France's military moves in Armenia stir regional unease
    Fueling conflict in South Caucasus

    ANALYTICS  20 June 2024 - 12:55

    Samir Valiev
    Caliber.Az

    French and Armenian media, as well as social networks have launched a large-scale campaign to promote the idea of deploying French "peacekeeping" forces in Armenia. Le Point newspaper published information according to which Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, politician Laurent Wauquiez, philosophers Elisabeth Badinter and Roger-Pol Droit together with hundreds of other French Armenophiles called on French President Emmanuel Macron to send troops to Armenia. They ask for assistance to Armenia against Azerbaijan and express gratitude for the sent weapons and training of the Armenian military.

    It also became known that a contract was signed between France and Armenia for the supply of self-propelled artillery units "CAESAR". The delivery of these units, which have a deadly and offensive purpose, will only increase tensions in the region. Despite warnings from the Azerbaijani side, France continues its destructive policy in the South Caucasus, undermining efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

    French military activity and threats to Azerbaijan

    France's activism in the South Caucasus may have deeper strategic goals than simply supporting Armenia. The deployment of French "peacekeeping" forces and the possible establishment of a military base on Armenian territory pose a serious threat not only to Azerbaijan, but also to Russia, Iran and Türkiye. However, in this context we will focus on the threat to the national interests of Azerbaijan.

    What could this mean for Azerbaijan? Arms deliveries and the possible deployment of a military base could undermine all efforts to achieve peace between Baku and Yerevan. Revanchist sentiments may rise in Armenia, and with French support, the Armenian leadership may mistakenly believe that Armenia has become strong enough to try again to occupy Azerbaijani territories. This in turn would create a new wave of instability in the region.

    Such actions are justifiably worrisome, as supplying Armenia with offensive weapons directly threatens Azerbaijan's security. The hypocrisy of the French leadership, which previously claimed that the arms supplied were exclusively defensive in nature, is becoming evident.

    Historical parallels and colonial legacy

    France has a rich historical experience of fomenting conflicts and wars in various parts of the world. The processes taking place in New Caledonia and other overseas colonial territories vividly demonstrate the true essence of the Macron regime's policy. Instead of addressing the entrenched problems of its colonial legacy, France continues its aggressive campaign against Azerbaijan.

    The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry noted rather harshly that all responsibility for the aggravation of the situation in the South Caucasus and the emergence of a new hotbed of war will lie with the leadership of Armenia and the Macron regime. "By arming Armenia and supporting its revanchist policy, France is creating preconditions for a new war and undermining peace initiatives in the region," the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said.

    Azerbaijani presidential aide and head of the Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev also commented on the situation. "We do not consider France's policy in the South Caucasus effective. The policy pursued by France in the region is harmful and does not contribute to the promotion of the peace agenda," Hajiyev said.

    He continued by stressing that France's implementation of militarization policy in the region is a serious blow to the process of normalization of relations between Baku and Yerevan. "In a situation when serious steps are being taken towards the peaceful transformation of the South Caucasus, such a policy of militarization by France is of serious concern. We believe that France, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, should pursue a more responsible policy," he added.

    Reaction of the Armenian side

    The Armenian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the arms deliveries, which in its typical manner put forward the absurd claim that Azerbaijan is allegedly planning to "attack Armenia after the COP29 conference."

    "Official Baku's reaction to the military-technical cooperation between Armenia and France is perplexing. Any country has the sovereign right to have a combat-ready army supplied with state-of-the-art military equipment," the Armenian Foreign Ministry noted, forgetting to add that this right should not be extended to countries with a long history of occupation policy.

    Historical examples confirm that occupying or losing countries were often prohibited from having offensive weapons in their arsenals. For example, after World War II, Germany and Japan were restricted in their military capabilities. Under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement, Germany was prohibited from having offensive weapons and its army was significantly reduced. Japan, under the 1947 Constitution, pledged to renounce war as a means of settling international disputes and was restricted from building offensive military forces. These measures were taken to prevent a repetition of aggressive actions by these countries.

    But let us return to the statement by the Armenian Foreign Ministry, which is nothing but an old information trick that the Armenian side often uses to cover up its aggressive intentions.

    It can be assumed that the Armenian side, following Paris' instructions, will go for a provocation even before the COP29 conference in order to cast a shadow on such an important and influential international event. The current tactics of official Yerevan are aimed at creating a false image of the real situation and diverting the international community’s attention from its own aggressive actions.

    Conclusion

    Azerbaijan is closely following the actions of France and Armenia and will not leave their attempts to jeopardize the security of the country unanswered. If France proceeds to the direct implementation of the contract for the supply of lethal weapons and the establishment of a military base in Armenia, Azerbaijan will take necessary countermeasures to protect its security and sovereignty. Azerbaijan is ready to defend its national interests by all available means. We have demonstrated our determination in these issues many times before and we are ready to do it again. The "iron fist" is in place.

    Caliber.Az

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