C'è qualcosa che possiamo imparare dalla guerra del Nagorno-Karabakh?

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“The war which is coming
non è la prima. Prima
ci sono state altre guerre.
Alla fine dell’ultima
c’erano vincitori e vinti.
Fra i vinti la povera gente
faceva la fame. Fra i vincitori
The common people starved too.”

(Bertolt Brecht, Poemi 1913-1956)

Is there anything to be learned from the Nagorno-Karabakh War?, An Unpredictable Past
Gunduz Agayev, Disegnatore Azero, vignetta satirica sul conflitto del 2020, per Meydan.tv

Bentornati su Unpredictablepast.com,

In this article we will return to talk about the events inherent in the Nagorno-Karabakh area, about two months after the end of the armed conflict. I recently read this article about the “Military Lessons We Can Learn From the Nagorno-Karabakh War“, and it got me thinking:

C'è davvero qualcosa che possiamo imparare dalla guerra del Nagorno-Karabakh?

Ovviamente mi riferisco a qualcos'altro, che non riguarda specificamente l'aspetto militare in sé. Ma, poiché è proprio questa la questione che ha attirato la mia attenzione, potrebbe essere un buon punto di partenza: l'intervallo di tempo trascorso ci consentirà di guardare gli eventi in prospettiva, e verificare se alcune delle ipotesi che erano state discusse in precedenza negli altri miei articoli erano corretti o meno.

Before we start, a brief summary of the facts could be useful: the conflict, which began on September 27, 2020 when the Azerbaijan Army launched the Iron Fist operation (in original, Dəmir Yumruq əməliyyatı) against the Republic of Artsakh, created after the war of 1988 – 1994 and de facto territory of the Republic of Armenia, although officially recognized as Azerbaijani territory, ended after about a month and two weeks of fighting, which saw an unstoppable Azerbaijani offensive recapture many of the territories of Karabakh, including the city of Shusha, until a trilateral agreement for an end to hostilities, ratified on 10 November between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, which sent a contingent of 2000 men to the scene with the function of “PeaceKeeping”.

Per quanto riguarda gli eventi bellici stessi, e in particolare quello descritto dall'articolo, personalmente, più che uno scenario bellico di fantascienza, mi ricordano un vecchio detto francese: l’argent est le nerf de la guerre. Azerbaijan has behaved no differently from many other petro-states we know: the enormous proceeds of natural resources are directly reinvested in the army and security apparatuses, which does not displease the arms producing countries (most of the which are part of the West) only to be indignant because the weapons sold are actually used. Armenia, which does not possess the same kind of resources, was doomed to succumb even in a more “conventional” war.

The second issue that comes to mind is that we can learn not to make predictions about events of this kind: for example, the fact that the conflict has not escalated, thing of which many were apparently sure, assuming a new “Syrian” scenario in the Caucasus. This was not the case, as I stated at the time, mainly for two reasons, related to each other: the first is that the area is surrounded by “relatively” stable territorial powers, even if some of these, such as the Turkey, they played a leading role in the unfolding of the conflict; the second reason is linked to that adjective “relatively” which describes the stability of the surrounding countries: if everyone had an interest in “flexing their muscles” within the war scenario, no one had the intention of entering directly into the conflict, which it would have done nothing but undermine the precarious internal stability that lies beneath the bombastic and warlike facade.

We could learn from what happened that not all situations are similar just because they appear to us so: often the emotional component that accompanies the analysis misleads us, reflecting more our fears or hopes than an accurate study of the current situation and of it’s surroundings. This often leads many towards a catastrophic tendency not supported by any evidence or concrete fact, which, paradoxically, often makes them look away when the war events are over, without understanding that the real scenario to keep an eye on. in the case of these “frozen conflicts” it is precisely what lies in the middle of the actual confrontations. But the former end up (for better or worse) in the newspapers, the latter do not.

Is there anything to be learned from the Nagorno-Karabakh War?, An Unpredictable Past
Proteste a Yerevan contro il cessate il fuoco del 2020 in Nagorno-Karabakh. Fotografia di Garik Avakian

La terza cosa che possiamo imparare è di non voltare le spalle a uno scenario di guerra non appena si smette di sparare.

For example, it seems that people have largely forgotten what is happening in Armenia after the ceasefire agreement, which, it should be remembered, cedes the “occupied territories” of Artsak back to Azerbaijan, was signed by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: thousands of people took to the streets, and hundreds stormed the Parliament buildings in the capital Yerevan. The protests continued throughout the month of November, with demonstrations in Yerevan and other cities demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister, who just two years ago was the hero of the Velvet Revolution.

Ora l'intera società armena ha trovato il suo capro espiatorio (tutti, dall'ex presidente Levor Ter-Petrosian ai due catholicoi della Chiesa apostolica armena Karekin II e Aram I, hanno chiesto le sue dimissioni); Il presidente dell'Assemblea nazionale Ararat Mirzoyan è stato quasi linciato dalla folla inferocita e dei manifestanti sono entrati a casa sua to threaten his daughter. On November 11, other demonstrators invaded the Radio Liberty / Radio Free Europe station in Yerevan attacking journalists, shouting “Turks” at them, and inviting them to leave the country; same fate befell the headquarters of the Open Society foundation. On the other hand, the government reacted lifting the limitation imposed by martial law and with arrests and releases of the main opposition leaders, clearly for intimidation purposes.

But this is only the beginning: the cession of the territories occupied by Azerbaijan means the beginning of a mass exodus from those regions of the Armenian population, who have decided to make “scorched earth” of their cities rather than leave them in the hands of the Azerbaijanis, and to even take the bodies of their relatives with them from cemeteries (along with the obvious vandalization and looting of some Muslim places of worship, particularly in the larger cities). When these displaced people arrive, in all likelihood, in Armenia, the situation will only worsen, as the protests do not seem to stop, probably waiting for that very moment to obtain the dismissal of the government.

Non c'è bisogno di essere un indovino per immaginare che il prossimo governo armeno si concentrerà il più possibile sul revanscismo per assicurarsi un lungo periodo di potere.

In particolare, ciò che resta a destare maggiore preoccupazione è l'area del Corridoio di Lachin: it too should, in theory, be returned to Azerbaijan, last in the timeline, and I do not think it is a coincidence that there installed the “Peacekeeping” force of the Russian Federation. For those who have not read the history of the conflict, the Lachin Corridor is a strategic area that connects Armenia to “mountainous” Karabakh, the part of the region that was not taken over by the Azerbaijani army and what remains of the Republic of Artsak, and from which the war of 1988 – 94 started. Yes, because, militarily speaking, if it is “relatively” easy to fight in the flat areas around the mountains, it is quite another thing to take the entrenched areas in the mountains, where the “sci-fi “Turkish Azerbaijani offensive has in fact stopped. Therefore, whoever controls the mountainous part of Karabakh is in fact in a dominant position, although it may be in the minority. As we have seen, Russia has not moved much in favor of Armenia and its Prime Minister “not approved” by the Kremlin, but it is not certain that this situation will not be reversed in the years to come.

Is there anything to be learned from the Nagorno-Karabakh War?, An Unpredictable Past
Una mappa dell'accordo per il cessate il fuoco: le parti in blu/azzurro sono quelle che passeranno all'Azerbaigian, quella in arancione chiaro rappresenta il Karabakh Montuoso e quella contrassegnata con strisce rosse è l'area del Corridoio di Lachin

Thus, while the troops parade in Baku, the seeds of the next war have already been sown. And this can lead us to the third “lesson” that we can learn from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is the stabilizing function of the conflict itself in certain areas of the world.

Questa volta è stato il caso dell'Azerbaigian, che, appoggiato dalla Turchia, ha deciso di portare fuori i suoi problemi interni, cercando di ritagliarsi un ruolo di primo piano all'interno della regione: l'importante è essere dei vincitori, e la trasformazione del Paese caucasico in un altro petro-stato che utilizza il reddito derivato dalle materie prime per investirle nella militarizzazione e nell'irreggimentazione della società si è realizzata. Come detto sopra, è probabile che un futuro non dissimile attenderà l'Armenia una volta che la fase di transizione diventerà un fatto, e soprattutto una volta che la Russia avrà risolto i suoi problemi interni.

As long as the “threat” situation persists, the citizens of both countries have seen their rights dissolve and nationalist fanaticism rising like a tide, as we have previously seen with regard to Armenia: a situation that takes a lot of trouble from regimes. authoritarians like Azerbaijan, and which soon makes one forget the reasoning of losses in terms of human lives and civil liberties to follow the emotion and hysteria of “victory”. At least for now.

Here, I believe that these are the “possible” lessons that we can learn from a conflict like that of Nagorno-Karabakh, while Western newspapers, if and when they talk about it, delight in the interesting dissertation on which were the best “drones”, if those of Erdogan or Nethanyau, without asking who and why moved them, using pseudo-intellectual terms such as Neo-Ottomanism or “Hybrid War”, or even pulled out of some from books by William Gibson (with all due respect), such as “Cyberwarfare” to disguise one’s own guilty disinterest.

L'ultima lezione che possiamo imparare è forse questa: il nostro colpevole disinteresse. Certo, siamo tutti concentrati su una pandemia globale che ha colpito le nostre vite in un modo o nell'altro, ma al di là di questo sembra che eventi stranieri, come la guerra del Nagorno-Karabakh, attirino la nostra attenzione solo per un breve periodo, un po 'come fuochi d'artificio: li guardiamo finché fanno rumore e scintillano, quindi volgiamo lo sguardo su qualcos'altro che luccica altrove.

I hope these lines may have provided you with some interesting reflections and that they were not too “abstract”. I thank you for coming to the end and I’ll see you next week.

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