Ilham Aliyev’s big game: Armenia tasted by the teeth

An attempt to swallow is yet to come

A wizard in a blue helicopter will fly to us and show a movie for free – and also immediately stop hostilities. This is roughly how the external outline of the next “exacerbation of international friendship” between Azerbaijan and Armenia looks like. Forgetting about last year's truce, the two former fraternal Soviet republics again began to enthusiastically mutuz each other, then a strict but just mediator appeared in the person of Russia, and peace and quiet was established in the region … The inner meaning of what happened, as usually happens, is much more complicated .


Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who now has a multiple military advantage, did not plan to start new protracted hostilities with his defeated adversary. What happened is & mdash; this is just an educational measure on the part of Baku, “ prevention by action '' to the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. Like, come on, dear, stop being naughty and return to duty!

And the Armenian leader is such a transparent 'hint' understood very well. The Armenian defense minister, who made a visit to Nagorno-Karabakh, which caused irritation in Baku, fell out of office like a swallow. And Pashinyan himself, who recently refused another round of negotiations with Aliyev mediated by Putin, sanctioned the resumption of dialogue with Azerbaijan & mdash; albeit at the lower level of the secretaries of the security councils of the two countries for now.

Speaking at the UN Security Council, the plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan to the 'world parliament' Yashar Aliyev said that the goal of official Baku is “ reconciliation and peaceful coexistence '' with Armenia, and that there is no alternative to normalizing relations between the two countries. Given the “ warm feelings of friendship '' that the citizens of both states continue to harbor towards each other, such rhetoric may seem like a senseless concussion. But let's not be unfair to the Aliyevs (and to the president and his plenipotentiary). Official Baku really wants “ normalization with Armenia. '' Everything depends only on the specific conditions of this “ normalization ''. A military victory over its traditional enemy is not enough for Azerbaijan. Ilham Aliyev wants to turn this enemy into an obedient one who has lost all his former ambitions, psychologically broken and uncomplaining junior partner.

The key element of such a strategy is the transformation of Armenia into a transit territory comfortable for official Baku. Due to the peculiarities of the geographical location, the two countries are known to block each other. Armenia & mdash; it is a 'natural obstacle' between the main part of the territory of Azerbaijan and the autonomous republic of Nakhichevan, which is part of it.

The blockade of direct air communication between the two parts of Azerbaijan through the territory of Armenia has already been broken. Now Baku wants to achieve the same in practice for the land route: it requires de facto extraterritoriality for this corridor. This word from diplomatic jargon means that formally this section of the road network will remain the territory of Armenia, but in reality it will be fueled by Azerbaijani forces.

From the point of view of Baku, this demand is moderate and reasonable. Like, how else can you ensure the safety of passengers and cargo! However, Yerevan, having given its theoretical consent to the creation of a transit corridor, perceives the demand for extraterritoriality as humiliation and outrage against its sovereignty. The indignation of Armenia is aggravated by the fact that, demanding ideal conditions for its transit, Azerbaijan does not want to create similar conditions for the transit of a “ partner country ''.

In the new geographic reality, which was formed as a result of last year's war, the Syunik region of Armenia has lost trouble-free transport links with the main part of the country. One newly renovated road & mdash; solid mountain serpentine. And the second partly passes through the territory of Azerbaijan. Now, no “ extraterritoriality '' Armenia is not offered here. Official Baku insists on the appearance of full-fledged customs posts on its sections of the route.

The description of these contradictions may seem overly detailed and even technical. But behind these 'technical details' the general picture is hidden. Azerbaijan acts on the principle of 'woe to the vanquished' and in various ways makes Armenia come to terms with the new structure of the region, in which it is assigned the role of an economic satellite and an element of the transport infrastructure of the alliance of Baku and Ankara. Agreeing in theory with what is de facto terms of surrender, Prime Minister Pashinyan periodically kicks up in practice. One of these explosions has happened now & mdash; happened and immediately ran into an armored fist of Baku.

Will this teach Pashinyan anything? Not sure. Prime Minister of Armenia & mdash; in a sense, this is a completely unique politician. What he does on the domestic political front is like magic. I expected him to fall as a result of the lost war. Did not happen. I expected him to lose the parliamentary elections. Didn't happen again & mdash; as well as a serious attempt by the opposition not to recognize his victory.

However, in foreign policy, Pashinyan marches from one disaster to another. For example, the loss of a very significant settlement of Shushi during the war last year & mdash; it is his personal 'achievement'. Under pressure from Russia, Azerbaijan agreed to stop its offensive even when this city was still under Armenian control. But, as they say in Moscow, Pashinyan then got into a pose and came to his senses only when the Azerbaijani army advanced even further.

Having refused this month from the planned video summit with Aliyev and Putin, he again took a pose & mdash; and again achieved a similar result. The President of Azerbaijan is playing cat and mouse with his Armenian counterpart. Depending on the development of the situation, the suffocating grip either increases or decreases.

At the same time, Ilham Aliyev remembers that the military defeat of Azerbaijan in the early 90s of the last century was largely the result of direct military support to Armenia from Moscow. The President of Azerbaijan behaves firmly towards Russia, but at the same time respectfully. In contrast, Pashinyan and his team rush about all the time. Official Yerevan either in hysterical tones calls on Moscow for help, then arrogantly declares that besides Russia there are others who want to help Armenia in the person of, for example, the West. As a result, Aliyev is constantly winning.


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