Turkish Press: Pashinyan steadfast in turning Armenia into Ukraine BY MELIH ALTINOK

Daily Sabah, Turkey
Oct 5 2023

Armenia has been steadily losing territory to Azerbaijan since 2020, with the Azerbaijani Army recently achieving complete control over Karabakh.

Amid these developments, one might wonder whether Russia, Armenia's longstanding ally, remained passive.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan certainly thinks so. He argues that Russia has fallen short in safeguarding the Armenian population in Karabakh. Pashinyan believes that placing Armenia's security solely in the hands of Russia was a strategic error and that they have been contemplating a broader partnership with Western nations.

However, the Kremlin appears to dismiss Armenia's "flirtation" with the West with mere rhetoric, stating firmly, "We have no intentions of withdrawing from the region."

Curiously, the West seems equally disengaged when it comes to Armenia, mirroring Russia's apparent disinterest. A recent display of mock troops sent to Armenia for supposed exercises serves as a clear indication of the level of seriousness with which they regard Pashinyan's overtures.

It appears that Pashinyan is endeavoring to provoke Putin into breaking this impasse and constructing the desired relationship with the West through assertive actions. The recent approval of the Rome Statute in the Armenian Parliament represents the latest provocative step in this pursuit.

As commonly understood, the Rome Statute serves as the foundational document for the International Criminal Court (ICC). The binding authority of ICC rulings hinges on whether nations are signatories to the Rome Statute. Countries that have ratified the Rome Statute are obligated to enforce ICC decisions, while non-signatory nations can grant the court jurisdiction over specific crimes. In the past, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on the grounds of the "unlawful deportation" of Ukrainian children.

With the recent decision passed by Pashinyan in parliament, he conveys a clear message to Putin, who seems reluctant to take decisive action: any movement toward Armenia will lead to potential arrest.

What could be the underlying motive behind this seemingly "unconventional" move, apart from possibly pressuring Moscow into intervention, similar to what occurred in Ukraine?

Nevertheless, Putin is a seasoned and unflappable leader, renowned for his ability to make composed decisions even when faced with global opposition. Luring him into a precarious situation is no easy task.

Perhaps Pashinyan is calculating that Putin's focus on Ukraine may dissuade him from opening up a new front in Armenia.

However, Armenia is not even a burden on Putin, who, in addition to Ukraine, plays chess with the United States in Africa, the Pacific and Syria. He doesn't seem inclined to intervene or even acknowledge it. The Azerbaijani Army, benefiting from the Kremlin's passive stance, looms ominously close to Armenia's borders. What's more, Aliyev's armed forces, driven by the zeal and confidence of resolving the three-decade-old Karabakh conflict, are as formidable as ever. It is widely known that they enjoy unwavering support from Türkiye. Armenia's military appears powerless, and it seems they could surrender Yerevan to Azerbaijan without a single shot fired.

Setting aside these dynamics, the U.S. has little goodwill to spare, particularly in the run-up to elections. Just recently, the White House declared that the U.S. lacks the resources for long-term military aid to Ukraine.

As for the military assistance pledged to Armenia by French President Emmanuel Macron, delivered from Africa, it appears inadequate to secure Pashinyan's position.

Following the path of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who led his nation into a "precarious venture" driven by Western assurances, Pashinyan should reconsider. Such a course would be detrimental to the already struggling Armenian populace, who have endured their share of hardships.