Friday, 02 October 2020

E Editorial

Our Region and Our Unformed Interests

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There are important geopolitical processes going on around Armenia which will be decisive for the future of our large region and certainly, for us.  It is difficult to assess to what extent the current authorities of Armenia understand this, because such views are not publicly expressed.  Moreover, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has stated that Armenia will not pursue a policy based on conflict of geopolitical interests of the countries.  It is difficult to understand what Pashinyan means, but it is clear that the political leadership, regardless of its position, cannot completely bypass the dictates of geopolitics.

US experts have circulated the political term Greater Middle East that groups together various countries of that region.  They believe, in the near future, this is where major changes will take place and some are already in the process.  New maps are being drawn where new states are emerging and others appear as fragmented or obliterated.

By referring to the Greater Middle East region, the experts consider the Arabian Peninsula, the southern part of the Mediterranean Sea, the Caspian Sea, as well as the South Caucasus, Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan.  It is not difficult to notice that in the center of this boiling pot are the three countries of the South Caucasus - Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Georgia aspires to become an EU member and join the NATO, but the future of Turkey, the main NATO operator in the region, is uncertain.  For the first time, the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have imposed sanctions including on military cooperation, on their member state Turkey.  And the EU enlargement process is being replaced by a compression process - the UK is leaving the EU and the entry of new members is frozen

Azerbaijan seeks deep integration with Turkey and, consequently, complicates its cooperation with the West, while Russia, despite claims of strategic partnership, has no confidence in Azerbaijan.

In spite of the “democratic revolution,” Armenia is actually deepening its military ties with Russia (sending a military unit to Syria), considering it a defense step against Turkey and Azerbaijan.

As we can see, not only in the large region but also in the South Caucasus, the geopolitical situation is fluid and sometimes unpredictable.

The tectonic changes, that are taking place in the region, have been at the center of world politics.  If Europe was the main stage of World War I and World War II, today the main battle ground is in our region.

The processes in Syria, Iraq, Libya, the attempt to unite the Turkic world, initiatives to create a united political establishment, the unresolved continued conflict in Artsakh, and the developments around Iran keep the region as a hotbed of tension.

The major players in these regions are Russia, Iran, Turkey, China, Saudi Arabia, the United States, which are competing with each other.  A tactical alliance is being formed yet the aforementioned remain to have conflicting interests.  The other, smaller countries are trying to outline their interests.

Religious, ethnic issues, as well as the opening of new trade routes, new oil and gas pipelines or operations to block them are important factors.  This is a brief description of our current explosive region.

What is happening in Syria will definitely have an impact on that competition, and our small region, the South Caucasus, cannot remain oblivious to that process.  In this context, the uncertainty of Armenia's foreign policy becomes especially problematic.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

Yerznkian 75, 0033
Yerevan, Armenia


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The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the Center.

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