GSAC Analytics

Karabakh front. Save face to the Kremlin or “Syrization” the conflict

Karabakh front. Save face to the Kremlin or “Syrization” the conflict

Enough has been said about the fact that many factors “uniquely” coincided for the autumn start of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces operation. Internal political in Yerevan and Baku, geopolitical – around the region and, most importantly, around the long-term, seemingly uncontested “arbiter” of the Karabakh conflict. When the Kremlin, in fact, became hostage to its own long-term policy of destruction and erosion of the international security system (and this is not only about the increased ambitions of Ankara). At the same time, about some kind of surprise, in contrast to April 2016, speech didn’t come close. Rather, the international security environment (the same pandemic) postponed the start of the campaign as much as possible to a critical point, when for a combination of reasons it was pointless and in some way even dangerous to delay for Baku. In my firm belief, the outbreak of hostilities “here and now” was not a revelation for Yerevan, and even more so for its overlord in the Kremlin. However, this did not save the Armenian sides from the current defeat at the front. Looking ahead, I will assume that, by indirect indications, Azerbaijan initially planned to enter, if necessary, into the winter phase of the campaign … The current success of the armed forces of Azerbaijan is due to the totality of components, they have already been discussed far and wide. This is a long-term comprehensive preparation of the armed forces for a specific war in a specific theater of operations, and careful planning of an offensive operation on a wide front, and combat training of troops for specific tasks, training of command personnel at all levels (in particular, in Turkey, in general, according to standards NATO) and so on.

Of course, the systemic rearmament / technological superiority of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, as well as allied support from Turkey, stand apart here. The role of the latter in the light of the “Bayraktar phenomenon” is today somewhat demonized. However, discarding the context of propaganda, we note that in general, the technological superiority of the armaments of the Azerbaijani army was provided for many years by Russia and Israel, Belarus and China, South Africa, of course Turkey, which, however, even now in the field of military-technical cooperation in terms of the volume of contracts is the number one partner for Baku. And if we talk about Turkish “surprises” here, then only in the sense of how Azerbaijan solved the issue of “Bayraktar” for itself. Having provided situational leasing – of both unmanned aerial vehicles and, apparently, Turkish operators (Baku could not push through a political decision on the purchase of Bayraktar for a long time). Emotions and epithets about the “war of the future” are appropriate today strictly because Armenia was preparing for war not “past”, but “before last.” And Yerevan’s claims against Israel and Turkey now sound a) as an element of understatement against the background of silence against Moscow, Beijing or Minsk, b) as a verdict of its own defense strategy, because they are relevant only in light of the fact that Bayraktar and Harop turned out to be it is simply more effective than Wasp, Repellent and other Russian second-hand products. The Kremlin, to the surprise of many, for once is simply losing the “war of the military trade”. The close interaction of the general staffs of Turkey and Azerbaijan can only surprise you by the fact that it still surprises someone else. Yes, Ankara acted as a safeguard against direct intervention by Russia, but this did not become the determining factor in the Azerbaijani-Armenian confrontation directly on the Karabakh front.

Azerbaijan’s successes on the battlefield dictate the agenda for the future settlement. If we leave the current format of confrontation, the de-occupation of the entire territory of Karabakh is a matter of time – the nearest time. Despite the worsening weather conditions.

The Russian “Voentorg” will continue to work, its volumes are still impressive, even if we take only the potential of the warehouses of the 102nd military base in Gyumri. However, in the light of the blocking of communication lines by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, logistics, deployment and use of its potential are paralyzed.

Even in such conditions, Moscow will continue to push through its already annoying “peacekeeping” settlement format. Yerevan, as expected, surrendered to it (at least at the level of the latest official statements of N. Pashinyan), for Azerbaijan it is unacceptable for obvious reasons (if we are talking about the territory of Karabakh, read Azerbaijan). Turkey is also consistently on the side of Baku here. Moscow benefits from the defeat of both sides. The situation with Armenia is clear, with regards to Azerbaijan – we are talking about the “syndrome of high expectations” if Karabakh cannot be completely liberated.

In the event of Baku’s persistent immunity to Moscow’s peacekeeping initiatives, the situation may develop according to two scenarios. The first is the transfer of Karabakh under the control of Baku and the corresponding launch of the peacekeeping process in the context of the restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Here, for the Kremlin, the issue of preserving face is now relevant – in what format, and with what dividends this will happen. I think this is now being actively discussed on the Moscow-Ankara line. There is no unity in the Kremlin on this matter, so the second option is still relevant – the “Syrization” of the Karabakh conflict (the potential of various PMCs is already accumulating) with unpredictable consequences for the region.

Володимир Копчак, (Volodimir Kopchak) comment to Zerkalo.az portal