Why Putin needs new war?
The unanimous ceasefire of Azerbaijan’s army, which attacked controlled by its neighbour Armenia territories killing its 30 soldiers is bogus said spokesperson for the Nagorno Karabakh Defense Army Señor Hasratyan. The Azerbaijani army units are using BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launchers and 152-mm artillery to shell Martakert – he explained. This is only the beginning of a new war.
On the night of April 1st and 2nd Azerbaijan army attacked an independent region of Nagorno Karabakh ending cease-fire reached in May of 1994. It looks like the conflict was started not by the chief of army, President of the Azerbaijan, who at that time was on his way in from the international conference in Washington DC to home, but by not identified yet senior commanders.
It would not be imaginable that any commanders of Azerbaijan army could decide about invasion of the disputed territory with its neighbouring Armenia without significant support or even directive from above. Azerbaijan is not a democratic country but rather harsh dictatorship of Ilham Aliyev, a son of a former First Secretary of Communist Party of the Azerbaijani Soviet Republic and the first “President” of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev.
Since the source of power under dictatorship is not people’s will it has to rest on pillars that would provide stability for the regime. One of the sources is personality cult which blossomed in Azerbaijan under the Heydar Aliyev government and continues until now. The other is terror which include a war on dissidents, severe punishment for democracy and total control of public life. These measures might have not be sufficient that is why dictatorship is closely watched from outside – Kremlin, which influence has been concealed since the so-called independence of Azerbaijan.
It is more than probable that Moscow decided to reignite conflict, which once, theoretically, helped to end. Why now? Putin did not achieve fully strategic goals in Syria yet. It does not mean that he resigned or withdrew from the country led by its long-term friend Bashar al-Assad. To the contrary more Russian military hardware is being transported to Syria than Moscow supposedly removes. Putin more than likely is building another military base in Syria. But it will take few months until he will achieve his goal of installing new state of Kurds and increasing of immigration waves to Europe with his strategic goal of breaking EU and weakening of NATO. One of the goals he did not achieve yet was to increase price of oil, which is the only source of revenue for Moscow. Putin was not able also to stop international isolation of Russia.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict gives him opportunity to be “invited” once again as “negotiator” or “observer” which may offer “peace-keeping” by his army. If that happens Azerbaijan and Armenia will lose rest of their independence. It will be great achievement for him in a realisation of his plan of a restoration of the Soviet Union.
The war front opened in this war of Azerbaijan and Armenia is 200 km long and reaches from Martakert province to the border of Nagorno-Karabakh with Iran (Iran is concerned over clashes), which may give Putin opportunity to impose some controlling measures on exports of energy from Teheran.
In March of 2016 Secretary of NATO talked to Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan and Armenian Defence Minister Seyran Ghanian on partnership with Alliance. According to NATO press report: “The two Ministers also met with the North Atlantic Council for an exchange of views on Armenia’s cooperation with the Alliance and regional security. The Secretary General welcomed Armenia’s commitment to the NATO Building Integrity Programme and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.”
It is clear but the Kremlin is undermining any NATO goals which could stabilise states invaded and destroyed by Soviet Union such as Armenia. From early 1990’s Russia decided to conceal who is its strategic enemy but after invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea and maybe as early as invasion of Georgia Putin decided that hiding this obvious assumption is no longer necessary. The United States and NATO, in his opinion, have not capabilities to threaten his long-term plans.
Was it a sufficient motive for Putin to command his agents of influence in Azeri Army and perhaps among highest politicians of the country to renew the dangerous and bloody conflict in what he calls “Zakavkaz”? Is it possible that this new conflict once again proved that West and NATO is at least two steps behind the Kremlin? Could this war be also an element of preparing for frontal attack on Europe in future?
Perhaps this last goal is still buried under the deepest levels of consciousness of politicians in West. It is not certain whether it is located in the same place in the minds of the Kremlin strategists including the Strategist.