Op-ed: Peace treaty with Armenia will not solve the Karabakh problem
Russia has isolated the fate of the part of Karabakh, where its peacekeepers are stationed, from the rest of the peace process between Azerbaijan and Armenia. From the point of view of our northern neighbor, these issues are not related to each other and one does not interfere with the other. This opinion was expressed by Azerbaijani political scientist Shahin Jafarli.
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According to Azerbaijani political scientist Shahin Jafarli, Russia, with its strategic state thinking, has created such a situation that the signing of a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia and even mutual recognition of the territorial integrity may not solve the Karabakh problem.
“If Armenia recognizes Karabakh as the territory of Azerbaijan, the Armenians living in Karabakh can say: Armenia did not recognize us anyway, this decision does not change anything, we have already determined our future outside the borders of Azerbaijan. Or Russia will force them to say that.
The territory where the “peacekeeping operation” is being carried out, including the Lachin corridor, is not under the control of Armenia today, and Armenia, by signing a peace treaty, will not be able to transfer these territories to Azerbaijan. This does not solve the question.
In the coming weeks, with a high degree of probability, a document on the delimitation of borders will be signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
After some more time, communications will open (including the road through Zangezur) and economic ties will be restored but this has no direct impact on Karabakh.
In the best case, it may be that Russia will agree to a return to the status quo, similar to the period of the Nagorno-Karabakh Administrative Oblast’s existence. Thus, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will be restored, and the peacekeepers will remain there forever as part of a Russian military base and as a guarantor of the security of the Armenian population.
The first Karabakh war and the period that followed after it was characterised by the tactical superiority of the Armenians. The second Karabakh war and the period that followed after it is characterised by the superiority of the Azerbaijanis. But the strategic winner in all these periods is Russia.
Opening the road through Zangezur may seem like a tactical victory for Azerbaijan, but there is a likelihood of increased dependence on Russia. For this reason, despite the fiery speeches of the Azerbaijani leadership about the “Zangezur Corridor”, I cannot believe that Baku sees the territory controlled by Russia as the main transit point to Turkey and Europe. Of course, there will be traffic across this road to Nakhichevan and Turkey, cargos will travel there, but the Georgian road will retain its strategic importance in the short and medium term. I don’t want to look into the distant future yet.
Russia knows these two peoples and this geography better than the Azerbaijanis and Armenians themselves. “Big brother” not only influences the decisions of governments, but also controls the feelings and worries of both peoples. When it is necessary to punish the Azerbaijanis, Russia infuriates the Armenians, and when it is necessary to rein in Armenia, it allows Azerbaijan to respond in kind. But all these attacks of the sides on each other always remain unfinished, neither side wins a complete victory.
Today the defining and guiding source of Russia’s policy in our region is the historical memory and imperialist codes associated with this geography. Ways to achieve this goal and protect your interests are changing according to the demands of time and realities, and now (in fact, starting from 2016) we are witnessing another paradigm shift. If earlier Rossi satisfied its interests by freezing the conflict, now it has chosen the path of resolving the (incomplete) conflict and regional cooperation with the condition of maintaining control over all processes and its leadership”, Jafarli writes on his Facebook page.