What the Prague Summit Did and Didn’t Do

At the moment, Karabakh leaders are visiting Yerevan to find out what was discussed about their fate, as rumors are rife that Pashinyan sold them to Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Pashinyan is trying to save his skin by encouraging Baku to negotiate with Karabakh’s rulers over the fate of their enclave.

Aliyev, on the other hand, has made public his position that he will treat the people of Karabakh as citizens of Azerbaijan and nothing else. He invited those who do not accept to be treated as such to leave. Mr. Aliyev is not even bothered by the fact that Karabakh residents hold Armenian or Russian passports.

Aliyev has not yet yielded to Western pressure to withdraw from the occupied territories of Armenia and has not yielded to the release of Armenian prisoners of war. He is intoxicated not only by his victory over Armenia, but by the status he has achieved through developments in regional politics. First, Azerbaijani energy supplies, limited as they are, have bought political goodwill in Europe, even in the face of the widely condemned and released videos showing Azerbaijani soldiers shooting at Armenian soldiers or even raping, murdering and dismembering an Armenian female soldier. .

But beyond that, the ambitions of the major powers in the region have made Azerbaijan an invaluable political asset.

First, Turkey’s Turanic ambitions assigned an important role to Azerbaijan in forcing the corridor issue to open the floodgates to Turkey. But above all, the Israeli-Iranian conflict has given a central role to Azerbaijan, even giving hope that in the event of fragmentation of Iran, part of its territory could join Azerbaijan. Already, an entity called the National Assembly of South Azerbaijan has been formed in Ankara and plans to govern Iranian Azerbaijan after the annexation of this region to Iranian territory.

The beneficiaries of the 44-day war were not only Turkey and Azerbaijan, but also Israel, which gained greater access to Iranian territory. Before the war, the Armenians controlled 140 kilometers along the Iranian border. After the war, this was reduced to 35 kilometers. Today, Israel is investing heavily in the “liberated lands” of Azerbaijan, even building a military airport there.

All of this is not just speculation when you add some political facts to it; very recently, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar were in Baku, when “by coincidence” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir visited the city. All of these indications point to storm clouds gathering over Iran as anti-Iranian forces gather for consultations.

Now that Iran’s quasi-ally, Russia, is occupied in Ukraine, something can be staged in Iran, and in this case, Armenia and Karabakh will be reduced to a side show, as part of larger conflagrations.

Berta D. Wells