BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:30 P.M.) – After a great escalation of events in the Karabakh region on the political and military arenas, Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised the world by announcing that an agreement had been reached between Azerbaijan and Armenia to stop the ongoing conflict over a period of six weeks.
Just a few days after the signing of the ceasefire agreement, Turkey announced the it was send its military forces to Azerbaijan, a move which caused apprehension inside of Armenia due to Ankara’s staunch support of Baku during the conflict.
Meanwhile, a group of French senators submitted a draft resolution urging Paris to recognize the independence of the Karabakh region, and although the decisions of the Senate are not binding, they reflect France’s support for Armenia, which was translated by French President Macron to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Reigniting the conflict
While Russia is trying to extinguish the fires that have been raging for nearly a month and a half in the Caucasus region, each of the other players is seeking to gain a foothold from this conflict, which may lead to its flare up again, says a lecturer at the Institute of International Relations at Nizhny Novgorod University in Russia, Amir Al-Deeb.
“Turkey does not want to ignite the conflict. Rather, it only wants to reap the results that were achieved after the success of the Azerbaijani army in ‘liberating’ areas – according to the Azerbaijanis – which were considered ‘occupied’ by the Armenians, and France of course does not accept this solution completely, because it sees itself as an important country and an active party in this crisis, especially since France is a member of the Minsk group for resolving this crisis, but for some reason it was set aside and was not included in these negotiations,” Deeb said.
Al-Deeb continues: “Therefore, France is completely dissatisfied with the fact that only Russia and Turkey are the two supporters of this agreement, and if we look at President Putin’s speech on November 17th, he talked about this matter and recognized the French and American role, but there was no time to involve them in this process, because the main goal of the Russian leadership was to stop the bloodshed in this war, but France and the United States, through the Minsk Group, are expected to participate in a future solution to this crisis.”
Russian political analyst and journalist Yuri Svetov spoke also spoke to Sputnik, saying that “the truth is that there are a large number of Armenians in France for a long time, and they have had a great influence on politics there, and on the eve of the presidential elections in France there is a great struggle over voters.”
Svetov adds: “There is a second thing, that France’s sympathy with Armenia at the state level has deep roots as well. France was one of the first countries to recognize the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the twentieth century.”
The interest of external parties
Regarding the interests and gains that France and Turkey want to achieve at the expense of the conflict that Russia has succeeded in stopping, hoping to finally resolve it in the future, Deeb says:
“France sees Turkey as its strategic enemy, and is not satisfied with the successes it has achieved, whether in the Middle East or the Eastern Mediterranean, or even in the Caucasus region in the recent period, so France has its interest to stop the Turkish expansion in these areas, and we do not forget of course the Balkans because Turkey is moving effectively in the recent period there and you also want to destabilize there through the so-called Greater Albania.”
He continues: “On the other side, Turkey, through its support for Azerbaijan, wants to have a foothold in the Caucasus and in Central Asia, and has dreams, not to say the Ottoman state, but to establish the Greater Turan State, through which it wants to have influence from the Iranian borders, and even parts of Iran to reach parts of China and the regions where Uyghurs live, Central Asia and of course the Caucasus.”
Deeb adds: “Of course, because all of these countries speak Turkish and want to have a union or some state that includes all Turkish speakers, and this matter is really evident, through the Turkish Speakers Organization, which we see its great activity in the recent period.”
Impact on the agreement
Whether the intervention by France and Turkey might lead to re-igniting the conflict again, Deeb believes that the interests of the two sides could derail the Russian agreement: “But the Russian leadership sees cooperation with the Turks as a common interest, and that cooperation that took place in Syria can be restored But frankly, I do not understand the cooperation that took place in Syria.”
Deeb continues: “We always see failures in all the agreements that have been concluded between Turkey and Russia in northern Syria, as all agreements have been breached by the Turkish side in particular, but as for Karabakh, I do not think that there will be any impact, because the presence of Russian peacekeepers will ensure that there are no breach of this agreement.
As for the Russian journalist Yuri Svetov, he believes that the French decision may not have much of an effect, and explains: “It is logical that the endorsement nature of the decision does not oblige the President of France or the government to anything. But it can be made mandatory at any time.”
He concludes: “But it cannot be excluded that with this step France might try to influence other countries, especially European ones, to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, and after all it requires recognition from neighbors and major regional players, and there is no guarantee that Paris itself is ready to tolerate such obligations.”