Writing on Hetq Online, an Armenian-American freelance journalist analyzes Armenia’s position in the Caucasus quagmire:
Russia will be well along the road to total defeat by the US and NATO in the Caucasus and beyond if the recently proposed Armenian – Turkish “Protocols” are ratified.
Within two months after ratification, Turkey would be required to open its border with Armenia. Subsequently, or perhaps simultaneously, the Azerbaijani – Armenian border will open if, as appears increasingly possible, an Artsakh (Karabagh) peace agreement is signed.
Regardless of whether the Azeri border opens, a fully open Turkish – Armenian border would inevitably result in US and NATO penetration and subjugation of Armenia.
Let us look at US and Russian policy in the Caucasus, both past and present.
The West’s Goal: Domination
For two decades, the West, as well as Israel, has dreamt of dominating the Caucasus, which is the gateway from Europe and Turkey into the oil and gas-rich Caspian Sea region. To do so required ripping the Caucasus’ three ex-Soviet countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia – from the Russian bear’s claws.
The US and NATO have largely succeeded in doing so. The West has already built two major gas and oil pipelines – BTE and BTC – from Azerbaijan’s Caspian coast, through Georgia and Turkey. The US insists that all pipelines bypass Russia and Iran.
Though Georgia and Azerbaijan are under continual Russian pressure, both are NATO candidates and have aligned themselves with the US.
That left Armenia, perhaps Russia’s only real ally in the world, as the sole obstacle to total American domination of the western land route into the Caspian.
By coaxing Turkey to open its border, Washington is now trying to lure Armenia away from Russia and into the infinitely richer and more modern, attractive, and democratic Western/NATO bloc.
Wealthier, stronger, and about thirty times larger and more populous than its small, besieged eastern neighbor, Turkey has been picked for the lead role in the West’s seduction of Armenia.
Armenia’s Importance to US Strategy
Until last year’s Georgian – Russian war, the US had been silently pleased with Turkey’s blockade of Armenia. Washington hoped the blockade, imposed mostly due to the Artsakh war, would create economic pressure on Armenians to resolve that conflict.
Note that only an Artsakh peace agreement could fully pry open the Azeri-Armenian-Turkish corridor that NATO and Washington craved. [See the author’s “Why Artsakh Matters to the West and Russia” on Armeniapedia.org.]
But the war in Georgia cast doubt on that country’s ability to continue hosting western-bound pipelines. For the US, the only alternative to unstable Georgia is Armenia. This explains why Washington has been dramatically stepping up pressure – and the “Protocols” are part of that pressure – on Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to resolve their differences and thereby create a new American path into the Caspian.
How does Russia feel about Armenia’s border issues?
Russia’s Fatal Mistakes
The Kremlin had long been silently pleased with the closed Turkish – Armenian border and the Artsakh stalemate. After all, these prevented the US from penetrating Armenia and dominating all three Caucasus countries.
Now, however, confidential and other sources indicate that Moscow favors both the Turkish-Armenian “Protocols” and an Artsakh peace agreement.
Russia reportedly hopes that trade across the Turkish – Armenian border would enable it to profit from its ownership of Armenian industry, particularly electricity production and transportation.
However, given Armenia’s small economy and size, the extra revenue for Russia would not be considerable.
The Kremlin is also reportedly worried that a new Russian – Georgian war would hurt Armenia’s economy since most Armenian imports/exports must now go through Georgia.
Thus, Russia allegedly hopes that an open Turkish – Armenian border would give its Armenia ally an alternative import/export route in case of a war. Yet, given its alliance with Georgia, Turkey might well close its border with Armenia in such an eventuality. Conversely, were the Turkish-Armenia-Azeri corridor to remain open, this would partly defeat the very purpose of a Russian attack on Georgia.
Moscow and Ankara have developed significant economic and political relations in recent years. And Russia supplies most of Turkey’s natural gas. Thus, the Kremlin apparently believes that it can dictate to Ankara. The Kremlin is wrong. Regardless of how friendly it becomes with Russia, Turkey will stay within NATO, its only protection against its historic, nuclear-armed Russian enemy.
Moreover, Turkey – and Georgia, which also depends on Russian gas – will eventually develop alternative energy sources and no longer be vulnerable to Russia pressure. In the meantime, Russia will lose Armenia to the West.
Russia is also trying to buy up future production from Azerbaijan’s oil and gas fields in hopes that, in so doing, the West will lose interest in Azerbaijan. In return, Russia is apparently pressuring Armenia to, in effect, hand Artsakh to Azerbaijan.
This is a grave error. Historically, Azeris have betrayed Russia, as happened in WW I when they sided with Turkey, and will do so again. In the meantime, Armenian anger at Russia for selling out Artsakh, combined with the lure of Western wealth, will permanently drive Armenia away from Russia. Only a true Russian alliance with, not economic and military bullying of, Armenia, will keep Armenia as a friend. Armenia’s fear of Turkey is not enough.
Russian Policy Blunders
Russia has a long history of disastrous policies. In the space of 75 years, Russia lost two empires – Czarist and Soviet – and the Cold War. Russia allowed false prophets – Bolsheviks – to impose the inefficient and inhumane political and economic system of Communism upon it. Russians let a deranged Georgian, Josef Stalin, maim and murder countless millions of them. Even today, most of Russia’s wealth comes not from human productivity but courtesy of Mother Nature: oil and gas.
Recent Kremlin policy has been deeply influenced by Aleksandr Dugin, an extreme nationalist ideologue. His political philosophy, Neo-Eurasianism, advocates a Russian led alliance of Asian and Slavic countries. Like most Russian analysts, Dugin saw Armenia as a barrier against Turkey, Russia’s historic enemy. Dugin then changed his mind. He now thinks that Turkey is a Russian ally. This is a clear sign of Neo-Eurasianism’s immaturity.
The Kremlin – this time with Medvedev and Putin at the helm – is once again listening to false prophets. Turkey’s arm can indeed be twisted, but not broken, by Russia. Moreover, Turkey is tougher than Russia. During the Cold War, genocidal Turkey would have annihilated Russia had it, rather than the Soviets, possessed nuclear weapons.
While Turks make Russians think they’ve become friends, Russians foolishly throw their only ally, Armenia, to the Turkish wolf. Russia will lose Armenia but will not win Turkey over. Pan-Turkism will continue, pushed by the West for its own purposes.
Moreover, as I noted two years ago, once NATO enters the Caucasus, it “could then jump across the Caspian Sea and march straight into Muslim Central Asia, posing a possibly mortal threat to Russia.”
Reject the Dangerous Protocols
Armenians must openly reject the “Protocols.” Besides abrogating long-standing Armenian rights vis-à-vis its genocidal neighbor, they are a formula for Turkish hegemony over Armenia.
If the Turkish – Armenian border is to open, it must be in a way that does not permit Turks to infiltrate, buy up, Ottomanize, and eventually control Armenia.
Armenians must now publicly and bluntly emphasize to their Russian ally that the “Protocols” will result in Russia’s being surrounded by NATO and ultimately, along with Armenia, destroyed.
Armenia has taken Rooski Military Base from Georgia. Roosha had shipped over $1 billion of arms to Armenia from 1993 to 1995.
Armenia just wants to have it both ways and scream Genocide, while committing their own. Armenia belongs in Roosha. Armenians call themselves the “Golden Race”.
November 1994, there were 900,000 refugees and internally displaced persons in Azerbaijan. These figures did not include the 50,000 internally displaced persons caused by the hostilities in the spring of 1994. Close to 500,000 fled the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian offensives into Azeri- inhabited areas outside the bounds of Nagorno-Karabakh between March and September 1993, joining the 150,000 who fled in 1992 and the over 200,000 who were expelled from Armenia in 1988-89. As of 1999 there are 800,000 Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP’s) who cannot return to their homes. In the part of Azerbaijan that Armenians control, a heavily militarized ruling structure prevents ethnic Azerbaijanis from returning to their homes. In the part of Azerbaijan that the Government controls, government efforts to hinder the opposition continue to impede the transition to democracy.
Armenia and Russia signed an updated friendship treaty, as well as a deal to create a joint venture with Gazprom to supply Armenia with natural gas. Armenia’s fuel supplies had been constrained by the Azeri blockade that followed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Following the imposition of that blockade, the United States passed section 907 of the Freedom Support Act in October 1992, which restricts U.S. government assistance to Azerbaijan until Azerbaijan has taken “demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh”
Turkey could open up the Caspian and Unite with the Azeri who consider themselves Turks anyway.
Azerbaijan even wanted to give Armenia revenues from the pipeline so that they would leave the 20% of their territory they occupy. But you cannot reason with blood thirsty Armenian savoks.
1) As soon as someone starts calling others names and using insults, like “bloodthirsty”, that person has lost credibility and legitimacy.
2) Self-Determination: In an area of land, the people living on that land have the right to decide which country their land is in, whenever they want. People who don’t live on that land don’t have a right to decide which country it’s in. Territorial boundaries are best determined by geographic features, such as watershed boundaries. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh/Arts’akh have a right to vote to join Armenia or become independent. They have a right to defend their right to self-determination, and they currently legitimately control areas of land outside of the official NK/Arts’akh boundaries in order to have militarily defensible borders for the self-defense that they have a right to in order to defend their right to self-determination. When Azerbaijan credibly guarantees them peace and their right to self-determination, only then will the people of NK/Arts’akh no longer have a right to maintain militarily-defensible borders in places like Aghdam.
3) Why do you number all the Azeris expelled by Armenians, but don’t number the Armenians expelled by Azeris? Your unreasonable bias is obvious. Only when you do your best to be fair and just can you be taken seriously.
It’s kinda funny that this article made it on La Russophobe, given that the main point of the author is that Armenia is in danger of being co-opted by the West, and should instead continue its traditional alliance with Russia.
The article being in La Russophobe makes sense to me since this is another example of a RoSSiyski ally that is in a squeeze between historical enemies, that it had provoked, in the past. Armenia is trying desperately to get its “Big Brother or Mama RaSSiya” to allow it to keep their ill gotten territories. Now the “Turks” will close in and Armenia can scream genocide all it wants, but nobody really cares, especially Roosha as they are in the path of Oil and Gas. Nobody will care especially, if it is Armenia. An ex Soviet People that everybody hates in old Savok.
I don’t know a lot about Armenia, but my guess is that this supposed friendship is based first of all on circumstances and practical considerations. Historically, they’ve probably seen Russia as a fellow Orthodox protector from Turkish domination. And in the 90s Russia helped them out in their war against Azerbaijan. Also, if I’m not mistaken, the entire Armenian economy depends on Russia.
However, this “friendship” only goes one way. As far as I understand, all Caucasians (including Armenians and the Abkhaz and Ossetins, Russia’s other two collaborator peoples in the Caucasus) are despised by Russians and called “blacks” or “monkeys,” and are the most common victims of random racist attacks and murders on the streets of Russian cities.
Turkey is a NATO member and a prospective EU member, so there’s no question of any sort of aggression against Armenia. However, if Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan join the EU (and this won’t happen too soon) then Armenia would have to reconsider its geopolitical orientation or remain isolated.
Russia will be very busy soon due to the fact that Afghanistan is on their doorstep. The Central Asian states are deeply corrupt, incompetent, and authoritarian.
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan opened their facilities to the U.S. military which made them a more attractive target for Islamists. Russia’s most restive and violent provinces, filled with fighters of the Caucasus Emirate.
The US and the coalition of the unwilling in NATO will turn it over to the Taliban. All the US really wanted is to get an oil pipeline from the Caspian through Pakistan into the Indian Ocean. This is for Dick Cheney’s company Unocal to send oil to China. Bozo Obama is continueing this policy. Why? This way the price of Oil will remain low world wide, saving our economy. Neither the US or Piz Mat Roosha cares who gets in the way.
Russia is being driven out of the Caucuses (deservedly so) and to fill the vacuum….
Turkey will step in with the missile shield and filthy Roosha will be surrounded along with its Armenian pig like toadies. Oil and gas will flow Roosha will downsized for good.
I’d say the continued occupation of Afghanistan is an even worse idea than the occupation of Iraq. I see no point in propping up some corrupt, backward regime that’s in reality even worse than the Talibans. And in the process of that, making concession after concession to Russia (in exchange for use of their airspace) and ignoring other more pressing flashpoints with broader consequences.
I think the US and NATO should let Afghanistan and Iran be, and pay more attention to real threats such as resurgent Russian imperialism. And the Caucasus and Central Asia are essential areas when it comes to dealing with that threat. NATO would deal a near-fatal blow to neo-Soviet imperialism if they brought Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and at least one other Central Asian country into NATO. And the EU should also improve economic relations with that area, since it would help lessen energy dependence on Russia.
As for the turmoil in the North Caucasus, I’m not necessarily a fan of Islamic radicalism, but people like Dokku Umarov are making the area ungovernable, thus helping to eventually end Russian occupation. Just as the US was right back in the 80s to support the mujahedin in Afghanistan, Islamist insurgents in the Caucasus should be considered freedom fighters rather than terrorists.
A. I would agree 100% with everything that you wrote. Getting the EU to work together on a project like that would take some doing. Probably will happen, after some painful event i.e. like loss of Georgia or Ukraine or some other genocide.
Roosha would not have this Megalomania if it were not encouraged by US and EU separateness. This debating props up former dreams of grandeur of the Rashan Federation now going through the Fascist Phase.
The biggest mistake America made, is to abandon Eastern Europe to Rooshan threats of a “privaledged zone of interest” for the sake of cooperation on Iran and stabbing NATO allies in the back and being vague on Rooshan invasion of Georgia.
Ukraine in particular will not be able to survive long as a “Buffer State” for the EU. Without Ukraine Rasha cannot become an Empire. This is critical over the next 5 years and this coming election in January.
If Ukraine is not in NATO , nothing will be done to secure Europe from the Mechanized Genghis Khan’s arrival. Then collapse of purchasing petroleum and gas based on dollar currency and cheap oil.
Will Europe go into another half century of huddling under Moscovies Threats? Germany already decided to be on the right side of the coin. The pantywaists in Southern Europe are all over themselves with deals with Gasprom.
The only thing stopping the total EU capitulation is that Rasha is having supply problems itself and needs investment. Rasha really needs Reformation first, since it is already folding in the East. What will happen in the South when Kadyrov stops getting money?
But yet there more attempts by Rasha to divide the EU with the gas it does not have yet.
The goal is to keep South Stream alive as a virtual proposition, in virtual competition against the E.U.-backed Nabucco project. Through shifting signals, Moscow seeks to induce countries in Central and Southeastern Europe to compete against each other for future supplies and transit of finite volumes of Russian gas. (…) Mostly diverted from Ukrainian Pipelines.
In an illustration of these tactics, Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller warned at the latest meeting of the Valdai discussion club: “There is little time left. The countries of Central and Southeastern Europe have to make quick decisions whether or not they want to support the South Stream project….Neighboring countries would be more than happy to take the place of any country that declines to participate”
The Bulgarian and Hungarian governments signed up to South Stream last year, but have fallen from power since then. Both governments were Socialist and Moscow-friendly. Hungary’s current caretaker government seems to have shelved the issue, pending elections and an expected landslide success of Western-oriented conservatives. Bulgaria’s new government has suspended the implementation of energy projects with Russia, pending a detailed review of their terms, which the new government deems onerous
As for Armenia the time has come to give it up!
Although Ankara earlier supported Baku in its criticism of the Minsk group for failing to develop any solution the Minsk group might persuade Yerevan to at least partially withdraw from the occupied Azeri territories, without which the government will have difficulties in securing the ratification of the agreement from parliament (…)
very un scholarly written article, and too pathetic
Your point is of no value scumlord.