By Dhanuka Dickwella
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
There is an unfinished business in the Caucasus for the Azerbaijanis. The grand expansion and conquest of the ancient Karabakh lands up to the state border of Armenia is not done as yet. There is however a brick wall that they have to come up against: the Russian peacekeeping mission. If the Azerbaijanis are good in one thing that is undoubtedly being the best geopolitical opportunists of all time. There was a reported buildup and an attempted incursion into Artsakh by the Azerbaijani state forces a couple of days back. What are they trying to achieve?
Is this a one-time random or accidental incident? Or is it a timely well-calculated beginning of a series of events to follow. Let’s do the math.
In the international arena, a tectonic plate shifting is happening. It is almost the moment for a collision of the continents. The war in Ukraine is heating up, with Russian forces decimating the Ukrainian army in the Don basin. Albanians in the breakaway Kosovo province are openly upping the ante against Serbs with a possible NATO intervention on the horizon. Nancy Pelosi’s much hyped and provocative state visit to Taipei is dominating the global news. The world is in utter chaos and the focus of the attention of the international community keeps changing from one theater of geopolitics to another. The focus is in disarray. So, who will have time for a small incursion by the Azerrbajani forces into Artsakh?
The energy crisis that is devastating the European continent has made gas-rich countries more than ever important partners. Europe is not held hostage by the barrel but by pipelines. Europeans are pushed against the wall and they are desperate to find gas for their industries and the general population. Winter is coming and the empty gas storage facilities in Europe are worse than a nightmare. Algeria’s gas supply will be reduced with pre-planned maintenance of the pipeline. Neither Qatar nor Iran could accommodate the growing desperate demands. That makes the Gas King of the Caucasus Ilham Aliyev – the president of Azerbaijan, an untouchable, strategically important and valuable partner. No one in the right mind would want to antagonize Azerbaijan or to be in their bad books. That gives Azerbaijan a leverage way above its weight class.