Beyond the very real genocide of Armenians by Turks, which has been highly politicized recently, few of us have any real knowledge of Armenia. In fact, many people couldn’t even find Armenia on a map and certainly do not view it as becoming a strategic geopolitical issue. That may be about to change. In another covert escalation of force designed to undermine Russia, the CIA has been supporting another “colour” revolution, like it did in the Ukraine, to break away a long time Russian ally and former Soviet satellite. Although, media reports generally will only speak of protests over things like corruption and electricity prices, make no mistake, the hidden US agenda of regime change is once again afoot. The Russians know this and so does the US. http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/27106463.html Like Crimea, Russia views Armenia as geographically strategic and will retaliate proportionally if the US continues with its covert revolution.
Why do the Russian’s care? Armenia was a part of the Soviet Union and is a key trading partner of Russia. Armenia sits in an area that has access to or can control large amounts of hydrocarbon resources and will likely be critical for any current and future oil/gas pipelines transiting the Caucuses. Further, and perhaps more importantly, Russia has a major military base in Armenia. Crack Russian troops are based there for possible operations in the Caucuses and in particular, as a bulwark against US encroachment from Georgia and Azerbaijan. Like Crimea, Russia views Armenia as geographically strategic for its defense. Recent moves by the US in the Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan have Russia on alert. Any meddling by the West will quickly get the attention and draw the wrath of Moscow. Russia has also been looking for ways to counter US/NATO activities in the Ukraine and to counter sanctions. As I warned, Russia would and has closed off US military supply routes to Afghanistan that transit Russia controlled areas. This has been extremely painful logistically for the US even as it has wound down operations. Russia realizes that if Armenia and Azerbaijan both fell into the US sphere, it could cost them strategically on both the military and energy fronts.
So why do we care? In short, we are pissed at Russia’s success in the Ukraine, the failure of our sanctions to “isolate” Russia, and Russia’s persistent support to Syria’s President Assad. We are looking for ways to pressure and punish Putin. As of now, the US has quietly established military bases in Azerbaijan, Armenia’s neighbor, and is diplomatically working out energy deals, which could check both Russian and Iranian energy interests in the region. Russia knows this, but has to date, maintained a military presence in Armenia that acts as a check and a balance for any US force deployments to the Caspian region. If the US were able to pry Armenia away from the Russian sphere and into an American geopolitical alliance, Russia would be dealt a major strategic defeat. Further, Russia has been pressuring the countries that border the Caspian Sea to agree to a ban on foreign (read US) access and use of the sea http://www.eurasianet.org/node/70191. It appears Russia has been effective in pressuring a US ally Azerbaijan, which is troubling to the US and likely related to US covert action in Armenia. Remember, because Azerbaijan has been built-up by the US for use as a strategic military base of operations in the event of a war with Iran or Russia ever occurred, it has placed itself in the cross-hairs of both world powers. Finally, Armenia was the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion. Although, a periphery issue, I feel that some within our government despise the Christian roots of this nation and would like to see it turned into chaos and ruin like the Ukraine.
What happens now? Best case scenario would be a comprise deal between protestors and the government, but this appears unlikely. Numerous concessions have been offered by the government and the protest organizers have refused to even entertain the offers. The fact that the protestors are not interested in actually dealing makes it all the more likely an attempt at revolution and regime change is underway. If Armenia does descend into chaos, it is likely the Russian military units already garrisoned in Armenia may be used to support the pro-Moscow government. Moscow will not easily give up its military footprint in Armenia so the protestors have as much to worry about from their own government as they do the Russians. A weakened Armenia may also reignite their previous war with Azerbaijan. In this event, it is likely you would see a situation develop, as it did in Georgia, where US backed forces were met and soundly defeated by Russian troops to restore order. This is not a conflict Putin needs or wants and the CIA was correct in assessing Armenia as a weak underbelly of Russia that was vulnerable. The CIA will certainly try to expand the protests and weaken the Russian position. This will no doubt bleed finite resources away from the already on-going war in the Ukraine. Worst case scenarios ultimately involve a collapse of Armenia and a breakout of war across the Caucuses.
Time will tell, but right now the situation has all of the fingerprints of a CIA sponsor Colour Revolution. If indeed this materializes (remember, it took the CIA two major goes to topple the government in Kiev), we will literally be picking a fight with Russia. Expect the blow-back from Russia to cause the US pain. Most likely, the US will not suffer directly from events in Armenia, but rather, the collateral geopolitical damage will be what hurts the most. My prediction is if this does materialize as a revolution; expect the Russians to authorize full scale Cold War style proxy wars against the US globally.
By Guiles Hendrik
July 3, 2015