Armenia and Realpolitik: France, Iran, and Russia (Israel and Turkey)
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Israel and Turkey altered the military equation in the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). This concerns high-tech military arms to Azerbaijan. Accordingly, with the European Union also keeping its eye on Azerbaijan related to energy, the political faultlines run through the democratic and NATO reality.
The Times of Israel reports, “Azerbaijan has bought Israeli armed drones, which were reportedly used in 2020 to attack Armenian targets in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.”
The National Interest (Michael Rubin) says, “Israelis may justify their relationship with Azerbaijan in realpolitik consideration: In its crudest terms, it is a relationship based on a weapons-for-energy calculation. Jerusalem sold Baku billions of dollars’ worth of top-shelf military equipment, and Israel received almost half of its oil needs from Azerbaijan. The long-term detriment to ties may soon surpass any short-term gains, however.”
Breaking Defense reports, “From 2016–2020, Israel accounted for 69 percent of Azerbaijan’s major arms imports — a number that represents 17 percent of Israel’s arms exports for that same period.”
Similarly – the NATO angle and the Russian Federation run counter to any single reliability for Armenia and the Armenian Christians of Artsakh.
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey continue to support each other from a distance. Hence, despite the NATO angle of Turkey, regional disputes between Russia and Turkey in Libya and Syria, – and Turkey selling drones to Ukraine during its war with the Russian Federation – the mercurial duo of Erdogan and Putin still look to joint economic and geopolitical goals that benefit each nation.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia said that the Russian Federation was distancing itself from the South Caucasus region.
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin Press Secretary, said: “We cannot agree with these statements by Mr. Prime Minister [of Armenia Pashinyan]. Russia is an inseparable part of this region, so it simply cannot turn its back and walk away from anywhere in the region. Russia simply cannot walk away from Armenia.”
Peskov continued: “There are more [ethnic] Armenians in Russia than there are in Armenia itself, and the majority of them are absolutely model citizens and patriots of our country.”
However, according to the leader of Armenia, the peacekeepers of the Russian Federation are unenthusiastic or not equipped to control the important Lachin Corridor.
Armenia still needs to foster positive relations with the Russian Federation because of the geopolitical clout of this nation. However, Armenia must reach out to France, Iran, and other nations at a higher level concerning geopolitics, the military, and realpolitik.
During the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, President Emmanuel Macron of France lambasted NATO Turkey for sending Islamists from Syria to kill Christian Armenians.
Macron said, “We now have information which indicates that Syrian fighters from jihadist groups have (transited) through Gaziantep (southeastern Turkey) to reach the Nagorno-Karabakh theatre of operations.”
Armenia needs to increase ties at multiple levels with Iran. From economics to drone warfare – and working together in other important realms. After all, Israel and Azerbaijan ties continue to grow. Therefore, similar to Lebanon being an important nation via Hezbollah aimed at Israel for Iran: Azerbaijan is a geopolitical tool for Israel aimed at Iran.
The Persian Gulf-Black Sea Corridor, the Aras River Basin, and the Zangezur Corridor are significant geopolitical and economic concerns for Iran. If Azerbaijan and Turkey have a continuous land border – with no Armenian territory in between – this will further weaken the hand of Iran. Also, economic and military growth in Azerbaijan might embolden nationalist tendencies among Azeris in Northern Iran. Therefore, with Azerbaijan and Israel’s relations being extremely cordial, Iran fears that Israel will utilize Azerbaijan to make inroads within the gathering of information and plot regional intrigues against Iran.
The Jamestown Foundation reports (Vali Kaleji), “Indeed, a significant number of Iranian elites and experts believe that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s emphasis on “uniting the geography of Turkic world” via the Zangezur Corridor and the expansion of Turkey’s presence in the South Caucasus will strengthen Pan-Turkism in the region, which could incite ethnic and separatist sentiments (Mediamax.am, November 12, 2021). In addition, considering the close relations between Azerbaijan and Israel, Tehran is worried that, if Baku does capture the southern part of Syunik Province, this will bolster Israel’s intelligence, espionage and security presence vis-à-vis Iran.”
Armenia must reach out to regional nations. This notably concerns the Russian Federation and Iran. At the same time, Armenia needs potent ties with nations that distrust Turkey (France and Greece).
The Armenian diaspora needs to foster stronger ties with America and the European Union within the corridors of power.
Last year, Siranush Sahakyan, the representative of the Armenian detainees’ interests at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), expressed her thoughts on the massacre that took place in Ishkhanasar.
Barbaric videos show the armed forces of Azerbaijan killing surrendered Armenian soldiers in cold blood. This took place in the environs of the village of Ishkhanasar in Armenia.
Sahakyan said, “The video has been studied, verified; it is real. The incident took place at Ishkhanasar on September 13, with the involvement of Azerbaijani soldiers. It is the ‘Commando’ newly created unit, which is being retrained by Turkey, and certain support is, of course, being provided as a NATO member country. And the units being retrained plan and carry out war crimes against Armenians, and, naturally, they are encouraged for these actions.”
Armenians reside in a hostile region that is full of intrigues.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum says, “The Armenian genocide refers to the physical annihilation of ethnic Armenian Christian people living in the Ottoman Empire from spring 1915 through autumn 1916. There were approximately 1.5 million Armenians living in the Empire. At least 664,000 and possibly as many as 1.2 million died during the genocide. Armenians call these events Medz Yeghern (the great crime) or Aghet (catastrophe).”
Shockingly, over one hundred years later and Armenian Christians still can’t escape from the intrigues of Turkey – and pan-Turkism.
Armenia must look “East” and “West” for its survival. However, for the Christians of Artsakh, the sword is already knocking on the door and is waiting to devour.
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