During the last military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, American intelligence made three serious mistakes that significantly weakened the US’s position in the region. The intelligence failures were named by the American edition of The National Interest.
The first of them was that the aggravation of the situation in Karabakh, most likely, caught the US authorities by surprise. As the newspaper notes, it is obvious that Azerbaijan was coordinating its plans with Turkey, including, most likely, military assistance from Ankara in the alleged conflict was discussed. At the same time, at the end of March, US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun signed an agreement with Azerbaijan that Baku will solve all problems in the region exclusively through diplomatic means – this allowed the American side to continue supplying military assistance to Azerbaijan. It follows from this that either the State Department chose to ignore information about the possible preparation of Baku for a military conflict, or the United States did not know about Azerbaijan’s plans at all.
The second blunder of American intelligence was that it could not predict the entry of Russian peacekeepers into Nagorno-Karabakh, according to The National Interest. For example, the US authorities overly relied on work in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, while Russian President Vladimir Putin “just saw the opportunity to bring Russian troops into the region and took advantage of it.”
In addition, the newspaper writes, the details of the closed negotiations between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are still unknown. In particular, it remains a mystery whether the agreements between the leaders of the two countries include clauses regarding the division of spheres of influence outside Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the newspaper, Erdogan could agree to strengthen Russia’s presence in Syrian Idlib in exchange for Putin’s support for Ankara’s participation in the peacekeeping process in Karabakh.
As a result, the National Interest notes, due to such miscalculations, the US interests in the region were significantly damaged. Thus, the “democratic revolution” in Armenia is now under threat, the problem with refugees is aggravated in the region, and Russia’s influence is growing in Azerbaijan. In addition, the role of Turkey has grown.
Earlier in November, an expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center, Alexander Gabuev, said in his article for BBC News that Russia and Turkey had become countries that turned out to be among the winners of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to him, for Ankara, the war in Karabakh became an opportunity to demonstrate the strengthening of its positions in the South Caucasus, and Russia was finally able to bring its peacekeepers into the region.
On November 10, the heads of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan adopted a statement that provides for the cessation of hostilities and the deployment of peacekeepers along the line of contact and along the Lachin corridor connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. The contingent will stay for five years, with automatic renewal for similar periods, unless either side declares six months before the expiration of the period of intention to terminate this provision.
In addition, according to the adopted statement, the parties to the conflict stop at their positions. Azerbaijan will gain control over the territories of Aghdam, Gazakh, Kelbajar and Lachin regions.