On October 25, Armenia’s parliament member, Lilit Makunts, said she believed the remarks by US President Donald Trump in New Hampshire about Armenians and Artsakh was a hint for US recognition of Artsakh.
This was echoed by Armenian Parliament Deputy Speaker Alen Simonyan who said, “Donald Trump today hinted in New Hampshire that the United States could recognize the independence of Artsakh.”
To recap, President Trump at his New Hampshire rally announced, “Armenia, you know Armenia? We’re working on that. You know we’re working. We did it with Kosovo and Serbia,” and continued with, “…and the problems that they have and the death and the fighting and everything else, we’ll get that straightened out. I call that an easy one. Okay? We’ll get that. Go back and tell your people.”
However assistance to Artsakh hasn’t arrived from the United States and its ceasefire attempts failed miserably putting Armenia and Artsakh in an indecisive position while making Russia grow increasingly impatient.
On the same day as Trump’s proclamation that he would solve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, Russia attacked a Turkish-backed radical Islamist training camp, killing at least 56 terrorists and leaving countless others wounded. Russia was sending a strong message to Turkey, who has been infuriating the Russians with their actions in Syria, Libya, and now Armenia. A number of Turkish-recruited, trained and paid for Syrian mercenaries have been captured by Armenian forces, confirming reports of the recruitment and transport of Syrian mercenaries in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. (They are reportedly paid around US $50 a month for their military services.)
While Russia and NATO are opposing factors, both have been critical of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In fact, there has been a growing disgust by numerous countries including the United States of Erdogan’s erratic behaviours and policies.
Nonetheless, old foes Russia and the United States each have their requirements for assisting Armenia and Artsakh and time is running out for Armenians to make a choice between the two countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been satisfying his duties as Armenia’s ally and protecting Armenia’s borders from any sort of Turkish or Azeri invasion. Today, there are some 15 Russian-piloted Mig-29’s in Armenia, protecting the capital city Yerevan. The Mig jets and military helicopters are based in Gyumri, Armenia, very close to the Armenia-Turkey border.
But clearly that’s where Russia’s assistance stops. With Western-backed Armenian president Nikol Pashinyan in power, Russia is likely hinting that their assistance for the Armenian people stops at Armenia’s borders as long as a pro-Russian leadership is not in place.
There have been reports that Azerbaijan has made some advances into Armenian held territories around Artsakh. In the worst case scenario, if Azerbaijan succeeds in occupying the Lachin corridor that connects Artsakh to Armenia, the fate of Artsakh’s 150,000 Armenians would be put into grave danger.
It’s a pivotal point for Armenia and Artsakh. If President Trump showed more action than words by placing sanctions on Turkey and Azerbaijan or recognizing Artsakh’s independence, Armenia would have a dependable ally and Pashinyan’s leadership would still hold merit. However, time is running out for Armenians as Azerbaijan, Turkey and Islamic terrorists continue to bombard Artsakh.
There might be a last minute shift in Armenia’s political establishment for the sake of Artsakh which would make the United States lose a dependable Christian ally in the region.
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