Monday, November 18, 2013

February 14, 2014 and the "wildcard"

I'd like apologize to all of my non existent readers for my absence.  At first I was busy, then I was lazy.  I finally got around to reading the briefing by The International Crisis Group, "Armenia and Azerbaijan: A Season of Risks."

The entire briefing should be read by anyone interested in the subject, but I have my own thoughts.  The most interesting part of the briefing was the reference to Iran as a "wildcard" in the geopolitical standoff.  While Iran has failed to decisively support Armenia in this dispute, I fail to see how it could remain neutral much less not militarily support Armenia.  It has already participated in war games with Russia in the Caspian.  Who else but Azerbaijan could be the target?

Azerbaijan exists under Turkish protection.  Without it, they would stop their bellicose rhetoric.  They are in direct competition with Iranian and Russian oil exports.  The BTC pipeline conspicuously circumvents both Iran and Armenia on its way to Turkey. Azerbaijan's close cooperation with Iran's bette noire, Israel, should convince even the most dovish Iranians that Baku is a threat.

If you take a look at "Iranian Azerbaijan", you can see that any move by Baku to militarily claim territory on behalf of the ethnicity of its inhabitants will be met with Iranian hostility.  All of Azerbaijan was once part of the Persian empire until it was ceded to the Russian Empire after the Russo-Persian war in 1813.  A complicated conflict to be sure, it even involved Napoleon.  Incidentally, the richest regions of Turkmenistan's oil industry also belonged to the Persian Empire prior to 1881.

It is easy to see why Russia and Iran find it so difficult to work together due to their prior hostilities.  However, at this point, the two seem to share a common foe in the "Empire of Money."  Their shared historical antipathy toward Turkey is also a uniting factor.

We are now less than 3 months from my historic date.  Will I be proven right?  Only time will tell.

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