The unlearned lessons of the war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008 may trigger another armed conflict in the Caucasus. Otto Luchterhandt, a German human right activist, said in an interview with Der Standard that the situation with Nagorny Karabakh, the third most explosive center of tension in the Caucasus, was aggravating very fast. The official believes that the lessons of the previous war in the Caucasus have not been learned.
Ilkham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, stated in the middle of July of this year during his speech in London that he did not exclude another armed conflict in the region. There is still no non-aggression pact between Azerbaijan and Nagorny Karabakh, the Azeri president said.
In addition to other reasons, the war between Russia and Georgia began, because there was no peace agreement signed between Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Mr. Luchterhandt said.
Russia ’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said recently that Russia repeatedly offered Georgia to sign a non-aggression treaty, long before the 2008 crisis in the Caucasus. Instead, Georgia set forth about a dozen of preliminary conditions.
“At first the Georgian administration demanded Russian peacemakers be removed and the South Ossetian administration be replaced. It was clear that they were not willing to do it, but we were trying to bring them to reason,” Lavrov said.
The contacts with the Georgian administration stopped after Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Tbilisi on July 10.
The Bush’s administration and several European politicians are partly guilty of Saakashvili’s decision to attack South Ossetia at night of August 7. The US and EU officials were supportive of any initiatives of the Georgian president.
If European officials had insisted on a non-aggression pact, the war would have probably not happened.
Otto Luchterhandt believes that Russia would not have recognized the independence of the two republics if the war had not taken place. Russia was not interested in loosing an opportunity to show influence on Georgia’s home policies. In addition, now Russia has to maintain the two territories.
The German expert believes that the situation in the Caucasus has been getting more and more complicated again. Azerbaijan continues to strengthen the army against the background of silence in the West. The Azeri president may decide to act out as long as the international community is quiet.