Author: Almaz MAHMUD
Peter Marko Tase is Strategic Advisor for International Affairs, Education Policy and Geopolitics in Europe and Latin America to the Global Council of Engineering Deans (George Mason University, USA). He is also an expert at various US universities and organisations. In recent years, Mr. Tase has repeatedly visited the region and is familiar with the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, socio-political situation in the South Caucasus. We asked Peter TASE to answer a few questions.
R+: Azerbaijan liberated its territories from the occupiers and a new era began in the South Caucasus. What does this new era promise for Azerbaijan and the region?
P.T.: President of Azerbaijan H. E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, unlike any other president in modern times Europe, has shown to the World a rare value in balancing geopolitical interests in the region while recovering the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan that has been occupied by the Armenian Armed Forces for over thirty years.
The Second Garabagh War is an important event in the modern history of Europe and Asia. In many aspects, the proactive military tactics and technology used by the heroic Armed Forces of Azerbaijan in liberating Fuzuli and Zangilan districts, the city of Shusha and entire region of Daghlig Garabagh is exemplary and was military attacks were conducted in highly professional manner under the guidance and vision of the Government of Azerbaijan.
The liberation of Daghlig Garabagh is the most important event in Europe during the last fifty years; it ensures peace, economic prosperity, guarantees respect for international law and brings this region closer to democratic standards proclaimed by the European Union and The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). With the brutal defeat of the Armenian Armed Forces in September–November, 2020, the world was able to see the horrendous destruction that had taken place in every captive village and city of Azerbaijan that was occupied by the Armenian regime. For the first time since World War II, we have witnessed anguish on Earth when looking at the city of Aghdam (Aghdam District) which is the Hiroshima of modern times.
Under the guidance and pragmatic vision of President Ilham Aliyev the process of creating modern infrastructure continues at an accelerated pace in the territories of Azerbaijan that are liberated from brutal Armenian occupation. Currently, the international airport in Fuzuli District is a major project that will further increase the economic growth in the region; it will turn this part of Azerbaijan into a major logistical hub and attract Italian and German companies that want to expand their operations in this part of Eurasia. Furthermore it is exciting to know that the 'Victory Road' to Shusha is being built, and this large project will connect the recently liberated territories of Azerbaijan with the rest of the country as well as help transform Daghlig Garabagh into a vibrant region of Europe and as a unique example of urban and industrial development (embracing green economy and sustainable – renewable energy projects) that would become very suitable for other countries to follow as an example.
All construction operations at the Fuzuli International Airport are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021. It is one of the important infrastructure projects for the development of the entire Caucasus region. Very soon the citizens of Azerbaijan and foreign tourists will be able to visit Shusha through the airport in Fuzuli.
Another major project is the Zangezur corridor, which will become part of the East-West transportation corridor.
In regards to air and ground cargo transportation, the potential for growth is enormous in the recently liberated sovereign territories of Republic of Azerbaijan. These projects will play an exceptional role in the export of non-oil sector products abroad, including food and agricultural commodities, promotion of religious and cultural tourism, development of international commerce.
R+: As it is presented in all international documents, Azerbaijan liberated its lands. But today, unfortunately, pressure and attacks against Azerbaijan have begun. Why and what is the root of it?
P.T.: Daghlig Garabagh is Azerbaijan and always will be Azerbaijan. The International Public Law and International Humanitarian Law, United Nations and other global governing bodies are in defense of the full territorial sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The main challenge is the global Armenian Diaspora (AD) that is inflicting so much damage against the interests of Azerbaijan. Individual governments such as France, the US, Germany, Portugal and Mexico, have fallen prey to disinformation campaigns and slander attacks that are constantly taking place in mainstream media channels, against the people and Republic of Azerbaijan. French politicians and the US Congressmen are typical examples of these disinformation campaigns that are shaping a distorted reality about the region of Daghlig Garabagh and Caucasus as a whole. Turkish and Azerbaijani media channels must continue to coordinate their efforts in order to better attack the AD propaganda that is causing so much harm to European Democracy and crumbling the impartial principles that characterise the decision-making mechanism in the US Congress, the US Senate and the US Department of State.
R+: What is the responsibility of Armenia for ensuring lasting peace in the region; what should official Yerevan do in this direction or not?
P.T.: The Armenian Autocratic regime, instead of giving lip service to western chanceries and heads of state, must immediately focus on peace-building measures, including 1) sharing the entire list and content of maps that indicate the location of land mines installed by the fascist Armed Forces of Armenia inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan; 2) urgently close the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant; 3) fight endemic corruption inside government; 4) establish a national project that strengthens economic and macroeconomic indicators and reduces unemployment.
R+: If you remember, there was an armed conflict in Garabagh even after Armenia signed the act of capitulation. The Armenian militants who committed this are currently in custody. In your opinion, what are the obligations of international organizations, as well as the countries of the region, to prevent such provocations and terrorism in the region?
P.T.: Armenian regime must be energetically denounced, and economic sanctions must be applied against the members of government of Yerevan, as long as Armenian autocrats refuse to accept the rules of engagement. Nikol Pashinyan must be stopped from entering the US territory until he fully complies with the international law and really shows in good faith that he is working for his countrymen and for preserving peace and stability in Europe. Until today, Pashinyan has been loyal only to western oligarchs and has amassed large fortune at the detriment of his country. Under Pashinyan’s watch, we have a growing number of cases that involve nuclear material international trafficking and an expansion of black market for nuclear and radioactive materials.
Why are measures not being taken against smuggling and illegal activities of radioactive substances in Armenia? After all, this threat concerns not only the South Caucasus, but the entire European continent.
R+: What is the scale of the threats posed by the Metsamor nuclear power plant to the region, as well as the share of official Yerevan in this matter? What urgent steps do you think should be taken on this issue?
P.T.: The US, OSCE and NATO must act collectively and hold responsible the leaders of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan and Armen Sarksyan, for holding their country hostage and for always instigating violence in the South Caucasus. Remaining always silent and equipping with visas the leadership of Armenia is a major blunder that Washington and Brussels, sooner or later, will regret. Armenia’s autocratic leadership cannot be trusted and are indeed the most corrupt public figures in Eurasia at a time when Armenian people are succumbed into poverty and unemployment.
R+: Does the US President Joe Biden's use of the term "Armenian genocide" give reason to believe that the current leadership of the White House is too weak to succumb to pressure from Armenian Diaspora? After all, the move does not bode well for the US-Turkish relations.
P.T.: The recognition of the so-called Armenian Genocide by President Joe Biden is a great geopolitical mistake. It shows that the White House is deeply connected with the Armenian Diaspora (AD) leaders. It will take many years to revert course and mend geostrategic ties between Washington, DC and Ankara. Washington has failed to understand that a close partnership with Ankara and Baku will serve well, is geopolitically vital, to the commercial and political interests of the US Government. Unfortunately, the US Vice President Kamala Harris is very influential in the inner circle of President Joe Biden, and is a strong advocate of the Armenian Diaspora’s strategy in California and nationwide.