France is involved in the South Caucasus and has been accused of favoring the Hay lobby by framing Georgia

05.02.24 10:30

France has recently increased its involvement in the South Caucasus by providing military support to Armenia. This has caused concern for Azerbaijan, as it appears that Armenia may be preparing for a new conflict and seeking to retaliate in Karabakh. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has expressed his concerns that France's support of Armenia may be contributing to ongoing tensions in the region.


Ilham Aliyev has expressed concern that France is providing military support to Armenia, including weapons, training, and encouragement for another war. According to Aliyev, this policy is contributing to the escalation of tension in the Caucasus.


Additionally, Aliyev notes that France's involvement in the Yerevan regime's military preparations is becoming increasingly conspicuous. The French Ambassador to Armenia, Olivier Decotigny, attended the events commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the creation of the Armenian army on January 28, 2024, following the end of the 44-day war. His presence was notable at the event. 


After the Hay military holiday, the ambassador shared his thoughts on X, stating that Armenia has the right to protect its sovereignty and population. France has established defense relations with Armenia and is working towards strengthening the strategic proximity between the two nations.


It is important to maintain a neutral and impartial tone when discussing military cooperation and strategic proximity between countries. It is worth noting that France will not provide arms through 'sub-sanctioned' Iran. The only route for military cooperation between Paris and Yerevan is through Georgia.


Abkhazia, a separatist region, is now predominantly inhabited by the Hay ethnic group. Georgia has experienced nationalism and separatism, which has resulted in occupied territories and refugees. At the UN General Assembly, Armenia has consistently voted against the return of these refugees to their homes.   


Furthermore, there have been allegations that Yerevan has provided support to separatist movements in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia, which is primarily populated by ethnic Hayes. There are concerns that Yerevan may try to repeat the 'Artsakh' situation, which resulted in the annexation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, in Javakhk.


Several events have taken place in the Caucasus in a relatively short period of time, which have increased the possibilities of activity of the French and Hay lobby. It is possible that Paris may request some form of compensation for this favor.


1. One such event is the granting of candidate status for EU membership to Georgia, which can be traced back to French influence.


2. The scandal involving French supplies of armored vehicles to Armenia through Georgian territory may establish a permanent corridor for arms supplies.


3. A statement has been made regarding Bidzina Ivanishvili's return to politics, who is known to hold French citizenship and is the main sponsor of the ruling party 'Georgian Dream'.


4. PACE's demarche against Azerbaijan, which involved voting to limit the powers of the Azerbaijani delegation, was carried out under pressure from France.


5. During his visit to Tbilisi, Nikol Pashinyan and then-Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili signed the 'Strategic Partnership' agreement.


6. The unexpected "abrupt resignation" of the same Irakli Gharibashvili as the Prime Minister of Georgia immediately after signing the document on "partnership" with Pashinyan's Armenia and the appointment of Irakli Kobakhidze in his place. Obviously, the new prime minister will not be able to "answer" about the agreement signed by his predecessor. And the "Partnership Agreement" remains in force for the time being!


7. Strong activation of "pro-European propaganda" in the Republic of Armenia for the EU and NATO.


An article by Romella Mnatsakanyan on ArmenianReport titled 'The West is Obliged to Help Armenia: Time is Running Out!' presents a compelling argument in favor of this position. The following are some excerpts from the article:


“Armenia, Georgia, and Ukraine are all countries with unique political landscapes. While each country has its own strengths and weaknesses, Armenia has been recognized by some as having a more democratic system than its neighbors. In terms of its geopolitical choices, Armenia has taken steps that some believe the West should support.


The potential benefits of Armenia joining the EU have been discussed, and recent events have highlighted the importance of financial aid to countries like Ukraine. The head of the European Council, Charles Michel, recently announced that all 27 EU countries have agreed to allocate 50 billion euros of financial aid to Ukraine.


It is possible that Armenia may request an increase in aid from Western countries. Comprehensive assistance is necessary, beginning with the establishment of a visa-free regime between Armenia and the EU. It is also important to address the situation in Artsakh and work towards a peaceful resolution that respects the rights and interests of all parties involved. While there may be differing opinions on the matter, it is crucial to maintain objectivity and avoid biased language. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.


Excluding Azerbaijan's vote in PACE is a potential initial step towards this goal. However, it may be necessary to consider additional measures. It is important to note that Russia was not only expelled from PACE but also subjected to numerous sanctions. Additionally, the transfer of billions of seized assets to Ukraine is being considered. It may be advisable to take a similar approach in this case, particularly given the precedent set by Georgia.


 Georgia has been granted a visa-free regime with the EU, while being under the leadership of Russian oligarch Ivanishvili. It is worth noting that Ivanishvili's main opponent, Mikheil Saakashvili, is currently serving a prison sentence and Ivanishvili has recently returned to politics.


Armenia, Georgia, and Ukraine are all unique countries with their own strengths and challenges. While each country has its own political landscape, Armenia has made strides towards democracy and has a government that is not influenced by oligarchs.


Armenia's geopolitical choices are important and should be supported by the West. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has made a bold statement on this matter, which highlights the importance of cooperation and understanding between nations. The speaker highlighted that Armenia is exploring alternative options for military-technical cooperation, as it cannot solely rely on its current partnership with Russia to reform its armed forces.


This statement holds importance in light of the present situation. It is anticipated that Russia will endeavor to uphold its sway in our nation. The Kremlin is aware that there is a growing interest in Armenia to pursue closer relationships with NATO and the EU, which may lead to changes in its current partnerships with the Russian military base in Gyumri, as well as the CSTO, the CU, and the EAEU.”


It is worth noting that in this article with a pro-European perspective, the author expressed criticism towards Bidzina Ivanishvili for encouraging Garibashvili to sign the paper on 'strategic partnership' with Armenia. This suggests that Georgian politicians' efforts to appease Hayyas and their French supporters may not be well received. Hay nationalists may continue to view Georgians as adversaries, regardless of any attempts to 'favor' them.


There are concerns that certain groups may be seeking to use Georgia for military transit and to incite conflict in the South Caucasus region. It is believed that their ultimate goal is to divide Georgia and appropriate Georgian lands, including Abkhazia and Samtskhe-Javakheti, with access to the Black Sea.


It is important to consider all perspectives and motivations involved in this matter, including those of Georgia's allies. Georgians are encouraged to remain vigilant and informed. If even brothers in faith - Russians - eventually became occupiers of Georgia under pressure from certain groups, it is possible that 'French Europeans' could also become so. It is important to consider all perspectives and work towards mutual understanding and cooperation. Let us strive to find common ground and avoid unnecessary conflict.


It is worth noting that there were allegations of involvement by the Hay lobby in provoking the Abkhazian war in 1992. Furthermore, they requested that the Georgian authorities, led by Eduard Shevardnadze, take control of the railroad through Abkhazia to ensure the transit of weapons from Russia. This happened during the Hayan aggression against Azerbaijan in Karabakh. It is also worth noting that at the time, there were claims of 'genocide' in what was then called Artsakh. According to some sources, supporters of the deposed President Zviad Gamsakhurdia were concerned about the supplies of weapons to the Hay militants and separatists.


It has been reported that the government of Shevardnadze listened to the Hay lobby and moved troops to ensure uninterrupted transit through Abkhazia for Armenia. Some separatists, who held anti-Georgian views, were reportedly waiting for this with the help of the same Hay lobby. During the conflict, there were reports of violence and displacement of Georgian residents in Abkhazia.


It is important to consider the potential consequences of similar actions in the present situation. Armenia has expressed interest in joining the EU and NATO and has requested the use of Georgian territory for transit of weapons from France. The goal is to create tension and incite unrest in Georgia, which could potentially result in the country's fragmentation and the collapse of its statehood.



Varden Tsulukidze

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