Azerbaijan’s attempts to escalate the situation at the Armenian border and to create a new reality in the region were all predictable, political scientist Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan told a press conference today. According to him, Azerbaijan has as many as 30 reasons for it, of which three are of greater importance. The first one is linked to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation within this framework.
“Obviously, there is an agreement between the two countries to work jointly to divert the attention of the international community from the Genocide centennial. Indeed, the tension at the border is a proper occasion to have the attention of the international community focused on the matter, and thus upstage the Armenian Genocide issue as a political factor in the South Caucasus,” Melik-Shahnazaryan said.
The second reason is Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which has changed the geopolitical situation in the region from January 1st. “Azerbaijan is well aware that the EEU will become a rather serious factor for Armenia after it becomes fully operational. However, as the EEU is still in the process of disagreements and is unable to clearly protect its economic interests and address all challenges, Azerbaijan is trying to demonstrate that borders of an EEU member state can be under permanent threat of shelling.”
The third factor, according to the political scientist, is that for three years now Azerbaijan has been the “seller of peace” in the region.
“Russia, the US and the EU (in the face of France) are all interested in seeing a stable and predictable South Caucasus. Azerbaijan, in turn, is trying to make them pay for peace, i.e. earn certain dividends by escalating the situation with a view of gaining something instead,” the political scientist said.
According to him, Azerbaijan has this opportunity as far as there are no international restraining mechanisms and as long as it is confident the Armenian side will not launch an assault. “This is where Azerbaijan is mistaken,” Levon Melik Shahnazaryan said, adding that he does not exclude an attack by the Armenian side, referring to earlier statements by Armenian officials.