4:41 pm - Wednesday June 28, 2017

France has little strategic interest in the Caucasus

Caucasus region 1994 300x230 France has little strategic interest in the CaucasusInterview News.Az with James Dingley, expert on conflicts, terrorism and political violence, Cybernos Associates (UK).

How the Azerbaijani membership to the UN Security Council may help (if may) the Karabakh settlement?

This can be a two edged sword. On the one hand you may be able to influence opinion to put pressure on a resolution, but only if you go about it in the right way. The world is full of similar conflicts and every country thinks its own conflict the most important and wants to bring it to the top of the agenda. If Azerbaijan tries to rush or push its case on the Council it will only alienate potential friends and allies, more importantly it might even make enemies. Remember, states don’t have friends they have interests, Azerbiajan has to think in terms of what will make major states see it as in their interest to support Azerbaijan.

Here the key thing is not to appear solely concerned with one topic only, i.e Nagorno-Karabakh, but to appear reasonable, level headed and someone who can make a real contribution all round in a very sensible and useful manner. Look at ways to help resolve other conflicts and so establish your credibility as reasonable and useful. This ups your credibility, makes friends and influences people over the longer term – and any resolution will be long term. It would be a mistake to openly use your position on the Councl to pursue your own dispute over N-K.

There is an opinion that possible military invasion to Iran may cause a new war in its neighborhood – between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Karabakh. How real is it?

How much does Azerbaijan want  war? That is part of the answer to your question. The other part is who you think will invade Iran. The US has learnt not to invade anyone new for the time being. Air strikes are a different thing and the US may be prepared to let Israel bomb Iran. Is Armenia ready for another war? OR are you thinking that Azerbaijan will invade Iran?

By the way, how real to you is a war against Iran and what do you think about consequences of it for a whole region?

Any war would have major reprecussions throughout the entire region, not least for Hezbollah/Syria and Israel. Again, I am assuming you are thinking of the US or US led NATO war with Iran, which I don’t think is realistic. Maybe lots of actions, air strikes etc, but no actual invasion. Nor do I think Iran wants to initiate a war, since they do not have the military capability to confront modern weapons and technology, although they may be very provocative at a sub-war level. Israeli airstrikes are a real prospect.

What can you say about Armenian-Turkish rapprochement while Armenian Diaspora don’t decline of “Armenian genocide” company all over the world?

The rapprochement is part of real politic – states have interests not friends. It is convenient to both for geo-strategic purposes, since Armenia is relatively isolated in the region and Turkey is looking for new friends as she edges away from the EU and Israel. At state level they can forget about an inconvenience like the genocide 100 years ago. For those not living in the reality of Armeina’s current position in the Caucuses it is possible to ignore political realities and remain on the moral/emotional high ground, although many have also moved on.

May decision of the French Senate on criminalization of “Armenian genocide” denial harm relations between Turkey and France, including within NATO?

The French have always tried to play their own game, pour la gloire de France. Don’t take too much notice of it. Currently France has little strategic interest in the Caucuses so it can afford to be moralistic, the rest of NATO can’t. Nor does France have great historic ties to Turkey. So far no one else has backed France so just it let it slowly be forgotten.

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