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Gayaz Validi: Who is trying to plunge Caucasus into war?

The strange mutiny in Turkey preceded a not less strange and unclear revolt in Armenia. It may seem that these two events are tenuously connected, though the rioters in Yerevan – they demanded resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan and opposed any concessions on Nagorno-Karabakh - and the mutineers in Turkey pursued certain anti-Russian position. Anyway, the conclusions from the outcomes of the recent events in both the countries are scaring: the Caucasus region is turning into a battlefield of a large-scale war.

First, let us look into the new reality in Turkey after the strange mutiny: the domestic instability runs high, the country’s ‘tomorrow’ is obscure, and the conflict between the military and Erdogan will be stable until Erdogan manages to bring up a new generation of military of all ranks. The relations with Russia are improving nominally, amid nominally deteriorating relations with Europe and U.S. However, there is more semblance than the reality here (look at Turkey’s information troops that are taught anti-Russian war technologies in Ukraine and the Baltic States). And there is an acknowledged truth – nothing can unite the empire better than the existence of a dangerous external enemy.

In this light, the “Kurdish calm” can be perceived differently. Kurds that are a perfect choice for the role of the external enemy for entire Turkey have actually calmed down and their terrorist activity that reached the peak before the strange mutiny has died away. Erdogan is no longer able to create an enemy from Russia. An aggressive dispute with Europe is too costly, while opposing U.S. is like a suicide for Erdogan. So what can he do? Let’s return to the events in Armenia.

Everything is obscure here too: it is very hard to imagine a country where armed people take hostages, fire at police officers, but avoid being stormed, get a soft response and dialogue from the authorities, along with calls for “maximum soft punishment for the guys.” Rioters blame the authorities of Armenia for ignoring Armenia’s interests in the Karabakh conflict and this thesis is widely supported by the population of the country that takes the street in support of the rioters, who are in fact terrorists (a seizure of hostages by armed people along with murders cannot be called differently by any legislation).

Whatever the outcome, Yerevan (the formal ‘victory’ over rioters is of no importance any longer) will inevitably toughen its stance on Karabakh, since this is easier and more demonstrative than a drastic reform to improve the economic situation in the country. Here it is necessary to recall that Azerbaijan has its own problems too, as the country depends on the sliding prices of the energy resources, while the Karabakh conflict is a good reason for Ilham Aliyev to rally the people around the flag. The war in Nagorno-Karabakh is in favor of the Azerbaijani authorities like Erdogan.

What will such war lead to? It will distract the attention from a range of economic problems. Yet, unleashing a ‘small regional’ conflict in the Caucasus to overshadow economic problems is like stoking the fire in a powder depot to warm up. The Karabakh issue will become a beginning of a big fire that may burn those who tried to warm up on it and those who were just close to it.

Another war far from Europe so far and at a respectful distance from U.S. is a brief description of a conflict that seems inevitable and “links” the strange riots in Armenia and Turkey. Russia will have to interfere into that conflict too. Moscow may be even blamed for “trying to benefit” from it, as the armies of Armenia and Azerbaijan are supplied with Russian arms. Yet, Caucasus in flames will lead Russian into troubles in its own territory, which will cost it colossal forces and means (it will hardly manage to ‘liquidate such fire’ with money amid sliding oil prices).

While Russia is fighting Daesh (still the major terrorist threat in the world), the Caucasus region will turn into a new foothold for the radicals and terrorists. Spillover of such threats from Central Asia into Europe is a matter of time. There will be no winners in the conflict, as war is not a good method to save the collapsing economy. Russia and Turkey will be torn between the fake partnership and direct military confrontation again. Europe will at least feel scared about facing a new wave of migrants and receiving “a piece of that war.” Moscow will find itself surrounded with conflicts from all sides: NATO, Syria, Ukraine, Caucasus…Central Asia.

Only Washington will suddenly gain from all this: Europe will become more amenable, Russia will be distracted, the conflict will be far away and a chance will emerge to strengthen its positions if anything changes in geopolitics of the conflicting sides. Furthermore, there are no direct proofs that U.S. is behind this all: everything starts with strange riots following each other in Kiev and Tbilisi, Cairo and Damascus, Istanbul and Yerevan. U.S. as usually benefits from all the large-scale conflicts in the world.

Gayaz Validi

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