After the failure of its policy in Syria, associated with the courageous resistance of the Syrian people and the effective assistance of the Russian aerospace forces, Turkey and the United States are now trying in every way to exacerbate the situation in the Caucasus and unleash armed conflicts there. Of course, the first of them was Nagorno-Karabakh. However, there are other hot spots where blood can be shed thanks to the peacekeepers from Washington and Ankara.
So, the fiercest since 1994, the battles in Nagorno-Karabakh again attracted world attention to the conflict, which seriously aggravates the international situation and makes it much less stable and predictable against the background of the events in Syria and Iraq.
Alexander Markarov, a well-known Armenian political scientist, deputy vice-rector of Yerevan State University, director of the branch of the Institute of CIS countries, sees the situation as follows:
- How unexpected was such a worsening of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh?
- Since 2014, Azerbaijan has increased pressure on the border. The intensity of their violation of the cease-fire regime has increased significantly compared with the preceding period. I predicted that the situation would only get worse. Everyone understood that there would be more violations, but no one thought that this would be possible in such a volume, as we now see.
Azerbaijan often violated the cease-fire after any international meetings. The meeting in Washington gave reason to think that something might happen this time. This has already happened: remember Clinton's visit to the region, the meeting of the presidents - held and failed. But those were incidents, and here there was a full-scale offensive undertaken along the entire contact line. Prior to that, large-caliber machine guns and mortars went into action, and here the whole range of weapons was involved. This is not expected.
- In your opinion, what was the decision of Azerbaijan agreed upon? Did the external factor have an impact?
- The fact that the first shot was made by the Azerbaijani side is beyond doubt. This is their initiative. This is also indicated by some of their sites and the statement of the ambassador to Russia, Polad Bulbul oglu.
But outside support is another matter. Definitely, Azerbaijan feels Turkey’s support: not only moral and material, but also in terms of human resources. There is information that Turkish instructors are present, and their role is clearly visible. But, on the other hand, it is necessary to understand that there are also internal reasons that pushed Azerbaijan to take this step.
- Do you mean a difficult situation in the economy?
- The situation in the economy of Azerbaijan is worsening, inflation is rising, the rate of manat is falling, revenues are falling due to the reduced flow of petrodollars. It has become impossible to carry out projects about which so much has been said: this is both a railway and pipelines for which there is no necessary amount of gas. The problems in the economy are only growing, and now investors are leaving Azerbaijan: they understand that the peak has already passed. Now 75% of revenues and 90% of Azerbaijan’s exports are oil and gas. There is no need to talk about any diversification of the economy, so they simply have nowhere to wait for additional income. European sports, Eurovision - it's all worth a lot of money. And the purchase of weapons? For this, too, need billions, but they are no longer ...
- Let's go back to the external factors. How did Europe respond?
- Pay attention to what the OSCE says. They not only insist on the resumption of peaceful dialogue, but appeal to both sides to cease fire. That is, there is no support for Azerbaijani rhetoric. I will note that Azerbaijan has not been in contact with the OSCE for about six months, it does not hold meetings.
And one more thing to say. The attack on the NKR was committed immediately after the completion of the Washington summit before the weekend. That is, world leaders either go on a weekend at such a moment, or are on the road. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan was on the way. It is very possible that such a time was not chosen by chance. But in general, Turkey supports Azerbaijan, while all other countries maintain, at least, a positive neutrality towards Armenia. And all statements are intended to encourage return to the negotiating table.
- What can you say about the position of Turkey? It is believed that the Erdogan regime is trying to organize a certain northern front against Russia.
- This is unlikely. What could be the northern front ?! Erdogan himself did everything to have his own northern front with the Kurds. The situation there has deteriorated dramatically. Yes, some Russian experts pedal the aspect that there is a union of Azerbaijan and Turkey, directed against Russia. But least of all, Azerbaijan needs to be with Turkey against Russia. Azerbaijan is trying to maintain, if not positive, then at least neutral relations with Russia. There are many questions on which they would like to cooperate with Russia. I think that to say that Turkey is setting up Azerbaijan against Russia is wrong.
- Could you comment on the information that the ISIL fighters are taking part in the hostilities from Azerbaijan? This was reported on more than one site ...
- I know the following information. The Azerbaijani special forces, which was destroyed in Karabakh, were not dressed in the uniform of the Azerbaijani army. It was a summer uniform that people wear in Syria now. It has been suggested that these were ISIS fighters. The Azerbaijani side also said that it was not their people. But now it is simply impossible to confirm anything.
- There is talk of a certain third force, which, they say, arranged everything.
“No third force could have fought all along the front line.” These are quite obvious things.
- Could you give a forecast for the further development of events around Nagorno-Karabakh?
- If we talk about the most realistic forecast for the future, then we need to state that there will be more such events. Maybe they will not be not so intensely armed clashes, but will definitely continue in various sectors. The international community will call for the mind to prevail. But this, first of all, concerns Azerbaijan, and it will play on the contradictions that exist. Europe needs Azerbaijan because it is a potential source of gas. For the United States, it is an opportunity to counteract Russia's interests in the region. For Turkey, it is an ally. Therefore, collisions will occur in the future.
There is a scenario in which the NKR armed forces will go ahead and do what Grachev did not allow to do in due time - they will advance into the depth of Azerbaijan and will force him to recognize the independence of NKR.
And the third scenario is war. But, I believe that this is unlikely, since it will not be allowed to unleash. Moreover, for Azerbaijan such a war is a very expensive pleasure. The flow of refugees, infrastructure problems, instability ... A conditional colonel Huseynov may appear if necessary at any time.
- It is known that opposition parties in Armenia not only criticize the ruling party, but also, it happens, quite strongly oppose it. What is the attitude of the political parties of Armenia to the events in Karabakh? Are they one or different?
- The answer is very simple: they all occupy the same position. We already observed such a picture in Armenia in 2014, when shelling on the border with Azerbaijan was. Then the opposition declared that it was ready to go there and defend the border. And now everyone is also speaking in a united front. It was the appeal of ex-President Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who has a significant influence on most of the opposition, that we don’t see who belongs to which party - all are united in their desire to protect the country and the people. You can say this: there is no fifth column in Armenia. Except for a few facebookies ...
Chairman of the Constitutional Right Union party, member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia Hayk Babukhanyan shared his point of view on events in the Caucasus:
- Azerbaijan is a terrorist state similar to ISIS. It is no coincidence that thousands of people from Azerbaijan are fighting in the ranks of ISIS. Moreover, the similarity is not only in terrorist actions against Christian Armenians, but also against their own national minorities and their own dissidents. With the same cruelty as that of the ISIS, Aliyev shoots the civilian population of the Armenian border villages. And even in destruction historical monuments of Azerbaijan and ISIS have the same handwriting.
It is no coincidence that Azerbaijan is supported by its elder brother, Turkey, and Aliyev and Erdogan are kicking each other. For Turkey, Azebaidzhan is as much an ally as ISIS, and for dictator Erdogan, dictator Aliyev is a soul mate. Aliyev must be prosecuted as a war criminal. Instead of today's fascist Azerbaijan, a democratic state should be formed under the control of the international community, as a completely different one - a democratic Germany - was created instead of fascist Germany. Democratic Azerbaijan recognizes and will live in peace not only with the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, but also with the Talysh Republic and other peoples who are fighting for the realization of the right to live freely, and not under the yoke of the Aliyev criminal clique. Only then will peace be established in our region.
Moreover, the task of fighting the Azerbaijani terrorist regime lies on the shoulders not only of the Armenian army, but of all progressive humanity. Moreover, healthy forces in Azerbaijan must rebel against the fascist regime, because it is to keep their power and untold wealth that Aliyev sends 18-year-old boys to die.
As for the Armenian army, it fulfills its mission of fighting the terrorist state and destroys the invaders. The battle zone was littered with the corpses of Azerbaijani soldiers, the remains tanks and helicopters after their choked offensive. The Republic of Armenia and the NKR have every right in the event that Azerbaijan violates the 1994 signed armistice, go on the counteroffensive, block the oil and gas pipelines through which the terrorist state of Azerbaijan, like ISIS, sells oil through Turkey, buying a deadly weapon.
"Circassian Question" as a way to ignite the flames of the new war in the Caucasus
It is obvious that the situation in the Caucasus is heating up, and this cannot be attributed to external intervention.
In the Caucasus, people lived for hundreds and thousands of years, between which many clashes happened throughout this time. These processes were especially aggravated in the XIX-XX centuries, when Western countries, first of all, Great Britain, began to actively intervene in political processes here.
It was she who, starting the first decades of the XIX century, strongly supported the Caucasian mountain tribes in their actions against Russia and armed them. Moreover, such a policy aimed at tearing the Caucasus away from Russia continued even during the Second World War: for example, Great Britain and France were preparing to inflict aviation attacks from the territory of Turkey on the Caucasian oil fields in 1940, and only Hitler's invasion of France prevented the implementation of these plans.
By the way, the Nazi dictator himself made great efforts to incite ethnic hatred among all Soviet peoples, including in the Caucasus. Here, German reconnaissance and sabotage groups purposefully landed, the main task of which was to form and organize combat operations of units of nationalists and traitors against the Red Army, which was reflected in numerous documents of the NKVD and SMERSH.
During the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries, the United States actively intervened in the political processes in the Caucasus. Practically all the conflicts that took place during this period are connected with their direct participation: what is the cost of the 08.08.08 war, unleashed by the American stalemate Mikhail Saakashvili against South Ossetia?
Currently, the United States, relying mainly on Turkey, traditionally continuing the policy of weakening Russia's influence on Kavkaz in every possible way, is trying in every possible way to aggravate the long-standing Caucasian conflicts. One of them is the so-called "Circassian question".
The so-called "Circassian genocide" artificially inflamed from the outside is connected with the events of the second half of the 19th century, when in the struggle of the Russian Empire against mountain tribes, partially engaged in robberies and banditry, besides actively supported by the United Kingdom and Great Britain, some Circassians were forced to emigrate, and part formed the current republic of Adygea within the Russian Federation.
A loyal US ally in the Caucasus, Georgia, and the so-called Circassian Cultural Center, led by Merab Chuhua, funded by the Jamestown Foundation, play a special role in the implementation of the US-Turkish plan to use the Circassians for their aggressive purposes.
Gulnara Inandzh, Director of the Ethnoglobus International Online Information and Analytical Center (ethnoglobus.az). (Baku, Azerbaijan) considers:
- The Circassian theme in the world political arena appeared after the collapse of the Soviet Union. At this stage of development, Circassian nationalism is not aggressive and does not turn into a military plane. Circassian organizations in Russia itself, as well as the diaspora and their patrons, are still trying to make this issue a subject of interest for international human rights organizations. Officially, the Circassian Diaspora is under the patronage of European and international organizations. Unofficially, the United States, some countries of Europe, Israel and Turkey are the catalyst for Circassian nationalism.
Before the Russian conquest, the Circassians were part of the Ottoman Empire. And belonging to the Sunni sense of Islam allowed them to easily adapt and hold high positions, to feel comfortable. This process has continued in modern Turkey.
This factor allows Ankara to actively participate in the Circassian issue. The theme of independent Circassia is also supported by influential Circassians in Turkey. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, ethnic Circassians began to appear in the North Caucasus as part of business structures, NGOs and educational institutions, including in the republics where Adygs live. Strengthening Turkey in its former historical possessions can strengthen Circassian separatism and prepare the ground for ousting Moscow from the North Caucasus. The feeding of Circassian nationalism is one of the elements of the plan for the secession of the North Caucasus from Russia. Therefore, Russia prohibited entry into the country for Turkish businessmen and their participation in regional business, expelled Turkish entrepreneurs from the North Caucasus (mainly ethnic Circassians), closed Turkish lyceums. But the fact that Circassian nationalism became the subject of manipulations in the West, and Israel’s activity in this matter, forced Moscow to give free rein to Turkey’s actions, as it’s less an aggressive player.
In addition, Russia hoped to neutralize the Circassian ambitions for independence by recognizing Abkhazia. This, indeed, slightly reduced the fervor, but there was no complete failure. At the same time, the Kremlin succeeded in bringing discord to the Circassian diaspora on the issue of independence. The fact of recognizing independence of Abkhazia intensified the differences, as part of the Circassians in Russia and in the diaspora believe that Circassians living in Russia should have their autonomy, to which they are demanding to join the original Circassian lands that are now within other Caucasian republics and regions.
Middle Eastern events in the foreground of the political scene eclipse the Circassian theme, which, at the moment, is still at the initial stage of its development. The Circassian question will begin to have a serious impact on Russia a little later.
Peoples who do not have their own statehood are subject to external influences and manipulations, their ethnic feelings are exposed. They cultivate and mythologize the heroic fragments of their history. The Caucasian peoples prefer not to open themselves to the world, but to live apart. The lack of historical experience of statehood is fraught with a repetition of the problems that the region faced during the Chechen wars at the end of the last century. (ALP).
The provocative activities of Merab Chuhua in the interests of the United States and Turkey, and not the entire Circassian people, cause extreme outrage among many Circassian public and political figures. Abubekir Murzakanov (OD "Adyghe Khekuzh - Cherkessia"), Ibrahim Yaganov (OD "Khase"), Ruslan Kesh (OD "Cherkessky Soyuz") and others made a joint statement, which states:
- ... We express our concern about the personal position of the director of the Circassian Center M. Chuhua. In his statements and projects, he presents the Circassian problematics as part of a certain pan-Caucasian project, which leads our problem to a completely different direction.
From his speeches it is clear that he focuses on certain general Caucasian affairs (in his understanding), Vainakhs and other problems. It seems that Circassian affairs are not interested in him.
There are also big questions about the actions of some young employees of the center who, on behalf of the Circassian Cultural Center, participate in questionable events discrediting the Circassian national movement and the Center's activities. We believe that they were obliged to receive an appropriate assessment from the leadership of the Circassian Cultural Center.
We demand from the leadership of the Circassian Cultural Center to continue to avoid pan-Caucasian oriented policies in their understanding, leading to nothing good for Georgian-Circassian relations. Otherwise, this may lead to the devaluation of all the efforts of the Georgian state, undertaken in relation to the Circassians, and provoke undesirable processes in the diaspora. (Caucasian knot).
It is clear that within the framework of its struggle for the lost place of the world's only world superpower, the United States is trying to stir up as many conflicts as possible near the borders of Russia, in order to weaken it as a country defending international law, formed after World War II. One of these regions is the Caucasus.
However, his people must remember that in the eyes of the United States and its allies, they are only a consumable item and only a means to an end, that is, to weaken or even collapse the Russian Federation, which has always provided durable peace and prosperity to the peoples living in its territory.
Caucasian nations should not become pawns in a game alien to them.