1/ While Geneva meeting between heads of MFA of #Azerbaijan and #Armenia is postponed, there are doubts whether a feasible ceasefire in #NagornoKarabakh can be reached, a real solution can be found and whether OSCE Minsk Group is still viable. A thread:
2/ While there were enough mechanisms that could give some tangible results during the 30 years (e.g. implementation of UNSC Resolutions), the West had no willingness to solve the conflict. Today there are little chances of sending Western peacebuilding forces in case if needed.
3/ Why? The region is not in the priority while being perceived as Russia’s backyard (2008 Georgian war proved it very well). It is also paralyzed by the work of Armenian diaspora with its strongest positions in Fr, USA and Ru, the three countries of Minsk group co-chairmanship.
4/ We can also see it in the lack of objectivity in the Western media covering the conflict. Add pandemic, elections in US and other domestic factors. Today the conflict in NK is definitely not a top priority for the Western leaders.
5/ OSCE Minsk group co-chairs showed the limits of their capacity. Although Fr, US and Ru are permanent members of UNSC, neither used enough pressure to implement 1993 UN resolutions (requiring immediate removal of all occupying forces from the NK and the surrounding districts).
6/ This raises a question on the necessity of building a new format for negotiations. Many experts today speak about "2+2 formula" with Azerbaijan and Armenia being mediated by Turkey and Russia.
7/ While neither Turkey, nor Russia is totally neutral in this conflict, their combination of efforts can work to guarantee the rights of both sides in the conflict and reach the final peace agreement.
8/ Note: while Western media presents the conflict as an Azerbaijani attack orchestrated by Turkey against Armenia, it forgets that 1) Armenia has a Russian military base (that will function there at least until 2044), while there is no Turkish military base in Azerbaijan.
9/ 2) Az weapons are bought from Tr, along with Ru, Israel and other partners. In case of Arm, they are being purchased at a much lower price from Ru or even given for free. 3) Numerous reports claim there is a transit of Ru military equipment via Iranian territory to Arm.
10/ 4) ARM depends on RU to a much more extent than AZ depends on TR. The history of 2009 Zurich Protocols shows it was Azerbaijan that could push on Turkey, rather than vice versa. In contrast, Armenia is 80% dependent on Russian gas and its security is guaranteed by CSTO.
11/ While the relations between TR and RU are far from ideal, there are some aspects where their interests coincide. Both states have strained relations with the West (although mostly EU in case of Tr), and some interpret their policy as a response to their failed hopes for it.
12/ Similar example in history led to the alliance of Lenin and Atatürk in the 1920s. Both were perceived as outcasts of the West after the end of the WWI and their cooperation brought significant political and economic achievements to both Turkey and the Soviet Union back then.
13/ Notably, it was the agreement between Lenin and Atatürk in the early 1920s that established the current Western borders of the South Caucasian states.
14/ Today both countries have strong political and economic interests in the South Caucasus. Turkey is the only country having borders with all the three states of the region. Russia (and Iran) has a border with two of them.
15/ The balance between these two states might prevent the total control of either side over the region. In case if the interests of RU and TR coincide or if they delineate their areas of interest in the region, a final peace treaty in the NK conflict can be reached.
16/ Moreover, cooperation between Turkey and Russia in the region can revitalize the idea of Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform once suggested by Turkish leadership after the Georgian war of 2008.
17/ To some extent, it echoes the recent statements of President Ilham Aliyev on the future of the region and his vision of cooperation and even integration of the region after the end of the war. (GEO might not be happy with such scenario though, remember its reaction in 2008).
18/ Today many things will depend on the progress of the Azerbaijani army on the battlefield, the plans of Ankara and Moscow and whether they might coincide or clash, as well as the reaction of Western powers (if any) to the future developments in the region.
19/ What is clear is that the traditional format of OSCE Minsk group co-chairmanship is already being challenged and might be even changed in the upcoming weeks. END.
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