Escobar: Nagorno-Karabakh Is No More

 Why would the current administration in Yerevan ever care for a few lost souls in Artsakh?

In the end, Nagorno-Karabakh – or the Artsakh Republic – is no more.

It will cease to exist on 1 January 2024 – also the first day of the Russian presidency of BRICS 11.

All autonomous state structures will be dissolved – according to a decree signed by the head of the Republic, Samvel Shahramanyan.

The population – roughly 147,000, 99% of them Armenian Christians – has a choice that’s not really a choice: “familiarize themselves with the conditions of reintegration presented by the Republic of Azerbaijan” and stay, or leave to Armenia for good.

Predictably, the exodus is on: an interminable serpent of vehicles congesting the mountain roads of a beautiful landscape where generations of Armenians lived for centuries. As of Thursday night, over 70,000 Armenians had left towards the Syunik region.

The Azeri government in Baku sent police/security forces to Stepanakert. Former Foreign Minister Ruben Vardanyan, an oligarch, was detained by Azeri security while trying to leave for Armenia, mingling with refugees. He had renounced Russian citizenship last year when he moved to work in Artsakh. He’ll probably be freed.

Others won’t be so lucky. Everyone leaving is being exhaustively searched. Baku has warned that every Artsakh notable – political and military – will be captured.

This is how it sadly ends: the story of how a bunch of crooks – Team Pashinyan in Yerevan – profited personally from a geopolitical pretext.

Armenian PM Pashinyan announced that in a few days he’ll consider there are no more Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Translation: those that decided to stay will be considered to be Azerbaijanis.

Yet for Baku, Armenians from Artsakh will always remain Armenians – and thus an object of suspicion.

It’s all about the Zangezur corridor

Armenian priests are starting to ask for people power to come up with regime change in Yerevan to save the nation. It’s clear that Syunik will be the next Armenian territory to fall – considering both Azerbaijan and Turkey have their eyes on its strategic position. If Baku takes Syunik, Armenian Orthodox Christian priests will definitely be in hot water.

The crucial fact is that the November 2020 armistice between Armenia and Azerbaïjan, with Russian involvement, was not respected either by Baku or Yerevan.

Moscow didn’t do much except showing that Pashinyan gave Artsakh away to Baku – which in itself is outrageous and a violation of the armistice: imagine that the object of a war was relinquished by the attacked country to the attacker.

What Baku really wanted was the opening of the Zangezur corridor – and that was also part of the armistice. The corridor was supposed to be controlled by Russian guards.

Yerevan did nothing about it. Baku for its part kept provoking skirmishes in Artsakh and Syunik. And on top of it did not respect a clause stipulating the building of a road allowing Armenians to travel back and forth to Artsakh. In fact Baku blocked Artsakh by taking over the Lachin road.

As corridors go, Zangezur is the proverbial Chinese win-win.

Azerbaijan links with its Nakhitchevan enclave and Turkiye. Russia gets a road that goes through Baku and Yerevan. Armenia opens itself to international trade. And Iran is satisfied that the manager will be the former owner of the place: Russia.

Ay, there’s the rub. The usual suspects were not happy that Russian guards would be back in Armenia. So they sabotaged this clause via their agent Pashinyan.

The record shows how Team Pashinyan behaved these past few months: Armenia’s First Lady visited Kiev; Yerevan transferred “humanitarian aid” to Ukraine; there were joint military exercises with the U.S.; frantic back and forth by U.S. and EU politicos and NGOs.

Relations with Moscow are deteriorating fast. Yerevan – a juicy strategic target – is being taken over by the Hegemon and its vassals. It’s not an accident that Yerevan hosts the second largest American embassy in the world.

So only one thing is certain: the Transcaucasus will continue to be on fire.

Empire of Chaos strikes again

It’s not clear what will happen to Zangezur – and if and when Pashinyan will act on it. There’s always a – remote – possibility that Pashinyan, egged on by his Western handlers, may try to strike a deal with Aliyev to leave Russia out.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has not minced its words, noting how Yerevan “flip flopped on policy and sought Western support over working closely with Russia and Azerbaijan”. And how in meetings in Prague and Brussels under the EU, Pashynian “acknowledged Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, but failed to address the rights and safety of the Karabakh Armenians.”

The Foreign Ministry all but warns Pashynian that “unlike the West which has become quite skilled in organising color revolutions, Moscow does not engage in such activities.”

At the same time, “a frenzied anti-Russian campaign has swept the Armenian media at the behest of the authorities. We are convinced that the Armenian leadership is making a huge mistake by deliberately attempting to sever Armenia’s multifaceted and centuries-old ties with Russia, making the country a hostage to Western geopolitical games. We are confident that the overwhelming majority of the Armenian population realises this as well.”

Well, USAID head Samantha “Batshit Crazy” Power is in Armenia right now, “affirming U.S. support for Armenia’s democracy, sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity and commitment to addressing humanitarian needs stemming from Nagorno-Karabakh”.

Nonsense. This is all about the Empire of Chaos conquering a strategic asset close to Russia: Armenia is a member of the CSTO and the EAEU. There are more than 25 USAID projects being implemented in Armenia. Why would the current administration in Yerevan ever care for a few lost souls in Artsakh?

Authored by Pepe Escobar,

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