Washington – Despite record growth in military spending and frequently heard threats by top officials to resume hostilities in Karabakh, Azerbaijani leadership is said to be “terrified” by a prospect of an Armenian military attack, a Stratfor memo made available via Wikileaks revealed.
The memo was prepared by Reva Bhalla, Stratfor’s director of analysis, following her August 2010 meeting with a source described as “Ambassador-at-large for energy security, Czech Republic.” While the official is not named in the memo, Vaclav Bartuska has been the Czech envoy on energy security for the last several years.
The Czech official reportedly told Bhalla that “It is remarkable to what degree Azerbaijan is under Russian influence. THey are thinking about their survival. The Azerbaijanis cannot agree to a final deal on Shah Deniz II” natural gas field being developed in the Caspian by BP and whose output is sought by Russia and Western energy consumers.
“When I was in Baku recently, they showed me a 3-D topographic map of Armenia, AZ [Azerbaijan], Nagorno [Karabakh],” the Czech related. “You can see very clearly that once (and if) the Armenians cross over with Russian backing, it is a flat path to Baku. The Russians told them during the Georgia war that Georgia could just be the first stop… pretty direct threat. The Azerbaijanis are terrified of this.”
According to press reports, in June 2010 Bartuska participated in the Baku oil and gas conference annually organized by the Azerbaijani government.
Bhalla’s memo was part of the Stratfor e-mail cache obtained last December by internet hacking group known as the Anonymous.
Last year, speaking on the third anniversary of the Georgia war, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev argued that the 2008 war taught parties to the Karabakh conflict “a very serious lesson” that it was “better to conduct endless talks” than fight even a few days of war.
And State Department cables also released by Wikileaks made clear that in U.S. assessment, despite the military build-up and threatening rhetoric, Azerbaijan remains incapable of launching a successful military campaign against Armenia.