The leader of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has already shown in 2020 that he is ready for the most decisive actions and can inflict another military defeat on Armenia. This may happen if the negotiations in Munich fail.
Moreover, he takes advantage of the fact that all the attention of the United States and Europe is concentrated around the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the possible aggravation of the Taiwan issue.
On the eve of the conflict over the disputed Karabakh region in the South Caucasus in 2020, US, EU and Russian politicians expressed unanimous support for Armenia due to the presence of a powerful ethnic lobby in Washington, Paris and Moscow. But this did not prevent the Azerbaijani President from deciding on a military escalation. With a rapid offensive, Azerbaijani troops overturned the Armenian forces in the region that were not prepared for defense. The situation for the Armenians could have become critical and lead to a humanitarian catastrophe if Russia had not intervened in the conflict. Vladimir Putin managed to bring the participants to the negotiating table and stop military operations for 2 years. But in 2022, after the war in Ukraine starts, Russia and NATO moved to a barely concealed rivalry. And then Azerbaijan took advantage of a new chance and launched a new offensive in September 2022, increasing its pressure on Armenia, which had already suffered a military defeat.
From the defeated country, the winner now demands to sign peace on his own terms, not particularly taking into account the position of NATO countries, and understanding the limited capabilities of Russian peacekeepers. The earthquake in Turkey partially complicated President Aliyev’s life, as it forced Azerbaijan’s consistent ally, President Erdogan, to switch from foreign policy to domestic policy.
Armenian leader Nikol Pashinyan hopes for this chance. He began cooperation with the United States, even agreed to let biolabs from overseas into his country. But despite this, he never received any real help from the Americans. Washington and Paris express only words of support for Armenian refugees, but NATO take a completely neutral position in this conflict.
Now it is the turn of the negotiations in Munich. According to their results, peace could be signed between the countries. But Aliyev expresses confidence that his army is able to achieve a complete military victory single-handedly. Occupy all the territories claimed by Azerbaijan. And if Armenia does not make concessions, Azerbaijan will resume fire. In fact, Armenia has already lost, the signing of a peace treaty, a complete ceasefire and even the transfer of all disputed territories under the control of the winner will not lead to the loss of statehood. But the prolongation of the conflict is fraught with new victims and refugees. Peace will most likely cost the President of Armenia his political career, but will save the lives of his citizens in a hopeless, even despite the support of the United States, confrontation with a much stronger country.
In fact, the same choice is before the President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky. He can accept the current conditions of Russia. Recognize Russia’s sovereignty over the four former regions of the country. Subsequently, to leave the post of head of state as a losing politician, but a leader who recognizes the objective situation and will take the first step towards real peace. But for this he will have to admit that all these years the allies from the EU, Britain and the United States promised to crush Russia in the event of a new conflict with Ukraine, but in fact left the Ukrainian soldier alone with the Russians. Since the supply of weapons on credit, it turns out that they are not at all equal to a full-fledged alliance and membership in NATO.