On October 16, 2023, the joint online event of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and Northwestern University - "In the Wake of War: How the Geopolitical Ground Has Shifted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia” was held.
Azerbaijan’s swift victory over territory long held by ethnic Armenians, in and around Nagorno Karabakh, has changed the political dynamics of the South Caucasus region. The Aliyev regime in Baku has seen its power further solidified, and in Armenia, Prime Minister Pashinyan faces mounting opposition to his government. Georgia, with its large Armenian and Azeri minorities, looks on warily, while it continues to recalibrate its traditionally Western orientation in the wake of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. In the meantime, the region’s three neighboring powers, Iran, Russia, and Turkey, look at how the new geopolitical reality has affected their own strategic interests.
Among the speakers of the event were Professor Ronald Suny of the University of Michigan; Former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, currently George Mason University Professor Richard Kauzlarich; Tbilisi State University Associate Professor Giorgi Mchedlishvili and Northwestern University Associate Professor Olga Kamenchuk. The meeting was moderated by the former US ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly.
Ronald Grigor Suny spoke about the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and noted that the US should become more active in the region, discussing the Israel-Palestine conflict in the same light.
Richard Kauzlarich focused on the development of several possible scenarios: 1. Improvement of relations between Azerbaijan and Russia; 2. Establishing Azerbaijan's partnership with Iran and Turkey; 3. Establishing of the connecting corridor to Nakhchivan not through Armenia but through Iran; 4. The possibility of Transcaucasian unity. He also spoke about the problem of closed borders and the possible conflict caused by Karabakh migration (if Armenians stay and Azerbaijanis return).
Giorgi Mchedlishvili spoke about the political landscape of Georgia, drawing parallels between Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani politicians, taking into account the specifics of their steps. He drew attention to the existing attitudes in Georgia regarding the methods of restoration of territorial integrity. He noted that the West should be more active in the region and more involved in the current processes.
Olga Kamenchuk spoke about the renewed conflicts in Eurasia, the war in Ukraine and the problem of Taiwan. He also discussed China and its interests in the region.
At the end of the meeting, Ian Kelly noted that it is important for the West to be more active in the region and to be adequately involved in the current processes.
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