The toothlessness of the world community has become clearly understood in the Karabakh conflict, experts of the Institute of International Political and Economic Strategies are sure. The most striking confirmation of this is that the fighting on this territory has been going on for a month, the ceasefire agreements have been thwarted at least twice, and the UN on Karabakh has not adopted even the most general resolution.
RUSSTRAT analysts believe that the occupation of Karabakh itself was not the goal of the current war for Baku: Azerbaijan's military operations are aimed at fundamentally changing the external conditions for further political resolution of the territorial dispute. This is because in the past, the negotiation process could not budge for almost three years, even with the participation of all the leading actors of big geopolitics, including the United States.
The Azerbaijani authorities are well aware of the impossibility of reaching a compromise without the unequivocal consent of both parties to it. As well as the unattainability of a final solution to a long-standing problem even after several negotiation rounds. The utmost maximum of diplomatic efforts is to stop the shooting and fix the current position of the parties. With the expectation of reaching a complete denouement someday in the distant future.
Hence the need for Baku to achieve such a configuration of conditions, the infinitely long preservation of which would be at least completely neutral for the current government. Ideally, it played in favor of Azerbaijani interests. This is the complete encirclement of Karabakh with its reliable logistic isolation from the territory of Armenia.
The problem is solved by cutting three highways, of which the key one is the highway passing through the Lachin corridor and connecting the Armenian city of Garis, through Lachin and Shusha, with the capital of the NKR - Stepanakert.
At the moment, Azerbaijani troops completely broke through the southern flank of the long-term defense line of the NKR Defense Army and completely took control of the entire length of the border line with Iran, up to Armenia. Thus, virtually completely isolating both NKR itself and Armenia from the outside world. In theory, they still have a border with Georgia, but the Tbilisi leadership has now greatly reduced contacts with the Armenians.
Having repulsed two Armenian counterattacks with heavy losses for the enemy, into which the Artsakh Defense Army threw its last reserves, the Azerbaijani troops are methodically and without serious resistance developing an offensive to the south. They have less than 20 kilometers to move to the Lachin corridor.
How long it will take them to do this is difficult to say. But hardly a lot. Armenia has practically nothing to oppose to this. And as soon as the Azerbaijani infantry saddles the Lachin highway, the strategic goal of the war for Baku will be achieved.
It will be possible to sit down at the negotiating table on the terms of the status quo, agree to a ceasefire and begin a new discussion of the disputed territorial problem for an infinitely long time. Since every day of delay will stifle the NKR economy, which is not viable without economic and material assistance to Armenia.
The reason for the current aggravation in Nagorno-Karabakh, experts of RUSSTRAT note, is a combination of three factors. On the one hand, the fundamental incompatibility of the approaches of Armenia and Azerbaijan to the boundary conditions of an acceptable solution to the problem. On the other hand, the lack of the ability of third-party "big countries" to force Baku and Yerevan to peace, relatively speaking, by force. Thirdly, an important change in external conditions, which gave Azerbaijan the resources to count on success through the use of the army.
The key impetus for the decision of the Azerbaijani leadership to start hostilities was the provision of military-technical and, in some cases direct military, assistance from Turkey. It also provided Baku with a kind of foreign policy umbrella against the predictable "international indignation".
In this conflict, Ankara pursues goals that lie outside the borders of Azerbaijan proper. First of all, this is a demonstration of the fundamentally increased geopolitical importance of Turkey in the region, as a player capable of influencing the processes in neighboring countries.
Further, to consolidate Baku in the zone of its indisputable global interests, and to form a reliable corridor from it for the continuation of expansion into Central Asia. Including, with a passing limitation of the importance of Iran there. At least in the Caspian region. With the subsequent projection of its increased regional weight to the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
It should be admitted, albeit with certain reservations, that at the moment this plan is being implemented quite successfully by Ankara and Baku. Although with significant losses, the Azerbaijani army managed to break through the line of long-term strengthening of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army and create the prerequisites for developing success in the direction of the seven Azerbaijani regions previously occupied by Armenian forces, located between the border of the Republic of Armenia and the territory of Karabakh proper.
In the next 10-15 days, the strategic objectives of the operation will most likely be achieved. After that, Baku will agree to negotiations on a ceasefire and an armistice, on the terms of the status quo. It makes no practical sense for Baku to invade Karabakh directly. The complete isolation of the NKR from Armenia will gradually force the NKR leadership to increase the negotiability. The position of Armenia will no longer be of particular importance.
The position of Russia, in this regard, will be difficult. And at first glance, even somewhat losing. First of all, in view of Yerevan's attempts to shift the responsibility for the inadequacy of its own policy for three decades to Moscow, which “did not provide assistance” and even directly “betrayed” its ally in the CSTO. The fact that Karabakh is not the territory of the Republic of Armenia will be openly ignored by the Armenian elite.
However, in a strategic sense, what is happening opens up a number of important prospects for the Russian Federation in terms of changing policy not only in the Transcaucasus, but also in the entire post-Soviet space. Which is especially important today for the prospects of Central Asia.
Armenia, and other countries from the former Soviet republics, will have an opportunity to show that maintaining friendly relations with Russia is not only critically important for their own self-preservation, but also has a clearly defined price. Including, in the form of a commitment to the inadmissibility of any Russophobia, as well as an awareness of the natural restrictions on their multi-vector nature in terms of the unconditional observance of the priority of Russian interests.
From now on, Moscow is ready to help and strengthen only those allies whose support not only strengthens them in matters important to them, but also contributes to the economic and foreign policy strengthening of Russia itself. At least in the region where the allied countries are located.
In particular, in the Karabakh issue, after the victory of Azerbaijan, only Moscow will determine the amount of autonomy that Baku will agree to provide to the NKR in the new geopolitical conditions.
Otherwise, the fate of the region will remain in its own hands. And the responsibility for the consequences will fall exclusively on the ruling elites of Armenia and Karabakh. In any alternative scenario, neither the United States nor the European Union will provide them with any effective assistance. In view of the obvious inability to do this.
On the other hand, there is a prospect of further development in relations with Baku. As in the designation of the dependence of the effectiveness and economic success of mutual relations on the degree of consideration of Moscow's opinion regarding the composition and breadth of powers of the autonomy of Karabakh. The same is in the sense of helping to prevent the political and economic absorption of Azerbaijan by Turkey.