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Russian Fighters Preparing for War in the Caucasus?

The New York Times reports that Russian fighters stationed in Armenia have stepped up the number of training flights this year by about 20 percent, “sending a clear warning that Russia could intervene at any moment should violence escalate further in the territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.” At least eight soldiers were killed in border clashes last week.

The bad blood between the Azerbaijanis and the Armenians is at least a century old and has intensified since the end of the Cold War, when the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-majority enclave in Azerbaijan, declared independence. Russia, which is close to Armenia, is also looking over its shoulder at the Turks, whose ambitions in the Caucasus and elsewhere threatens to freeze Russia out.

With Turkey, which has been strengthening its economic ties with Azerbaijan in recent months, lined up on the side of the Azerbaijanis, and Russia, Armenia, and Iran opposed, the region is starting to resemble the kind of thing we might have seen in the days of the Ottoman empire.

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  • WigWag

    Finally something the Israelis and the Turks can agree on; they both think Azerbaijan is just great.

    Interestingly though, the Israeli Knesset has spent the past few weeks debating a resolution to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks ( This should infuriate Turkey (which has aspirations of creating a new Ottoman Empire), modestly please the Armenians (who don’t really care all that much about whether the world acknowledges the Armenian Genocide or not), delight the Armenian Diaspora community (who cares desperately that the world acknowledge the Armenian Genocide) and make no difference at all to the Azerbaijanis (who detest the contemporary Armenians regardless of what may or may not have happened a hundred years ago).

    As for President Putin who is allied with the Armenians against the Turkish and Israeli support Azerbaijan; he’s just announced that he is planning a visit to Israel where he will be greeted by his buddy Avigdor Lieberman with open arms ( Despite Putin’s alignment with the hysterically anti-Semitic Russian Orthodox Church; Putin has actually been quite supportive of the Jews who remain in Russia and he is very popular with the ex-pat Russian Jewish community in Israel. Actually, as ironic as it is, there are probably more Israeli citizens who have a high opinion of Putin than there are who have a high opinion of Obama.

    And speaking of Obama, what are we supposed to surmise from the fact that Putin is making a presidential visit to Israel (he also made one during his term in office) while Obama hasn’t and doesn’t have any plans to?

    Romney on the other hand, who probably isn’t spending much time these days thinking about Azerbaijan or Armenia has promised that if elected, Israel will be his first foreign destination as President.

  • Kris

    For even more fun, we can compare and contrast the positions on Azerbaijan (Israel and Turkey vs Russia) with those on Cyprus (Israel and Russia vs Turkey and Syria), Syria (Russia vs Turkey, with Israel on the sidelines), etc. Foreign relations are not exactly transitive.

    “Putin … is very popular with the ex-pat Russian Jewish community in Israel.”

    More so than in Russia?

    “Actually, as ironic as it is, there are probably more Israeli citizens who have a high opinion of Putin than there are who have a high opinion of Obama.”

    There are probably more Israeli citizens who have a high opinion of WigWag than there are who have a high opinion of Obama. 🙂

  • Brennan

    Thamk you for a well-reasoned and articulate analysis. Azerbaijan, as with any emerging country, is struggling with the concept of individual liberty. Major League kudos to them for not only pseudo-allying with a state that is well down this path, but also for showing that they could be a future force for human freedom.

  • Brennan

    P.S. My comment was in reply to WigWag

  • fatimja

    Diaspora and Dashnaktsutyun are too separate tgnhis. people still wrongly perceive that Dashnaktsutyun is the representation of the Armenian Diaspora.A1+ and HZH are newspapers and they report the news as they see. Dashnaktsutyun is a political party. Those are two different tgnhis my dear AH.Dashnaktsutyun is a Neo-nazi, actually it is just a Nazi political party spreading far-right ideas and hatred not only amongst Armenian population but against other ideas and people.Please bare with me and continue reading. Dashnaktsutyun hasn’t progressed since the 1920s possibly because we didnt have an independent country where we could have elections, political progress etc. It is obvious it couldn’t progress in Diaspora (as the case is with Hnchak and Ramkavar parties).Why I am saying this is because in the beginning of the 20th centaury is known with the spread of nationalism and after the WW1 trauma and injustice we had a phenomenon like the rise of Nazzi party in Germany, the Mussolini, the Franco regime, in some way ( a little bit unrelated) Stalin and so on. Things progressed in those countries after the WW2 but people living in those regimes paid dearly but still didnt fully recover ( the recent Joseph Fritzel case in Austria is an example) .So now in Armenia we have a party which did not go through an ideological, philosophical and political development over 80 years due to the no-homeland factor explain above.This is very dangerous. It is abnormal.Should this abnormal phenomenon be banned? I say NO it shouldn’t as banning will hamper the progress. I think the change need to be come within Dashnaktsutyun. It used to be a confederation of socialist parties (hence the name) with some very interesting core ideas. The way of the progress is to take the reality as it is,- to become a party of an independent country. Continue its isolation with its huge influence and decision making coming from Diaspora means staying in regression. Dashnaktsutyun needs to make a bold decision, to have the courage to progress.Coming to LTP. He is the person who invited Dashnaktsutyun and other Diasporant organisations to Armenia. However Dashnaktsutyun had a bigger appetite. With less than 10-15% of the popular support it wanted to take over the power still in the 20 centaury revolutionary methods. If you even try to observe carefully LTP did more good to dashnaktsutyun than harm however Dashnaktsutyun didn’t realise this and unfortunately still doesn’t. They were given the chance to progress, to become a real independent political party but now they are deeper in the swamp. It will phase out soon as the time changes and dashnaktsutyun still clings on the past. The formation of the new board will demonstrate it.

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