The Azeris are an example to be imitated, and the Armenians to be avoided – Hippokrates Daskalakis, Director od Studies at HELISS, 15.11.2020
The Azeris are an example to be imitated, and the Armenians to be avoided
After weeks of hard and bloody struggles, a Russian-mediated peace agreement was signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The agreement, with points probably quite unknown to us, secures the Azeris’ gains on the battlefield to date, without fully and definitively resolving the dispute over the disputed ownership of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The clashes started on September 27 and continued uninterruptedly for 44 days, giving impetus to many remarkable analyses at all levels (diplomatic, strategic, operational, tactical) of the confrontation. This production of analyses and conclusions is expected to continue at an increased pace, as new data will come to the surface, while references and correlations with the ongoing Greek-Turkish rivalry will be inevitable.
Although the hearts of all Greeks, due to very strong historical and religious ties, are drawn to the persecuted Armenian friends, I can not but praise the Azeris for the effective preparation and conduct of the war, regardless of the significant foreign aid they received (and they rightly did so). The Azeri people and their government, no matter how “democratically” elected they may be, have managed to achieve a dynamic military return to Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Azeris did not give up
After the painful defeats of the 1990s and subsequent unfortunate small-scale conflicts, they did not give up. They have not forgotten the “enslaved areas”, regardless of whether they do not have very clear “property contracts” for the entire surface of Nagorno-Karabakh. They did not settle for dozens of international resolutions, decisions, and declarations of support that justified them, but decided to follow the path of the struggle, which passes through sacrifices and dangers.
They did not convert the foreign exchange that their energy reserves generously offered them into “holiday loans”, debts and consumer goods, and proceeded with a huge armaments program. They did not blame the great powers for their previous failures, but correctly diagnosed the international environment and checked it appropriately and systematically in every direction.
In fact, with appropriate moves, they managed to extract a “favorable neutrality”, even from the traditionally pro-Yerevan “Russian bear”, respecting its limits and maintaining a careful balance. In fact, at least so far, they seem to be acting with restraint, not being carried away by the deceptive momentum of victory.
Inevitably and completely rationally, they turned to the neighboring and kindred Turkish nation to strengthen their military power, as their unnatural Russian-Turkish approach provided room for maneuver between these two forces. Undoubtedly, they could not carry out all these plans if geography did not endow them with remarkable hydrocarbon deposits, but also with a position of strategic importance (a country that constitutes a “geopolitical axis” according to Brzezinski).
Intelligent use of the tools of power
In summary, the Azeris correctly took advantage of the characteristics generously provided to them by geography, and turned them into factors of power, as a result of which they seized the “window of opportunity” and prevailed over their opponents. The Armenians, not to offend them, were not gifted accordingly, but were satisfied with their previous successes. In addition, they did not correctly diagnose the geopolitical environment and were consumed in internal disputes, with the result that they could not react successfully.
So maybe my own heart sympathizes today with my Armenian friends, but I also notice disturbing similarities with our complacency towards our awkward neighbor. A neighbor, who finds every day that the methodical and carefully combined use of all the tools of power, with the prominent use of military means, brings short-term and medium-term positive results for him and seeks to successively get rid of his potential rivals.
In conclusion, I must once again acknowledge the determination of the people of Azerbaijan and the correct, patient, and methodical actions of their leadership. The Greek Azeris, who may have been despised by us, reminded us that nothing is lost in the end, unless we ourselves are convinced that it has been finally lost and nothing can be conquered without sacrifices!