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Wednesday July 24 2024

New provocation in S Caucasus: Pashinyan at odds with Armenian Army [ANALYSIS]

25 June 2024 16:43 (UTC+04:00)
New provocation in S Caucasus: Pashinyan at odds with Armenian Army [ANALYSIS]
Fatima Latifova
Fatima Latifova
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The resolution of the long-standing Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict in the South Caucasus is of significant interest not only to regional states but also to countries worldwide. The nearly 30-year-long war claimed thousands of lives. The aggressive policies of Armenia's former government aimed to erase Azerbaijan's Garabagh region from the map and establish the so-called Republic of Artsakh. During this period, many Azerbaijani border areas were shelled, targeting civilians.

In 2020, Azerbaijan launched a counter-offensive operation, resulting in the withdrawal of the Armenian army from Garabagh. Following local anti-terror operations in 2023, Armenian separatists in the region were neutralised and arrested. The 44-day war shifted the political dynamics in the South Caucasus, marking the beginning of a new historical chapter.

After the liberation of Garabagh, reconstruction and repair efforts were undertaken, and Azerbaijani residents returned to their homeland. Currently, peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia remain outstanding. Last month's meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in Almaty marked another step towards peace.

However, forces seeking to disrupt stability and hinder peace in the region remain active. The Armenian lobby in the West, particularly in France, strives to create unrest within Armenia and escalate tensions with Azerbaijan. The Macron government continues to arm Armenia, while radical groups incite domestic unrest.

During the peace process, there were seven instances in June alone where the Armenian army fired at Azerbaijani positions—five times in Nakhchivan and twice in Kalbajar. The violation of the ceasefire, especially towards Nakhchivan, can be seen as an action by provocative forces within Armenia against the realisation of the Zangazur corridor and the return of the Karki village to Azerbaijan.

It appears that opposition forces in Armenia or the 'Karabakh clan' are ordering their supporters in the army to fire towards Azerbaijan. For Azerbaijan, this issue may merely strain relations with Armenia again. However, for Armenia, the problem is more significant. The opposition's influence within the army could spark a sudden military coup in the country.

In February of this year, when Armenian forces wounded an Azerbaijani soldier, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan understood this as a provocation and made some changes within the Armenian army. This situation proves that radical forces could take control of the Armenian army and act contrary to Pashinyan's decisions. Although Pashinyan's peace-oriented actions have somewhat managed to keep these forces in check, elements aiming to overthrow the government still exist within the country.

Following the recent ceasefire violation, Armenia proposed creating a mechanism to investigate these incidents in Azerbaijan. In an official statement, Yerevan emphasised the Armenian government's commitment to preventing tensions. However, Paris intervened during the ceasefire breach, expressing its "support" for Armenia with new weapons.

This raises the question: If the war is over, what is France's true intention in arming Armenia and signing the delivery of nearly 40 self-propelled howitzers? Is it really to support Pashinyan's government?

While Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has declared his readiness to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan, the provocative activities of the French government and revanchist forces currently hinder peace between Baku and Yerevan. It is unfortunate that the Armenian Prime Minister is struggling to contend with both the church and the army yet fails to achieve a decisive outcome. Pashinyan either cannot or does not dare to conclude this process. In any case, the increasing frequency of ceasefire violations and the West's militarization of Armenia intensify the tension in the South Caucasus, adversely affecting the negotiation process.

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