Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Losers in Qarabagh Must Unite Against Turkey Rather than Seek to Redirect Ankara, Mirzayan Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 14 – The three big losers in the second Qarabagh war – Armenia, the Russian Federation and Iran – must unite against Turkey rather than act independently and seek to direct Redcep Erdogan against only some of them, Gevorg Mirzayan says. Otherwise, they will discover that they will all lose again in a larger war.

            The ethnic Armenian expert at Moscow’s Finance University says that at present each of the three appears to think that it can achieve more by seeking other allies and fails to see that what is going on now “very much recalls the situation of the end of the 1930s in Europe” (

            At that time, Mirzayan writes, “the great powers tried to direct Hitler against an opponent” other than themselves “instead of creating a system of collective security for restraining Germany. The result is one that all remember” but at present are failing to take steps to prevent in the southern Caucasus. 

            The Russian Armenian scholar reaches that conclusion after surveying what he says are the messages of the victory parade in Baku in which Azerbaijani forces passed in review in front of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Erdogan, messages in the first instance to Armenians and their diasporas, Russians and Iranians.

            The Armenians, first those in Armenia and then those in the diaspora, should be the most attentive, Mirzayan says. The former must recognize that their country lost because of the policies of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who did not want to cooperate with Russia but felt he could somehow rely on others. He failed and must be replaced.

            But Armenians in the diaspora also need to pay attention to the Baku parade. The diaspora has focused its attention on getting governments around the world to declare that 1915 was a genocide against the Armenian people rather than on worrying about and supporting Armenia now. That policy while understandable needs to change.

            The diaspora must focus its attention on what is going on in Armenia and its region now rather than assuming that everything there is in order and that historical questions are first and foremost. If it does not do that, it will be making its own contribution to the defeat of Armenia and Armenians.

            Russians are the second people who need to pay attention to what the Baku parade shows. All too many of them have accepted the Kremlin line that “Russia has won in the South Caucasus. It has inserted peace keepers, resolved the conflict, shown the consequences of color revolutions and – what is most absurd – avoided a conflict with Turkey.”

            These Russians fail to see that Azerbaijan allied with and even subordinate to Turkey is now about undermining all of Moscow’s integration projects in the former Soviet space. If that is allowed to happen, then in much of that space, Turkey will replace Russia as the dominant power, hardly the victory the Kremlin likes to talk about.

            And the third loser in the second Qarabagh war that should be paying attention to the Baku parade’s messages is Iran. At that gathering, Erdogan recited verses from a poem about how lands south of the Arax belong to Azerbaijan. That sparked protests in Tabriz and Tehran, but it has not prompted Iranian leaders to think clearly about the future.

            Like Armenians and Russians, Iranians still are more focused on dealing with their own “personal” problems rather than recognizing that the situation requires the formation of “an anti-Turkish coalition,” just as Hitler’s moves against various European countries did in the lead up to World War II.

            Only when it was very late did all the European countries see that they had to cooperate to defeat Hitler. One is left to wonder, Mirzayan suggests, whether history will repeat itself with all the negative consequences that would entail.

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