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Integration Of The Caucasian States Into A Small Analogue Of 'Europe

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  • Integration Of The Caucasian States Into A Small Analogue Of 'Europe

    David Stepanyan

    2010-11-26 13:35:00

    Interview of member of the Karabakh Committee, ex-minister of the
    interior, adviser to the first president of Armenia for national
    security Ashot Manucharyan with ArmInfo News Agency

    Mr. Manucharyan, after the war in August 8, 2008, much is spoken
    about withdrawal of the USA from the South Caucasus, which happens in
    parallel with strengthening of Russia's presence in the region. How
    much does it meet the actual alignment of forces, especially as
    regards Armenia?

    As regards Armenia, now the republic is in quite an impetuous period
    of its history. Every busybody in town deals with the problems of
    Armenia, one of the countries of the region that keeps on playing
    the key role regardless of the persistent rumors about declining
    interest in the South Caucasus. The fight for the Caucasus, which has
    been conducted for over 20 years, remains one of the key positions of
    the global resistance in the world and at the same time an extremely
    sensitive contact point of interests. And if there is some certainly
    about Georgia and Azerbaijan, which are West- oriented to a certain
    extent, the fight for Armenia is more serious. At the same time,
    despite the opinion that Russia allegedly controls everything in
    Armenia, all the geopolitical processes are still aimed at complete
    expulsion of Russia from Armenia. Taking into account the situation
    with Georgia and Azerbaijan, Armenia is still the last point of
    relative balance in the region. This gives grounds to the United
    States and Great Britain to gain relative consolidation of forces
    with the rest of Europe in this matter. Today the West's positions
    in the region are already prevailing over Russia's positions and
    are intensively strengthening. All the statements that Russia has
    allegedly strengthened in the region, particularly, in Armenia,
    having expelled the USA from here are actually part of the general
    campaign on expulsion of Russia itself from the South Caucasus.

    How does it affect the domestic political processes in Armenia?

    The domestic political forces and field of Armenia have been engaged
    if not by forces but at least the foreign political processes around
    Armenia and the region in general. A part of politicians having joined
    external forces, are conductors of the intentions of these forces in
    Armenia. Another part, irrespective of their wish, has been directly
    involved in these processes on providing any interests and goals. As
    for the forces which are stemming only from the interests of Armenia,
    are very few. For instance, at present movement is trying to become
    such a force. Another point is - how much they manage to do it. But
    they are trying to act just in this context. The situation is much
    more difficult in other political circles of the republic. The
    forces which are trying to act stemming from the interests of
    Armenia, are enough in Armenian National Congress, but they are not
    enough qualified. Sometimes, the forces of Armenian National Congress
    engaged by external processes, display their will and correct domestic
    processes and dictate their will when forming the agenda of Armenian
    National Congress.

    What about the authorities' engagement?

    The Armenian authorities are fully under the external influence. The
    authorities pay national interests of Armenia getting the right from
    outside to exploit their own population. Personal enrichment at the
    expense of the country - is the only right which they are given from
    outside as an exchange.

    Has the power been engaged more by Moscow than the West?

    The power has been engaged by Moscow as well as by the West which
    differ by technologies as the West is acting a little bit more
    carefully. As for their goals and means, unfortunately, they are
    identical and based on pure interest which is considered to be the top
    pilotage in the modern world. In such conditions, within the frames
    of such a fight, of course, Russia is doomed to lose, as the Russian
    culture has never be based only on pure interest.

    What is Russia's and the West's priority interest in Armenia?

    As for the priority interest of Russia and the West to Armenia,
    here they mean fighting for management the Caucasus communication
    corridor, which is the only neutral corridor in EurAsia. That is
    to say, in order to try to connect the East to the West at present
    we have to act either via Russia or Iran, which are global players,
    or via Turkey which pretends to such a role.

    Does the Karabakh conflict, which separates the Caucasus corridor
    by a military confrontation line, go against implementation of this
    provision? Is the Karabakh conflict settlement a necessary factor
    for engagement of this corridor?

    It is not obligatory that the communication corridor in the South
    Caucasus must not have "bolts", which are often useful. Any country
    which is striving to have a control over the corridor should also
    have a control over the "bolts". Till 2008 in fact the West was the
    owner of the corridor and Russia had two "bolts" - South Ossetia
    and Karabakh, that is to say, any moment Moscow could initiate any
    actions which would lead to closing of the corridor. For this reason,
    liquidation of these "bolts" has become a global task for the West,
    but their taking under control has always been the more significant
    task for the West. As a result of the war in South Ossetia, Russia
    gained South Ossetia but lost a "bolt" and the opportunity to conduct
    the corridor at the South Ossetian direction, that is to say, that
    war was beneficial to Americans. The Karabakh bolt still remains,
    though Russia almost lost in 2008, as the actions plan in South
    Ossetia was a global nature. In fact, Russia lost in that war,
    but gained a tactical victory, as it had formed the image of force
    at the post-Soviet territory, which can always put tanks forward
    and nobody can confront them, as all the talks about NATO, UN,
    etc. are fiction. After that Moscow started forcing the Karabakh
    conflict settlement, as a result of which the "Madrid principles"
    appeared and the only disagreement was regarding the peace-keepers
    in Karabakh. All that lasted for a month. Then more sober times have
    come and it became clear that as a result of its activeness Moscow
    may lose its last "bolt" after which it will lose Armenia as an ally,
    and water found its own level.

    We have spoken about the interests of Russia and the West. Let us
    speak about the interests of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh being the
    main tools on maintaining the status-quo...

    The Nagorno Karabakh conflict has always been a dual factor for
    Armenia: on one hand, it retarded the republic's development, on the
    other - it was a trump ace indicating Armenia's global importance for
    the whole world. Moreover, after the NKR small people won the war
    in 1994, Karabakh turned into a very influential unit in the whole
    Caucasus, being primarily a motherland of small peoples. Noteworthy,
    after the Karabakh Armenians, naturally, with the support of Armenia,
    won the war with Azerbaijan, that allowed the latter to bawl of the
    Armenian aggression about the whole world, the US Congress passed the
    907th amendment envisaging imposition of sanctions against Azerbaijan
    but not Armenia. after all this, the Caucasus peoples traced such an
    aerobatic flying in this which they did not even see from Israel waging
    war with Arabs. In total, this should play in favour of implementation
    of a long-time idea of creating a unified Caucasus. The region has
    always had great economic and cultural possibilities, at least for
    Armenians. Successful activity of Armenians in Tbilisi and Baku
    dramatically confirms that the Caucasus has always been a place of
    successful expanding of positive forces and the potential. However,
    it did not happen in virtue of a number of objective and subjective

    Here I would like to ask about the recent statement by Mikheil
    Saakashvili on the necessity of a confederation with Azerbaijan. Is
    it from the same opera? If yes, who is the real director?

    Undoubtedly. The question is who is the client of this opera,
    which naturally suggests itself. The point is that one who can play
    this opera will win. Naturally, making such statement Saakashvili
    just repeated what Georgia had already started in 1992-1993 when it
    suggested creating a "Caucasian Community" naturally with involvement
    of the West. However, at the same time Armenia started the same game
    with involvement of Russia but quite independently. In this light, the
    process was rather intensive up to 1993 until US Assistant Secretary
    of State Talbot visited Armenia and after intensive pressing by
    Americans in the political and information sphere Armenia had to
    refuse the Caucasian policy and the idea of integrating the Caucasus.

    However, the idea of integration is still progressive and the leader of
    Georgia, a country that has considered itself a European country since
    1993, made quite an opposite statement. Moreover, mass media did not
    trace what Saakashvili meant in reality. Actually only confederative
    unity of Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia, South Ossetia
    and Nagorny Karabakh is possible today. This will resolve all the
    conflicts, if the Caucasian peoples act independent of super powers.

    From: A. Papazian