Armenia and Artsakh should issue a precedent over any possible military action from Azerbaijan
Posted by kronstadt on November 18, 2007
An important thing to understand about conflicts and disputes such as Nagorno-Karabakh is that “terms and conditions” for any possible settlement do change as time goes by. For instance, just five years after Arafat and Barak failed to come to a settlement in Camp David the American and Israeli rhetoric changed – as Condoleezza Rice said “Palestinians had their chance to take the peace deal and they didn’t. Now the terms have changed”. As far as USA and Israel are concerned today, by failing to take the deal at the right time and due to the violent events that followed afterwards the Palestinians have lost their cance to ever going back to 1967 border. This is just an example of how these “terms and conditions” are not fixed but ever-changing. These changes occur due to multilayered processes of diplomacy, civil action, civil disobedience, lobbying, civil society evolution, shifts in interests of imperialist powers and so forth. Another important aspect in these is a direct military action and acts of violence by any of the concerned parties.
Robert Kocharian’s foreign policy can be best described as that of a spineless pushover and there are numerous examples from the last 10 years to illustrate this point: from his remarks on CNN-Turk TV falling short of actually denying the Genocide, to his silence over British Ambassador’s statement on 24 April 2004 which caused an uproar in the public, to put it in mild terms; the resistance to repopulate Kashatagh; passive, rather than a proactive relationship with Moscow and the Diaspora and so forth. In effect, a lot of diplomatic ground has been lost in the Nagorno Karabakh debate because of one person’s monopoly over a set of very sensitive issues as well as due to that person’s failure to be perceptive and analytical when it comes to global politics. If before (during the Levon Ter-Petrossyan administration) Artsakh (NKR) was seen as a concerned party now the conflict is seen widely in international realm as being between Armenia and Azerbaijan, whereby Armenia is the actual aggressor and occupier.
At the same time we see Azerbaijan arming itself to the teeth and being very proactive in it’s mostly unfounded propaganda both domestically and abroad thus, in my opinion, paving the way for a military action that would not be met by any substantial objection from the international community. Yet, Azeri military has a long way to go and a lot more billions to spend before it can reach what they call in war studies “absolute superiority”, which would be necessary to fulfil their military ambitions. (the fact with modern warfare is that defence is a lot cheaper and easier than offence – for instance a $34,000 Stinger missile can easily destroy a $34,000,000 aircraft). In short, there is a lot more spending, training and hating to do before Azerbaijan can hope to have a real chance of military success in Artsakh.
Nevertheless, it must be noted that the kind of bombing weaponry that Azerbaijan’s purchases focus on indicate less a commitment to put pressure on the diplomatic table, than a desire to launch an act of war. This is further confirmed by the continuous racist propaganda against Armenian people that is pouring out of Baku’s highest governmental ranks.
I believe that at this stage the Armenian government should make it’s own diplomatic move by setting a precedent. To discourage any military ambitions of Azerbaijan and to encourage other channels of settlement (such as diplomacy, commerce, cultural exchange, social exchange etc) Armenian and Artsakh governments (with a possible backing from Russia) should issue a joint statement that any military offensive against Artsakh would be understood as Azerbaijan’s unwillingness to cooperate within diplomatic and civilised channels of conflict settlement and be interpreted to Azerbaijan’s commitment to war rather than regional peace, and therefore would seriously hinder the chances of the return of the buffer territories in the future. In other words, this would make it clear that should Azerbaijan be the first to attack, that act would dramatically change the “terms and conditions” of what would be on the negotiating table in the future.