Thursday, November 26, 2020

Duplicitous France & US Decry the Astana 2.0 Which Halted the Fighting in Nagorno Karabakh, France Rebukes Russia?

It was an Astana 2.0 that resulted in the cessation of hostilies in NK. That's just the fact.

  No matter how much you may disagree or stomp your feet. Or state outright falsities.  It was the regional solution that was needed at this time. And it is this solution that has made both the US and France very, very unhappy, because this agreement was not desired by the US and France!
  Thankfully someone besides myself has been paying attention. That someone is MK Bhadrakhumar. While I’ve not entirely agreed with him. He’s been a sane voice among an abundance of insanity on this topic.
  Two months ago I explained how it was NATO was looking to challenge Russia, Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan in the region. (I've long ago explained that NATO and Turkey were "out of love") Don’t forget the US and friends had tried & failed with one of their usual colour revolution tactics in Azerbaijan.Though they did succeed in Armenia. France and the US have been playing geo political games- behind the scenes, as I've written. Some older relevant posts will be relinked at the bottom of this latest, and we’ll get to Bhadrakumar’s piece as well...  

First let’s go back to the report of November 22/20 Moscow Issues Stern Warning, as Russian Ministers Descend on Yerevan, to Armenia & Minsk Partners Where in a nutshell we have Russia issuing a stern warning to those that will attempt to break this agreement. Those that will stir the pot. Kick up the dirt. Break the fragile peace. I’d mentioned France specifically at that time. Their free pass is no good here. And Putin’s not having it either. 

Understanding the dirty dealings of the Macron government should, if you’ve been aware the French government was being provocative all along, have made clear it just a matter of time before France would make it's move.

"The French Senate resolution calling on the government to recognize independence of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh can only be regarded as a provocation, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said Thursday, commenting on the decision made by the French lawmakers.

"The adoption of the completely biased resolution by the Senate can only be regarded as provocation. It seems that the French Armenians are widely using the topic of the conflict for electoral purposes," the ministry’s statement reads.

The diplomatic agency underlined that the resolution has no legally binding effect. "However, considering the political significance of this document, its adoption in France, a country that has the status of a mediator, raises serious doubts about this country’s neutrality," the statement emphasizes. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry recommended that the French Senate "do activities that facilitate peace, stability and progress in the region rather than pass biased resolutions."

On Wednesday, the French Senate has passed a resolution containing a call on the government to officially recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, 305 senators out of 306 present voted for the resolution. Experts explained that the resolution serves as a recommendation and has no mandatory power"

That’s a blatant provocation from an alleged neutral nation. Minsk Accord partner for peace?  And it’s gone unnoticed. Completely. Why? Baku is less then pleased, of course. Russia won't take too kindly to this move. For that matter nor will Iran or Turkey. Though the resolution has no “official” power that’s not the reason this resolution was created and passed (real world magic at work)  This resolution has been conjured to play directly into the court of public opinionIt’s a flip off to the peace accord. And a big “FU” to Putin led Russia and the remarkable work they did in getting the fighting to stop.

"The trilateral agreement on November 10 between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia over Nagorno-Karabakh is leading to a geopolitical struggle in the Caucasus. So long as Armenia and Azerbaijan were ferociously fighting, the great game lurked in the shade"

“The great game lurked in the shade” Yes, it did. Unnoticed, by most, though I can't figure out how or why?

"But no sooner than the seven-week old conflict reached a climax — capture of Shusha by Azeri forces and Armenia facing imminent rout — Moscow stepped in to mediate a truce in real time.

The speed with which Russian President Vladimir Putin moved and his hands-on role in knocking the Armenian and Azeri heads together through night-long negotiations was absolutely stunning. It took the region and the international community by surprise."

Not all of us were surprised by the regional solution. In fact some of us were hoping for this solution. Or a solution along these lines.

"Putin’s mediation inevitably led to Russian peacekeeping. By the time the world came to know of the truce in the wee hours of November 10, Russian military contingents were already en route to Nagorno-Karabakh. 
The French President Emmanuel Macron has egg on his face. He had fancied himself to be the charioteer in the Caucasus ever since conflict erupted in late September. Of course, the Armenian Diaspora in France constitutes an influential constituency in French politics.

On November 7, Macron had called Putin and discussed the “ongoing large-scale hostilities” in Nagorno-Karabakh and reached a “mutual commitment to continued coordinated mediation efforts by Russia and France, including as part of the OSCE Minsk Group.”

Next he knew, as he woke up at Elysee Palace three days later, was that Russian peacekeeping forces were landing in Nagorno-Karabakh. And, to rub salt into Macron’s bruised ego, it was only six days thereafter that Putin remembered to call Macron (on November 16) — “considering that Russia and France are co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group,” as the Kremlin readout put it.
Macron couldn’t take it anymore. The French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was ordered to urge Moscow publicly that it should clear up the “ambiguities” over the ceasefire,  (included in the  Nov. 22/20 post) notably regarding the role of Turkey and foreign fighters. He told the French National Assembly, “We must remove the ambiguities over refugees, the delimitation of the ceasefire, the presence of Turkey, the return of fighters and on the start of negotiations on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.” 
To be sure, France coordinated with the US (both are co-chairs of the Minsk Group). Within hours of the French FM’s statement, the US State Department waded into the topic. While welcoming the cessation of hostilities, the US statement ignored Moscow’s mediatory role. It said,

“Ending the recent fighting is only the first step toward achieving a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  We urge the sides to re-engage as soon as possible with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-Chairs to pursue a lasting and sustainable political solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the Helsinki Final Act principles of the non-use or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the self-determination and equal rights of peoples.  As a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States remains fully engaged in this effort.”

Plainly put, both France and the US insist that Russia cannot act unilaterally but only through the Minsk Group. Yesterday, the French presidency called for international supervision to implement the cease-fire. “We want the Minsk Group to play its role in defining the surveillance (of the cease-fire),” an official in Macron’s office said.

The French official rebuked the Kremlin: We understand that the Russians are talking to the Turks regarding a possible formula, which we don’t want, that would replicate the Astana process (on Syria) to divide their roles in this sensitive region. We can’t have on one side Minsk (Group) and the other Astana (process on Syria). At one point the Russians have to make a choice.”  

There's that alt media angle. The alt media comes off just like the US and France. We can't have a regional solution! We can't have Turkey and Russia cooperating! We can't allow an Astana process to be replicated! Why?  Would someone care to explain why?

"Clearly, France (and the US) fear that that Russia and Turkey have cut a deal to keep out Western powers from future peace talks. Indeed, the Astana forum enabled Russia and Turkey to discuss between themselves how to handle the Syrian conflict and marginalised the Western powers. To add insult to injury, like in Syria, Russia also has a deal with Turkey on the deployment of the latter’s military personnel in Azerbaijan"
That's right boys and girls. Russia and Turkey made a deal in Syria. That's been dam obvious for a long time now. And the Assad government, rhetoric aside, is completely aware of that!

"The western expectation was that Russia and Turkey would fall out over Nagorno-Karabakh, but the opposite has happened. They have blocked the western powers from getting involved. Both Turkey and Russia have strained relations with the US; Macron and Turkish President Recep Erdogan are confronting each other on multiple fronts ranging from Libya to Syria to France’s predicament with “Islamist terrorism”. Recently, Erdogan proposed psychiatric counselling for Macron."

The western expectation, the desired outcome, fed through the main stream and alt media was that Russia and Turkey would fall out. Go back and reread this report:

 So obvious..

"Putin and Erdogan would have a congruence of interest to cement the November 10 peace deal before the Joe Biden presidency sails into view. Biden has harshly referred to Erdogan and Putin. In the final analysis, though, Nagorno-Karabakh highlights a serious fracture in the western alliance system: one NATO power (Turkey) has aligned with the alliance’s existential enemy (Russia) to humiliate and marginalise two major allies (the US and France). The Minsk Group consists of two other NATO members also — Germany and Italy. 

Russia and Turkey are unlikely to get back into the Minsk Group. Neither country wants the western powers to get a habitation in Caucasus. Russia, perhaps, has more to lose than Turkey, since Azerbaijan and Georgia  also border North Caucasus, a volatile region with majority Muslim population, and Azerbaijan is also a littoral state of the Caspian Sea, where Moscow is determined to preserve security primacy and constrain other external powers that can impede its influence, especially the US and NATO. 

In Georgia, the US has consolidated a strategic presence. The US is committed to helping Georgia deepen its Euro-Atlantic ties and supports Georgia’s NATO aspirations. Curiously, in a signal to Moscow, the outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Georgia on November 18.

At the end of the day, Russia-Turkey coordination in Nagorno-Karabakh remains tactical. But it is with Iran that Russia a robust understanding over Nagorno-Karabakh. The November 10 peace accord is based on Iran’s peace plan and Tehran feels gratified that Moscow opted for the “Astana format”

A few related reports:

 Two from earlier, three in total for the day  because tomorrow, my time will likely be extremely limited:

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