The escalation of the situation by Azerbaijan on the border with Armenia at this stage is due to two factors, said the head of the Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs, Stepan Safaryan, in an interview with the Yerevan media.
“Back in autumn, I have pointed out the two factors which, by the end of this year and the beginning of 2017, may lead to an escalation. The first factor is that the leadership of Azerbaijan, including Aliyev, openly admitted that in 2017 they expect a breakthrough in the negotiation process with the help of Russia. They stated that it is the deadline for them. That is, until 2017 they are ready to behave constructively, but if there is no breakthrough, they will again turn to military action”, says Safaryan.
The second factor, in his opinion, is the change of power in the United States. “There is a serious vacuum in the areas of responsibility of the United States. I believe that these factors play a significant role in the current escalation”, noted the expert.
On the other hand, he said, Azerbaijan has closely tracked the attitude towards Armenia in the CSTO. Watching how Armenia is being humiliated in this organization, President Ilham Aliyev saw it as an indication of weakening of Armenia’s international relations and being left unprotected by its allies. It has also become fertile ground, he continued.
Safaryan predicts new escalation. “The Azerbaijani side has changed the offensive model and goes for a large-scale escalation. Little can stop this country now. If, during the April war, the peace remained on the borders of Armenia, now they are using a different tactic”, claims the Armenian expert.
As for the reaction of the CSTO to the December 29 events, Stepan Safaryan notes that the bloc’s statement did not mention Azerbaijan as the responsible party. They avoided pointing out the perpetrator of the escalation and qualified the incident as a provocation, without using military terminology”, he says.
According to him, Armenia should not rely on the support of the bloc and it’s about time to reconsider its security system.