Pundit: Armenian army's combat effectiveness remains low
    French weapons won't save it

    INTERVIEWS  26 February 2024 - 12:28

    Matanat Nasibova

    In an interview with Caliber.Az, Yuri Bocharov, Israeli political scientist, candidate of political sciences, and editor of the website Aziznews.com, reflected on the effectiveness of the Armenian army and the risks of a new war in the South Caucasus.

    - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told France 24 that Armenia has suspended its participation in the CSTO. Is Armenia going to leave this organisation? Or is this, in your opinion, another form of blackmail?

    - Obviously, the Armenian leadership is trying to blackmail Moscow. Blackmail is one of the main methods of Armenian foreign policy, which is not surprising.

    - France is provoking a new conflict in the region by actively arming Armenia. Do you think that's likely to happen in the foreseeable future?

    - Today many countries of the world have their economic and political interests in the South Caucasus. I mean, on the one hand, Russia, China, Iran, and on the other, England, the US, and France. And now, I think, the French are trying to get ahead of the game. It seems that they want to ensure their primacy in contact with the Armenian government and demonstrate their military and political support to it by supplying arms to Armenia. It is unlikely that the French are interested in a serious military conflict in the region. I don't think they need one. However, it is likely that small provocations, designed to complement the main blackmail, will continue for a long time to come.

    - What is your assessment of the quality and capabilities of the French weapons that are being supplied to Armenia?

    - We shouldn't forget that France is one of the world's leading countries in producing and exporting military equipment. But let's not forget that the quality of weapons is one thing, but the ability of the army to fight is another. The wars of the past decades have shown that it is not weapons that win, but people. Well, the Armenian "warriors" have already proved what they are really capable of during the Second Karabakh War in 2020. So I am sure that no new, ultra-precise, ultra-powerful weapons will help them in the confrontation with Azerbaijan.

    - Do you expect Armenia's final westward turn?

    - Of course, the West is trying to seize the moment to promote its interests in the South Caucasus at a time when virtually all of Russia's efforts are directed towards the confrontation with the NATO bloc on the Ukrainian front. However, it is unlikely that Moscow will not have a hand in this process. I think that although the forces of the interested countries are equal, there will be bilateral pressure on Armenia.

    - So France will have a hard time squeezing into the Caucasus?

    - France has many rivals who want to enter the Caucasus, the main one being the US, as I said. Therefore, it is unlikely that the French will become the main "leaders" of the "Armenia" project in the South Caucasus shortly, controlling the Armenian government from behind the scenes. There are too many competing interests to allow France to "rule" the South Caucasus.

    - How do you see what's going to happen in the Caucasus?

    - The political situation in the Caucasus is somewhat deadlocked. All of the main players that I have mentioned above are pulling the rope in their own direction, and their interests do not coincide with each other. No one, even when Yerevan has clearly sided with Moscow, Paris, Washington or anyone else, can expect to win Armenia over completely any time soon. This does not mean that all other geopolitical players will be satisfied, or that everything will be settled and concrete work on building the South Caucasus will begin. No one will be at peace and everyone will put sticks in the wheels of the "winner" of this confrontation. So, unfortunately, there is no prospect of stability in Armenia, and therefore in the whole South Caucasus, in the near future.


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