Monthly Review - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 0:01 - 0 Comments
Digest of Azerbaijani Media for Feb 1-14
by News Digest
The newspaper interviews Vasili Kolmashov, head of the Center on Economic Research at the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements. Kolmashov argues that Russia doesn’t have much of a say in the negotiation process and wont have much impact on the resolution. This is because Russia is currently occupied with its own domestic problems. Kolmashov also believes there is no mutual initiative taking place on neither sides and to expect that initiative come from Russia is impossible due to its internal problems.
On the other hand, Kolmashov also argues of another important factor and that Russia is benefiting from the status quo in the region, as it wants neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan become too strong.
Recently, an Armenian “Heritage” political party, proposed a bill at the Armenian National Parliament to recognize Azerbaijani crimes committed towards Armenians between 1988 and 1994 as genocide. In Azerbaijan, a local parliament member, Musa Qasimli sees this move as a way to deviate international attention not to mention cover up for the actual genocide committed by the Armenians towards Azerbaijanis. In reality, it was Armenia who was the aggressor; it occupied its territories, committed a genocide against Azerbaijanis and turned Azerbaijanis into refugees says Qasimli.
Political scientists, speaks of the ethnic make of Karabakh and its settlement with Armenians referring to the events back 1913. He strongly criticized Armenia and its current position reminding him of a dog sleeping in the shadow or a rock, thinking that the shadow is its own. Alizade says that time has passed and that today is no longer the same as it was back in the day. Russia wont support Armenia in case of war outbreak says political scientists and that it will have to fight on its own.
(RFE/RL) Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service
This concern was raised by the head of the Presidential Apparatus’ Political- Social issues department, Ali Hasanov during a press conference with journalists. Hasanov, while commenting on the involvement of international organizations in the resolution of NK, said, these institutions refuse to pressure Armenia despite it being violator of international norms. According to Hasanov, while international organizations say they support Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity they fail to demonstrate any will in helping Azerbaijan reach this premise.
Eldar Sabiroglu, head of the press relations at the Ministry of Defense, said ICG’s overall report was not objective. Sabiroglu accused the organization for speaking of results and perspectives rather than focusing on actual reasons that led to conflict. Adding, that Azerbaijan knows better of its future.
According to Sabirogly, the report contains game of words and that more efforts should be made by international organizations on calling occupant Armenia to free the occupied territories. Otherwise, dangerous situation in the region is inevitable and this will only lead to war.
Emin Eritsyan, head of the Armenian delegation at the Congress of Local and Regional Powers in EU, in a press statement he gave in Baku said that it’s important for both sides to work together over dialogue. Eritsyan mentioned joint work carried out by the NGOs of both countries and emphasized creating such dialogue on government level.
Day.az interviewed Aleksandr Karavayev, expert from the Russian Center on Learning Socio- political processes on post- Soviet spectrum.
According to the expert, the war is possible especially given how much its discussed publicly in the media including in Russia too. There are different variations of war scenarios that are out there. One of such scenarios involves Armenia starting the war and provoking Azerbaijan. However, whether its going to happen this year, that is something harder to say, perhaps in the course of the next few years is what makes more sense. Similarly Azerbaijan too could be the first one to start, provoking Armenia. To predict timing for this would be also impossible.
In his interview, Karavayev also speaks of the role OSCE Minks Group and its lack of effectiveness.
This article reiterates the position of French Senate member, Nathalie Goulet, who in her interview with the newspaper, made it clear that France’s position on NK conflict is clear- Armenia must return these lands in accordance with the international law. Senate member also mentioned the work carried out by the Armenian Diaspora especially in other state institutions in France. However she notes, this should not be a problem given the truth is on Azerbaijan’s side and to increase awareness of NK Azerbaijan should voice its international declarations.
Another member of French Senate [February 9, ENG], Andre Ville stressed the importance of the resolution of the conflict through peaceful means, based on principles of international law, political negotiations, and not with violence. And much of the work rests on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as OSCE MINSK GROUP is limited in its opportunities. They can only express one common position; none of the co- chairs can state their position individually. Senate member also mentioned Armenian Diaspora and active work carried out in France however, France’s position remains unchanged.
Director of the Caucasus Institute Aleksandr Iskandaryan while on one hand expressing his appreciation for the recent report that came out on February 8th by ICG also notes its lack of analytical perspective. According to Iskandaryan, Armenia and Azerbaijan have armies and a war can only happen if these armies are ordered to do so. Iskandrayan says that he thought the report meant to justify currently popular rhetoric that war is possible. However he also added that such reports are important when it comes to keeping attention on NK in the world.
In an interview to an online newspaper Trend.az, head of the Political Analysis and Information Center under Presidential Administration, Elnur Aslanov spoke of the successful report prepared by the International Crisis Group on Karabakh. Aslanov found it relatively sizeable and at times balanced. However, Aslanov also noted that unless Azerbaijani territories are not freed, peace and stability in this region won’t be possible. Aslanov’s criticism of the report was visible when he spoke of the territorial integrity notion, calling on the ICG in addition to a number of raised priority questions to include principles of international law, especially principal of territorial integrity. Aslanov found focus on just facts insufficient.
Aslanov also reiterated Azerbaijan’s position- provide security of Karabakh Armenians within the territorial integrity framework and within the international guarantees; create conditions for economic well- being and cultural development. Unfortunately said Aslanov, for Armenian government, Karabakh is the reason it came to power, and resolution of this conflict, will result in eventual loss of power.
(RFE/RL) Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service
Arif Yunus, conflict specialist, says, recent report released by ICG is a message for us- Armenians and Azerbaijanis- that the West is concerned about Karabakh and that leaders from both states must carry certain reforms with regard to the negotiation and resolution process. However, Yunus notes, that is highly unlikely that the leaders would follow this line.
Yunus also spoke of certain compromises that already exist between the two countries- Armenia’s purchasing oil via Georgia, or that Armenian flights use air corridor given over Ganja.
On the other hand, the likelihood of war is rather questionable. This argument was raised by the head of “Doktrina” Military Research Center, Cesur Surmerin. According to Sumerin while military spending might be growing, salaries of military servicemen only increased by 10%. And this is where Yunus and Surmerin agree, as the two believe that if there is a sense in carrying out successful military operation, then salaries of servicemen must be raised, a professional army created, reforms should be carried with military exercise.
This article refers to a statement made by parliament member and member of “Heritage” political party Larisa Alaverdyan with regard to recent report released by International Crisis Group on Karabakh. According to Alaverdyan, the report highlights that apart from antinationalist policy, Armenian authorities are also passive and its diplomatic mission is failing reaching any ground because of its silence, which based on Alaverdyan’s words are signals of acceptance. Parliament member is concerned that similar stance is followed in Turkey- Armenia protocols too.
In a meeting with OSCE co- chairs, minister of defense, Safar Abiyev, said Azerbaijan had a full right in preparing itself for de- occupation of its territories given that any country would have done the same. He also noted however, that Azerbaijan is still hopeful with regard to OSCE Minsk group involvement in this conflict even though no concrete results have been obtained. Abiyev, also gave few examples from recent past when conflicts were resolved though existing international measures unfortunately none of which been used in Azerbaijan’s case.
The article notes Edvard Nalbandyan’s statement made during a press conference dedicated to the recent report released by the International Crisis Group. During this press- conference, Minister, said that the report written in the form of expert opinion does not coincide what the reality of the situation. Nalbandyan voiced his concern that instead of the ICG, it’s the decision and an opinion of the OSCE Minsk Group that should be considered as they are the ones who are not only familiar with the evolution of the negotiation process but also are familiar with the current state of relations.
Political scientists, Vafa Quluzade, in an interview with Day.az spoke of recent WikiLeak document reporting on growing number of Armenians leaving their homes. According to Quluzade, this is normal, given serious economic implications affecting Armenia. Quluzade noted that unless Armenia starts co-operating with its neighbors- Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey- its current tough conditions will continue. And Russia won’t help Armenia. Another option he says, is Iran, but he also adds, that Tehran right now is way over its head in international economic restraints.
In a more ironic statement, Quluzade says that if this continues- Armenians continue to leave Armenia- there will be no one left there and it will be easier to resolve NK by peaceful means.
Following their visits to Baku and Yerevan, OSCE Minks Group co- chairs came to the above-mentioned decision- take decision action in resolving NK. Co- chairs called on the parties to the conflict to make more progress in the negotiation process especially by restraining much of war rhetoric that is currently taking place in both countries.
Refuting claims released by the Armenian Ministry of Defense that Azerbaijan too is violating the line of ceasefire, spokesman for Azerbaijan Defense Ministry said Armenia violated the ceasefire over 20 times in the past 10 days. The latter accused Armenian Minister of Defense with lying and making baseless statements not to mention Armenian Minister trying to deceive the co- chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group during their visit.
(RFE/RL) Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service
Head of the International relations Department at the Presidential Administration, Nvoruz Mammadov says right now, Azerbaijan is waiting for Armenia to accept proposals laid out at the negotiation table. In fact, this is what OSCE Minsk Group is busy doing. Azerbaijan has been at the negotiation table for years now and given no concrete results, Mammadov says its natural for the country’s President claim return of occupied territories through military means.
In an interview, parliament member and also YAP’s (Ruling Azerbaijan Party) Deputy Secretary Mubariz Qurbanli, spoke about upcoming OSCE evaluation report. Qurbanli, noted importance of the report when talking about current re- settlement of occupied territories by Armenians and demolition of historically valuable monuments on these territories. Parliament member mentioned production of drugs on the occupied territories as well which contradicts international norms and laws.
Viktor Yakubyan comments on recent statements made by the deputy of “Heritage” party, Ruben Akopyan. On February 9th, Akopyan called for all Karabakh Armenians holding high positions in Armenia to return to Karabakh. Such call for action, says Yakubyan, overshadows the actual problem- the conflict and its resolution- and deviates from reaching concrete results regarding the conflict. Division of Armenians based on their origin- Karabakh, Gyumri, Aparan- means initiating civil unrest and nothing more. This also means that Akopyan is holding against the idea of future integration of Armenians with separatist Nagorno- Karabakh.
What should be dealt with instead is corruption, clan- like system and nepotism rather than holding people against each other based on their language or place of birth.
According to Yakubyan, loyalty towards such orators like Akopyan is the first and most important sign of the weakening and future failure of Armenian state and the nation.
The article is an interview with International Crisis Group Analyst, Tabib Huseynov on recent ICG report on Karabakh.
According to Huseynov, with little attention given to the conflict and further ignorance, it is likely that war may erupt. These conclusions were based on overall evaluation of recent developments with regard to the conflict. Clashes on the border intensified, negative rhetoric increased, new weapons, different tactics, all in one way or another negatively affects the resolution process of the conflict. While report notes that no fall out will take place in the immediate future, a likelihood of an accidental war is relatively high. The above- mentioned trends might have a triggering effect and an accidental spark on the front line might turn into a full- blow war.
Huseynov also noted that no solution imposed from an outside actor can hold unless it is accepted and supported by the sides to the conflict, which means that ultimately it is Azerbaijan and Armenia who will need to come to resolution not another third party.
Ideally, the sides would need to sign basic principles agreement according to which, the two sides would gradually begin public debate- shifting public opinion. This in fact, is one of immediate steps that should be taken, given further delay, implies further embodiment of radical voices within both of the communities.
Ilgar Mammadov, co- founder of Republican Alternative movement (AL) speaks of alternatives to current stalemate reached at the negotiation table between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
One of the first and considered to be most important alternatives says Mammadov is to propose placement of peacekeeping forces on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This would enable direct dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenian without Azerbaijan’s current demand to withdraw Armenian troops from the occupied territories.
Instead of Armenia, it is going to be the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of the former NK Autonomous Region sitting at a table of negotiations.
Mammadov, further suggests other propositions for the people of NK, regarding their transportation and etc.
Similarly with ICG report conclusions, Richard Giragosian, director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies believes that while 2010 was in itself a very destructive year in terms of negotiation process, 2011, will be an even greater danger year, but not in a form of a full- blown war, but rather in a “war by accident”. Giragosian notes that Azerbaijan’s new war threat rhetoric makes the negotiation process only more fragile and volatile. It is likely he says, the situation become even worse before it becomes any better.
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