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International and regional military-political situation
Material posted: Publication date: 02-03-2014

First of all I want to thank for the fact that I was invited to this event. I believe that the organization of such discussions, scientific-educational Foundation "Noravank" compared with the results of strategic studies of this and other "think tanks" and the conclusions of bodies of public administration, it is very important to provide an analytical framework for ensuring the safety and security of our country.

Today I will touch upon international and regional military-political situation and the most important development in it. Please note that the analysis based on the constructive approach to international relations.

As you know, according to the political philosophy of the realist approach to international relations, all countries are guided by self-centered competition, the most likely upshot of which is war. From the position of libertarian approaches mutual interests and international trade can create fertile ground for getting rid of wars and the establishment, as said Immanuel Kant, "perpetual peace". Despite this, the constructive approach, which we adhere to, involves a multifaceted perception of the existing international realities. Under this approach, the existing international realities need to be taken for what they are, the world cannot be described only in black and white and the military-political environment is not only full of threats, but also opportunities.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the world has established a monopolar system. Some scientists libertarian schools, such as Francis Fukuyama, have defined the world order as "the end of history", believing that the world is now protected from large-scale clashes. Meanwhile, other analysts – for example, a supporter of neo-realism of Kenneth Waltz – described monopolarity as a favorable arena for the emergence of a new war, as a counterweight to the superpower wage war at his discretion. Time has proved the justice of this opinion. Proof – military conflicts in the Balkans, the middle East, Afghanistan, etc.

But history shows that to replace the tint on one of the geopolitical poles sooner or later comes the tide. So, after followed the collapse of the USSR the loss of geopolitical positions of Russia since the 2000s, consolidating its position. In recent years Russian foreign policy has become more focused, thanks in part caused by exports of natural resources to political influence, financial reserves and mechanisms to spread its influence, like the CIS, the CSTO, the Shanghai cooperation organization, Customs Union, etc. Although Russia failed to hold their own position on the question of Iraq in 2003. and Libya in 2011, but it is obvious that the issues of Iran and Syria Russia has reached a "red line", after which resolutely refuses to make concessions. Not by accident the US military analysts considered Russia and China, "the rising powers" or "rising force".

Thus, we can say that the unipolar world is gradually giving way to a multipolar one. Moreover, the U.S. and Russia as the two superpowers of the "first order" and joined China. For similar definitions of the superpowers of the "first order" primarily takes into account military power, economic potential, technological progressiveness, the size of territory, geographical position, population, natural resources and cultural influence of the state.

As for the EU, I think, in the short term it is neither in a military nor in the economic plan will not increase enough to be able to act as a fourth power center. The global financial and economic crisis has revealed the disparity of economic opportunities and management arrangements between the North and the South of the European Union. At the same time the military force of the EU itself contradicts the idea of the existence of NATO and, therefore, encounters active resistance to the United States. In this context, instead of considering the EU as a unified power center, we consider some of its member countries – Germany, France, UK and Italy – as a superpower "second order".

Note also that in recent years, the U.S. redirected its strategic focus from Europe and the Middle East towards the Pacific basin, where he started and further will intensify the competition between the US and China. The most aptly spoke about this former U.S. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton: "the Future policy will determine Asia, not Afghanistan and Iraq." It should be noted that the shift of the strategic efforts of the US towards the Pacific basin due to decreasing U.S. interest in the sources of exports of oil and gas resources because of the discovery of new large oil fields in the United States, as well as the development of advanced technologies for exports. Analysts claim that until 2020. The United States will become self-sufficient in terms of providing hydrocarbon resources. As a result, the U.S. has already subsided preexisting fervor in the issue of funding planned from Azerbaijan to Europe, "the southern gas corridor and TRANS-Adriatic pipeline".

Will gradually increase the role of Turkey and Iran, seeking to become a regional "superpower". In addition that Turkey, with its vibrant economy, military power, and the confession of the secular and moderate version of Islam – acts of the West as an acceptable partner, the ability of this country to become one of the superpowers of the second order increase even more due to the fact that it was the transport corridor East-West. The witness said the newly opened tunnel "Marmara".

The role of Iran in the middle East will continue to grow. This trend is due not only to rich oil and gas resources, rapidly growing population authority among Shia Muslims, the support of Russia and China, but also, surprisingly at first glance, the presence of the nuclear program. Despite continuing Western sanctions, Iran is determined to exercise its right to use "peaceful nuclear energy". In this case, the West has three options: 1. to let Iran become a nuclear power (idle), 2. pre-emptive strikes and 3. to combine sanctions with diplomacy, through a policy of "carrot and stick". Oddly enough, the first option is to allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons – is not completely excluded by the analytical community in the USA. Proponents of this approach argue that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran contributes to stability in the middle East, as it will cancel the monopoly of Israel. The second option involves the application of air and missile strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. However, the US military experts argue that nuclear facilities are well protected, the likelihood of their lesion is small, and the land invasion of the US military machine is not ready, and not located after the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most likely, the West will continue to rely on a third option – the combination of sanctions and negotiations. Note that currently there are certain prerequisites for a fruitful dialogue Iran-the West, since President Rouhani rejected the rigidity of his successor, and, most important, put in charge of the nuclear research division of the subordination of the Islamic revolutionary guards Corps and placed under the control of the Ministry of foreign Affairs.

As for the possible developments of the current armed conflict in Syria, in all likelihood, possible open military intervention of the West and Turkey will be avoided. And against military intervention are the American military, headed by the Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Thanks to the efforts of Iran, China and especially Russia, the question about chemical weapons in Syria is already regulated under the auspices of the UN, whose experts have confirmed that produce chemical weapons have been destroyed, and the accumulated stocks of weapons will be destroyed in the course of 2014.

If we turn to the South Caucasus, it remains on the line of the clash of interests of world power centres and there would still be conflict due to the presence of unresolved conflicts. For the South Caucasus is also true that the States of the region have diametrically different policies in matters of security and joining the alliances and power centers.

We have repeatedly commented on the dilemmas associate with the Customs Union or the EU. From the point of view of modern constructive approach to international relations, economic development due to safety, and not Vice versa. In this context, the security of our country in the long term based on strategic allied relations with Russia. These alliances is as important for Russia. Therefore, such a high level of relations for both parties in a literal sense beneficial. However, the choice of the Customs Union will not prevent us to continue to develop cooperation with the European Union in the field of economy, science and education, civil society building, etc.

In the case of Georgia – the reverse situation: the country seeks to improve its relations with the European Union. Azerbaijan tries to speak from the position of the most independent actor, and prefers a strategic partnership with Turkey. At the same time, Azerbaijan shows a formal approach to fulfillment of tasks undertaken within the programme individual partnership with NATO and within the European neighbourhood policy, giving preference to its bilateral relations with the United States.

Now, in General terms, touch on the policies of global and regional power centers in the South Caucasus.

USA. To protect uglevodorodnykh reserves in the Caspian sea and related infrastructure in the U.S. is interested to arm Azerbaijan systems of naval and coastal defense. Despite this, the US refrained from supplying Azerbaijan with ground weapons, so as not to disrupt the balance of forces around Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and not to displease Armenia. At the same time the United States directly accuse the administration of Aliyev's anti-Armenian militaristic rhetoric.

To Armenia the US is experiencing a certain "sympathy". Both countries share a commitment to establish stability in the Caucasus. At the same time particular concern to US is the fact that in case of aggravation of the military situation in the region and Azerbaijan and Armenia will count on the support of the Russian Federation, which will reduce Washington's role in the region. Of equal concern to Washington is causing that instability threatens the available regional energy and trade projects of international importance.

Russia. The influence of Russia in the South Caucasus continues strengthening. Evidence of this is an effective partnership with Iran, a strategic Alliance with Armenia, the fact that the CSTO is a regional organization seeking to play a crucial role in the arming of Azerbaijan, the trend towards the normalization of relations with Georgia. In contrast to communication projects "East-West" direction on the Central Asia – Azerbaijan – Georgia – Turkey – Europe, Russia supports the project of transport corridor "North-South" direction on the Persian Gulf – Iran – Armenia – Black sea – Europe.

Turkey. Turkey will continue its efforts to conduct independent policy in the region. Ankara will continue to support Azerbaijan, and in this context will continue to put on pressure Armenia because of the blockade of borders. Along with this, Turkey will continue using a wide variety of economic projects, to seduce Georgia. However, it is clear that the claims of Turkey to conduct an independent policy in the region can not but cause concern of the US administration.

Iran. Iran's influence in the South Caucasus will remain directly proportional to the fluctuations of Russia's influence and inversely proportional to the US. Remaining neutral in the issue of Karabakh conflict, Iran will maintain friendly relations with Armenia, first of all striving for the implementation of communication programs with a North-South. Along with this, Tehran will be regarded as a threat to the policy of Azerbaijan's rapprochement with the U.S. and especially Israel – primarily in terms of fomenting separatism among the Turkic-speaking population of Iranian Atropatene.

Summarizing, we come to the following conclusions:

Military-political environment of the region is characterized by the presence of stable threats for Armenia, due to aggressive and destructive political vector of Azerbaijan and Turkey. However, we need specially to emphasize that, as already noted, we think it unlikely that the West will use force against Iran, which is reassuring in terms of maintaining stability on the southern borders of Armenia.

The past in Georgia's presidential elections offer hope that the former Prime Minister Ivanishvili's political line for the preservation of balance in relations with the West and Russia will prove successively that fully meets the interests of Armenia. Despite the fact that the Georgian authorities are committed to adhere to its political vector for integration with Euro-Atlantic structures, but they also clearly Express the desire to normalize relations with Russia, to resolve the existing tensions. As for Armenian-Georgian relations, Georgia conducted a more balanced policy only contributes to their development. It should be noted that increasingly strengthens the cooperation and mutual trust in the field of defence, which is held this year the mutual visits of defense Ministers of the two countries.

From the point of view of national security of Armenia, the main challenge still remains the conflict caused by unfounded claims of Azerbaijan on the territory of Artsakh. Azerbaijan adheres to openly destructive policy in the negotiation process-targeted aggressive offensive actions, he fails the agreement aimed at reducing tensions on the line of contact and confidence-building between the parties.

Are there opportunities, is able to neutralize the aforementioned threats? I think such opportunities are:

1. The ongoing rapprochement between Armenia and the Russian Federation in the framework of bilateral military cooperation, further development of the military component of the CSTO and the Customs Union.

2. The trend towards reducing the significance of Azerbaijan for the United States, triggered by the discovery of their own energy reserves, decreased likelihood to initiate military action against Iran, as well as a sharp reduction in the scale of the operation in Afghanistan after 2014.

3. The gradual transformation of Azerbaijan into one of the "Gulf monarchies", which, as experience shows, is less prone to the outbreak of war for fear of undermining its own authority.

However, the presence of three opportunities does not mean that the military threat posed by Azerbaijan towards Armenia and Artsakh, has decreased. On the contrary, on the basis of their expansionist encroachments, the authorities in Baku continue to cherish the dream of occupation of Artsakh. It should also be noted that the existence of hydrocarbon resources have created Azeri authorities ' belief in their own impunity and permissiveness, and the accumulation of weapons may form they have the illusion of your ability to win. Therefore, it should be considered quite likely that these two factors have caused the Azerbaijani authorities are tempted to unleash against us, "lightning war".

Thus, it is obvious that in the foreseeable future formed around Armenia military-political environment will not become safer. Therefore, Armenia will continue to multiply its capacity to enforce peace.

Seyran Ohanyan


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