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Geopolitical aspects of ethnopolitical conflicts in the KavkazskoKaspiyskiy region



08’2007

39

Iza EZhIEV

geopolitical aspects of ethnopolitical conflicts in the Caucasian and Caspian region

(on the example of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict)

The ethnopolitical conflicts in the Caucasian and Caspian region which remained in inheritance from the USSR became one of instruments of geopolitical fight of the leading world and regional powers in distribution of the influence in this region. If at an initial, so-called preconflict stage the conflicts have character of internal political, intraregional problems, then already in the course of their settlement "thanks to" emergence on the arena of the subjects pursuing the especially geopolitical benefits, they get the expressed geopolitical coloring. This circumstance also explains so sharp jump in evolution of the local ethnic collisions which became object of fight of the third forces for influence in the region prior to the conflicts of global character.

Formation of new geopolitical factors at the different levels is inseparably connected with ethnopolitical conflicts. Speaking about specifics of ethnopolitical conflicts in the region, it is necessary to investigate influence of the international relations on geopolitical realities. The questions connected with genesis, a problem of determination and development of ethnopolitical conflicts in the Caucasian and Caspian region are considered in works of many authors. Therefore it is advisable to us to pay attention to some geopolitical aspects of this problem.

Collision between Azerbaijan and Armenia because of Nagorno-Karabakh became one of the first and sharp international conflicts which arose in the former Soviet Union. The conflict forced to attract attention in connection with intervention in it of the third countries that was shown as in latent, and open support of the countries having the strategic interests in this region. Speaking about civilization bonds of "insignificant" participants with direct participants of the conflict, S. Huntington carries to those Russia, Turkey and Iran: "These participants of the third level often are the core states of the civilizations. Diasporas of participants of the first level — where they exist — also play a part in wars on lines of breaks. In view of that usually at primary level the small number of people and arms is directly involved, rather modest external help in a type of money, weapon or volunteers is often capable to have a significant impact on the result of war" 1.

> In this regard "Armenia was forced to rely EZhIEV more

Iza to Russia rendering it significant military aid..." 2 V

Bagaudinovich- the turn Azerbaijan began to rely on support of Turkey

to. item of N,

State university of management

1 Village of Huntington. Collision of civilizations. M, AST publisher, 2003, p. 444-445
2 Z. Brzezinski. Great chessboard. M, "International relations", 2003, p. 155
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in counteraction of the Armenian-Russian military coalition. This alliance forced Azerbaijan to look for the help at strategic competitors of Russia in the region. "Business is represented in such a way that in conditions when Russia carries out direct arms supplies of Armenia and deepens cooperation with this country, Azerbaijan thereby as if force to go for military cooperation with Turkey and the USA and also to intensify process of rapprochement with NATO and other western military structures up to granting the territory for placement of foreign military bases" 1. Armenia signed all economic and military agreements of the CIS, granted permission for accommodation of the Russian troops in the territory. The unilateral position of Russia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in general very negatively affected relationship between Russia and Azerbaijan. The policy of Russia in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia was subject to influence of the Armenian lobby which had rather strong positions in the Kremlin. Actually Moscow relied on Yerevan as on the main strategic ally in Transcaucasia. All this pushed Azerbaijan to the West and its satellite in the Caucasus — Turkey that affected all inside - and foreign policy steps of Azerbaijan which took a serious course towards rapprochement with HATO2. The brightest manifestation prozapad1 K.S. Gadzhiyev. Geopolitics of the Caucasus. M, "International relations", 2003, p. 383

2 In December, 1999 Azerbaijan officially submitted for consideration of the NATO leaders the project of creation in Baku of NATO information center which was dated for a visit of the NATO Secretary General to Baku in September, 2000. In March, 1999 the visit to Baku of representatives of military delegation of the USA which part the group of senior representatives of the Pentagon — experts in the field of military-political planning was, for negotiations with the president of Azerbaijan, the management of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic took place. In February, 2000 Baku was visited by delegation of NATO headed by the deputy chief of the headquarters of NATO in Southeast Europe, the major general of the Turkish armed forces R. Durusa whose purpose consisted in clarification of opportunities and readiness of Azerbaijan for conducting large-scale military exercises. During negotiations with the Minister of Defence of Azerbaijan S. Abiyev and the Minister of Foreign Affairs V. Guliyev were discussed also perspektiv_ cooperation between Azerbaijan and NATO (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, on February 2000, 22)

ache politicians of Azerbaijan there were a development and implementation of the oil projects assuming the maximum distancing from Russia and also essentially other from Russian a position on legal status of the Caspian Sea.

According to some issledovate-ley3, the Russian position in the nagornokarabakhsky conflict had defensive character and was dictated by desire to prevent any attempts of the old rival of Russia in the Caucasus — Turkey, the member of NATO, to extend the influence. The former Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation P. Grachev responded to the statement of the chief of the General Staff of Turkey of the general D. Gyuresh that Ankara is ready to send so many soldier how many will ask the government of Azerbaijan to a zone of the Karabakh conflict: "We will not allow introduction of the Turkish troops. Russia has own interests in Azerbaijan" 4. The paradox of current situation was that Russia which unilaterally supported Armenia made best efforts to block rendering any help from the outside to Azerbaijan Is clear that the position of Russia was dictated by strategic interests in Transcaucasia. In this regard Armenia acts as an outpost of Russia in the region, and Azerbaijan with pantyurkistsky essence of its foreign policy can become the bridge of expansion of influence of Turkey in the Caucasian and Caspian region. However Turkey faced serious obstacles in expansion of the sphere of the influence in the region including in Azerbaijan. Except for several miles of the general border with Nakhchivan, the Azerbaijani enclave of Armenia which is cut off from other Azerbaijan, Turkey was territorially isolated from the new Turkic states. She could not play a certain role in the armyanoazerbaydzhansky conflict. In general despite the confrontational nature of the relations developing in military circles of Russia and Turkey, officially they did not affect relationship between two states.

3 Svarants A. Pantyurkizm in the geostrategy of Turkey in the Caucasus. M, 2002, p. 269
4 In the same place
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Especially active policy in settlement of ethnopolitical conflicts in the region is pursued by the USA, thereby "forming new model of the international relations of the period which came after the end of Cold War" 1. Americans use careful approaches in the participation in the solution of the Karabakh problem. Understanding that strategic importance which occupy also Azerbaijan with its rich hydrocarbon stocks, and Armenia with its favorable, in terms of pipelines, a geographical location, the USA pursues policy of double standards. On fair expression of K.S. Gadzhiyev, "the American diplomacy not especially likes to get involved in obviously losing situations or actions with doubtful success. And the Transcaucasian conflicts belong to this category" 2. Meanwhile Nagorno-Karabakh problem aggravated contradictions of interests in the USA. Adoption by the U. S. Congress in 1992 of amendment No. 907 to the Act of protection of freedom in connection with the Karabakh conflict which forbids financial assistance to Azerbaijan on the state line demonstrates to it, for example. Analyzing this amendment, one American analyst explained its essence as "... successful efforts of lobbying of such groups as Armenian meeting of America, and Armenian national committee" 3. The Armenian diaspora began to have strong impact on the American policy in the Caucasus after formation in 1991 of the independent Republic of Armenia. There is no doubt that the huge economic help of the USA of Armenia (on the second place after the help to Israel in per capita terms) and simultaneous very cool relations of the States with Azerbaijan because of refusal to provide independence to Nagorno-Karabakh, were in many respects a consequence of the Armenian lobby in the USA. "Its impressive triumph was adoption of Article 907 of the Act of support of freedom of 1992

1 V.D. Pisarev. Policy of the USA in the Caspian region. Europe and Russia: problems of the southern direction. The Mediterranean — Black Sea Coast. Caspian Sea, M., 1999, p. 376
2 K.S. Gadzhiyev. Decree. soch., p. 391
3 Mac Dougall J. A. New Stagein US - Caspian Sea Basin Relations. Central Asia. 1997, No. 5 (11)

years in which Azerbaijan was eliminated the Post-Soviet states which could apply for receiving the American help" 4. With achievement of these purposes the Armenian diaspora was helped by the American Greeks, the aspiring any ways to change pro-Turkish as they considered, orientation of the American foreign policy.

Two reports which appeared in 1997 should be considered as the basis for understanding of nature of development of the situation. The first — the report to the Congress given in 1997. U.S. State Department, carries out the exhaustive analysis of power policy of administration in the Caspian region. In the report to the Congress eight concrete recommendations concerning the American purposes on the Caspian Sea are made. The list contains the recommendation of cancellation of Paragraph No. 907 from the Act of protection of freedom. Such recommendation contains as well in the second report. Request to cancel Paragraph No. 907 it was made also by administration of the White House acting through S. Talbott in his performance at institute of Central Azii5.

the Vsvoy performance in Georgetown University the ex-president of Azerbaijan G. Aliyev called

unfair this ban and called for its cancellation. In need of cancellation of this point many influential politicians make sure of the USA. According to analysts, the growing consent on importance of Azerbaijan concerning access to oil resources of the Caspian Basin will probably be politically more expedient, than narrowly targeted actions of the Armenian lobby.

Highly appreciating a role of NATO in establishment of stability on the Balkan Peninsula covered by the conflicts, the recognized classic of modern political science Z. Brzezinski considers that at settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict "it will not be possible to do without some kind of Pact of stability for the Caucasus — the program for a sample of the Pact of stability for Southeast Europe" 6. This transatlantic look still

4 Lausanne E.D. Ethnic groups and lobbyism in the USA. About prospects of the Russian lobby in America. M, "International relations", 2004, p. 97
5 In the same place
6 Z. Brzezinski. Choice. World supremacy and global leadership. M, "International relations", 2004, p. 135
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time demonstrates that the USA at the decision of any given conflicts does not consider civilization and ethno-confessional specifics of the region and that the so-called Pact of stability acceptable only for one region can have negative character in solution to the conflicts in other region.

If during the period which followed directly the collapse of the USSR, the policy of Washington was defined rather by euphoria of a victory and stereotypes which remained since Cold War having character of some idealism (the sympathetic attitude towards Armenia in the Karabakh conflict which said in adoption of law "About protection of freedom" — the stereotype about democratic Armenia and the pro-Soviet Azerbaijan which developed during the perestroika years still worked), then already in the second time of board of democratic administration of B. Clinton (1996 — 2000) of the USA changed some approaches to the countries of the region. Democrats took more pragmatic position. Concerning Azerbaijan the politician Clinton, representing quite fancy mix of aggressive upholding of interests of the USA with a skillful combination of such course with "militant protection" of human rights around the world and active peacemaking, also underwent certain metamorphoses. In general keeping human rights rhetoric in the official contacts with the modes of these countries, the administration in Washington established quite normal relations with Azerbaijan. Active work and administrations, and monopolies of the USA on lobbying of construction of the Baku — Ceyhan oil pipeline belongs to this period. In connection with the idea of implementation of this project in which the leading monopolies of the USA were interested obviously, and noticeable warming of the relations of Washington and Baku was connected. Now it is expressed, in particular, in rendering pressure upon Armenia at negotiations on the Karabakh settlement, in mitigation of criticism of authoritarian regime of Aliyev and some other steps.

Thus, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict became the instrument of geopolitical fight of world and regional powers in the Caucasian and Caspian region. Participants of "a big game" in the region placed the geoeconomic and geopolitical priorities. If Armenia in the strategic relation made an unambiguous rate to Russia, then the position of Azerbaijan which drifts between Russia and the West remains not until the end of clear. This problem acquires special relevance against the background of the confrontational relations between the USA and Iran. In the light of the latest events the strategic partnership of the USA and Azerbaijan in which the territory of the last can be used by the United States in the strategic purposes causes serious concern to Iran. In that case already tense relations between Iran and Azerbaijan can become aggravated up to military confrontation. Despite close relationship which developed between Armenia and Iran (as a counterbalance to azerbaydzhanoamerikansky cooperation) it is obvious that the position of Yerevan will be defined by policy of Russia in the irano-American opposition.

It is possible to claim that the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict got steady geopolitical coloring, having become one of subjects to global opposition between the leading world and regional powers in strategically important Caucasian and Caspian region.

Margaret Kelly
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