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Analysis

Pelosi’s Armenia Visit: Fueling Crisis This Time in South Caucasus

Tuesday 20 September 2022
Pelosi’s Armenia Visit: Fueling Crisis This Time in South Caucasus

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Alwaght- As the border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia in recent days stirred concerns about a full-scale war in the region, the crisis provided the Americans with a chance to fish in troubled waters. The US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who has been active  diplomaticly in recent months more than the government officials has picked another hot spot for her destabilizing diplomacy, a month after her controversial visit to Taiwan. On Sunday, she flew to Armenia leading a delegation of lawmakers from California. California is home to the world's largest Armenian expats community. 

The American Embassy in Yerevan announced that Pelosi is going to meet and talk with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan during her trip. According to Pelosi, the visit of the Congressional delegation to Armenia is a strong symbol of this country's firm commitment to peace and democracy in Armenia and stability and security in the Caucasus region. Pelosi emphasized that during working meetings with heads of state, members of civil society and members of the security institutions, she will raise the strong and continuous support of the Washington as the head of the Minsk Group for the resolution of the old Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Pelosi is the highest-ranking American official to travel to Armenia since the country's independence in 1991. 

Although Pelosi's visit to Armenia on the eve of the Congressional mid-term elections could be a sign to attract the opinion of the powerful Armenian lobby in the US to support the Democratic candidates in the elections, more important than domestic political issues, this trip is closely related to the developments taking place in the international arena. Although Pelosi's visit to Yerevan is made to establish stability and prevent the escalation of tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, there are other goals behind this action. Pelosi's visit to Armenia takes place while Russia and the West at each other's throats over the Ukraine crisis, and since American officials use every opportunity to hit their traditional rival, the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis has provided Washington with the opportunity to push forward its anti-Russian plans. 

Having in mind that Pelosi's visit is made only to one of the warring countries, it shows that her goal is not to stabilize the region and this action can be a trigger for the escalation of tensions in the region. The conflict in Karabagh, which is thousands of kilometers away from the American and European borders, is a good opportunity for the White House officials to inflame it and make Russia's southern borders insecure. Because in the event of a full-scale war in the region, like what happened in 2020, it will cause Moscow to devote part of its attention and military power to de-escalating these tensions, and a ground could be made for the Ukrainians to make gains against the Russians. Actually, the Americans are seeking two aims with one shot: Dealing blows to Moscow and increasing its costs in South Caucasus. 

Although the US has always maintained a neutral stance on the Karabakh issue in the past three decades and tried to maintain its relations with both sides of the conflict, global developments have caused Washington to change its approach and lean to one side. Also, the comments of Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, who accused Azerbaijan of attacking Armenia and its infrastructure a few days ago, were somehow biased, and Pelosi's trip is also paid to through American backing behind Yerevan against Baku. As soon as Pelosi arrived in Yerevan, she accused the Azerbaijani side of fueling tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh and stated that the responsibility for any conflict lies with the Baku leaders. 

“We strongly condemn those attacks — we in our delegation on behalf of Congress — which threaten prospects for a much-needed peace agreement,” she said. 

Exploiting split between Moscow and Yerevan 

Since independence of Armenia in the 1990s, Moscow has been the largest Yerevan political and military backer in the face of Baku, not allowing Azerbaijani assaults on Karabakh. However, since 2020, it departed from Armenia protection policy. Azerbaijan seized the opportunity and liberated major part of its territories in Karabakh. In recent clashes, Armenia asked Russia for help but the Russians turned a deaf ear, mainly because of their obsession with Ukraine battlegrounds. This vacuum provides Washington with an opportunity to take advantage of this political divorce. Pelosi visited Armenia to ensure Yerevan of political and perhaps military support, the samepolicy they she followed in Taiwan in the face of China. 

Washington's message to Baku 

Pelosi's visit to Armenia is also related to Azerbaijan's relationship with the West. Given that Azerbaijan has been leaning towards Russia since two years ago in line with Turkey's plans in the region and has separated ways from Western policies, the American officials are trying to send a message to Baku with political support from Yerevan: If you get close to Moscow, you will lose the Western support on the world stage. 

The Western stances on Karabakh tensions, on the other hand, run counter to the Baku policies. Since the US and Europe are pushing Azerbaijan to compliance with the terms of the Minsk agreement, which was signed two decades ago to lock its potentials for retaking its territories from Armenia, Baku leaders are infuriated with the West. Baku leaders believe that when they can take back the occupied areas of their land from Armenia with military force, why they should give in to the diplomacy dictated by the West which sets up a serious obstacle ahead of their pro-liberation agenda. The West, as the guarantors of the Minsk agreements, do not want to disturb the borders drawn between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and this is in conflict with the desire of Baku, which is trying to take back all its lands. 

Although Pelosi stated that her visit was aimed at achieving peace in Karabakh, experience has shown that the Americans have brought nothing but war and destruction to the nations whenever they meddled in crisis-stricken regions. Therefore, the presence of foreign powers in the South Caucasus is a serious threat to regional actors who are trying to defuse war between Baku and Yerevan. Iran is one of these countries that has always expressed its opposition to changing the borders between Azerbaijan and Armenia and does not accept the entry of international powers to the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis, which have no purpose but fueling the tensions. Iran believes that the resolution of the crisis in the region should be done by the regional countries themselves, and the entry of foreign powers will not only not heal the pain of the nations, on the contrary, it can broaden the crisis. 

Upgrading the crisis with Russia to unprecedented levels and bringing the world face to face with a great challenge by adding fuel to Ukraine fire, the US now seeks to ignite the crisis in South Caucasus to open a new front against Russia and hence increase the rival's costs. But the regional states, aware of the grim American policies, will not allow another Western-fueled crisis. 

 

Tags :

US Pelosi Armenia Crisis Azerbaijan Caucasus

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