News.Az interviews Dr. Marcel de Haas, Senior Research Associate, Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’ and Senior Researcher, Russian Studies Centre, University of Groningen.
Are there any changes in NATO’s policy in the South Caucasus after Russian-Georgian war in 2008?
As far as I know not formally, but I would expect that energy resources, as include in NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept, will gain weight on the Alliance’s agenda.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen have discussed expanding cooperation, especially in transit to Afghanistan. Moreover President Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan was “seriously considering” long-term financial contributions to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund. What can you say about that initiative?
That is a worthy initiative. Any support for the Afghan army will strengthen its power and thus its capacity to secure the Afghan nation, especially when NATO has left that country.
The CSTO Secretary General Borduja recently didn’t exclude participation of CSTO in the Karabakh war. But even if Azerbaijan decides to liberate its occupied lands by military means it doesn’t plan Armenia itself. Does Russia have legal base for a such invasion in Karabakh conflict?
There is no legal basis at all for Russia to intervene. This would be in violation with international law, i.e. the UN charter (non-intervention and non-violence articles), as was the case with Russia’s invasion into Georgia in 2008. In the case of Nagorno Karabakh, based upon the CSTO’s mutual assistance clausule and/or Russia’s bilateral military cooperation agreement with Armenia, Moscow might decide to attack Azeri forces in their military campaign to regain Karabakh territory.
Even if Azerbaijan would not attack Armenia, the moment that any Armenian soldiers is killed by Azerbaijan could be considered by the Kremlin as enough ‘justification’ to call in the mutual assistance article of the CSTO, thus ‘allowing’ Russian forces to retaliate against Azerbaijan.
How possible war between West and Iran may reflect on the neighboring South Caucasus region?
Possibly not, although you might never know if Iran would use this as a pretext to strengthen its case in the Caspian Sea, with regard to the boundaries and its dispute on this with Azerbaijan.
What may allies countries like Azerbaijan expect from the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago this year? Will the agenda of the summit include issues directly or indirectly linked to our country and the region?
I would not expect this. Just some statements on the importance of undisturbed flows of energy in general. This due to the division in NATO on energy dependency agreements with Russia.