The Karabakh war is over. The crisis is not. What comes next?

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The Karabakh war is over.  The crisis is not.  What comes next?

First, I want to begin this analysis by posting the full translation of an article posted yesterday by the Russian webzine Vzgliad.  I materially don’t have the time to make my own translation, so what I will post is just a minimally retouched machine translation, I apologize for this.

original Russian text: https://vz.ru/world/2020/11/12/1070326.html

Five main mysteries of the second Karabakh war

by Evgenii Krutikov

The end of the second Karabakh war gave rise to many riddles and conspiracy theories. Indeed, some of the circumstances of this conflict are extremely mysterious, or at least paradoxical from the point of view of conventional military logic. Apparently, the Armenian leadership itself provoked a political catastrophe.

Let’s list which riddles raise the biggest questions and provoke the appearance of “conspiracy theories” in Armenia (and not only).

1. Why was not a full-fledged mobilization carried out in Armenia, and full-fledged military units were not deployed to the conflict area?

Despite loud Patriotic statements, there was no real mobilization in Armenia. The permanent number of the Armenian army – about 50 thousand people-was increased only by volunteers. While the conditions of the fighting required to increase the number of defenders of Karabakh to 80-100 thousand people at least. At the same time, very soon the lack of specialists (for example, artillery calculations and MLRS) began to affect the front in the Armenian army. There was no one to fill in the losses.

It is inexplicable why Yerevan did not conduct a real mobilization. The Armenian leadership simply avoids talking about this topic. If there was a mobilization plan, no one tried to implement it. As a result, there was no rotation of military personnel on the first line, in some areas people were sitting in the trenches for a month without a shift. 18-20-year-olds were on the front line, and at some point the untrained youth made up up to 80% of the personnel. The Karabakh detachments, made up of professionals and veterans, suffered heavy losses in the first week, which there was no one and nothing to make up for, since there were simply no reinforcements.

Groups of volunteers in Armenia were formed along party lines. The scandal was caused by an attempt to form a separate detachment of the prosperous Armenia party named after the oligarch Gagik Tsarukyan, who is now Pashinyan’s main opponent. The two have been in conflict for more than a decade. Now the Prime Minister openly calls Tsarukyan “the culprit of the fall of Shusha”, since his phantom squad allegedly did not have enough at the front to win. These conflicts could have been avoided simply by having a mobilization plan and a desire to implement it.

The main military forces of Armenia did not move to Karabakh. But in order to relieve the tension created by Azerbaijani UAVs, it was enough to simply relocate early detection locators to Goris. And one army corps would have been enough to cover the southern direction even at the stage when the Azerbaijanis were languidly marking time in front of the first line of defense. Proper supplies were not organized, and after a month of fighting, this led to a shortage of missiles for the MLRS and shells for the barrel artillery. And without artillery support, the infantry can only die heroically.

All this borders on sabotage, although it may be partly explained by local sloppiness and unwillingness to weaken the defense of Armenia proper. The latter is a very controversial position and it looks like the Armenian leadership has simply abandoned Karabakh to its fate.

2. Why did the Northern front behave so strangely?

In the North and North-East of Karabakh, in the area of the Kyrgyz Republic, there was a large fortified area of the Armenian defense, which included very combat-ready units. And they really put up a serious resistance to the advancing Azerbaijani group and in the end actually stopped it (losing, however, several positions and significant villages).

But after that, the elite Yehnikner battalion suddenly retreated, although its commander managed to get the “Hero of Artsakh”. Moreover, since October 3, neither “Ehnikner” nor any military unit at all was removed from the Northern front and was not transferred to help the burning South. At the same time, the Azerbaijanis only once decided to simulate an offensive in the North again, clearly for distracting purposes. There was no need to keep up to 20 thousand people in the North.

The Karabakh Leadership informally explains all this with a lack of resources. But now the” lack of resources ” in Karabakh explains everything.

3. Why did the southern front collapse?

The fact that the main blow is being inflicted by the Azerbaijanis in the South, in the steppe zone, was visible to the naked eye already in the first few days of the war. Nevertheless, resources – human and technical-began to arrive on the southern front when this front was no longer in fact there. The steppe zone was lost, and the front stopped along the edge of the mountains from Krasny Bazar to Martuni. As a result, up to 30 thousand people defending Karabakh have accumulated in this area. They were threatened with complete encirclement and death, which was one of the reasons for signing the ceasefire agreement. At the same time, before the occupation of Jabrayil, the Azerbaijani troops advanced very slowly, disrupting their own pace of attack. This gave the Armenians a small, but still a head start in order to understand the situation and engage in relocation.

After the occupation of Jabrayil, the front began to fall apart, and the advance of the Azerbaijanis sharply accelerated. The moment was lost.

For some reason, the Armenian command has not made a decision about the transfer of additional resources to the southern front? This is another mystery.

4. Why did the Armenian side limit itself to passive defense?

During the entire war, the Armenian side only twice attempted a counterattack against the advanced units of the Azerbaijanis who were running far ahead. Both times this happened opposite Lachin in a narrow gorge, with the extreme vulnerability of the Azerbaijani battalion-tactical group (BTG). Once even successfully. But these operations were simply reduced to a massive attack by the MLRS on enemy clusters. Operations to block the gorge and encircle the enemy in other sections of the southern front were suggested. But not a single Armenian unit moved. An amazing war in which one of the parties did not conduct a single offensive operation on the ground, limited only and exclusively to passive defense.

A successful counteroffensive in the gorge before Lachin would have crushed so many Azerbaijani forces in the cauldron that they would not have thought about attacking Shusha for at least a couple of weeks. And later it was quite possible to destroy the Azerbaijani infantry in the ravine Averatec. But it took a lot of effort.

There is no explanation for why the Armenian side did not even try to counterattack or use other methods to use the operational advantage that it repeatedly had. The lack of resources can only be referred to endlessly in the last stages of warfare, but passive defense has been a constant tactic since the beginning of the war.

5. Why was Shusha handed over?

The most sensitive and incomprehensible question. The first assault on the city by Azerbaijani infantry was extremely unsuccessful. Then the second column of Azerbaijanis was covered by the MLRS strike. With some effort and assistance from Armenia, the Azerbaijani group that broke through to the city could be destroyed. However, suddenly a decision is made to leave the city without a fight and not to attempt to liberate it with the favorable operational and tactical situation remaining for another day.

It is believed that the decision to leave Shusha was made by NKR President Araik Harutyunyan and Secretary of the NKR security Council General Samvel Babayan, a local legend. Now, in protest against the signing of the armistice, he left his post and renounced the title of Hero of Artsakh. The Armenian YouTube channel “Lurer” (“news”) published a recording of Babayan and Harutyunyan’s talks, from which it follows that General Babayan really considered the possibility of recapturing Shusha even after its abandonment,but the further prospect of resistance was very gloomy.

Fragment of a conversation (not translated verbatim): “Let’s calculate the (combat) task. Twenty, thirty volleys of the “Smerch” MLRS blanket Shushi. We kill everyone there. Taking the city back. What’s next? The state of the army and the civilian population does not allow for war. We gave battle, took Shushi, then what? ( … ) we Can’t fight with the NATO army, with mercenaries, fully equipped… I tried to organize an operation with three battalions yesterday. We only have four howitzers. If we are not provided with artillery, how will you ensure the offensive or cut off his (the enemy’s) tails? (…) Today we must finally negotiate with Russia that we are handing over these territories and leaving them. Or they help us. Imagine that we have two Grads for the entire army today, a dozen howitzers, for which we have no shells.”

To sum up, General Babayan believed that resistance was useless at this stage of the fighting. We must refuse to continue the war and either surrender, or ask for ten days for an organized exit of the local population and the 30 thousand soldiers of the southern front who are completely surrounded. As an alternative, it was proposed to urgently ask Russia for direct military assistance in the form of PMCs or volunteers, equipment and ammunition.

But all this does not negate the question of why a small group of Azerbaijani infantrymen without heavy equipment, who broke through to Shusha, was not destroyed before the Armenian army began to panic. The retention of Shusha created a completely different architecture of political agreements for the NKR and Armenia. If this is a political decision, then who actually made it?

* * *

This list of mysteries of the second Karabakh war is far from complete. In addition, the Armenian leadership has accumulated many similar questions about preparing for war. This war was lost before it even started, precisely because of the inaction or strange action of Yerevan.

The proceedings will continue for a long time. The situation in the region has changed so radically in these forty days that all the old approaches to resolving the conflict and its military component have died out of themselves. And the new reality will require new solutions for Armenia. And it is not yet clear who will take these decisions.  


Personally, I do not see any dark conspiracy here.  What I do see is a truly PHENOMENAL level of incompetence from the Sorosite leadership of Armenia.  Simply put, the vast majority of the truly competent Armenian leaders, civilian and military, were either jailed or, at the very least fired en masse.  There is a very simple explanation for this too.

From Pashinian’s (and, from now on, when I say “Pashinian” I mean the usual suspects: MI6, CIA, Soros, etc.) point of view, the “old guard” of Soviet trained leaders had to be removed because they could not be trusted.  But what this imbecile, and his masters, did not realize is that the “Soviet educated” leadership was far more competent than the “woke and transgender friendly democrats” which took power in 2018.

[Sidebar: Did you notice something quite interesting? The “old” and “Soviet trained” military forces in general, and their commanders especially, are systematically much better trained that those forces trained by NATO or “the most powerful military in the history of the galaxy”.  Why is it that the democratic, progressive and advanced forces like, say, the Saudis, the Israelis, the Georgians, the Yemeni or all the other many “good terrorists” always perform miserably in combat?  I will let you ponder this question :-)]

By the way, Pashinian, who is hiding in a bunker or inside the US embassy compound in Erevan, is still at it!  Yesterday he called Macron, who is under pressure from the huge Armenian immigration in France to do something, to ask for his help and Macron promised to help find a solution acceptable to all sides, implying two things:

  1. That the “Russian solution” (in reality Armenian the acceptance by Erevan of the Azeri terms) is not acceptable and that
  2. That France has some kind of magic wand that Macron can wave a few times and forever turn the entire area of operation into a peaceful land of milk and honey were everybody would hold hands, sing Kumbaya, and “feel the love” forever and ever.

As usually, the Brits are much more devious, secretive and smart: the head of MI6 is in Turkey to meet with “senior officials”.  Yeah, right!  By the way, this guy, Richard Moore, is a former UK Ambassador to Turkey.  To get a sense of what this is all about, all you need to do is look into any history book to see that the Brits have always used the Ottomans as canon-fodder against Russia.

As for the US Americans, they are basically paralyzed by the chaos in their own country.  But either one of the dummies running might try something desperate to “show the flag” and prove that he is “tough on Russia”.

So what’s next?

For years now I have been saying the following about the Western political leaders: they are unable to build anything worthwhile, but they are most definitely able to spread chaos, anarchy, violence, insurgencies, etc.  So the first thing you can be sure of is that the AngloZionists will do everything in their power to egg on the Armenians, the Azeris and even the Turks to reject an outcome which the West sees as a triumph for Russia (and for Putin personally!).

Then there is Erdogan, who is furious at the Russian categorical rejection of his demands to be part of the peacekeeping force.  All the Russians have agreed to is to create a special “monitoring post” staffed by Russians and Turks, far away from the Nagorno-Karabakh region where a joint team of observers would “monitor” the situation by looking at computers.  There will be no Turkish soldiers in the peacekeeping area (see Russian military map above).

As a fallback option, the Turks are also demanding they they be allowed to fly their own drones over the area of operations.  In response, the Armenian side has declared that Armenia and Russia have jointly declared a no-fly zone over the entire area.  As far as I know, the Russians have not confirmed that “yet”, but you can be pretty sure that they will immediately shoot down any unauthorized aircraft approaching their positions.

To get a sense of how the Russians are acting, you need to know two things:

First, the Russian liberal media is already complaining that Russia has included “undeclared” weapons systems in its peacekeeping force (MLRS and APCs).  This is hardly surprising considering the very high probability of provocations (by both sides).  Besides, the vague language of the agreement allows Russian to bring in “specialized vehicles” which could mean anything and everything.

Furthermore, I am pretty confident that the Russian 102nd Military Base is a Russian military base in Gyumri will receive reinforcements and will serve as the logistical support hub for the Russian peacekeeping force.

Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov and Vladimir Putin

Second, it is worth looking at the career of the man who will be commanding the Russian peacekeeping force, Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov.  You can check his biography here and here.  I will simply summarize this man’s career by saying two words: Donbass, Syria.

He is not some kind of pretend-general whose qualifications are mainly as organizers and politicians.  This guy is a real combat general, the kind who personally comes under fire because he makes sure to regularly be with his men on the frontlines and who has experience dealing with the Axis of Kindness and its “good terrorists” (whether local or special ops).

The West perfectly understands this and is absolutely furious about being “cheated” by Russia again!

First, the Russians stopped the bloody war in Syria, now they stopped the war in Azerbaijan.  For the Empire, this means the total loss of the axis of instability which they lovingly tried to create in the Caucasus and the Middle-East to eventually hit the Russian underbelly.  They failed.  They won’t forgive this.

Second, most Armenians worldwide are absolutely horrified at the outcome of this war, and they have my sincere sympathy.  The problem here is that many of them blame Russia, rather than their own leaders.  Furthermore, there are many truly rabid nationalists amongst the anti-Pashinian forces in Armenia.  Right now, Pashinian is hiding somewhere and he still refuses to resign (backed to the hilt by the West, of course).  But this will change, I can’t imagine anybody staying in power after such a catastrophe.

However, Pashinian gone does not at all mean that pro-Russian, or even Russia-neutral, forces will succeed him.  In fact, as in most chaotic situations, it is the extremists who are most likely to seize power.  And God only knows what they might do next!

In a paradoxical way, the best outcome for Russia would be to have Pashinian stay in power just a little longer, just long enough to create a fait accompli on the ground which no nutcases could meaningfully overturn.

Right now, two things are happening: Armenian refugees are clogging the only roads which will allow them to flee to Armenia.  These poor people will never trust the word of an Azeri or, even less so, a Turk, could say (and who could blame them?!).

This is truly a heart-breaking tragedy which could have been completely avoided had Pashinian and his Sorosites done a few, really basic, things (preparing for war and settling for an imperfect peace agreement for starters).

Armenian-NK forces are also withdrawing, and it’s not like they have much of an option here: escaping with their lives is really all these poor soldiers could hope for (and by no fault of theirs, I would add!).

The next couple of weeks will be crucial and I can only hope that the Russians are fully ready to deal with any contingency, including a complete Armenian turnaround if Pashinian is overthrown very soon.

It is now a race against the clock: on one side, the West wants Russia out at quite literally *ANY* costs in Azeri and Armenian lives while the Russians are scrambling to make the agreement a well-defended reality on the ground.  In the Ukraine they say that “the West is willing to fight Russia down the the very last Ukrainian“.  I hope and pray that this does not happen in the Caucasus.

The Saker

PS: on the really sad and tragic side, I personally can’t imagine any refugees willing to come back, in spite of all the pious promises made by all sides.  Look, let’s be honest here: during the first NK war, which the Armenians won, the Azeris were brutally expelled, there were several instances of mass murder of Azeri civilians by the triumphant Armenian forces.  This time around, the Azeris made all sorts of promises, but if I was an Armenian I would not trust a single word the Turks or Azeris say (heck, these two still deny that there was any genocide of Armenians by the Ottomans!).  Keep in mind that in this short war, about 4000 civilians have died; that is the official figure, the real one is probably even worse!

Maybe in a decade or two, and only if Russia remains the peacekeeper of the Caucases, will some refugees, or their sons and daughters return to their historical homelands.  But right now, the Russian peacekeeping force will probably end up maintaining the peace in a very empty Nagorno-Karabakh.  This is a revolting outcome which, I will repeat this, could have been avoided by Pashinian and his gang of Sorosites.  May that be a lesson to anybody else taking these evil clowns seriously!

Understanding the outcome of the war for Nagorno-Karabakh

THE SAKER • NOVEMBER 11, 2020 • 3,100 WORDS • 

A lot has happened very rapidly in the past two days and I will begin this analysis by a few bullet points summarizing what just happened (not in any particular order, including chronological):

  • The war which has just ended was a real bloodbath and it has seen more casualties (counting both sides) than what the Soviet Union lost in 10 years of warfare in Afghanistan
  • This war is now over, Russian peacekeepers have already been deployed along the line of contact. So far, neither side has dared to resume hostilities (more about that below).
  • There have been two days of celebrations in Baku where President Aliev has declared that the war was a triumph for Azeri forces and that Pashinian got nothing. He is right.
  • The Azeris are now declaring that they want compensation from Armenia.
  • There are now Turkish forces in Azerbaijan and Russian and Turkish forces have created a joint committee to coordinate actions.
  • Erdogan has insisted that he wanted Turkey to send in peacekeepers, but Putin has categorically rejected this demand: like any other state, Azerbaijan has the undisputed right to invite foreign forces on its territory, but these forces will not have the status and rights of a peacekeeping force.
  • Violent riots have broken out in Erevan where violent mobs have stormed government buildings, beaten officials and sacked the Parliament.
  • Seventeen Armenian opposition parties have declared that they want a committee of national salvation and the resignation of Pashinian.
  • Nobody knows where Pashinian is hiding, but he seems to still be somewhere in Armenia.
  • These mobs also destroyed the Soros offices in Erevan and they are now looking for Pashinian “the traitor” to lynch him.
  • Pashinian has complained on Twitter that his offices were sacked, that a computer, his driver license and, I kid you not, a bottle of perfume (poor perfumed baby!) were stolen.
  • The Russian peacekeeping force will be constituted of subunits of the 15th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade which itself is part of the 2nd Guards Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District. It will include about 2000 armed soldiers, APCs and IFVs, specialized vehicles (EW, C3I, etc.), drones and air defense systems.
  • Russians peacekeepers will stay deployed in this area for no less than 5 years.
  • Russia will now control both the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) corridor and the Nakhichevan corridor.

Now let’s look at the position of the parties at the end of this war and compare them.

Armenia: there is no doubt that Armenia is the biggest loser in this war. Pashinian and his gang of russophobic Sorosites has brought a real calamity upon his people. Since he came to power his anti-Russian actions included almost totally eliminating any Armenian participation on the CSTO, he completely ceased any collaboration with Russia (including in the intelligence and security domains), he purged the Armenian military and security forces from all the supposed “pro-Russian” elements, he banned Russian language schools. In contrast, Armenia has an absolutely huge US embassy with about 2000 personnel (as much as the entire Russian peacekeeping force!) and when the Azeris attacked, Pashinin refused to ask Russia for help for a full month. He did ask Trump, Merkel and Macron for help instead. Needless to say, they did exactly nothing once the crisis erupted.

Truth be told, the Armenians had absolutely no other option but to accept the Azeri terms. The Armenians have suffered huge losses while the Azeris have taken Shushi, the key strategic city which controls both the capital of NK Stepanakert and the corridor between NK and Armenia. Had Pashinian not signed, the surrounded Armenians would have been slaughtered by the Azeris (in this war, both sides reported having almost no prisoners. Why? Because almost all were all executed, often after gruesome tortures by both sides). Russian analysts also say that Armenia was simply running out of supplies very fast (a fact also mentioned by Pashinian).

Simply put: Aliev’s plan worked, the blind arrogance of the Armenian leaders, along with their suicidal polices have almost cost Armenia the complete loss of NK and, possibly, even the existence of their own country. With all the best Armenian officers removed (including heroes from the first Karabakh war, which Armenia won), what was left were delusional clowns who promised that Armenia, without any help including without Russian help, could win the war and drive its forces to Baku (yes, they did sound just as delusional as some Ukie leaders).

Turkey: the next big loser in this war is Turkey whose objectives of bringing all Turkic nations under one neo-Ottoman empire have, predictably, crashed. Again. Erdogan is a world class megalomaniac and trouble maker, and he has involved Turkey in wars (or quasi wars) with Syria, Israel, Iraq, Greece, Libya, Iran, Russia and even (to some degree) NATO. And let’s not forget the bloody operations against the Kurds everywhere. He is a bona fide megalomaniac and that makes him very, very dangerous. Russia has intervened militarily in Syria, Libya and now Azerbaijan to deny Turkey its wannabe empire status and each time we saw that Turkey, as a country, simply does not have the resources to try to build an empire, especially since Erdogan simply does not understand that simultaneously opening conflicts on several fronts in a recipe for disaster.

There is also pretty strong likelihood that it was the Turks who shot down the Russian Mi-24 right inside the Armenian air space: their goal was to force Russia to stop seeking a negotiated solution and to impose a continuation of hostilities. Thank God for Aliev’s superb strategic skills which made it possible for him to do something very smart: he took the blame for what he called a tragic mistake and offered all sorts of compensations and excuses. Aliev’s decision to take the blame probably came after he and Putin (who are close friends) had what diplomats call a “frank exchange of views”.

The Turks are making a big deal out of the fact that the Azeris have invited Turkish forces into Azerbaijan. But let’s be honest here: the Azeris and Turks were always close and there was no outcome which could have prevented the Azeris from legally inviting Turkish forces into Azerbaijan. The real issue is what these forces can do. I submit that while we should never discard the toxic potential of any Turkish force anyway, there is little this force will be able to do than to a) monitor the situation and 2) coordinate with the Russians to stay out of each other’s way. But what these forces won’t be able to do is to attack, or even threaten to attack, Armenian and/or Russian forces (see below why).

Russia: Russia is the only true winner of this war. I know, there is a powerful Armenian lobby in the USA, in Europe and in Russia, and they are trying to present their defeat as a defeat for Russia. Frankly, I understand their bitterness and I feel sorry for them, but they are absolutely wrong. Here is why:

First, Russia has now established herself as the sole power in the Caucasus which can bring about peace. 2000 US personnel in Erevan did absolutely nothing for years to really help Armenia, all they did is force suicidal russophobic policies on Armenia, that’s about it. The same amount of Russian soldiers literally brought peace overnight. Here I have to explain a little something about the units which was sent Azerbaijan: 15th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade (15IMRB).

The 15IMRB is not a peacekeeping force in the western meaning of the world. This is an elite combat force which specializes in peacekeeping and peacemaking (“coercion to peace” in Russian terminology) missions. It’s personnel is 100% composed of professionals, most of whom have extensive combat experience: they participated in the coercion to peace operation against Georgia in 08.08.08 and in Syria. These are top of the line, well trained, superbly equipped forces who, on top of their own capabilities, can fully count on the support of the Russian forces in Armenia and from the full support of the entire Russian military. Those who say that this force is a lightly armed token force simply do not understand these issues.

The entire theatre of operations of this war is very much inside the (conceptual) under 1000 kilometers from the Russian border which the Russian military wants to be capable of domination escalation should a war break out. To repeat, the Russian military is not organized the way the US military is: the Russian military doctrine is purely defensive, this is not propaganda, and it relies for this defense on its ability to very rapidly deploy high readiness mechanized forces anywhere inside Russia and within about 1000km from the Russian border and the ability to destroy any force entering this zone. Russia also relies on advanced weapons systems capable of unleashing a lot of firepower in defense of its deployed task forces forces. In other words, while the 15IMRB is only a brigade sized expeditionary force, it is trained to hunker down and hold a position until the reinforcements (personnel and/or firepower) are deployed from Russia. You can think of this as something similar to the Russian task force in Syria, only much closer to Russia and, therefore, much easier to support if needed.

Coming back to the shooting down of a Russian Mi-24, this action will not go unnoticed or forgotten, of that you can be sure. The fact that Putin (and the Russian military) don’t act like the US would and immediately initiate reprisals does not mean that the Russians don’t care, have forgotten or are afraid. There is a Jewish proverb which says “a good life is the best revenge”. I would paraphrase this by saying that Putin’s motto could be “an advantageous outcome is the best retaliation”: this is what we saw in Syria and this is what will happen in Azerbaijan.

Another sweet spot for Russia is that she can now (truthfully) declare that color revolutions inevitably result in territorial losses (the Ukraine, Georgie and now Armenia) and political chaos (everywhere).

Next, please look at the following map (in Russian, but that is no problem):

Please look at the two thick blue lines: they are showing corridors between Azerbaijan and the Azeri province of Nakhichevan and the corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. These two corridors are absolutely vital for both of these countries and they will now be under the control of FSB Border Guards (Russian border guards are light, mobile and elite units comparable in terms of training and capabilities to their colleagues from the Airborne Forces. Again, don’t assume that they are anything like the US or EU border or customs officials). They are very tough elite units which are trained to fight a much superior force until reinforcements come in.

What that means in strategic terms is that Russia now has an iron grip on what is a vital strategic artery for both Azerbaijan and Armenia. None of the parties are willing to comment very much on this, no need to humiliate anybody, but those in the know realize what a fantastic pressure capability Putin has just added to Russia in the Caucasus. You can think of these two corridors as a lifeline for both states as long as you also realize that these corridors are also strategic daggers in Russian hands pointed at the vital organs of both states.

The usual Putin-hating choir which has been singing the “Putin lost control of the near abroad” mantra should now be both ashamed of their lack of understanding, and livid at what “Putin” did to their hopes, but that kind of magical thinking won’t change reality on the ground: far from losing anything, Putin secured an immense strategic Russia victory at the cost of 2 dead soldiers, one wounded and one helicopter.

From now on, Russia will have permanent military forces in both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Georgia has been effectively neutered. The Russian Caucasus is mostly peaceful and prosperous, both the Black Sea and the Caspian are de facto “Russian lakes” and the Russian “underbelly” is now much stronger than it ever was before.

Let’s when any western power achieves a similar result 

Conclusion:

This war is now only frozen and, like in Syria, there will be provocations, false flags, setbacks and murdered innocents. But, like in Syria, Putin will always prefer a quiet strategy with minimal losses over one with a lot of threats, grandstanding and instant retaliations. There is also what I call the “Putin use of force rules”: never use force where expected, always use force when least expected and always use force in a way your enemies do not plan for. Still, let’s not see all this in rosy colors, there will be setbacks for sure, Erdogan is angry and he still wants to play a role. Putin, in a typical Russian manner will give him exactly that “a role”, but that role will be minimal and mostly for internal Turkish PR consumption. Erdogan, far from being a new Mehmed The Conqueror and “The Great Eagle”, will go down in history as Erdogan The Loser and the “Defeated Chicken”. Megalomania might be a prerequisite for an empire builder, but that alone is clearly not enough.

🙂

What comes next?

Pashinian will be overthrown, that is pretty sure. What matters most for Armenia is who will replace him. Alas, there are anti-Pashinian nationalists out there who are just as russophobic as the Pashinian gang. Furthermore, considering the hysterics taking place in Armenia, there is a real possibility that a new government might annul the ceasefire and demand a “fight to the end”. This could be a major problem, including for the Russian forces in Armenia and the peacekeepers, but it is also likely that by the time the Armenian people really understand that 1) they have been lied to and 2) they have suffered a crushing defeat these calls will eventually be drowned out by more sane voices (including those of the currently jailed pre-2018 leaders).

There is also a huge Armenian immigration in Russia which will hear all the reporting and analyses produced in Russia and will be fully aware of the reality out there. These immigrants represent a huge ressource for Armenia as they are going to be the one who will push for a strong collaboration with Russia which, frankly, Armenia now needs more than anything else. Right now, judging by what pro-Armenian Russian analysts are saying, the Armenians and their supporters are absolutely horrified by this outcome and they are promising that the Turks have now penetrated deeply inside the Russian sphere of influence. To them sane voices reply that this so-called “move” into the Russia sphere of influence will be mostly PR and that it is far better for some Turkish forces to move inside the Russian sphere of influence than for some Russian force to be deployed inside the Turkish sphere of influence. In other words, when these Armenia supporters say that Erdogan has moved deeply inside the Russian sphere of influence, they are also thereby admitting that this is a Russian, not Turkish, sphere of influence. They just don’t realize what they are saying, that’s all.

Frankly, the Armenian diasporas in Russia, the EU and the USA are superbly organized, they have a lot of money, and they currently control the narrative in the EU and the USA (in Russia they tried and miserably failed). Add to this the fact the Aliev was the one who started that war and that he is deeply enmeshed with Erdogan’s Turkey and you will see why the magnitude of the Armenian defeat is systematically underplayed in the western media. That’s fine, let a few months go by and the reality of the situation will eventually convince those currently in denial.

Right now, this is exactly the process which is (violently) taking place in Erevan. But sooner or later, looting mobs will be replaced by some kind of government of national unity and if that government wants to put an end to the horrendous losses and wants to rebuild what is left standing, they will have to call the Kremlin and offer Russia some kind of deal. Needless to day, the immense US embassy, and the hundred of Soros-sponsored “NGOs” will oppose that with all their might. But with the USA itself fighting for survival, the EU in total disarray and the Turks failing at everything they try, that is simply not a viable option.

Russians used to joke that it takes 2 Jews to cheat 1 Armenian, meaning that Armenians are possibly even smarter than Jews (who, in all fairness, are not that smart at all, that is mostly self-serving and self-worshiping propaganda). I tend to share this admiration of the Armenian people: Armenians are an ancient, truly noble and beautiful nation and culture, who deserve to live in peace and security and who have suffered many horrors in their history. They deserve so much more than this CIA/MI6 stooge Pashinian! Right now, the Armenian nation is definitely at a low moment in its history, comparable to the “democratic” 90s in Russia or the current “liberal” horror taking place in the USA. But, as Dostoevsky liked to say, “one should never judge a nation by how low it can sink, but by how high it can soar”.

The best thing for Armenia, objectively, would be to become part of Russia (which Armenia was in its recent past). But that is not going to happen: first, Armenian nationalism is as blind and as obtuse as ever and, furthermore, Russia would never accept Armenia into the Russian Federation, and why would she? Armenia has exactly nothing to offer Russia, except a difficult to protect territory with potentially dangerous neighbors. No, Russia never lost Armenia – it was Armenia which lost Russia. Now the most the Kremlin will offer to Armenia is 1) protection against all neighbors and 2) economic help.

As for the rest, let’s see if the next Armenian government re-joins the CSTO not only in words (as was the case for the past couple of years), but in actions (like resume intel exchanges, military collaboration, joint security operations, etc.). That would be a great first step for Armenia.

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