It seems that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has become the Biden Administration’s foreign policy point guard to taunt bullies in the international arena. Her trip to Taiwan in August, challenging China’s ambitions with regard to that island, was followed by her trip to Armenia, to send messages in that difficult neighborhood to Russia and to Iran. Therefore, in this broader picture, the Yerevan visit, although touted as her major mission, is rendered marginal.
However, the timing of the US Congressional visit on September 17, headed by Speaker Pelosi, proved to be lifesaving for Armenia, because by all indications, the Azerbaijan-Turkey tandem was planning to launch a devastating blow to Armenia and achieve what Azerbaijan’s leader Ilham Aliyev was publicly advocating, to open the Zangezur corridor by force.
Azerbaijan’s president has learned from his overlord, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that you can take risks and challenge allies and escape unscathed.
Assessing the scale of aggression against Armenia, the damage to military and civilian infrastructure was heavy, a result of the flurry of logistical activities between Azerbaijan on one side and Turkey, Israel and Pakistan on the other. Indeed, intense activity, including military flights, preceded the attack on September 13. In particular, Silk Airways, owned by the Aliyev family, has been very busy carrying military hardware from Turkey and Israel. Those flights have been complemented by military air traffic from Pakistan.
To set the stage for a full-scale war, Turkey had concentrated troops on Armenia’s borders and announced joint war games with Azerbaijan in the preceding weeks, replaying the exact same scenario that led to the devastating 2020 war against Armenia.
Azerbaijan, emboldened by its recent territorial gains in Armenia proper as well as Artskah, has been convinced that further turmoil and wars in the region may provide opportunities for future adventures. Azerbaijan in particular has set its sights on Iran’s Azerbaijan province. This plan, of course, is in line with Turkey’s policy of pan-Turanism, and Israel’s policy of containing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, if necessary, by overthrowing the current regime or dismembering its territory.