Anahit Shirinyan

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US Vice President Mike Pence meets Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili in July. Photo: Getty Images.


Anahit Shirinyan

As the world tries to decipher what Trump presidency means for the global world order and security in Europe, the same questions are asked in Armenia. The US continues not to have a clear-cut policy towards the South Caucasus, and Trump’s tenure is unlikely to change this. Instead, Washington’s relations with Yerevan, Tbilisi and Baku are likely to remain an undertone to the larger dynamics of US relations with Russia, Turkey and Iran, as well as developments in the Middle East. In this context, some potential pitfalls might affect the overall geopolitical environment in which Armenia operates with implications for Armenian foreign policy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan at a CSTO meeting in October 2016. Photo via Getty Images.

Similar to other Eurasian regional groupings, the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is an alliance of inconvenience at best. But for Armenia, which seeks a security umbrella – and for the South Caucasus region in general – the failure of the CSTO has broader repercussions. The organization’s failure to act as a coherent military bloc might become the failure to prevent the next war in the Caucasus.

The contradictions inherent in the CSTO were brought to light in December, when the member states – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan – failed to agree on a secretary general to replace the Russia incumbent, Nikolay Bordyuzha.…  Seguir leyendo »

A soldier of the army of Nagorny Karabakh walks past tanks at a field position outside the village of Mataghis on 6 April 2016. Photo by Getty Images.

With its early-April offensive against Nagorny Karabakh, Azerbaijan might have sought to prove its long-standing rhetoric that it can take lands by force. Gaining control over some territories would allow Baku to speak from a position of strength at the peace talks, whose format and principles it is unhappy with.

With over 200 fatalities on both sides, the flare-up reportedly ceased upon Azerbaijan’s request and with Russia’s brokering, when a Karabakhi counter-offensive was underway and most positions that changed hands were restored. The Russian diplomatic intervention prevented the army of Nagorny Karabakh from shifting the Line of Contact beyond its established borders.…  Seguir leyendo »

Constrained for years by a challenging regional environment and more recently by the standoff between Russia and the West, Armenia now has two potential opportunities to broaden its foreign policy: a reboot with the European Union and a reopening with Iran. But the government in Yerevan will need to act more boldly in its international engagements in order to seize them.

The EU reboot

Armenia and the EU reopened negotiations in December 2015 on a new bilateral legal framework to make up for the Association Agreement which was abandoned after Armenia decided in September 2013 to join the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).…  Seguir leyendo »