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Hello and welcome to Armenian News Network, Groong. I’m Hovik Manucharyan.
It has now been 7 days since Azerbaijan initiated a wide-scale attack against Armenia and Artsakh. The tragic news of deaths and destruction continue to stream in every hour.
In today’s conversation on Groong, we talk to Jirair Libaridian and Thomas DeWaal about the regional geopolitics that helped create a ripe environment for renewed fighting and various potential scenarios that may develop as a result of it.
To help guide this conversation, we have Asbed Kotchikian, who is a senior lecturer of political science and international relations at Bentley University in Massachusetts where he teaches courses on the Middle East and former Soviet space.
Before we begin however, we appreciate your help in reaching a wider audience. So please hit the pause button and make sure to subscribe and like us on whatever platform you listen to us on and help spread the word by sharing this podcast on your social media channels. Thanks in advance!
● Jirair Libaridian
Tom de Waal is a senior fellow with Carnegie Europe, specializing in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus region.
He is the author of numerous publications about the region, the most relevant to the current developments being Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War.
From 2010 to 2015, de Waal worked for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. Before that he worked extensively as a journalist in both print and for BBC radio. From 1993 to 1997, he worked in Moscow for the Moscow Times, the Times of London, and the Economist, specializing in Russian politics and the situation in Chechnya. He co-authored (with Carlotta Gall) the book Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus (NYU Press, 1997), for which the authors were awarded the James Cameron Prize for Distinguished Reporting.
Prof. Jirair Libaridian is the former Director of Armenian Studies Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he also held the Alex Manoogian Chair in Modern Armenian History until 2012.
From 1991 to 1997 he served as an advisor and then a senior advisor to Armenia’s first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan and was the chief negotiator on Karabakh.
He is the author of numerous books and articles on modern and contemporary Armenia.
Just two and a half months ago, in July 2020, we witnessed border skirmishes between Armenia and Azerbaijan on their border. Last Sunday the conflict between the two countries escalated into what all observers agree to be the deadliest round of hostilities since the 1994 ceasefire. Since 1994 the uneasy “no war, no peace” state between the two countries around the future state of Nagorno Karabakh is no more.
There’s been a deluge of coverage around the war itself, the weaponry, the tactics, casualty lists and ongoing outcomes. We wanted to step back from the day to day of this conflict and examine the meta-alignments in the region.
One major outcome of the July skirmishes has been the activation of the Turkish foreign policy in the direction of Armenia and the South Caucasus. Regardless of any statements by anyone, Turkey has de-facto become party to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
Meanwhile and puzzling, Russia has been slow in reacting and pointing to its “red line” in the Caucasus throughout Turkey’s activation. Russia and Iran’s slow reactions have allowed the current war to gain in intensity over the past week.
Iran is another regional actor that must be watching the developments closely and has called for restraint. From your experiences knowing Iranian foreign policy on this specific issue, what do you think the drivers are, in their approach and potential actions in the region?
Prof. Libaridian recaps the meta-politics that have led to this round of the war.
Tom de Waal discussed what is going on behind the scenes in Baku and Yerevan and the indicators preceding the renewed large-scale conflict.
That concludes this week’s Conversation On Groong on Armenia’s debate on Armenia’s IT Industry. We’ll continue following this discussion and keep you abreast on the topic as it progresses.
We hope this Conversation has helped your understanding of some of the issues involved. We look forward to your feedback, including your suggestions for Conversation topics in the future. Contact us on our website, at groong.org, or on our Facebook Page “ANN - Groong”, or in our Facebook Group “Groong - Armenian News Network”.
Special thanks to Laura Osborn for providing the music for our podcast. I’m Hovik Manucharyan, and on behalf of everyone in this episode, I wish you a good week. Thank you for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.
Nagorno Karabakh, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran, Artsakh, Stepanakert
Additional: Nikol Pashinyan, Ilham Aliyev, Levon Ter-Petrosyan