FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Georgia Is Only the Beginning

by Armen Khanbabyan

The unprecedented pace of the expansion of the US and NATO in the post- Soviet space is so worrying to the Russian political elite that it is obstructing their ability to objectively evaluate the real meaning of what is happening. Naturally, in Russia people are inclined to see things solely “from their own bell tower.” In reality, however, the vector of this expansion is not so much “towards the north,” as “to the south.” Put more simply, the Americans now are not after Russia. They have more important and more urgent tasks.

The fundamental goal of Washington and the West as a whole is to establish firm and long- term control over the energy resources of Central and Upper Asia. This explains the appearance of their bases along the notorious “arc of instability,” from Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan to Georgia. Thus they are setting up a ring around Iraq and Iran– countries that are obstructing these plans. But if punitive action against Baghdad can be considered a decisive action, then things with Iran are not quite so simple. President Carter once even organized a raid by his paratroopers on Tehran, and his special forces were effortlessly taken captive by the guards of the Islamic Revolution. Generally speaking, it is not so easy to cope with a country with a territory three times that of France, a population of seventy million, and a sufficiently entrenched political and economic system. What is more, in distinction from Iraq, Tehran has no powerful neighbors who are interested in destabilizing the country and changing the existing regime.

Therefore, not only Central Asia, but also the Transcaucasus should become a zone of complete Western influence. For the resolution of the task, Georgia alone is not sufficient. Very soon Americans and Turks will appear in Azerbaijan, and in quantities much greater than in Georgia, as Washington has already signed an agreement with Baku on the modernization of the local armed forces. It is also important that Azerbaijan and Iran have a number of mutual grievances, and in particular the issues of the northern Iranian territories, which are populated by Turkic peoples, and the division of the Caspian.

But the transformation of Azerbaijan into a secure staging area for the realization of the military-political goals of the US is impossible as long as there exist the Karabakh conflict and the mutually advantageous cooperation between Iran and Armenia.

Recall that the relations between Yerevan and Tehran represent an enviable example of good-neighborliness between a Christian and an Islamic state. This, incidentally, is confirmation of the thesis of the absence of a confessional basis to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Nevertheless, the pragmatic friendship between the two neighboring countries has always annoyed Washington. Until recently, however, Yerevan was able to explain that the danger of Islamic fundamentalism does not threaten Armenia by definition, and the contacts with Iran serve to strengthen regional stability.

Today the quickening withdrawal of Russia from the region and the efforts of the American and Turkish factors have become a catalyst for a future Armenian-Iranian drawing together. In the beginning of March, during the visit of the Iranian Minister of Defense, Admiral Ali Shamkhani, to Yerevan, the two countries signed a memorandum on cooperation in the sphere of defense and security, which proposes a wide range of interaction, including the creation of joint enterprises. This is promising, if one considers that in the Soviet period 92 percent of Armenian industry was in the defense sector.

Washington reacted very promptly and brusquely. Literally a week after the visit of Shamkhani to Yerevan the US State Department “discovered” a new “international channel” of drug trafficking: Iran–Nagorno-Karabakh-Armenia-Russia–Europe. The press secretary for the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dzyunik Agadzhanyan, observed that the conclusions of the American foreign policy agency were constructed exclusively on information from the Azerbaijani side, and fully contradict the evaluations of a number of authoritative international organizations. This indicates Baku’s striving to “make the Karabakh question the object of discussion in all conceivable instances.” But the important thing here is not the striving of Baku, but rather the plans of Washington. It is curious that in one of the Moscow newspapers an article appeared in which the Karabakh movement is called “sadly notorious” (that same paper had earlier called it a democratic and national-liberation movement) for its alleged links with the illegal arms trade, the mafia, and terrorism.

Taken together, all of this is an element in the unfolding ideological preparation for future punitive action. It would seem that they realize this in Yerevan. In any case, the Armenian Minister of Defense, Serzh Sarkisyan (the second most politically significant person in the Republic), will visit Washington. Most likely he will again try to convince his American colleagues that the shift in Armenian-Iranian cooperation to the area of defense was dictated strictly by the demands of national security and does not present a threat for the US. But it is very doubtful that now these traditional arguments will satisfy the Americans. In its external appearance, Karabakh diverges too clearly from the paradigm of their conceptions of the future alignment of forces in the region. Therefore for the Armenian side, apparently, there will be a difficult and meager choice between the bad and the very bad variants of the future development of events.

Armen Khanbabyan writes for Nezavisimaya Gazeta. (Trans. by Timothy K. Blauvelt)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail