Op-ed from Karabakh: "the specifics of the escalation might determine its outcome"
Political observer Naira Hayrumyan reflects on three features of military operations on the contact line of the Armenian-Azerbaijani armed forces:
“The escalation on the border of Karabakh and Azerbaijan, which began with the offensive operation of Azerbaijani forces on the Artsakh positions in the morning of September 27, has its own specifics, which, seemingly will determine the outcome of the escalation.
1 – Turkey’s involvement
Both Armenian officials and foreign leaders are pointing to Turkey’s intention to directly intervene in the Karabakh conflict. Experts say Turkey’s presence is reshaping the conflict and creating imbalances.
The point is that the direct support of Turkey to Azerbaijan, as it were, implies unconditional support of Armenia from Russia.
So far, Moscow has pursued a policy of equidistance in relation to Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Karabakh conflict, although Armenia is a strategic ally of Russia, while Azerbaijan is only a strategic partner.
Now, after Turkey has “removed the visor”, Russia is forced to change its policy. Even more so taking into consideration the tensions between Turkey and Russia in regards to Syria and Libya.
2 – recognition of independence
Almost immediately after the announcement of martial law in Armenia and Artsakh, the issue of recognition of the independence of Artsakh by Armenia entered the political spotlight.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, commenting on the possibility of recognizing Artsakh, was extremely careful in the wording and urged everything be weighed carefully. At the same time, he admitted that the issue, of course, is on the agenda.
How will the situation develop in the Karabakh settlement if the act of recognition takes place? Under what circumstances can Armenia recognise the independence of Karabakh? These questions remain unanswered so far, but it is obvious that this option is being considered at the highest level.
3 – deployment of international mechanisms
The most likely outcome of the current military escalation could be the ‘demarcation’ of the contact line between Artsakh and Azerbaijan and the deployment of international monitoring mechanisms on it.
These mechanisms were proposed by the mediators at the beginning of 2016, but Baku refuses to accept them, since it believes that this will de facto recognize the current border between Karabakh and Azerbaijan.
It could be that the current military actions are caused by Baku’s intention to expand its “tenure” before international mechanisms are deployed.