karabakh could be used as a trump card in a possible future deal between the two great nations, such as the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or START. Negotiations are ongoing, the outcome is unclear, so compromises on one side are possible, and Nagorno-Karabakh may be one of them.
Thus, Nagorno-Karabakh may become a “stalemate” – everyone wants peace, but none of the big Batkovs will allow it to affect their interests, so they will not work for it. The politicians and military of the two warring parties, Armenia and Azerbaijan, must sit down first and decide on a ceasefire in stages. They have to do it themselves, but what is also part of the “stalemate” situation in the area is their pride. But, in this area, pride is short, bullets are eternal, and history is about their heirs. Just to know what their ancestors did in the past!
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR.
During the armed conflict in 1992-1994, the Azerbaijani side lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven areas adjacent to it. Since 1992, negotiations have been conducted within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is led by co-chairs – Russia, USA and France.
In 1994, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, through the mediation of Russia, signed the Bishkek Armistice Protocol. At the same time, military operations did not stop there, which periodically renewed. The most significant exacerbation of the conflict was the four-day war of 2016. Then hundreds of soldiers on both sides became victims.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan last year, called for a rhetoric that would go against the fundamental principles endorsed by both sides and enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act when resolving the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted that much more needs to be done to achieve a long-term political settlement.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, active clashes are taking place in the disputed territory. Martial law was introduced in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and mobilization was announced. Both sides reported killed and wounded, including civilians. In Baku, they announced the control of several Karabakh villages and strategic heights. Yerevan also reports about the shelling of the territory of Armenia.
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