Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 17-23 Oct.: Press the refresh button

It's weeks, if not two full months, that on daily basis Azerbaijani authorities blame "Armenians" of violaions of the cease-fire.
This week, in connection with military exercises in Karabakh, it was claimed a massive violation of 260 episodes dated back to the previous days.
Minsk Group mission is keeping the situation under observation, but clearly all these allegations, may they be proved to be baseless or not, are the evidence that something is going on.
If the exchange of fire is indeed daily and to mentioned extent, it means that the cease-fire is no longer working and that the situation is turning from a "frozen" conflict to a low intensity one.

In such a case, it could be the right moment to re-discuss the terms of the cease-fire and include in a new negotiation provisions about separation of forces and de-militarized areas. Due to conflicting regional interests, most probably talking about an international monitoring mission is rather premature. Anyway, the present tools to prevent an escalation of the conflict appear right now not enough, and it's high time to press the refresh button before it's really too late.

On the opposite, the cease-fire keeps working in Georgian disputed territories. Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism is effective. A positive example which shouldn't be ruled out for the Karabakh case, with all the needed variants.
On the 21st the most shaky IPRM - the Ossetian-Georgian one - took place and
"The participants discussed recent incidents and circumstances of detentions that took place at or close to the Administrative Boundary Line. Safety measures of agricultural workers in the adjacent areas were discussed in detail, as well as methods of facilitating freedom of movement. The participants touched upon issues of a humanitarian nature, such as the implementation of water and gas projects in the region." (

Refresh button for the Georgian opposition, as well?
After the failure of Alasania in being a popular alternative to Saakashvili, another name may emerge. And as in the case of Alasania, he's winning the attention of international media probably much more than of national ones. So far Bidzina Ivanishvili is gaining spaces in the domestic media in connection with his negotiations with opposition leaders (and the tense relations with the Labour Party). He is referred to as the billionaire, or the tycoon by Rustavi2. Not a promising start.
If he hopes to win the hearts and minds of Georgians by next year elections, he will need to do much more than just being returned his Georgian citizenship.

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