I'm trying hard to get the Caucasus region in focus. What is going on there? Who are the players? What is at stake?
Today, I was confronted by another round of finger pointing by the Azeris against the Armenians. Specifically, the Armenians were violating the ceasefire. It's an old story, one we've all heard before, and we'll probably hear again.
According to the Asbarez online journal, "Russia Tightens Grip as Armenia Moves Closer to Europe." This independence of Armenia has brought the great "displeasure of Russia." Asbarez describes itself as the "the official publication of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western United States Central Committee." Russia increased the price of gas to Armenia by 50% during the month of July, and some hapless Armenian truck driver was reportedly dressed in women's clothes to be vilified before an angry Moscow audience after massacring 18 locals in a negligent vehicle accident. Boohoo?
The Russians have further undermined Armenia by granting citizenship to anyone (or their descendants) who held Soviet citizenship. It is feared that this will draw Armenians out of Armenia and make it demographic deficit with Azerbaijan even worse. Furthermore, Russia really wants Armenia to be "poor and intimidated", so it can keep a military base on the Turkish border.
Interesting. Armenia seems to have only two friends in the world: Russia and Iran. Unfortunately, these countries can't offer them the prosperous future that should be Armenia's. This can only come from the West, which can't seem to keep its own head above water and already has a long history with Turkey and has chosen Azerbaijan's side in the NK dispute in no uncertain terms.
It would seem to this blogger that Armenia will have to hand over NK and depend on the generosity of strangers, and maybe they will get a pipeline through their country after Iran is reduced to rubble. Of course, Turkey and Azerbaijan might be happier if there were no Armenia at all. After all, there is only 3 million left, and they have been an eternal headache for the Turks. Is Russia really that bad?
Ho hum. It's back to work for me.