The war in Ukraine had a devastating influence on the whole world and pulled up to the surface very strange and intricate connections and alliances between different countries. The most recent one is a bizarre communion between France, Iran and Russia, who joined forces against Azerbaijan and Israel in Caucasus.
As a result of the fall of the USSR in 1991, this mounted region has become highly unstable. With a major “disputed” piece of land between them, the infamous area of Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan have been engaged in a military struggle for 30 years. They descended into brutal battles over the UN-recognized Azerbaijani territory, which more or less came to a stop in 2020 when Baku reclaimed control over the majority of Karabakh. Because Azerbaijan is its major supplier of energy resources and, according to unconfirmed sources, extensive amounts of intelligence about its southern neighbor Iran, Israel supported the Azeri side by supplying it with modern weaponry.
Since the summer of 2022 there has been a resurgence in border disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan which once again escalated to an armed conflict involving heavy weapons. The main suppliers of arms for Armenia are Russia and Iran. Russia wants to retain its customary influence over Armenia, considering it, like the rest of former Soviet republics, as its fiefdom. Russia also sees Azerbaijan as a serious challenger in the issue of supplying gas and oil to Europe. Besides, Azerbaijan is a major alternative trade route from the East to the EU, bypassing Russian territory completely.
Iran sees Armenia as its only trade route to the EU, and perceives Azerbaijan’s alliance with Israel as a real threat. This has been confirmed by the latest IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps – listed in the US as a foreign terrorist organization) military exercises in the North-western region of Iran, simulating a military incursion into Azerbaijani territory aimed at capturing strategic heights, crossing the Aras River with pontoon bridges, and pushing Azeri forces out of the territories of Karabakh. While describing the reasons for drills, the IRGC brass openly claimed that Israel is using Azerbaijan as an intelligence base to instigate current protests in Northern Iran.
According to Armenian expert on Iran, Vardan Voskanyan, the IRGC exercises are anti-Azerbaijani in nature and rely on the capabilities of the Iranian loitering munitions – the Shahed 136. These loitering munitions have been recently supplied to the Russian military and used extensively to terrorize, inflict casualties, destroy infrastructure in peaceful civilian centers across Ukraine.
Enter France – on the 15th of November 2022 the French senate is scheduled to hold a vote whether to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan for alleged “crimes and unwarranted aggression towards Armenia”. These sanctions would include an embargo on oil and gas from Azerbaijan. The members of the French upper house of representatives pressured by the Armenian lobby to vote for these sanctions to be enacted hope to coerce the rest of the EU to boycott Azerbaijani oil and gas exports as well. Also, they want to supply heavy weapons to Armenia.
Who will benefit from these sanctions and arms supplies?
Most of all Russia, because, as it was mentioned before – Azerbaijan is its major competitor in the energy sphere in Europe.
Iran, because it will gain greatly from the weakening of Israel’s ally and from modern French weapons supplies to Armenia.
Iranian weapons manufacturers, who widely use reverse engineering will be able to use French arms to modernize and improve their own production, which is exported to several terrorist organizations to destabilize the Middle East. Famous Israeli expert Ron Ben Ishay already warned that the mentioned above modernizations and improvements that Iranian munitions are to undergo inevitably thanks to the Russian usage in Ukraine, shall become a much larger threat to all the powers who currently oppose Iranian warmongering. It means Israel.
Why are the French joining forces with Iran and Russia? Due to the considerable Diaspora, Armenia has a formidable lobby with significant influence in Europe, especially in France. One may ponder why the Armenians in France push for pro-Russian and pro-Iranian decisions. May it be that Russians are influencing this Diaspora?
In neighboring Germany intelligence services are rooting out other pro-Russian influencers. Even the cybersecurity chief was fired following reports of alleged Russian ties. Is the same process needed in France?
But whatever are the reasons of the French politicians and Armenian lobby in Paris, their actions are a direct threat to Israel, other Western states and even to oil rich Persian Gulf countries. They have signed the Abraham accords with the Jewish state and are also perceived by Tehran as enemies. Iranian weapons have been used against Saudi targets in Yemen by the group known as “Ansar Allah” and Iran would see them used by extremist groups against the UAE as well.
A group of Azerbaijani activists published last week a petition to the French Senate, calling it to stop this “sanctions and embargo” absurdity, to let both Armenians and Azeris solve their differences peacefully, as the negotiations are already underway and considerable progress has been reached.
It seems that any sane person – Azeri, Israeli or European should sign this petition too – to give peace a chance.