Sunday, May 16, 2021

Without Outside Help, Armenia Won’t Be Able to Hold Syunik (Zengezur) for Long, Karakhanyan Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 14 – Yerevan has now appealed to the Russian-led Organization for the Collective Security Treaty for assistance in opposing any Azerbaijani actions against Syunik (Zengezur) because without such help, Simon Karakhanyan says, that area will become “a buffer zone” between Armenia and Azerbaijan and one Yerevan by itself won’t be able to hold for long.

            The Armenian commentator who writes for Russia’s Regnum news agency notes that after the 1994 fighting, Armenia created a buffer zone between the Armenian Nagono-Karabakh regime and Azerbaijani forces but now because of the war last fall, it no longer has that. Azerbaijani forces are directly opposite Armenian territory (

            During the fighting last fall, Karakhanyan says, Yerevan foolishly and inexplicably did not appeal to the collective security organization although it had every reason to do so. Now, with Azerbaijani forces at the borders of its territory, especially Syunik Oblast which Baku refers to as the Zengezur corridor, it has felt compelled to do so.

            “Today,” he writes, “the situation has become more serious because now it is practically impossible to stop the advance of Azerbaijani forces deep into Armenia.” Azerbaijan can send troops in and the Armenian military so far on its own has been “incapable of undertaking preventive measures.”

            What that means, Sarkhanyan says, is that at least part of Armenia’s Syunik Oblast is now “a buffer zone” much like the one Yerevan organized 25 years ago around Karabakh. And just like that one, Armenia is not in a position to hold it if Azerbaijan sends its military into the area.

            According to the commentator, “the transformation of Syunik Oblast into a buffer zone threatens Armenia with the loss of statehood or the reduction of its territory and rights” to limits not seen for more than a century.

            Sarkhanyan’s argument is clearly directed at Moscow and represents another Armenian call for Russian assistance. But what is most striking about his words is his open acknowledgement that Yerevan by itself cannot hold this corridor if Baku decides to use force to take it back.

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