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A struggle in the global market: New war for economic interests begins in Karabakh

A struggle in the global market: New war for economic interests begins in Karabakh

The end of the 44-day war in the South Caucasus last fall was expected, because the status quo, frozen since 1994, was not desirable not only for Azerbaijan, but also for countries with a significant share in the world economy. The fact that Azerbaijan and Armenia, located in an important geopolitical and economic geography, have been at war for many years has caused great damage not only to the economies of these two countries, but also to the world economy. One of the six routes proposed by the “The Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) project starting in China and covering 65 countries, passes through the territory of Azerbaijan. And in this regard, the geographical location of Azerbaijan is a richer corridor in freight traffic.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict hampered the security of the project, and it was necessary to end the conflict as soon as possible.

After this conflict, which ended with reestablishing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, serious steps are being taken to achieve lasting peace and order in the region. Peace and tranquility are very important not only for Azerbaijan and Armenia, but also for the sustainability of the world market.

Bigger interests on the Karabakh region

Great powers are interested in lasting peace in the region. In this regard, the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh and, in parallel, the monitoring by the Turkish military contingent in the region is very important.

This is due to the fact that the opening of the Azerbaijani-Turkish corridor through the territory of Armenia serves the realization of a large project that starts in China and extends to Europe. This project makes the restoration of the liberated territories necessary as soon as possible in order to rebuild the infrastructure and transport hubs in those areas and to provide housing. In this regard, it is understandable that immediately after the agreement was signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan and Russia on November 10, 2020, the Azerbaijani state began to clear the region of mines and, in parallel, to build new roads.

The Baku Government is trying to restore the Karabakh region as soon as possible and thus to join The Belt and Road Initiative. This will bring fantastic financial opportunities for Azerbaijan, as well as significant political dividends. It is no coincidence that a new agreement was reached between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in early 2021. The agreement between the two countries, which formerly have had cold relations for many years, on the joint development of a rich gas field in the Caspian Sea can be considered as part of this mega project. This mega project starts in China and reaches Europe through Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

China’s silent desire unites the countries

The increase in the number of countries that became active in the region following the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is also interesting. Following the announcement that reconstruction has started in Karabakh, various countries presented economic proposals to Azerbaijan. As expected, Turkey was the first country to carry out reconstruction and rehabilitation work in the liberated territories. This is consequent as Turkey has always supported Azerbaijan politically and militarily, and therefore, the country will be closely involved in the reconstruction of the region.

But Turkey is not alone in this sense. The Islamic Republic of Iran is also working hard to take part in the reconstruction work in Karabakh. It is no coincidence that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif started his visit to the region in Azerbaijan. At his high-level meetings in Baku, the Iranian official highlighted the need for Iranian companies to operate in Karabakh.

In addition, European countries have expressed interest in operating in Karabakh and have already begun to work in this direction. Italian and British companies are already active in Karabakh.

The US is isolated in the South Caucasus

There may be those who think that the United States is offside in all these processes, because at the time of the 44-day Karabakh war, presidential elections were being held in the United States, and it was simply impossible for official Washington to focus on the South Caucasus in the midst of internal strife. In this regard, there are those who think that official Washington is left out of the processes in the region.

But they are wrong. The reason is that the United States cannot accept to watch the developments in the South Caucasus from the outside, as these developments are part of The Belt and Road Initiative, which China has been trying to implement since 2010 and

Russia, Turkey and Iran are actively following.

The United States and China may clash in Karabakh

Therefore, official Washington intends to interfere in the process through Armenia and tries to thwart all plans. This is due to the fact that Armenia, which is considered an extension of Soros in the region, may be the last hope of the United States. It is through Armenia that official Washington can both disrupt China’s mega-project and seriously undermine the interests of Russia and Turkey by violating the peace achieved in Karabakh. Washington hopes to restore its presence in the South Caucasus on this way.

This US attempt requires a new war. The strengthening of revanchist forces in Armenia in the recent weeks and proposals of a policy of revenge against loudly expressed by opposition forces should be interpreted as a new attack by the Biden government. This time, Washington can drag both Armenia and the whole region into disaster.

Don’t believe that China will remain silent.

Ahmad Shahidov

Head of the Azerbaijan Institute for Democracy and Human Rights

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