Friday, September 14, 2012

Irredentism and Its Discontents: Caucasus Edition

I have been meaning to write about the various events in the Azerbaijan-Armenian relationship for some time as Armenia remains the only big Irredentist winner of the transition from Communism.  Serbia did not become enlarged, Croatia just kept what it had, Albanian efforts at a Greater Kosovo were snuffed by early NATO intervention into Macedonia's conflict in 2001, and there are the cases of countries that did engage in irredentism at all

What got this dispute back in my line of sight?  That Azerbaijan broke a promise to NATO: that a military officer that had killed an Armenian in his sleep at a NATO exercise would be transferred from an Hungarian jail and be imprisoned in Azerbaijan.  Instead, he was not only released but given back pay and an apartment.  This is not only a reward for killing an Armenian but a snub at NATO.  This piece nicely summarizes the state of play.  Well, except for one thing: Armenia was the irredentist country that used violence not only to get Nagorno-Karabakh War but also territory in between Karabakh and Armenia to provide a land bridge to the newly conquered (or reconquered) territory.  Ethnic cleansing was committed by both sides, but if aggression is a war crime, Armenia was pretty darned guilty of it.

So, I do not condone what Azerbaijan has done, and snubbing NATO is probably a bad idea.  The US should be wary of comforting Azerbaijan too much, but this is a two country tango of nationalism and self-destruction.  As a result, I am a bit frustrated by this line:
This makes it all but impossible for Armenia to expect the United States to act as an honest broker in the peace process. And if the United States cannot play that role, no one else will.
I didn't realize that there was a peace process that was going anywhere.  Is Armenia willing to give up some/all of its gains from the war of irredentism twenty years ago?  Me thinks not.  Therefore, I am not so concerned about the absence of an honest broker--there is no deal to brokering, right?

To be sure, I have not assiduously followed events here, so I hope my readers can educate me about where I go wrong on this.

1 comment:

Artur said...

Armenia neither invaded Azerbaijan nor used force/violence against it. At the break up of Soviet Union, and according to the laws of the USSR, people of Nagorno-Karabakh, petitioned to correct the willful territorial policy implemented by Joseph Stalin (who took away NKR and placed it under Azeri control). It was a legal act by the population of NKR. Armenia was pulled into this conflict to ensure the safety of the NKR's population as it was attacked by Azeri forces attempting to suppress the free will of the NKR population. Armenia has, and continues to be the guarantor of the safety and security of NKR.