Syrian Crisis Could Spill Over into the Southern Caucasus
August 22, 2012 • 7:42AM

The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), listed as a terrorist organization in the United States, has threatened to attack Turkey in the event of a "direct or indirect violation of the security" of the Armenian community in Syria, according to panarmenian.net. The Armenian ethnic population in Syria is supportive of the Bashar al-Assad regime and considers Turkey a historical enemy. Although ASALA cannot claim to have the support of the Armenian government, Armenians in general have long accused Turkey of committing genocide against the Armenians during World War I (under the Young Turks government, which had been maneuvered into power by British Intelligence and the networks of the Venetian future fascist finance minister of Italy, Giuseppe Volpi, as part of the preparations to detonate the world war).

In addition, Armenia is particularly sensitive about its neighbor, Azerbaijan, with which it fought a war in the early 1990's over the disputed territory of Nargorno-Karabakh, a region largely settled by ethnic Armenians that remains internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but has been under Armenia's control since that war. In recent months, a series of clashes occurred between these two former Soviet republics. Armenia expressed deep concerns when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Azerbaijan last June.

Armenia has also expressed concerns over increasing Israeli involvement in Azerbaijan, a nation ethnically and otherwise close to Turkey. Last February, Israel Aerospace Industries company said it plans to sell to Azerbaijan drones and air defense systems at US$1.6 billion. At the time, Heydar Jemal, a Russian Shi'ite Muslim who heads an NGO called the Islamic Committee of Russia, told the Georgia Times that selling weaponry to Azerbaijan is another attempt to exert psychological pressure on Iran. "Selling drones and air defense systems to Azerbaijan must enhance the conflict level in ties between Baku and Tehran."

The repeated assertions by Isreaeli leaders Netanyahu and Barak in recent days that an immediate attack on Iran is necessary for Israel's survival, worries Armenia. A veteran Armenian political figure told EIR Aug. 19 that many people in Armenia believe that if Israel attacks Iran, it is almost a certainty that Azerbaijan will attack Armenia, bringing full-fledged war into the south Caucasus. Russian President Vladimir Putin met with President Serge Sargsian Aug. 8 on the sidelines of the London Olympics, on which occasion Sargsian stressed the high level of Russian-Armenian strategic ties. He said, "We extended the lease of the Russian military base in Armenia in 2010, and we think that having a Russian military base on our soil is in the interests of our countrys security. Armenia will host Collective Security Treaty Organization military exercises this autumn."

The Armenian source said that the difficult economic situation in Armenia is already making it difficult to absorb the current stream of Armenian-ethnic refugees from Syria, and that hundreds of Syrian-born children are living in refugee camps in Armenia. Russian officials and media have already voiced concern over a potential flood of ethnic Azeri refugees from northern Iran into Azerbaijan, and southern Russia, in the event of an Israeli attack. The source in Yerevan noted that other (non-Azeri) Iranians who have the means to do so have been buying homes in Armenia in expectation of needing to flee Iran.