[Here we see from this poor Google translation from Russian that the Armenian/Azerbaijan contest is not what it seems at first look. Contrary to the message carried in the Western media, it looks as though Russia has enlisted American support to handle the tangled mess in the Caucasus. If neither side can bomb "strategic" targets, because Russia maintains ownership of all railway, pipeline, hydro infrastructure, then, neither Russia nor America can safely route pipelines from Baku to Turkey. The ethnic conflicts that make the area unsafe require some very tricky, convoluted solutions. With America playing the "bad cop," instead of Russia, then perhaps the historical antagonism between the former Soviets and their former clients can be temporarily pushed aside long enough to grab the gas and oil.]
International diplomatic operations for the withdrawal of Armenia from the deadlock of communication failed. Memorable snapshots of the world October 10, 2009, which sealed the foreign ministers of Armenia and Turkey, the signing of the Armenian-Turkish protocols, and the background are smiling Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sergei Lavrov and Javier Solana, has lost its relevance. Today, the media publish more photos – the crowd, burning national flags of Turkey and Armenia in Yerevan and Istanbul. And this is only an intermediate result. What can end the Transcaucasian performance with Turkish actors, it’s hard to imagine but now it is obvious that Armenia should have no absolutely no illusions.
At one time one of the famous Armenian political scientist said that in the Caucasus, there are only two problems – the Georgian-Russian and Armenian-Turkish. To this we add that these two issues are being very closely intertwined, because in the dry residue, is the result of competition, Russia and Turkey for influence in the region. In that context, Russia has traditionally and with varying success protects the security of Armenians from Turkey, and Turkey, also traditionally and with the same success, strengthens the Georgians against Russia. Not accidentally, the events of August 2008, when Russia in a hard-force regime crushed Georgia, became an original starting point for the Turkish Armenian activity in the area.
Watching how to build relations between Georgia and Turkey after the August war, you will notice a sharp drop in the intensity of contacts in the military and political level. Obviously, during the fighting against Russia in Tbilisi expect from Ankara – its main arms supplier and a key conduit for NATO – what you like, but do not block U.S. ships in the approaches to the Black Sea and the nomination of so-called "platform of peace and security in the Caucasus .Moreover, the platform is focused not on Abkhazia with South Ossetia, and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh. Could Georgia do not pay attention and coordinated between Azerbaijan and Turkey to stop the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum for two or three days before the bombing of Georgian territory by Russian airplanes. In fact, in Georgia at that time had every reason to suspect Turkey of betraying their interests. Participation after the arrest of Turkish merchant ships and their crews – the nervous reaction of the Georgian side, which was fairly easy to fixed cautionary remarks of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Tbilisi.
In fact, Turkey has had its problems, having nothing to do with the protection of Georgia from the Russian counterattack. Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Moscow almost daily completion of a five-day war, carefully highlighted the role of Turkey in the Caucasus and, apparently, described in detail the scope of Turkish interests in the current postwar situation. In fact, the Turkish political elite was inclined to consider the Georgian-Russian war as a very convenient moment to address the Armenian-Turkish problems, part of which is the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. To motivate the need for urgent solution to the problem of the Armenian Turkish prime minister was not so difficult, because at that time the territory of Georgia were prudently blow up the bridge leading to the Armenian territory. In the blockade was not only the economy of the republic, but also the military base of Russia on its territory.
Any further action by the Russian leadership – from August 2008 until the present moment – may indicate, at least, increased efforts in Moscow in Karabakh process. It was signed by the infamous declaration Mayendorfskaya not vozymevshaya no practical effect, held several rounds of summits, including in Sochi, where he was put forward the need to update the Madrid (basic) principles of Karabakh conflict settlement. However, Turkey does not see the tangible results of the Russian mediation mission, and, judging by the reaction of Foreign Minister of this country, is going to encourage Moscow to be more active. "Turkish leaders intend to discuss with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the upcoming May his official visit to Ankara on the issue settlement of the Karabakh problem" – said April 26 Davutoglu minister, speaking at the Turkish Parliament. "We view this problem as its own, and will continue to keep it on the agenda of every platform," – said the minister. "We very much hope that Mr Medvedev will take all necessary steps in this direction. Because the stability in the Caucasus in the interest of all countries in the region," he said. "We are against the continuation of the status quo in the Caucasus", – said the head of Turkish diplomacy.
It is noteworthy that this speech Davutoglu inadmissibility prevailing status quo in the Caucasus "was delivered on the day of the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Grigol Vashadze in Ankara. Obviously, the status quo with the decision of the Georgian-Russian conflict, but active Armenian-Turkish are not satisfied with Turkey, and break it in a special situation were not working. Another interesting point is that neither Moscow nor in Yerevan voiced Davudoglu agenda of negotiations with the Russian president did not respond.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev moved from direct threats to the "Karabakh separatists" to threats to the CSTO member-states of Armenia. April 23, he stated that the Azerbaijani army is equipped with the most modern types of weapons, including armored vehicles, antiaircraft missile launchers and aircraft and has the potential "hit any targets on the territory of Armenia." Abiyev also said that the recent military exercise involving all types of troops were fulfilled, among other things, and "offensive." He reported on the strengthening of the capacity of intelligence units, equipping them with modern means, including unmanned aircraft, training of military personnel Armenian language. They expressed Abiyev Supreme Commander of Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani armed forces "able to perform the task to liberate the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Here it is worth paying attention to the fact that the Armenian-Azerbaijani expert debate on the Karabakh problem has recently been completely lost its rational content and revolves around the choice of potential targets in the territories of two countries. In this context, referred to various strategic sites, including oil and gas pipelines, and even nuclear power station. These arguments are not worth paying any attention, if Defense Minister Abiyev not threatened strikes rocket artillery on Armenian territory. Meanwhile, virtually all of the strategic infrastructure of Armenia – nuclear power plants, gas pipelines, railways, communication towers, high voltage electrical networks and hydroelectric power plants – one way or another, partially or fully owned by Russia. And in this case is not clear where exactly will aim Abiyev. Even more incomprehensible silence, which met in Russia, the threat of the Azerbaijani Minister. "The offensive" against Armenia Azerbaijani Armed Forces under the Charter of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, is an offensive operation against Russia itself. On the rest of the defense of the block should not be here to speak, although the same of Kazakhstan, who heads the OSCE declared the priority of security in the conflict zone, known by his silence and initially his chairmanship of the OSCE have failed, not to mention the devaluation of its role in the CSTO.
Anyway, after the Georgian-Russian war which, as already stated, to the obvious increase in Turkey’s regional ambitions and the beginning of a dense discussion of the Karabakh problem in Russian-Turkish bilateral agenda, Armenia has been, to put it mildly, in a very difficult situation.In these circumstances, the American initiative for normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations in isolation from the Karabakh problem might seem to the Armenian side in this "savior". In the meantime, and in the U.S. in the region at that time were its complexity and its long-term calculations.
The American strategy deployment in the Caucasus, which was built with an emphasis on the territory of Georgia, in August 2008 was a difficult and a member of a hard conflict not only with Russia’s regional interests, but also directly border security in Russia itself. The war in Georgia showed that the Bush administration has not been calculated before the end of the consequences of their policies. March of Russian troops to the U.S. base of Senaki and its destruction of nearly two years, turned off Georgia from the U.S. foreign policy orbit. The expediency of further use of Georgian territory as a springboard for regional reference, was the subject of a new study in Washington. While this process is not completed and proof of that vacuum, in which resides the Georgian foreign policy. Suddenly deprived of the subject "strategic" dialogue with Washington, the Georgian ruling elite was forced to return to the harsh reality, to redefine the external priorities, but in a narrow regional space – between Russia, Turkey and Iran, with an eye on the situation of Azerbaijan and Armenia. And so, until Mikhail Saakashvili is trying to re-inspire all Americans to the indispensability of the Georgian military and transit capacity, the head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry holds consultations in Tehran and Ankara, and the Georgian political opposition in the broad composition of searching for contacts in Moscow and participated in forums in St. Petersburg.
In turn, the U.S., lost his balance in Georgia, and being deprived initially be fully compatible with a complex partner – Azerbaijan, constrained Iranian and Turkish influence, drew his attention to Armenia, by this time trapped in a rather sad state. However, as events proved last year, hope the Americans to use their traditional lever – the problem of recognizing the Armenian Genocide, as well as their lobbying capabilities in Europe (Sweden sudden recognition of the Armenian genocide – the fruit of an American, not the Armenian lobbying) to the expected results have not led. Turkey is closely tied process of normalizing relations with Armenia in the Karabakh issue, and to U.S. efforts to answer a number of anti-American actions, in particular, found the unprecedented warm relationship with Iran and Russia, reinforced the anti-Israel rhetoric, defeated the Israeli-American stronghold in Turkish military circles, and so on.
Russia, which formally supported the U.S. initiative for normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations, in reality, played in this process, a dual role. Moscow began an intensive rapprochement with Azerbaijan, the government is very nervous reaction to U.S. plans to unlock Armenia in isolation from the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Feeling supported by the Russian pole, Baku safely deployed a powerful pressure on Turkey. Although, in fact, the Azerbaijani-Turkish "contradictions" of the last period, miraculously removed from the agenda, in particular in the gas field, after the failure of the Armenian-Turkish dialogue, quite calmly could be co-ordinated action, whose purpose was to demonstrate the impossibility of the Americanplan as a whole.
As a result, it is necessary to note that the Armenian-Turkish talks were deadlocked efforts of Ankara and Baku, with the tacit consent of Moscow. It was quite obvious that Armenia ratified the protocols in the form in which they have been signed in Zurich in October 2009, immediately after they are accepted by the Turkish Parliament. However, fears of Yerevan were quite justified. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan in the presence of the American leader Barack Obama has explicitly stated that the Turkish Parliament to ratify the documents do not meet until the Karabakh problem. Armenian leader had only one thing to withdraw records from the operational agenda of the Armenian parliament, which he did on his return from the U.S.. The minutes were left in a large agenda of the Armenian parliament in the hope that the U.S. is their active operations again will call on them to life. However, hopes for a little no.
Summarizing the situation in Transcaucasia, the current after the events of August 2008 and the failure of the American initiative to unblock the Armenian-Turkish border, select the following provisions:
1. The problem of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict arose on a regional agenda with particular urgency.At the same time, Turkey and Azerbaijan are virtually issued an ultimatum requiring Russia to exert pressure on Armenia. Russia after the war with Georgia being deprived of the field for maneuver. Balancing between Azerbaijan and Armenia, to some extent lost its meaning, since a massive involvement in the process of Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan have ceased to be equated with the military-political point of view of regional poles. No longer just land, but safe and air links with Armenia denies Russia the chance to fully supply its military base in Gyumri, in the case of renewed hostilities tactical space.
2. The sharp weakening of the American factor contributed regionalization of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Azerbaijan lobbies connected to the process of Turkey. On the other hand, the willingness to mediate in the process, but in fact its right to participate in the new regional redistribution said Tehran. Rhetorical Azerbaijan’s consent to the Iranian initiative – hot-expressed anti-American move, indicating that the Azerbaijani side makes every effort to withdraw from the process of the United States and France to strengthen its position in the region through closer relations with Turkey, Iran and Russia simultaneously.
3. Agreed Baku and Ankara shooting priority for the European gas project NABUCCO was intended to keep European countries from the pressure on Turkey to unblock the Armenian-Turkish border. Here the "rigid" position of Baku, long time not signing gas agreement with Turkey, has played a role of lightning rod for Turkey. The very next day after the failure of the Armenian-Turkish negotiations, Azerbaijan and Turkey execute the necessary agreement.
4. The weakening of U.S. influence in the region is strictly contrary to the interests of Georgia.President Saakashvili held in the United States more than three weeks, trying to facilitate the return of Washington into action. In this case, Saakashvili has indirectly for Armenia. New destabilization of Georgia in the consolidated Azerbaijani-Turkish offensive could lead to unfortunate consequences Armenia. U.S. in some way dilute the stringent regional realities, allowing Yerevan for a long time to balance in foreign policy.
5. Turkey in every possible way to strain the situation, trying to urge Russia to fulfill a verbal agreement reached in August 2008. Shortly before the official visit of President Dmitry Medvedev in Ankara, Turkish authorities have updated the problem of Nakhichevan, actually declared himself the guarantor of security in this autonomous republic within Azerbaijan. Accusing Armenia in that it represents a threat to the security of the enclave, devoid of all possible ties with Azerbaijan, Turkey is actually called a legitimate reason for possible action against Armenia. However, Turkey has openly declared its right to Nakhichevan, referring to the provisions of the Treaty of Kars, which can be regarded as a kind of signal to Azerbaijan, demonstrating lately some degree of independence in foreign policy.
6. Turkey is a long-term threat for Georgia, strengthening its political and economic presence in Adjara. Obviously, in the case of large-scale destabilization of the situation in the region, Ankara reclaim their rights and to this territory – the same logic as in the case of Nakhichevan, and with reference to the same document.
7. May 8, 2010 in Moscow will meet the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia. In May, is also expected to visit Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev in Turkey. Russian president to be an easy task. Its complexity lies in the fact that the bargaining position of Yerevan and Baku for nearly 20 years of negotiations, not one iota closer. The key issue – the problem of the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh. The rhetoric of the Azeri leadership leaves no doubt that the official Baku in this part of the concessions is not going to go, even if the status will be determined by time-delayed referendum and after the phased delivery of Azerbaijan controlled by Armenian side areas – security belt around Nagorno-Karabakh.