The Middle East developments the world is witnessing are actually a follow-up to the incomplete process that got under way 100 years ago, when European empires were formed, whereas the process remains incomplete in Russia and Turkey, Ara Papyan, Head of the Modus Vivendi center, said at a discussion invited by the Nor Hayastan (New Armenia) NGO.
“The process is going on round us and, therefore, can go on either to our detriment or to our benefits. Remaining neutral is not only inadvisable, but also impossible for Armenia,” he said.
Armenia needs a political line to make accurate forecasts about, art least general tendencies because the current trends will go on and determine regional realities.
The trends are as follow:
1. The Middle East is and will for the next 20-25 years remain a hotbed of clashes of Great Powers’ interests
2. He Middle East tangle of will never be unraveled with the Middle East to remain as it was before
3. Russia is being ousted from Europe, and has to focus on the Middle East
4. The role of non-state alliances, such as the Islamic State, in international relations is growing
5. The role of religious and ethnic communities that have no statehood will grow in the near future
6. The oil era is coming to its end, and the oil-based economies will face serious difficulties, with ensuing consequences
7. Politicizing Islam will continue, the religious factor will gain greater importance in international relations
All that will determine the scenarios of the political situation in the region.
Mr Papyan offers the following three scenarios:
The first is an optimistic scenario.
Division of Turkey, with a Kurdish state formed south of Lake Van. Armenia establishes control over Kars by means of contrasting interests of Armenians, Kurds and Turks. Armenia succeeds in getting restitution of billions in hard currency, which will be directed to Armenia’s economic development and prosperity. At the same time, the regions with the Talysh population will break away from Azerbaijan.
This scenario requires consistent and reasonable work on the part of Armenia’s authorities. However, Mr Papayan does not see such work, and believes that the probability of such a scenario is below average.
The second scenario is a moderate one.
Division of Turkey and formation of a Kurdish state in the territory of West Armenia, with friendly relations between Armenia and the Kurdish state. Armenia sues Turkey and Nakhichevan loses a common border with Turkey. Armenia establishes control over the Iran-Nakhichevan-Armenia railway, while Azerbaijan entered a stage of religious and ethnic tension.
The probability of such a scenario is above the average as it requires less resources.
The third scenario is a pessimistic one:
Division of Turkey, with a Kurdish state in the territory of West Armenia, which will be a religious state hostile to Armenians. Armenia sees further emigration and ageing population, infrastructure deterioration. Armenia’s foreign debt continues growing, with creditors denying further funds to the country. The Iran-Azerbaijan-Russia and Iran-Azerbaijan-Georgia railway is put into operation next year. Armenia finds itself in a complete blockade, with continuing Russian-West confrontation. Russia proves unable to overcome the economic crisis, and Russian-Turkish military conflicts break out on the Armenian-Turkish border, with tension growing on the Nagorno-Karabakh front. Azerbaijan becomes amore religious and nationalistic state, and its leadership causes its population to vent its discontent with the economic crisis on Armenia.
Mr Papyan believes this is the most probable scenario because, according to him, Armenia’s authorities are doing their best to put it into practice.