The South Caucasus region having a relatively not large territory, unfortunately, has a high density of conflicts. At once three hotspots – Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh, where the tensions have repeatedly grown into armed clashes.
Peace in this region has always been fragile, with the conflicting sides having drastic discrepancies. Therefore, the military cooperation of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey bordering with the region has caught the attention of the world community.
This cooperation develops dynamically and is due to grow into a peculiar tripartite alliance. The political goals of Turkey and Azerbaijan are clear. The mental congeniality of the two countries enabled their ruling elites to announce a slogan “one nation – two states.” As for Georgia, it appears to be a link between the two countries of the one nation due to its geographical location. The major ideological task of the country is to explain its neighbors and the entire world that such cooperation does not pose a threat to anyone.
Vasil Sikharulidze, Chairman of the Atlantic Council of Georgia, has come out with a statement on the issue, when commenting on the trilateral meetings of the defense ministers of Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Under President Saakashvili, Sikharulidze was the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Georgia to U.S., Canada and Mexico. In December 2008, he was recalled to Georgia to replace David Kezerashvili on the post of the defense minister. Winning the “battles with businesspersons” and seizing their businesses, Kezerashvili failed to implement his direct responsibilities during the August war of 2008.
Today Vasil Sikharildze says: “The trilateral cooperation has never been aimed against anyone and all the sides agree with this. Partnership is aimed at the defense of important facilities and infrastructures.”
Actually, the head of the Atlantic Council forgot the fundamental truth that does not needs proofs. Combining efforts in the military field is senseless unless there is a common enemy to fight against. A military cooperation is always aimed against someone.
The former ambassador and former defense minister says the military cooperation of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey is not aimed against Armenia. In the meantime, Armenia and Azerbaijan are actually in the state of undeclared war over Nagorno-Karabakh, and Turkey has no diplomatic relations with Armenia and it has been deliberately blocking its borders for the third decade already.
In this light, the statements by the chairman of the Atlantic Council of Georgia resemble the Atlantic logic. For many years NATO has been explaining the need to deploy air defense systems near the Russian border with Iran’s mythical missiles allegedly threatening Europe.
By this logic, Russia could explain the strengthening of the missile group in Kaliningrad region with the need to defend the country against the Somalia pirates. The West has made a deal with Iran, but the air defense systems are being actively deployed, though there is no reason for that, even a formal one.
Defense of infrastructures is an important thing, of course, but who they are looking to defend those facilities against? Do they anticipate any meteorites to fall or aliens to come?
Vasil Sikharulidze says: “The Baku – Tbilisi – Ankara cooperation develops mostly in the field of energy, transport and trade. It is very important for the economic development of Georgia. It upgrades the stability in the region and brings to naught Georgia’s energy dependence on Russia. I rule out that the development of this cooperation may have political impacts that run contrary to Georgia’s fundamental interests, such as security and stability in the region, first and foremost.”
After such words, the fog is thinning. It turns out that the key danger comes from Russia that is ready to destroy important infrastructures at any moment.
Needless to recall that during the past years, the gas pipelines supplying Armenia from Russia via the territory of Georgia were blown up for several dozens of times. Meantime, no sabotage attacks have been ever made on the transport arteries of Georgia. No one blew up the gas or oil pipelines, no one derailed trains, no one attacked gas or electricity stations, no one bombed ports and railway stations. It is not clear why they call as energy independence the shift from the dependence on one country to another.
The Atlantic logic is in full play.
We can see how new members of NATO are in fear and asking their senior allies to protect them against Russia’s inevitable attack. Here is a brilliant opportunity to deploy new NATO troops on the border of the Russian Federation out of noble-minded and humane consideration. Russia’s aggression towards NATO has become a propaganda cliché. They justify everything they do with the Russian threat. Meantime, it is NATO not Russia that has expanded several kilometers into the East creating a situation similar to the one in June of 1941.
Vasil Sikharulidze says the Karabakh conflict is a threat to the security and stability in the South Caucasus, as it has been impeding the regional cooperation for more than 20 years already and affecting the development of all the countries in the South Caucasus.
“I hope the conflict will not flare up in the future. It runs contrary to the interests of all the countries in the region and may affect the development of the region. I think that the peaceful, political solution to the conflict can be achieved by the combined efforts of the sides and the world community,” Sikharulidze says.
The words about the peaceful resolution of the conflict are right, but it appears that the former minister did not hear Azerbaijan’s official statements on the military settlement of the issue and Turkey’s stance on the given issue. The entire world knows that Erdogan’s clan instigated Azerbaijan’s military attack in April 2016. Doesn’t it seem to Sikharulidze that the four-day war in April became possible not only because Azerbaijan spent billions of dollars on army to get a military prevalence, but also because it relied on the support of its allies in the region.
But for all this, no large-scale clashes would happen perhaps and there would be no bloodshed. The situation would be left unchanged… Is this the very stability and security they pursue? In fact, to achieve peace and security, it is necessary to abandon the Atlantic logic.
By Irakli Chkheidze for EADaily