Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. This episode was recorded on Monday, January 17, 2022.
This week we’re going to talk about the following major topics:
● Major incident on the Line of Contact
● Turkish-Armenian meeting in Moscow
To talk about these issues, we have with us:
Edgar Elbakyan, who is a political scientist based in Armenia. He shares his time between Yerevan and Stepanakert and specializes in the politics of Artsakh.
On January 12, there was a new skirmish on the line of contact between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops, near Verin Shorzha in Gegharkunik. This is believed to be one of the most violent incidents since the end of the 2020 war. Media report the use of both artillery and UAVs by the Azerbaijani side. Armenia reported three deaths, while Azerbaijan claimed one death.
What details do we have on this incident?
Is it a coincidence that these events took place after Kazakhstan?
At the same time, Aliyev has ratcheted up his belligerent rhetoric. On Wednesday, after the incident, Aliyev claimed that so-called “revanchism” exists not only within the Armenian opposition but also the “current government”. He made the claim that parts of Armenia, including what he calls “Zangezur” and Yerevan itself were annexed from Azerbaijan in early 20th century and essentially threatened war if Armenia doesn’t accept his offer of “peace”, which in reality seems to be more capitulation. During that same press-conference, Aliyev threatened to “suppress” the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group, about one week after the co-chairs had issued a proclamation emphasizing the unacceptability of use of force to solve border disputes.
We haven’t seen Aliyev this rabid in a long time. What does he want?
On Friday, Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov said that Armenia had a new offer on delimitation that it would transfer to Azerbaijan on behalf of Armenia.
Why through Russia? What new offers?
Given that Aliyev often instigates border unrest and violence when problems arise in the negotiations, is he signaling disapproval with the new “offer”?
Later in the week, Aliyev visited Ukraine. First visit in 7 years. It seems the focus was economic and specifically agricultural. During the meeting Aliyev signed agreements to lease Ukrainian land to bolster production of crops destined for Azerbaijani consumption. We know that Azerbaijan is very reliant on wheat imports. The visit also seems to have had a military/defense component. Both sides vowed to re-invigorate collaboration in GUAM, the military alliance that includes Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova.
Why this visit now? How will Russia perceive the messaging about GUAM, given that tensions with Ukraine are very high now?
Well, Kilic and Rubinyan met in Moscow on the 14th. The meeting lasted 90 minutes and both sides issued nearly identical statements about the meeting, so clearly it was all coordinated: that the meeting was conducted in a “positive” atmosphere, and that they intended to move the relations to a comprehensive state.
What was your impression of the meeting?
That was our Week in Review show, and we hope it helped you catch up with some of the issues in and around Armenia from this past week. As always, we invite your feedback and your suggestions. You can find us on most social media and podcast platforms, or our website Groong.org.
Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel on YouTube, Like our pages and follow us on social media. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week, thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.
Edgar Elbakyan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh, Artsakh, Turkey, Russia, Communication channels, Corridors, Borders, Peace Negotiations, France, Iran, Border Skirmish, Ukraine, GUAM, GUUAM,