Dr. Armen Ayvazyan’s presentation at the British Parliament (House of Commons) on May 9, 2016
One of the most prominent Armenian historians and political scientists, and formerly an Acting Head of the Armenian Delegation to the CSCE (now OSCE) in Vienna (1993-94), has reignited the contentious debate over the geopolitical future and sustainability of the current security model pertaining to Armenia and the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Dr Armen Ayvazyan, Director of the Ararat Center for Strategic Research, said that Armenia’s demographic and economic crisis as well as Russia’s inconsistent policy towards Armenia are impacting on the latter’s ability to disentangle from the war of attrition waged by Azerbaijan.
“The attempted Azerbaijani blitzkrieg in Nagorno-Karabakh has clearly failed. Immediately after the end of the “Four Day War” of April 2-5 2016, Azerbaijan has changed its tactics and started a campaign of waging a war of attrition. However, whether the conflict turns into a full-scale war or remains at the current low level of intensity, its final outcome is far from being certain. Baku’s choice of a military solution could explode the whole region, with the potential direct involvement of Russia, Turkey, NATO, and Iran,” Dr Ayvazyan said.
The four day war between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan in April exposed, according to Dr Ayvazyan, the fragility of the status quo, OSCE’s failures and its inability to reach a successfully negotiated outcome with the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan. In addition, it emphasised the strategic importance of the Armenian-controlled territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh for the defense, existential security and viability of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Armenia.
“The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is not only about the realization of the self-determination rights of its population, but also about the survival and long-term security of modern Armenia, which represents the de-facto united Republics of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh on an area covering 42,000 sq. km. As shown by the past quarter century, this is the minimum area for the Armenian nation to exist, semi-surrounded by hostile states which are allied together – the states of Turkey and Azerbaijan. Losing even a small part of this territory can irrevocably destroy the military balance in favor of Azerbaijan, thus jeopardizing the very existence of the Armenian state. On the other hand, the present 42,000 sq. km may prove an insufficient safeguard against Baku’s plans of war and ethnic cleansing. Consequently, the Armenian strategy of countering wide-scale Azerbaijani aggression will by necessity have to include expansion of the Armenian-controlled territories, thus effectively containing Azerbaijan’s offensive capabilities.”
Dr Ayvazyan underlined the significance of recent developments for Armenia’s security and the need for a resolution, particularly when taking into consideration on-going events on the regional stage, the absolute need for security guarantees, defensible borders and effective diplomacy within the overall context of international relations.
Dr Ayvazyan gave a series of talks on the April War in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia’s security constants at the British Parliament and SOAS, London University and Armenian House in Kensington, London. The talks, which attracted fairly wide and varied audiences, focused on the geostrategic aspects of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the objectives of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc regarding Armenia and the Russian-Western geopolitical games vying for influence over Armenia.
ADLP UK Branch