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MAY 2021

The Saker: “Understanding the outcome of the war for Nagorno-Karabakh”

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The Saker: "Understanding the outcome of the war for Nagorno-Karabakh"

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Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

A lot has happened very rapidly in the past two days and I will begin this analysis by a few bullet points summarizing what just happened (not in any particular order, including chronological):

  • The war which has just ended was a real bloodbath and it has seen more casualties (counting both sides) than what the Soviet Union lost in 10 years of warfare in Afghanistan
  • This war is now over, Russian peacekeepers have already been deployed along the line of contact. So far, neither side has dared to resume hostilities (more about that below).
  • There have been two days of celebrations in Baku where President Aliev has declared that the war was a triumph for Azeri forces and that Pashinian got nothing. He is right.
  • The Azeris are now declaring that they want compensation from Armenia.
  • There are now Turkish forces in Azerbaijan and Russian and Turkish forces have created a joint committee to coordinate actions.
  • Erdogan has insisted that he wanted Turkey to send in peacekeepers, but Putin has categorically rejected this demand: like any other state, Azerbaijan has the undisputed right to invite foreign forces on its territory, but these forces will not have the status and rights of a peacekeeping force.
  • Violent riots have broken out in Erevan where violent mobs have stormed government buildings, beaten officials and sacked the Parliament.
  • Seventeen Armenian opposition parties have declared that they want a committee of national salvation and the resignation of Pashinian.
  • Nobody knows where Pashinian is hiding, but he seems to still be somewhere in Armenia.
  • These mobs also destroyed the Soros offices in Erevan and they are now looking for Pashinian “the traitor” to lynch him.
  • Pashinian has complained on Twitter that his offices were sacked, that a computer, his driver license and, I kid you not, a bottle of perfume (poor perfumed baby!) were stolen.
  • The Russian peacekeeping force will be constituted of subunits of the 15th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade which itself is part of the 2nd Guards Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District. It will include about 2000 armed soldiers, APCs and IFVs, specialized vehicles (EW, C3I, etc.), drones and air defense systems.
  • Russians peacekeepers will stay deployed in this area for no less than 5 years.
  • Russia will now control both the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) corridor and the Nakhichevan corridor.

Now let’s look at the position of the parties at the end of this war and compare them.

Armenia: there is no doubt that Armenia is the biggest loser in this war. Pashinian and his gang of russophobic Sorosites has brought a real calamity upon his people. Since he came to power his anti-Russian actions included almost totally eliminating any Armenian participation on the CSTO, he completely ceased any collaboration with Russia (including in the intelligence and security domains), he purged the Armenian military and security forces from all the supposed “pro-Russian” elements, he banned Russian language schools. In contrast, Armenia has an absolutely huge US embassy with about 2000 personnel (as much as the entire Russian peacekeeping force!) and when the Azeris attacked, Pashinin refused to ask Russia for help for a full month. He did ask Trump, Merkel and Macron for help instead. Needless to say, they did exactly nothing once the crisis erupted.

Truth be told, the Armenians had absolutely no other option but to accept the Azeri terms. The Armenians have suffered huge losses while the Azeris have taken Shushi, the key strategic city which controls both the capital of NK Stepanakert and the corridor between NK and Armenia. Had Pashinian not signed, the surrounded Armenians would have been slaughtered by the Azeris (in this war, both sides reported having almost no prisoners. Why? Because almost all were all executed, often after gruesome tortures by both sides). Russian analysts also say that Armenia was simply running out of supplies very fast (a fact also mentioned by Pashinian).

Simply put: Aliev’s plan worked, the blind arrogance of the Armenian leaders, along with their suicidal polices have almost cost Armenia the complete loss of NK and, possibly, even the existence of their own country. With all the best Armenian officers removed (including heroes from the first Karabakh war, which Armenia won), what was left were delusional clowns who promised that Armenia, without any help including without Russian help, could win the war and drive its forces to Baku (yes, they did sound just as delusional as some Ukie leaders).

Turkey: the next big loser in this war is Turkey whose objectives of bringing all Turkic nations under one neo-Ottoman empire have, predictably, crashed. Again. Erdogan is a world class megalomaniac and trouble maker, and he has involved Turkey in wars (or quasi wars) with Syria, Israel, Iraq, Greece, Libya, Iran, Russia and even (to some degree) NATO. And let’s not forget the bloody operations against the Kurds everywhere. He is a bona fide megalomaniac and that makes him very, very dangerous. Russia has intervened militarily in Syria, Libya and now Azerbaijan to deny Turkey its wannabe empire status and each time we saw that Turkey, as a country, simply does not have the resources to try to build an empire, especially since Erdogan simply does not understand that simultaneously opening conflicts on several fronts in a recipe for disaster.

There is also pretty strong likelihood that it was the Turks who shot down the Russian Mi-24 right inside the Armenian air space: their goal was to force Russia to stop seeking a negotiated solution and to impose a continuation of hostilities. Thank God for Aliev’s superb strategic skills which made it possible for him to do something very smart: he took the blame for what he called a tragic mistake and offered all sorts of compensations and excuses. Aliev’s decision to take the blame probably came after he and Putin (who are close friends) had what diplomats call a “frank exchange of views”.

The Turks are making a big deal out of the fact that the Azeris have invited Turkish forces into Azerbaijan. But let’s be honest here: the Azeris and Turks were always close and there was no outcome which could have prevented the Azeris from legally inviting Turkish forces into Azerbaijan. The real issue is what these forces can do. I submit that while we should never discard the toxic potential of any Turkish force anyway, there is little this force will be able to do than to a) monitor the situation and 2) coordinate with the Russians to stay out of each other’s way. But what these forces won’t be able to do is to attack, or even threaten to attack, Armenian and/or Russian forces (see below why).

Russia: Russia is the only true winner of this war. I know, there is a powerful Armenian lobby in the USA, in Europe and in Russia, and they are trying to present their defeat as a defeat for Russia. Frankly, I understand their bitterness and I feel sorry for them, but they are absolutely wrong. Here is why:

First, Russia has now established herself as the sole power in the Caucasus which can bring about peace. 2000 US personnel in Erevan did absolutely nothing for years to really help Armenia, all they did is force suicidal russophobic policies on Armenia, that’s about it. The same amount of Russian soldiers literally brought peace overnight. Here I have to explain a little something about the units which was sent Azerbaijan: 15th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade (15IMRB).

The 15IMRB is not a peacekeeping force in the western meaning of the world. This is an elite combat force which specializes in peacekeeping and peacemaking (“coercion to peace” in Russian terminology) missions. It’s personnel is 100% composed of professionals, most of whom have extensive combat experience: they participated in the coercion to peace operation against Georgia in 08.08.08 and in Syria. These are top of the line, well trained, superbly equipped forces who, on top of their own capabilities, can fully count on the support of the Russian forces in Armenia and from the full support of the entire Russian military. Those who say that this force is a lightly armed token force simply do not understand these issues.

The entire theatre of operations of this war is very much inside the (conceptual) under 1000 kilometers from the Russian border which the Russian military wants to be capable of domination escalation should a war break out. To repeat, the Russian military is not organized the way the US military is: the Russian military doctrine is purely defensive, this is not propaganda, and it relies for this defense on its ability to very rapidly deploy high readiness mechanized forces anywhere inside Russia and within about 1000km from the Russian border and the ability to destroy any force entering this zone. Russia also relies on advanced weapons systems capable of unleashing a lot of firepower in defense of its deployed task forces forces. In other words, while the 15IMRB is only a brigade sized expeditionary force, it is trained to hunker down and hold a position until the reinforcements (personnel and/or firepower) are deployed from Russia. You can think of this as something similar to the Russian task force in Syria, only much closer to Russia and, therefore, much easier to support if needed.

Coming back to the shooting down of a Russian Mi-24, this action will not go unnoticed or forgotten, of that you can be sure. The fact that Putin (and the Russian military) don’t act like the US would and immediately initiate reprisals does not mean that the Russians don’t care, have forgotten or are afraid. There is a Jewish proverb which says “a good life is the best revenge”. I would paraphrase this by saying that Putin’s motto could be “an advantageous outcome is the best retaliation”: this is what we saw in Syria and this is what will happen in Azerbaijan.

Another sweet spot for Russia is that she can now (truthfully) declare that color revolutions inevitably result in territorial losses (the Ukraine, Georgie and now Armenia) and political chaos (everywhere).

Next, please look at the following map (in Russian, but that is no problem):

The Saker: "Understanding the outcome of the war for Nagorno-Karabakh"

Please look at the two thick blue lines: they are showing corridors between Azerbaijan and the Azeri province of Nakhichevan and the corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. These two corridors are absolutely vital for both of these countries and they will now be under the control of FSB Border Guards (Russian border guards are light, mobile and elite units comparable in terms of training and capabilities to their colleagues from the Airborne Forces. Again, don’t assume that they are anything like the US or EU border or customs officials). They are very tough elite units which are trained to fight a much superior force until reinforcements come in.

What that means in strategic terms is that Russia now has an iron grip on what is a vital strategic artery for both Azerbaijan and Armenia. None of the parties are willing to comment very much on this, no need to humiliate anybody, but those in the know realize what a fantastic pressure capability Putin has just added to Russia in the Caucasus. You can think of these two corridors as a lifeline for both states as long as you also realize that these corridors are also strategic daggers in Russian hands pointed at the vital organs of both states.

The usual Putin-hating choir which has been singing the “Putin lost control of the near abroad” mantra should now be both ashamed of their lack of understanding, and livid at what “Putin” did to their hopes, but that kind of magical thinking won’t change reality on the ground: far from losing anything, Putin secured an immense strategic Russia victory at the cost of 2 killer soldiers, one wounded and one helicopter.

From now on, Russia will have permanent military forces in both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Georgia has been effectively neutered. The Russian Caucasus is mostly peaceful and prosperous, both the Black Sea and the Caspian are de facto “Russian lakes” and the Russian “underbelly” is now much stronger than it ever was before.

Let’s see when any western power achieves a similar result :-)

Conclusion:

This war is now only frozen and, like in Syria, there will be provocations, false flags, setbacks and murdered innocents. But, like in Syria, Putin will always prefer a quiet strategy with minimal losses over one with a lot of threats, grandstanding and instant retaliations. There is also what I call the “Putin use of force rules”: never use force where expected, always use force when least expected and always use force in a way your enemies do not plan for. Still, let’s not see all this in rosy colors, there will be setbacks for sure, Erdogan is angry and he still wants to play a role. Putin, in a typical Russian manner will give him exactly that “a role”, but that role will be minimal and mostly for internal Turkish PR consumption. Erdogan, far from being a new Mehmed The Conqueror and “The Great Eagle”, will go down in history as Erdogan The Loser and the “Defeated Chicken”. Megalomania might be a prerequisite for an empire builder, but that alone is clearly not enough.

What comes next?

Pashinian will be overthrown, that is pretty sure. What matters most for Armenia is who will replace him. Alas, there are anti-Pashinian nationalists out there who are just as russophobic as the Pashinian gang. Furthermore, considering the hysterics taking place in Armenia, there is a real possibility that a new government might annul the ceasefire and demand a “fight to the end”. This could be a major problem, including for the Russian forces in Armenia and the peacekeepers, but it is also likely that by the time the Armenian people really understand that 1) they have been lied to and 2) they have suffered a crushing defeat these calls will eventually be drowned out by more sane voices (including those of the currently jailed pre-2018 leaders).

There is also a huge Armenian immigration in Russia which will hear all the reporting and analyses produced in Russia and will be fully aware of the reality out there. These immigrants represent a huge ressource for Armenia as they are going to be the one who will push for a strong collaboration with Russia which, frankly, Armenia now needs more than anything else. Right now, judging by what pro-Armenian Russian analysts are saying, the Armenians and their supporters are absolutely horrified by this outcome and they are promising that the Turks have now penetrated deeply inside the Russian sphere of influence. To them sane voices reply that this so-called “move” into the Russia sphere of influence will be mostly PR and that it is far better for some Turkish forces to move inside the Russian sphere of influence than for some Russian force to be deployed inside the Turkish sphere of influence. In other words, when these Armenia supporters say that Erdogan has moved deeply inside the Russian sphere of influence, they are also thereby admitting that this is a Russian, not Turkish, sphere of influence. They just don’t realize what they are saying, that’s all.

Frankly, the Armenian diasporas in Russia, the EU and the USA are superbly organized, they have a lot of money, and they currently control the narrative in the EU and the USA (in Russia they tried and miserably failed). Add to this the fact the Aliev was the one who started that war and that he is deeply enmeshed with Erdogan’s Turkey and you will see why the magnitude of the Armenian defeat is systematically underplayed in the western media. That’s fine, let a few months go by and the reality of the situation will eventually convince those currently in denial.

Right now, this is exactly the process which is (violently) taking place in Erevan. But sooner or later, looting mobs will be replaced by some kind of government of national unity and if that government wants to put an end to the horrendous losses and wants to rebuild what is left standing, they will have to call the Kremlin and offer Russia some kind of deal. Needless to day, the immense US embassy, and the hundred of Soros-sponsored “NGOs” will oppose that with all their might. But with the USA itself fighting for survival, the EU in total disarray and the Turks failing at everything they try, that is simply not a viable option.

Russians used to joke that it takes 2 Jews to cheat 1 Armenian, meaning that Armenians are possibly even smarter than Jews (who, in all fairness, are not that smart at all, that is mostly self-serving and self-worshiping propaganda). I tend to share this admiration of the Armenian people: Armenians are an ancient, truly noble and beautiful nation and culture, who deserve to live in peace and security and who have suffered many horrors in their history. They deserve so much more than this CIA/MI6 stooge Pashinian! Right now, the Armenian nation is definitely at a low moment in its history, comparable to the “democratic” 90s in Russia or the current “liberal” horror taking place in the USA. But, as Dostoevsky liked to say, “one should never judge a nation by how low it can sink, but by how high it can soar”.

The best thing for Armenia, objectively, would be to become part of Russia (which Armenia was in its recent past). But that is not going to happen: first, Armenian nationalism is as blind and as obtuse as ever and, furthermore, Russia would never accept Armenia into the Russian Federation, and why would she? Armenia has exactly nothing to offer Russia, except a difficult to protect territory with potentially dangerous neighbors. No, Russia never lost Armenia – it was Armenia which lost Russia. Now the most the Kremlin will offer to Armenia is 1) protection against all neighbors and 2) economic help.

As for the rest, let’s see if the next Armenian government re-joins the CSTO not only in words (as was the case for the past couple of years), but in actions (like resume intel exchanges, military collaboration, joint security operations, etc.). That would be a great first step for Armenia.

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59 comments

  1. Smrda says:

    Superb analysis, very comprehensive. Thank you. I sign every word you wrote.

  2. Mr T says:

    so SF/Putin hates Pashinyan and tries to scare armenians to join Russian federation. They use Turks as the bad man.

    I dont think that all armenians want to Russian occupation. So maybe Turks did not win 100% this war, but the Russians are slowly loosing Caucasus.

    Next time we try again.

    If armenians would be smart they would work with the Turks and get not dependent on Russia. A friendly Turkey is more valuable for small country like armenia then Russia.

    but then leave Karabag and stop supporting PKK/asala.

    1. JIMI JAMES says:

      Try again,all roads from the me lead to russia,like I said no future in fascism nor soros/lgbtq:
      Russia brokers security for armenia,then again that was not armenias to start with,either way muslims and christians do coexist in peace,so long as cia/soros/biden/lgbtq ousted for good!

    2. paolinks says:

      Friendly with Turkey? Ask the kurds. Really man, what kind of drugs do you sniff?

    3. No, you only got the south for now, but the deadline for the north is November 15, and you’ll see that they won’t leave

  3. Kefir says:

    The only winner is Soroš the islamization founder.

    1. JIMI JAMES says:

      Try again!

  4. JIMI JAMES says:

    What can I say,democracy is great in Australia,as long as we keep our communist partners?

  5. Servet Köseoğlu says:

    Turkey: the next big loser in this war is Turkey whose objectives of bringing all Turkic nations under one neo-Ottoman empire have, predictably, crashed.

    ..ahahahahaah..What empire are you talking about dumbass?Turkey is even not on the table in n-k issue…Co-operation with Russia from start-to finish line..all about was to kick Pashinyan from the room..Russia doesn’t want any ex-soviet states under west influence hence entering Nato especially at hot-points like black-sea and caucaus..Turkey is transporting his goods to Azerbaijan via İran and Georgia..now with nahcevan corridor this route will be even shorter..LMAO…Go analyze yourself starting perform SWOT analysis..Ps:Please pay attention to fanatism here…Our magical analyzer didnt even bother mentioning the true winner Azerbaijan..As a matter of courtesy you should insert title or high-light of Azerbaijan with big,bold capital letters…

    1. paolinks says:

      To me, it looks like Turkey is doing the cleaning before leaving NATO. I cannot think that Erdogan, after the bloody coup that tried to kill him, could go back to be buddies with the EU and the US.

      Also there are great gains to earn from taking part in the BRI project with China. And Erdo wants to take a slice. Being friends with the economically, morally, militarily shattered west is a one way ticket to hell.

      1. Stev60 says:

        Turkey out of NATO? Yes please. And take the Turks in Europe with it. For that, it would actually be worth losing NK, even if, the Armenians have a good case for it.

        1. Mr T says:

          Nato is Turkey… who gone protect your Christian ass? Greece?

      2. Servet Köseoğlu says:

        Being member of Nato doesnt and should not mean that we are against Russia and İran…All other Nato countries are in their safe,comfort,lgbt zones and busy with draining resources of Turkey and adressing baseless critics against Turkey…No one can deny geography…We are neighbours with Russia and İran and these countries have red-lines which they will never tolerate rightfully..Why should ı exit from Nato right now?nonsense atm but in long-term ı hope we do..Erdogan at least proved that Usa has no-power anymore to dictate Turkey anything like they used to do before..Time will show everything..

      3. cechas vodobenikov says:

        all societies have particular interests; members of trading and military alliances do not act in unison—NATO. EU are excellent examples

    2. Frank says:

      Frankly, this is a good assessment as Turkey totally lost and so did Azerbaijan and now Russia occupies NK and will rearm the Armenians who are firmly in Russian camp now. The Turks could not even reoccupy Stepanakert. Another inconclusive war.

      1. Servet Köseoğlu says:

        Frankly,ı neevr liked threemuskee

        1. cechas vodobenikov says:

          arming armenia would only encourage conflict

      2. Mr T says:

        we try and keep trying… wining with small steps…

        10 years ago nobody would dream to do this in Russian backyard.

        Super power Russia, bla… getting weaker every day…

        One day Russia will be ripe and weak enough that your christian brothers (US, EU,…) will start eating Russia piece by piece… and on the other side the Chinese

  6. Stev60 says:

    Better than the Rus trolls here, but still basically pro-Russian laudatory propaganda that glosses over the core issue: Artsakh itself, what happened to it, Russia’s role in that (going back at least a century), and what position it’s in or future it has under this ‘settlement’. Pashinyan a fool, Putin a genius, blah blah blah, but the bottom line is that Artsakh got screwed – by all. Including Russia. As things stand, it’s not a viable entity, who would want to live there now? Without Shushi and the full connecting land between NK and Armenia, it has no future except as a Russian garrison, or eventual Azeri acquisition. Maybe Russia knows that and is just holding out for a high enough price from the Turks? This is not even a ‘frozen conflict’, it’s just frozen shit.

    1. SevenMoons says:

      You are right this time.

      This EO is clearly from a pro-Russia person who is against Turkey. It is correct that Russia inserted it influence. Turkey extended its reach too. Iran is happy since the “war” is over and no USA, Israel, NATO or other West countries have been invited to its next door neighbor. And Azerbaijan get everything it wanted. Some were afraid that Azerbaijan might have agreed to the independence of the remaining of NK. But that did not happen. And the remaining of N-K is still the same. Russia is just a leased police unit to stay for 5 years. If future “peace” is not reached, Azerbaijan and Turkey may want to send army to take over the remaining of NK. By the agreement, Russia has to withdraw.

      Then there is nothing left for Armenia. Armenia should have negotiated and compromised 30 years, 20 years, 10 years, or even 5 years ago. But it refused to compromise ANY thing…..

      1. Stev60 says:

        I am right every time! But yes, Artsakh-NK looks finished, thanks also to Russia, ‘well played’ Azerbaijan and Turkey.

        1. SevenMoons says:

          No. You are wrong most of the time.

          Artsakh is finished. Armenia should just face the reality, sue peace and enjoy a better life…. Eat their own nationalist pride.

          1. Stev60 says:

            No, I am right just about all of the time. Other than the odd typo, corrected if spotted.

            Sue peace? On what terms? It’s not a ‘better life’ for Armenia unless it gets a decent settlement of NK and connecting land.

  7. SevenMoons says:

    This is just ridiculous opinion. It seems Russia is God here.

    Apparently Armenia has been the biggest loser here. I would not say that Turkey is the lower. It is absolutely not. All three, Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey are big winners.

    Armenia, even under new government, has no ability to wage war to take back the old “Artsakh”. Azerbaijan will become stronger and Armenia will be relatively weaker still.

    Even if Turkey is not officially involved with “peacekeeping”, Azerbaijan can invite Turkish military to be on Azerbaijan side to watch the “peace”. It is very dangerous to have Russia there as the “sole” power.

    It is not clear what is going to happen in 5 years. There will never be any negotiated agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It has to be forced. But with Azerbaijan having a stronger hand, Armenian options are very limited.

    We may see Armenia swapping some land in West Azerbaijan for the rest of NKAO and possible a strip of land in the Meghri corridor. Without land swap, we’ll see continued influx of Azerbaijani refugees going back to their former land. We’ll see more Azerbaijani villages inside NKAO. There could be more internal hostilities. There are not enough Russian “elite” soldiers to guard as police. Then we can see the emigration of Armenians out of NKAO.

    One thing I can point out is that, just do not over-estimate Russia and under-estimate Turkey. Russia just can’t take it all and do whatever it desires. Russia will be challenged, just like in Syria and in Libya. There has to be some balance of power.

  8. Stev60 says:

    Turks have been killing, raping, and robbing Armenians and other Christians (including Russians) for a thousand years (see below for links to just the last century or so).

    By rights, ALL of Artsakh, plus Nakhitchevan and Ararat AT LEAST should go to Armenia as even MINIMAL compensation. They were all Armenian land (whether fully independent or under Perso-Roman suzerainty) for over a thousand years before the Turks turned up, copiously established and documented in history and scholarship. The Turko-Azeri claim, based on previous dispossession by force and massacre of the Armenians, is not only countered by that key fact, but by the rights of the Armenians of Artsakh to self-determination also under international and humanitarian law, by the right of Artsakh and Armenia to a viable and secure territory, especially in face of ongoing Turkic-Islamist threats and genocide-denial, and by the fact that Azerbaijan as a nation never held lasting sovereignty over them EXCEPT as part of other empires, most recently the Russian and Soviet ones for most of the last two centuries. Therefore, if the Azeri claim is ‘valid’, then so is the prior longstanding claim of the Russians to rule Azerbaijan itself, along with eg Kars and Sarikamis in Turkey, and Ukraine, and conversely, if the Armenian ‘separatist’ claim to Artsakh is invalid, then so are the separatist claims of Russian and Turkish ‘annexations’ like South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Crimea, Transnistria, and northern Cyprus. The fact is that this attack on Artsakh is a dirty piece of Satanic skulduggery and ‘might is right’ thuggery cooked up by crooks and thieves, and a continuation of the thouand-year long Turkic aggression against and dispossession of the Armenians and other Christians, disgracefully aided and abetted by outside ‘Judeo-Christian’ powers who never seem to learn their lesson: that whilst such evil may “succeed” and “profit” in the short term, it plants the Devil-seed and sows the Divine Destinic wind for even greater retributive evils down the track, which history provides myriad examples of, and which they most assuredly will draw upon themselves as a result of this evil upon evils.

    ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamidian_massacres

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adana_massacre

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khaibalikend_massacre

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shusha_massacre

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_genocide

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_genocide

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumgait_pogrom

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baku_pogrom

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maraga_massacre

  9. RichardD says:

    The Madrid Principles are closer to implementation now than before. Hanging onto the remaining buffer zone districts still under Artsahk control in exchange for returning them as part of a negotiated withdrawal of the Azeri forces from the 30% of N-K that they currently occupy, and recognition of N-K sovereignty. Would have UNSC and UNGA support. And permanently end the conflict.

    “The above-mentioned document also revealed six key elements for the settlement:

    1. return of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control;

    2. an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh providing guarantees for security and self-governance;

    3. a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh;

    4. future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh through a legally binding expression of will;

    5. the right of all internally displaced persons and refugees to return to their former places of residence; and

    6. international security guarantees that would include a peacekeeping operation.

    At the same time the OSCE Co-Chairs urged the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the few differences remaining between them and finalize their agreement on these Basic Principles, which outline a comprehensive settlement.”

    – Madrid Principals –

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrid_Principles

    1. SevenMoons says:

      You are just wrong.

      1. The Lachin corridor is not under Artskin control. It is under Russian control.
      2. There is no Azerbaijan withdrawal. But it is Armenian complete withdrawal of all its militaries.
      3. There is never recognition of NK sovereignty to “Artsakh” or Armenia. Officially the remaining of NK is still inside Azerbaijan and is internationally recognized Azerbaijan territory. There could be some territory exchange as the permanent peace agreement. But there is no “status” change with this “peace” treaty.

      The “Madrid Principles” are dead. What happened is that, Russia pushed its way into the conflict to save the annihilation of the Artskin civilians. Or to prevent the “Armenian Genocide v2.0”. It is Russia’s way to insert its own influence.

      1. RichardD says:

        The security corridor is a few % of the Artsahk governate territory still under Artsahk control. If other regional agreements involving some of the same parties. Like those in Idlib for instance. Are any indication. The chances of this one being implemented as written aren’t very good.

        In addition to which. One of the main parties, the Pashinyan government, may be replaced soon by an Armenian government with a stronger nationalist position. That may seek to modify the ceasefire agreement to bring it into compliance with the framework of the Madrid Principles.

        The Artsahk military is probably going to be rebuilt. Which will improve it’s ability to retain what remains of the Artsahk governate until a settlement is reached with the Azeris. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/59c1e503d5a728acf6feadd074fbd55691ceb2e4b867f82ace47418f127884e3.jpg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artsakh_Defence_Army

        1. SevenMoons says:

          No. You still dreaming.

          Lachine is not under Artskin control. It is under Russian control.

          Pashinyan will fall. But if the new government is an Armenian nationalist government, the it is already doomed. Armenia has no military options. It is too weak and gets no supports from anyone.

          If Armenia thinks of any military action, it will just be another defeat. Another humiliation.

          Better sue for peace and develop your economy….

          1. RichardD says:

            What is it that you don’t understand about:

            “The security corridor is a few % of the Artsahk governate territory still under Artsahk control.”

    2. Stev60 says:

      Without Kalbajar and Lachin, Artsakh/Armenia+NK is not viable, they plus Shushi are more important than some outlying parts of NK proper that the Azeris already hold. The map on the Wiki page you link to actually shows them as the proposed corridor, but without any specific mention in the text. The map would actually be a reasonable basis for settlement, but does it actually reflect the OSCE position?

      1. RichardD says:

        N-K is viable as long as there is a Russian armored division with air support stationed there.

        I wouldn’t read the map as being compliant with the text of the conditions.

        The buffer zone districts were populated by Azeris prior to the war that created the Artsahk governate. This is little international and less Azeri support for releasing sovereignty claims to that territory.

        It’s Azeri intransigence to releasing sovereignty claims to N-K territories that is obstructing a settlement of the conflict. The Armenian government and almost the entire planet supports the Madrid Principles framework for ending the dispute.

        1. Stev60 says:

          Viable from whose pov? How many Armenians will want to live in such precarious circumstances? Those two districts in question did not have so many Azeris as far as I am aware, as the lowland areas, and are part of the mountain-chain connecting Armenia with N-K. They would be vital for a viable settlement from the Armenian pov, and that map certainly accords with that. That’s why I queried its provenance/ authority, it’s a key question as to whether it reflects the actual position of the Minsk Group. At any rate, it ought to form the basis for a negotiated final settlement, the current ‘ceasefire’ and associated withdrawal lines do not leave either a really viable Artsakh regardless of Russian troops (actually a motorized rifle brigade), or basis for a decent final settlement overall.

          1. Stev60 says:

            Ok, facts are good, but that’s missing two of the seven districts, and overall, it seems that far more Azeris were from (and could resettle) the lowland areas overall. At any rate, the numbers in question for those two districts are not insurmountable as a problem for final settlement, and it needs to be taken into account also that many Armenians were ethnically cleansed let alone genocided by the Turks, in Azerbaijan also. As to the land, my point stands, that those two areas are vital to Armenia/Artsakh, as well as being originally Armenian land, whatever the final population, and are currently pretty empty it would seem.

          2. RichardD says:

            You were wrong.

          3. Stev60 says:

            About what? You left out Agdam and Fuzuli, which had the most by far, over 220k between them.

          4. RichardD says:

            Who’s pov? You can start with the Armenian government. Which supports exchanging the buffer zone districts for N-K sovereignty with a security corridor.

            Most of the lowland is desert and sparsely populated. Contrary to your assertion. The two areas, Kaljabar and Lachin are the largest and contain as much land as the other 5 districts under Artsahk control combined. And they were 95% Azeri with the same approximate population density before the last war. As the other districts.

            There’s no way that the Azeris are going to release sovereignty over Kaljabar and Lachin. The Armenian government doesn’t support it. And there would be no support at the UN for that.

            They were siezed as a buffer zone because the Azeris were attacking N-K from there in an effort to sieze it from Armenian control after it succeeded from Azerbaijan as the Soviet Union dissolved.

            When the Azeris release their claim to N-K. The buffer zone districts become a non issue. Particularly with a Russian military presence in N-K and the security corridor.

          5. cechas vodobenikov says:

            vital? devoid of natural resources and arable territory

        2. Nebojsa says:

          It would be interesting to say to the Armenians who are fleeing from NK that NK is viable as long as there are Russians there :)
          The Russian “peacekeeping forces” are nothing but a little gift from Erdogan to Putin in order to avoid complete public humiliation of Russia. NK will became economically unustainable territory in the hostile envorinment. It has already been a poor area. Coudl you imagine how it looks now? Russian “peacekeeping forces” will guard an empty and miserable area. Mr. Saker did not tell us even a word about Azerbaijan’s enclaves in Ghazakh region which Armenia should give back. Mr. Saker did not tell that afte a five years period mandate of the “Russian peacekeeping forces” could be terminated by Azerbaijan. It is now expected that all pro-Putin comentators and analysts will find a scapegoat. Mr. Pashinian is and ideal person to fulfill that goal.

          1. RichardD says:

            If Crimea and other Russian success stories are any indication. Your analysis is incorrect.

          2. Nebojsa says:

            Russia gained Crimea but lost all of Ukraine. Russia is not even capable to protect the Russians in the Baltic republics and in the Central Asia. The only Russian ally in Europe is Belarus. After the fall of Lukashenko, Russia will lose Belarus as well.

          3. RichardD says:

            Lost Ukraine to who, zioNATO committing economic and national suicide?

          4. Scaathor says:

            Ukrainians lost Ukraine. Crimeans escaped. Are you on drugs?

          5. cechas vodobenikov says:

            r u from durakistan–Russia maintains close ties with nearly all for Soviet republics, economically and militarily—except the depopulated, failed corrupt nations, Ukraine, Georgia, Baltics

          6. cechas vodobenikov says:

            no scapegoat required—armenian corruption/incompetence resulted in this conclusion; in 5 years all of NK will revert to Azeris

        3. Mr T says:

          Russia is getting weaker every second..

          supper power? puhhh

          1. RichardD says:

            Russia isn’t getting weaker. If you disagree, then prove it.

  10. Mish says:

    The scenario with Turkey’s neo-Ottoman (more precisely neo-Great Turan) ambitions is only just beginning. I have read a trustworthy opinion today that what did not work with Al Qaida, then didn’t work with ISIS, has now been commissioned to Turkey. Under the same handlers. In fact, the handling of the Ukraine has now been delegated to Turkey. Armenians lost Shusha then regained it then received the order to fall back. Treason in the high places. PS Turkey did not lose anything, only gained. A lot.

    1. cechas vodobenikov says:

      obviously u r confused—read again

  11. cechas vodobenikov says:

    a superb assessment—the partisan armchair experts at SF are all seeking jobs with Soros

    1. Fog of War says:

      No one is more partisan then the Saker. in case you haven’t noticed.

      1. cechas vodobenikov says:

        ordinarily his analysis are trenchant—truth is not partisan

        1. Fog of War says:

          But interpretations of ” truth ” are .

    2. BlueHeadLizard says:

      Yep good to have a different view than one dimensional Western press view but loss of land by who should be an ally (Armenia) cannot be spun as a victory.

      Per some other pro US strategy sites to tie down Russia troops in this conflict zone is exactly what USA wanted and this is now formally in place for 5 YEARS! Elite troops at that as the Saker explains.

      Putin has stopped the 90’s rout but Russia is still retreating; Georgia flipped, Ukraine flipped, Armenia flipped, and the best Russia can do is barely hold onto parts of these former allies that have flipped to the west. Beliorussia under severe risk of flipping.

  12. BlueHeadLizard says:

    Have to disagree that Russia is a winner. Instead of allies (Armenia before Pashinian) in control in this part, (N-K+) of the 1000km defence zone, now Russia has to tie down 2000 of its own elite troops at its cost. These troops are not quickly available elsewhere, say near Beliorussia that looks like its about to ‘flip’. Russia sphere of influence land control has retreated. That is loss no matter how you spin it.

  13. BlueHeadLizard says:

    I still do not get why Aliev for Azerbaijan stopped just when it was turning into a complete rout and so could have taken all of N-K? Any thoughts?

  14. Mr T says:

    bull analysis, Turkey did not win 100% but 80%.
    – enemy armenia is in chaos
    – many armanian soldiers killed by Turkish officers (TB2, tactics
    – weapons, tactics, drones tested by Turkey and more experience
    – AZ drive away the enemy and the armenian settlers from AZ land
    – Karabag 40 % is now with AZ again
    – 60% Karabag is no under Russian occupation –> for how long. It is now for the AZ and its population to drive these remaining 50k armenians away. I dont think the remaining armenians wil stay in Karabag (no army, no governance, no money, roads closed, no economy, many AZ refugees back).

    we need to be patient and wait for 5 years. In 5 years Russia is going to protect only dead armenians….

  15. Mr T says:

    reading social media, listening to experts… I started feeling like it is a big fat trap for the Russians…

    what the hell Russians wants to protect, in Karabag there will be no more armenians left…they will leave ….

    in 5 years the Russians will be protecting the AZ refugees in Karabag.

    Russia thinks Karabag will be the next Ossetia…

    they went into Erdogan’s big fat trap…

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