By Andrews Kubilius
Last week, it was reported that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced the surrender of Armenia in the second Karabakh war. Azerbaijan rejoices, Armenia is sad and angry, overthrows the government of Nikol Pashinyan, who lost the war, Russia introduces its peacekeepers, Turkey congratulates Azerbaijan
I know how sensitive this issue is for Armenians and Azerbaijanis. I can’t decide who was right yesterday (since 1992) and today, and who was wrong. In 1994, the Armenians drove the Azerbaijanis out of the Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 neighboring regions with weapons in their hands, and throughout this time, with the help of Russia, they tried only to maintain the status quo, did not invest in the implementation of a lasting peace solution.since 1994, the Azerbaijanis felt humiliated and longed for revenge, which they have now achieved with the help of Turkey. No international peacekeeping initiatives, the Organization for security and co-operation in Europe, or the efforts of the Minsk group have yielded results over these 26 years. The European Union has remained a passive observer of this smoldering conflict all this time, and in recent weeks has watched the smoldering fire turn into a tragic volcanic eruption.
Despite the fact that Azerbaijanis are happy and Armenians are sad, both sides have something to think about. What is the future of this region of the South Caucasus? It is not difficult to become the new “Middle East”, where ethnic conflicts and wars will become a permanent feature that plunges the entire region into an even bigger hole, making it lag behind. Moreover, the conflict of these days has shown that this is not just a showdown between Armenia and Azerbaijan, an unwise attempt to cut the “Karabakh knot” with a single blow of the sword, it becomes another place of showdown between Russia and Turkey. And both sides of the” Karabakh knot ” become tools and hostages of these showdowns. And although some people claim that Russia, which received the right to introduce peacekeepers and border guards both on the territory of Azerbaijan and on the territory of Armenia, became the winner of this war, that V. Putin will even take revenge on the leader of the “velvet revolution” N. Pashinyan, if you look more broadly, the opposite conclusion suggests itself. This war in Nagorno-Karabakh is another recent conflict in which Russia has had to recognize the power of Turkey. Armenians who trusted Russian security guarantees and military technologies were forced to recognize the technological superiority of Azerbaijan, which relies on Turkish assistance and on Turkish and Israeli technologies.
Over the past year, this is the third place where Turkey demonstrates its military and technological superiority to Russia. The first time-when the Turks warned the Russians not to attack Idlib in Syria, and for disobedience taught them a lesson with their drones, then followed the same lesson in Libya, where Turkish drones caused the preponderance of the side supported by Turkey (the Libyan government recognized by the UN), despite the fact that on the other side were Russian mercenaries (from the Wagner group) and military equipment, as well as political support for Emmanuel Macron. It is significant that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky went to Turkey a month ago and signed a large-scale agreement on military cooperation with Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ukrainians know which partners to choose in order to resist Russian aggression. Attempts to cut the “Karabakh knot” with a sword have so far ended in failure: as soon as one side achieved a temporary victory with the help of one of its neighbors, the other side sought help from other big neighbors with an even bigger sword and in a few decades sought revenge.
Unlike the “Gordian knot”, which was cut with the sword of Alexander the great, the” Karabakh knot ” must be untied with the mind, not with the sword, wisdom, and reasonable political leadership. And the ability of leaders to make smart geopolitical choices. Russia has proved that it cannot be considered a reliable partner. The Turks, although they have proved that they can teach the Kremlin a lesson, but they are not very wise, because they light a fire in the neighborhood.
The EU could have taken a decisive lead by offering Armenia and Azerbaijan a plan and assistance for long-term peace and rapid development, but so far it has only spoken of its “strategic autonomy” and criticized the US administration when it successfully reconciles Israel with the Arabs or Serbia with Kosovo. Why is the EU still afraid to take on more leadership and responsibility for the situation in the South Caucasus or other Eastern partnership regions? I have only one answer-he is afraid of the Kremlin and V. Putin. Allegedly does not want to provoke. Turkey can only be praised for proving three times in a row that the Kremlin is afraid of the fist. It’s time for the EU to make the right conclusion. It is a pity that this required another war in Karabakh…