Monday, April 30, 2012

Week 22-29 April: Back to earth

In the last two weeks there was not a single day without a violation of the ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In the last days, violations resulted in casualties.
Incidents are recorded non only along the former administrative boundary line of Karabakh, but also on the border between the two states.
When the Karabakh war erupted, more than twenty years ago, something was different: there was not the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) yet, and Armenia and Azerbaijan were under the same umbrella.

Things have changed since then. Armenia belongs to CSTO and Azerbaijan is not aligned.
In case of aggression, Armenia would most probably call for the protection of the Organization.
The key question is if this low intensity conflict will turn into an open war, that is to say, if one of the two - Azerbaijan, which is more interested in changing the status quo - will try and invade Karabakh and strategically useful sites in Armenia.
The escalation seems at present unavoidable.

Still, in May Azerbaijan is hosting Eurovision, so any military action right now should be ruled out.
In September Armenia will host CSTO drills. Again, it would be unwise to start military operations then. Not to mention that Russian ones, Kavkaz 2012, are planned in the same period.
A summer tentative blitz? The new Azerbaijani armory called for a huge investment. Why, if not for a war?

Someone is playing with fire, but most probably someone else is determined to back the player to earth.
Perhaps someone who is investing a lot in a huge event like Olympiads in the Caucasus and who is well aware that a blitz will never be successful in Karabakh.

So to speak, Abkhazians policy took off, as well.
Separatist officials took an extremely tough stance against EUMM head of Mission and - without even the shortest notice - cancelled the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meeting in Gali.

It's clear that De facto President Ankvab is not Bagapsh.
Still, in the last three years IPRM proved to be a very valuable instrument, so pragmatically, it would make sense to land, back to earth... in not to the earth of Gali, as EUMM head of Mission is not "persona non grata", to Ganmukhuri or Zugdidi...

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