Books on Armenia
Update No: 323 - (26/11/07)
It is an unhappy fact that another war between Armenia and Azerbaijan is
perfectly possible, even likely. Both sides are led by hardliners, indeed
enclavistes, in President Robert Kocharian, formerly leader of Nagorno-Karabakh,
the Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, and President Ilham Aliyev, who hails from
Nakichevan, the Azeri enclave between Armenia and Iran.
The aggrieved party, the Azeris, who lost last time, want their territory back,
some 20% of he whole of their country, they claim. There are over a million
refugees waiting for many years now, to return to their homes.
The Azeris have the oil revenues to finance an arms build-up, their military
budget being larger than Armenia's entire budget. It is not however, bigger than
Russia's, the salient point. Moscow, whose intervention last time was decisive,
would not leave so faithful a client state in the lurch, should serious
hostilities recur - and Yerevan is relying on that.
Skirmishes with Azerbaijan
On 15 November Armenian armed forces shot at Azerbaijani National Army troops in
the opposite direction from their positions near Tapgaragoyunlu village of
Goranboy District from 09.55pm to 10.00pm, Alakhanli village of Fizuli District
of Azerbaijan from 21:50 to 22:00, as well as on 16 November from Hasangaya
village of Terter District of Azerbaijan from 03:00 to 03:20, and Javahirli
village of Agdam District from 04:00 to 04:15,with guns and machine guns, the
Azerbaijan National Defense Ministry reported.
The Azerbaijani army retaliated. No casualties were reported.
These incidents are minor, but the situation could easily get out of hand
Kocharian might welcome an emergency
Kocharian is due to step down next year, as is Putin. But he lacks the Russian
leader's total dominance of the political scene. He is nothing like as popular.
It would not be easy for him to engineer a succession to a boosted premiership,
as Putin seems to be doing.
A war with Azerbaijan could suit him down to the ground, justifying a suspension
of the constitution and its clause that he cannot run for a third term. Indeed
the elections could then be postponed, as they were even in 'the Mother of
Parliaments' in the UK during the world wars.
This is pure speculation as yet. But Kocharian is an utterly ruthless and brutal
man, who waged a ferocious war, with Russian help, last time in 1989-92. The
Kremlin to the rescue again maybe his motto before long.