Secrets of the Four-Day Karabakh War
Another important issue is that, the negative effect of these small scale clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia is not only related to the American energy projects. If Azerbaijan responds to the provocations of Armenians and fails to maintain a controlled war strategy or in other words, if the situation gets out of control and a full scale war starts; Moscow may put pressure on both sides to enforce a Russian Peacekeeping Force in Karabakh. That may be dangerous for both Armenia and Azerbaijan. By intervening in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in this way Russia would become more and more influential in the area. These three parties in Minsk Group (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh) would decline in importance in the region that is already under Russian influence, and would eventually become totally in the Kremlin's control.
Following these developments, Russia has been increasingly active in solving the Nagorno-Karabakh problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia. After the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Azerbaijan many important messages had been issued. The first message following Azerbaijan visit of Lavrov was the following: “Azerbaijan is not a member of Collective Security Treaty Organization and Eurasian Economic Union. I hope this can change.” The second: “As the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is determined, regions around the crisis zone may be given back to Azerbaijan.” It is known that Azerbaijan has always been against that kind of solution. Azerbaijan rather prefers gradual solution to the problem. These comments clearly have a purpose of assuring Azerbaijan's membership to Collective Security Treaty Organization. After this guarantee is ensured, it is possible to proceed with the principles suggested to Azerbaijan and Armenia by Russia in Kazan in 2011. They will go back to a gradual solution with establishment of Russian peacekeepers. That is why Lavrov emphasized principles of solutions, in particular, suggested by Dmitry Medvedev.
August 8th of 2008, (8/8/2008) is a significant date as a reminder of Georgia example to Azerbaijan and Armenia (it is the date of placement of Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia). It is a process that Azerbaijan saw how Russia showed a “knee jerk reaction” against a small scale clash. Therefore, both countries should question whether Russian peacekeepers ensure permanent peace or not. Nagorno-Karabakh process should be brought back to the table together with OSCE Minsk members and it is necessary to be careful not to leave it to complete Russian control.
Orhan Gafarli a Political Risk Analyst at the Ankara Political Center and also is a contributor analyst at The Jamestown Foundation. He is a PhD candidate of International Relations at Ankara University. Gafarli completed his MA in International Relations at the International School for Caucasus Studies at Ilia State University. He is an author of the book entitled Eurasian Quandary.