ANALYTICS

For the French government, the military intervention in the Caucasus is of greater importance than the 2024 Olympic Games

20.06.24 14:00


In the context of the imminent Summer Olympics in Paris, it would be reasonable to anticipate a more conciliatory stance from the city's authorities and the French government. This is particularly pertinent given that, on the previous day, France had proposed the establishment of a ceasefire in the Ukrainian conflict during a peace conference in Switzerland.

 

Moreover, the stance of the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and several other French politicians, as expressed in an open letter to Emmanuel Macron, is particularly incongruous with the concept of Olympic peace. The letter calls for the introduction of troops (in the terminology of the signatories, "peacekeeping contingent") in Armenia, which is effectively a call for war. This information was reported by the French publication Le Point.

 

Ann Hidalgo has proposed the deployment of a French military contingent to Armenia, purportedly to defend against Azerbaijani aggression. However, Azerbaijan has not demonstrated any intention to attack Armenia. Armenia is engaged in the expansion of its military capabilities with the assistance of France. This could potentially lead to further aggression against Azerbaijan, particularly given the persistence of revanchist sentiments in Armenia.

 

On June 17, 2024, the heads of the French and Armenian Defense Ministries, Sebastien Lecornu and Suren Papikyan, met in Paris to sign a contract for the purchase of Caesar self-propelled artillery units by Yerevan. French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu made this announcement on his social media account.

 

"We continue to strengthen our defence relations with Armenia," he said. The meeting between Lecornu and Papikian was characterised by cordiality and productive discourse. The signing of the contract for the acquisition of CAESAR artillery units represents a significant advancement in the bilateral relationship.

 

The Caesar SAU is a 155mm howitzer mounted on a Renault Sherpa 10 truck chassis with an armoured cab. This weapon is exclusively offensive, and the fact that Armenia is taking it into service is inconsistent with the country's purported "peace-loving" rhetoric. Earlier, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported that new agreements on military-technical cooperation between France and Armenia had been reached, as well as the signing of a corresponding agreement between the Armenian Defense Ministry and the French military-industrial company KNDS.

 

It is therefore possible that Armenia may attempt to initiate a regional conflict with Azerbaijan immediately following the Olympic Games in Paris, or even during the event itself. This is even though the mayor of Paris has publicly stated that he does not believe that sending troops to Armenia is a viable option. Furthermore, France is set to supply Yerevan with offensive weapons, which could potentially be used in a conflict.

 

One might inquire as to how France will organise the delivery of Caesar SAU. Will it do so through the territory of Georgia, as it managed to "sneak" armoured vehicles earlier? However, Georgia has already made it clear to its Western partners that it intends to defend its national interests. France cannot therefore dictate terms to it. In light of the aforementioned considerations, the probability that the French security services and the Armenian "fifth column" in Georgia may deliberately seek to destabilise the situation in our country to exert pressure on the Georgian government increases significantly. This carries the potential for the situation to escalate into a regional conflict, particularly in light of Russia's interests in establishing a "corridor" through Georgia to access its base in Armenia. The relationship between Russia and Armenia is becoming increasingly strained, particularly in light of the enthusiasm among Armenian nationalists regarding the military collaboration between Paris and Yerevan.

 

Following Suren Papikyan's visit to Paris, it was revealed that Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan would not be participating in the meeting of the CSTO Foreign Ministers' Council scheduled for June 21 in Kazakhstan. Consequently, Russia is no longer considered an ally of Armenia, while France is emerging as a potential ally. Both countries have already engaged in a competition for influence over Armenia. Given that Russia is increasing tensions in Armenia through its "agent of influence," Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the situation is becoming increasingly untenable and provides the government of Nikol Pashinyan with an opportunity to intensify efforts to "throw out" the Russian military from the country. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of a regional war.

 

It also appears that Paris views a war in the South Caucasus, based on the "Armenian outpost," as a means of "restoring its position as a power." This became relevant for France following the difficulties it encountered with its neo-colonial policy in Africa and the Pacific (including New Caledonia). This is why Armenia is now being rapidly armed, with the clear intention of unleashing a new aggression with French arms and military aid.

 

It is understandable that the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan reacted with considerable intensity to the actual military preparations in Paris. The official statement of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense reads as follows:

 

"A contract was signed between France and Armenia for the purchase of self-propelled artillery units, 'CAESAR'." Despite warnings from Azerbaijan, France's deliveries of lethal and offensive weapons, including artillery pieces, to Armenia serve to reinforce the perception that France is engaged in provocative activities in the South Caucasus region.

 

While the French Ministry of Defense has previously asserted that the arms supplied to Armenia were for defensive purposes, the supply of lethal weapons as part of the current military deal serves to illustrate the French leadership's hypocrisy.

 

The Macron regime's policy of militarisation and geopolitical intrigue in the South Caucasus region is becoming an obstacle to the normalisation of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as to sustainable peace in the region. The current leadership of France remains aloof from the processes of normalisation and regional cooperation due to its destructive and biased policy, which is becoming increasingly evident in Azerbaijan. The result is that France continues its destructive streak.

 

Armenia, which has perpetrated military aggression and occupation against Azerbaijan, is now receiving rearmament from France, a permanent member of the UN Security Council. This state, which has a history of military aggression, supports its leadership's policy of revanchism. This approach only deepens the divisions and increases the risk of a new war, demonstrating Armenia's political irresponsibility.

 

France, as a former colonial empire, has a history of creating instability and conflict in various parts of the world. The processes currently taking place in New Caledonia and other overseas colonial territories, including the exploitation of indigenous peoples, the plundering of their natural resources, the changing demographic composition under racist policies, and the bloody suppression of protests and gun violence, are indicative of the true nature of the Macron regime. Instead of addressing the underlying issues and bringing an end to neo-colonialism, which is a vestige of a shameful colonial legacy, France is engaged in a campaign of disinformation and propaganda against Azerbaijan.

 

The Ministry of Defence of Azerbaijan asserts that the responsibility for the deterioration of the situation in the South Caucasus region and the creation of a new hotbed of conflict lies entirely with the Armenian leadership and the authoritarian regime of Macron.

 

George Kvinitadze

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