“Azerbaijan is playing with fire” – Armenian political scientist
Analysis of the Nagorno-Karabakh blockade
“A very dangerous situation has developed around the Lachin corridor. This is a war of nerves, and time is not working in favor of Armenia,” journalist and expert on the Karabakh conflict Tatul Hakobyan asserts.
This view is not shared by political scientist Richard Kirakosyan, who thinks that the Armenian authorities should be bolder. He proposes not participating in negotiations with Azerbaijan as long as the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh are under blockade, and until at least an air corridor is provided for sending humanitarian aid.
Expert opinion on the situation created as a result of blocking the Lachin corridor.
The blockade of 120,000 Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh has been going on for nearly a month. Azerbaijanis who have declared themselves environmental activists continue to block the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting NK to Armenia. This has led to a humanitarian crisis with emergency reserves being rationed.
“If the NK authorities do not speak, Armenia will be punished”
These are the words of journalist and coordinator of the Ani research center, Tatul Hakobyan. He believes that the authorities of the unrecognized republic are obliged to “bear their share of responsibility” and participate more actively in dialogue with Azerbaijan through the mediation of Russia. Otherwise, according to him, there will be a “dangerous situation” if Armenia is alone in such dialogue:
“Armenia will again be under duress – documents will be laid out on the table, and the country may again have to make painful concessions. And in Armenia and Artsakh they will say: look, [the government] have betrayed us again.”
Hakobyan cautions that “this stalemate could explode” and the consequences for Armenia would be the most unpredictable:
“Why am I speaking for Armenia? Because while Russian peacekeepers are in Artsakh, Aliyev will prudently not start a conflict in NK. He can start out small, and Armenia will be seriously punished.”
He believes that Baku blocked the Lachin corridor counting on its military superiority and the “silent support” of Russia. Hakobyan believes Moscow must be dealt with carefully:
“If you look at it sensibly, then Russia cannot help us now, but it can deliver very serious blows. For example, it can close the Upper Lars checkpoint [referring to the only land road between Armenia and Russia]. As a result, Armenia will find itself in the same situation as Artsakh,” says Tatul Hakobyan.
In Hakobyan’s opinion, Armenia should look for alternative ways and try to take a fresh look at the list of allies and enemies. He says that the path of the country’s independence goes through the establishment of relations with Turkey.
Hakobyan also believes that Armenia’s democracy is one of its strongest weapons, but that an army equipped with modern weaponry is also essential.
“Armenia must take bolder steps”
According to political scientist Richard Kirakosyan, the blocking of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan is a challenge not only to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, but also to Russia, and the latter has obligations to resolve the crisis, but no opportunities:
“If we look carefully at the situation with Russian peacekeepers, we will see that they have a rather limited mission and mandate. They do not have the opportunity nor the tools to resume movement along the Lachin corridor.”
According to Kirakosyan, over the past year there has been a serious change in the quality of the mission of Russian peacekeepers for the worse, as there are now more conscripts than professional soldiers. Commenting on the possible agreement and cooperation between Moscow and Baku to achieve the so-called “Zangezur corridor” from Armenia, Kirakosyan said:
“It is possible that there is a certain complicity from Moscow in this process, which is promoted by Baku, and is a shame for Russia.”
Regarding resolution of the crisis in the Lachin corridor, Yerevan and Moscow might consider the possibility of air communication:
“It is possible that a Russian military aircraft from the military base in Gyumri could break through the blockade and deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to Nagorno-Karabakh. I don’t think the Azerbaijanis would dare shoot down a Russian military plane.”
“We suggested Baku create an institution of guarantors” – Secretary of the Armenian Security Council
Armenia has suggested that Azerbaijan create an institute of guarantors to ensure the implementation of the peace agreement that is being prepared for signing, reports Secretary of the Security Council Armen Grigoryan to Armenian journalists.
According to Kirakosyan, Armenia should show more courage and challenge Azerbaijan:
“Unfortunately, the airspace of the Republic of Armenia is not closed to either Azerbaijan or Turkey in terms of civil aviation. Another bold step on the part of Armenia could be, for example, refusing to participate in meetings with Azerbaijanis until the blockade of the Lachin corridor is lifted and until Azerbaijani troops are withdrawn from the sovereign territory of Armenia.”
According to Kirakosyan, if negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkey are not postponed until these issues are resolved, “any red line drawn by Armenia will gradually lose its meaning.”
Kirakosyan invites Armenia to take Israel’s example and, for example, decide that it no longer acts as a “reasonably reasonable partner”, but takes steps based on its own interests. He believes that at the moment “it is extremely important to protect the lives of Artsakh Armenians.”
“Perhaps Armenia should independently launch a one-way air corridor in Artsakh and thereby push the West from words to concrete actions,” Kirakosyan suggests.
In his opinion, Armenia should use its only advantage – that it is a democratic state – and show that Azerbaijan is undermining the Western values of democracy and security.
“Azerbaijan is becoming more and more diplomatically isolated, not only from the point of view of international public opinion, but also from the point of view of Western interests. I think that Azerbaijan is playing with fire here,” he concluded.
"Azerbaijan creating pretexts for the resumption of war." Opinion from Yerevan
In parallel with the blocking of the Lachin corridor in Armenia, the Armenian Defense Ministry reports that after midnight, Azerbaijani units opened fire in the direction of Armenian positions near the village of Kutakan, Gegharkunik region.f
Analysts on the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh