At Odds With Islam & Own Values, France Mulls Recognizing Karabakh’s Independence

Fuad Muxtarlı Analysis 20 November 2020
At Odds With Islam & Own Values, France Mulls Recognizing Karabakh’s Independence

France has always laid itself out to please its ethnic Armenian citizens and Armenia, which they consider their homeland and support it with the help of foreign corrupt politicians, senators, parliamentarians and pressure groups of all sorts.

At constant odds with Turkey over Ankara’s growing influence in the South Caucasus, Middle East, the Central Asia, Africa and elsewhere, France’s Macron misses no opportunity to sting Turkey. No doubt, Ankara retaliates and counterpunches at sensitive points whenever needed.

As for relations with Azerbaijan, France’s Macron did not keep neutrality as a co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk Group, set up to find a solution to the Karabakh conflict, often siding with aggressor Armenia, defending it overtly or covertly. Azerbaijan’s 27 September 2020 war to liberate Karabakh lands from Armenia’s 30-year-long occupation has seen absolutely similar reaction from Paris, backing Yerevan diplomatically, militarily and through information, mobilizing own and pro-Armenian media outlets globally, sharing and disseminating fake news at all levels.

On Friday, representatives of several public organizations in Baku took to the streets to protest the French embassy, the protesters protested against a parliamentary motion on the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh under discussion at the French Senate. Surprisingly, this cunning and disastrous move though expected came at a time when Armenia was defeated on the battlefield at Azerbaijan’s hand and signed a capitulation act following Russia’s intermediary role that was designed to rescue Armenia from the total military destruction.

On the other hand, calls are increasingly heard in Azerbaijan to reduce or completely cut off all economic and political ties with France due to Paris’ outright support to Armenia. The French Senate is going to consider a resolution that calls for no less "recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh".

A draft project was presented by five senators: Bruno Retaglio (leader of the Republican group), Patrick Kanner, Herve Marcel (leader of the Union of Centrists group), as well as Eliane Assassi and Guillaume Gontard. As Retaglio now troubles, “On November 25, the Senate will consider a resolution on the recognition of the “republic of Artsakh” by France.

In a word, unlike their Italian colleagues, who expressed support for a trilateral statement on the ceasefire in Karabakh, the French senators decided to be more Armenians than the Armenians themselves - if anyone has forgotten, Armenia itself is in no hurry to recognize Karabakh’s independence.

First, such possible recognition will not cause a most positive reaction of the world community, where, to put it mildly, not everyone thinks, like the five French senators, and second, it will be necessary to somehow decide, in what boundaries should this "Artsakh" be recognized? Here lies the ambiguity: whether these are the borders of the former NKAO, or also the surrounding districts that once were under Armenian occupation, or also with the inclusion of other districts of Azerbaijan, and this is not a joke or a figment of a sick imagination.

Whether or not this resolution will be adopted, of course, is an open question. The authors of the resolution are opponents of President Emmanuel Macron, and this gives rise to versions and assumptions whether the opposition is trying to launch a new attack on the president or whether Macron has started a smart game and decided to "throw in an idea" from the opposite camp.
In any case, in France itself, many politicians urge to remain faithful to international law, bilateral and international obligations of France and not to create a precedent that can be used by other separatist entities - Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, etc.

Moreover, the Senate resolutions are advisory in nature. Experts believe that even if such a resolution is adopted, it will remain a symbolic gesture and nothing more. However, this hardly means that the danger of such "symbolic gestures" can be underestimated. Moreover, today, when peace in the South Caucasus is so fragile and the actions of France openly undermine it, stirring up hopes in the Armenian society for revenge and that not “all is lost”.

Finally, what about international law. Of course, it is high time to remember the words of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

“If France wants self-determination for Nagorno-Karabakh, then let them give it to the city of Marseille, almost half of whose inhabitants are Armenians, allow them to proclaim the Nagorno-Karabakh republic and grant it independence. Let them grant independence to Corsica, the Basques. Why do they demand from us to grant independence to Nagorno-Karabakh? What right do they have to demand this from us? They must stop making such accusations. We must stop attacking Azerbaijan and undermine our authority. If we start talking about mercenaries and terrorists, then I think those who accuse us will find themselves in an awkward position. Before blaming us, let them look in the mirror," the president said in his numerous interviews during the 44-day Karabakh war. 

France has already something to remember, starting from its atrocities in North Africa, ending with the situation inside the country, where the authorities openly play on Islamophobia and interpret democratic freedoms in a very peculiar way. This does not only deprive France of the image of the "homeland of democracy", but also makes it sound uncomfortable: can a country that allows itself such a thing to engage in mediation in Karabakh? If, of course, the Minsk Group still has any meaning at all?

We do not undertake to determine the degree of conceit of the current French elite. We should remind that in 2003 France, at that time a firm ally of Washington, took and opposed the American operation in Iraq. Moreover, he speaks noisily, publicly, trying to attract other EU countries to this. In the United States, in response, they declared a boycott of French goods, rename French fries, which in English is called "French fries", and even the phrase "containment of France" sounded at the top.

Let us deliberately leave aside what close ties the same Saddam Hussein had with Armenian circles and what accesses were available to the French elite, where, as it turned out later, there were many who made good money on the Iraqi oil trade under various corruption schemes. Just later, when Saddam Hussein's regime was overthrown, France declared its desire to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq. Paris was very surprised when the United States did not establish most favored nation treatment for it.

Sometime later, in 2009, France returned to NATO's military structures. Now its president, Emmanuel Macron, in opposition to NATO, is promoting the idea of a "European army" and declaring the "death of NATO's brain."

In Libya, France supports the government of national accord, not recognized by the UN, but the rebel Haftar - exclusively “in spite” of Turkey, its NATO ally. The notorious Valerie Boyer is outraged: how is it - NATO congratulates Turkey on its national holiday on its website?

This is not just Turkophobia or a desire to get the votes of Armenians in the elections. This, unfortunately, is such a style of behavior - arrogant, based on disregard for all conceivable and inconceivable norms of behavior.

Consequently, it is not in vain that calls are being heard in Azerbaijan for ending long-term cooperation with France at all.