Armenia’s growing tensions with Azerbaijan and its efforts to diversify its security apparatus by pursuing new international partnerships.
The article begins by describing the recent arrival of US soldiers in Armenia for a peacekeeping training exercise. The exercise, while small in scale, has rankled the Russian government, which has traditionally acted as the sole security guarantor for Armenia.
The article then goes on to discuss Armenia’s frustration with Russia’s inability or unwillingness to defend it against Azerbaijan’s aggression. Armenia recently sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine for the first time, and its parliament is set to ratify the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute, which would oblige it to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he were to set foot in the country.
The article then discusses Armenia’s efforts to create new international partnerships, such as the peacekeeping training exercise with the US. The article suggests that these efforts are motivated by Armenia’s attempts to bolster its security, but also by its desire to diversify its international relationships and reduce its reliance on Russia.
The article concludes by discussing the challenges ahead for Armenia. It suggests that Armenia’s leaders are aware of the risk of getting stuck in the middle, caught between Russia and the West.
Overall, the article provides a good overview of Armenia’s current security situation and its efforts to diversify its international partnerships. It is well-written and informative.shareGoogle it
The recent arrival of US soldiers in Armenia for a peacekeeper training exercise, known as the “Eagle Partner” exercise, has triggered unease within the Russian government. Historically, Russia has acted as the primary security guarantor for Armenia, a former Soviet republic. This exercise, involving 85 US and 175 Armenian soldiers, aims to prepare Armenian troops for participation in international peacekeeping missions. While the scale of the exercise is relatively small, it is just the latest in a series of actions that Russia’s foreign ministry has deemed “unfriendly.” This article delves into the context and implications of Armenia’s evolving foreign relations.
A Frustrated Ally
Armenia’s recent actions reflect its frustration with Russia’s inability or unwillingness to defend it against perceived aggression from neighboring Azerbaijan. Armenia’s flirtation with new international partners, including the US, marks a significant departure from its decades-long reliance on Russia for security.
The Roots of Discontent
The origins of Armenia’s discontent can be traced back to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a long-standing dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The conflict reached its pinnacle in the 2020 war, exposing Armenia’s military vulnerabilities. Azerbaijan’s use of advanced weaponry, including drones and F-16 fighter jets from Turkey, resulted in a decisive victory, enabling Azerbaijan to claim a substantial portion of Nagorno-Karabakh’s territory and launch attacks on Armenia.
Russian Involvement and Its Limitations
Russia played a role in brokering a ceasefire to end the 2020 war and deployed around 2,000 peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh to safeguard the critical Lachin corridor, the only road connecting the region to Armenia. However, Russian peacekeepers have not been able to prevent Azerbaijani troops from establishing military checkpoints along the corridor, which has led to difficulties in supplying essential goods to Nagorno-Karabakh. This perceived inaction has left many in Armenia feeling betrayed.
The Price of Loyalty
Armenia had long adhered to Russia’s demands, including halting its efforts towards European integration in 2013. This loyalty, however, has not yielded the expected security benefits. Russia’s failure to deliver on promises to secure the Lachin corridor and provide necessary weapons has forced Armenia to diversify its security partnerships.
A Delicate Balancing Act
Armenia’s attempts to build new international alliances should not be seen as a complete break with Russia but rather as an effort to dilute its dependence on its traditional ally. It is a risky maneuver for a small state like Armenia, as it risks alienating both Russia and the West, leaving itself exposed.
The Unintended Consequences
Armenia’s recent moves, such as considering ratifying the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute, have strained its relations with Russia. The ICC’s arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin added further complications to the situation. Joint military training exercises with the US have only worsened tensions.
Armenia’s evolving foreign policy represents a significant departure from its longstanding reliance on Russia for security. While Armenia seeks to diversify its security alliances, it is navigating a delicate balancing act between Russia and the West. The consequences of this shift remain uncertain, but the price of diversification could be high, given Russia’s economic and military influence in the region. As Armenia looks to redefine its place in the geopolitical landscape, the world watches to see whether this strategic shift will yield the security it seeks or come at a substantial cost.