By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The Armenian authorities have long realized that with the current balance of forces shifting towards Azerbaijan and due to Baku’s growing geopolitical importance, it will be impossible in the foreseeable future to push Baku into making concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan will not reconcile to the occupation of its territories by Armenia and will not allow legitimization of the illegal regime set up in its Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Presently, Armenia is seeking to provoke Azerbaijan into a new war in Nagorno-Karabakh, founder of the PolitRUS expert-analytical network Vitaly Arkov said in an interview with Azernews.
"Armenia desires to change its status since Yerevan is recognized as an aggressor because of the occupation of Azerbaijan’s lands," Arkov said. He believes that it is extremely important for the current Armenian leadership that the new war in Nagorno-Karabakh is initiated by Azerbaijan. "Under this probable plan by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his advisers, Azerbaijan will be recognized as an 'aggressor' by the international community, while Armenia will present itself as a 'victim'… ,”
Arkov said that Pashinyan’s final goal is to annex Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region to Armenia.
The Armenian Armed Forces are not able to compete on equal terms with the Azerbaijani National Army, Arkov said, adding that unlike Armenian patriots, official Yerevan has no illusions about gaining a victory over Azerbaijan.
“However, Pashinyan’s entourage pins hope for Moscow, Paris and Washington, to promptly respond (to Azerbaijan’s military actions) and demand that Baku stops the ‘aggression’. Thus, if Yerevan loses territories, it will not be Nagorno-Karabakh itself, but the adjacent occupied regions around it, the so-called safety belt, which Yerevan is obliged to return to Baku at any case, according to agreements reached earlier. This is part of Pashinyan’s foreign policy of the complete absorption of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia,” the expert explained.
Arkov said “the inevitable defeat of Armenia in the new Karabakh war with Azerbaijan will give Pashinyan an excuse to begin mass purges among the military commanders,” who according to his words are mostly pro-Russian and anti-Pashinyan.
He stated that the army generals also stop Pashinyan from pursuing pro-Western policies, and that Pashinyan is seriously afraid of a military coup.
"Armenian Western partners promise to provide funds if Yerevan leaves the (Russian-led) Collective Security Treaty Organization, ‘evict’ the 102nd Russian military base and provide the country's territory for the deployment of U.S. forces as a means of pressure on Tehran," Arkov emphasized.
The expert believes that Pashinyan cannot do this for a number of reasons, in particular due to the lack of control over the Armenian Armed Forces.
“It is not possible to change harsh generals to ‘volunteers’ from the Soros Foundation, as happened earlier with the government and the National Assembly of Armenia,” Arkov said.
Another reason to force Azerbaijan into military actions in Karabakh is Pashinyan’s desire to change the leadership in the separatist region, Arkov stated.
“The growing discontent among the population over Pashinyan’s policies is dubbed as ‘counter-revolution’ among Pashinyan’s entourage. In order to fight this, it is important to gain control over Nagorno-Karabakh. However, Yerevan is not sure of its ability to impose its puppets on the region’s inhabitants during the so-called ‘presidential and parliamentary elections’ next year,” the expert said.
Therefore, Pashinyan will use force during the so-called municipal election in Nagorno-Karabakh in September-October, Arkov said, adding that Yerevan has instructed the separatist region what politicians to elect.
“Moreover, Yerevan is pouring into the region observers from western NGOs. In reality, these are professional organizers of protests and militants with specific tasks," he said.
Arkov noted that Pashinyan’s regime is threatened by the leader of the “Karabakh clan” and the former President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan who has been jailed by Pashinyan’s regime on trumped-up charges.
Arkov also commented on the visit by the Russian Secretary of the Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, to Yerevan on August 13, saying that the main goal of the visit was to warn Pashinyan and his team against forcibly changing the “leadership” in Azerbaijan’s occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, including the region to Armenia and provoking Azerbaijan to start military operations.
As to return of Azerbaijani IDPs to their native lands, the expert said that it is impossible as long as the breakaway region is under Armenian control, explaining it with security reasons and the animosity between the two nations. “Even if we imagine a fantastic scenario in which Armenia will allow their return,” there will be many problems, Arkov said. He also touched upon the legal issues related to the expulsion of IDPs from Nagorno-Karabakh, namely the loss of property, material and human losses that citizens suffered as a result of the Armenian aggression. Yerevan is unlikely to pay compensation for these losses, the expert went on saying. Arkov underlined that it is unlikely that Azerbaijanis will want to return to Nagorno-Karabakh in its current situation since the region has turned into a “province of Armenia”.
Arkov said that the Armenian authorities have long turned Nagorno-Karabakh into the part of Armenia. He is convinced that Nikol Pashinyan’s controversial statement (on 5 August) about Karabakh being part of Armenia is a proof that the PM wants to “consolidate this at the legislative level”.
Earlier, Armenian Defense Minister David Tonoyan threatened to take additional Azerbaijani territory in case a war breaks out. Toronyan made his controversial statement on March 29 as Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was meeting Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Vienna for peace talks. Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry stated that the statement was “another admission by the high-ranking Armenian official of aggressive policy of this country”.
Unfortunately, Pashinyan’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution is more radical than that of his predecessors.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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