It seems Armenia is getting involved in yet another dangerous game. Armenia is receiving delegations from Syria, and Russian media are spreading news that Armenian peacekeepers may get involved in the Syrian conflict.
Government of Syria and the Autonomy of Armenia
On November 29, Deputy Head of RA National Assembly Eduard Sharmazanov received Syrian Parliament Deputies Omar al Arabi and Alan Bakr. During this meeting, Sharmazanov emphasized Armenia’s position on fight against terrorism and assured that Armenian lawmakers are ready to raise their voices for peaceful resolution of Syrian conflict in various international platforms. Such statements are interesting, considering that any discussion on Syria in international platforms is a very sensitive business.
Thus, the question is what Sharmazanov meant by the phrase “their voices”. If it is only about condemning terrorism, then everything seems to be clear. All the countries condemn terrorism. But if the raised “voice” is in protection of the Syrian Government, it may become yet another dangerous game for Armenia since the conflict in that country began because of lack of democracy and violence used against peaceful protests. But this game is first and foremost dangerous in that it may once again show to international diplomatic cycles that Armenia is a toy in the hands of Russia deprived of autonomy and independent foreign policy.
Armenian Peacekeepers and Moscow’s “Games”
On November 30, Russian prestigious “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” newspaper published an article about the Syrian conflict in which it did not exclude the possibility that in the near future the existing forces in the country may be joined by some of ally countries of Syria and Russia. Armenia is mentioned in the list of those allies. Moreover, it is not the first time when Russian media spread such news.
Russian media have been encouraging RA peacekeepers’ participation in the Syrian conflict since 2014. Hence, there is a possibility that the purpose of the article in the “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” is simply trying to check Armenian side’s reaction or present Armenia as a subject of Russia in the eyes of the international community.
Though the possibility of that statement being true is low, it is definitely dangerous for the international image of Armenia both in the west and in the east. Besides, such a scenario would attract the attention of Islamic countries to Armenia. Considering the fact that Armenia has previously been criticized for its conflict with Azerbaijan, getting involved in the Syrian conflict would not be a very sensible decision.
Instead of sending peacekeepers to Syria with Moscow’s incitement, Armenia had better help Syrian Armenians move to Armenia as the current situation there still leaves much to be desired.
In sum, it is worthy to note that Russia is trying to involve Armenia in the Syrian conflict in order to legitimize its actions in Syria. But this is an extremely dangerous game for Armenia’s international image and security.
“Union of Informed Citizens”