Trouble in the Neighborhood: Paris attacks raise awareness in Armenia of ISIS threat

According to experts, acts of terrorism that took place in Paris, was not just throwing down the gauntlet to France, the center of European civilization, but the entire Christian world.

Armenia, which is only 400 kilometers away from the actual fighting in Syria and is a country surrounded by Muslim nations, may become one of the targets for the Islamic State.

Stepan Safaryan, the founder-leader of the Institute for International and Security Affairs, said that Armenia is included in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) map.

As early as June 19, Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan during his speech at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Rose-Roth seminar in Yerevan addressed the threat of ISIS to Armenia.

“There are many Azerbaijanis, as well as representatives of other Caucasian peoples in ISIS, who, upon returning to their countries, first of all become a threat to the peoples of those very countries, and then for Armenia, too,” said Ohanyan.

Last week Bako Sahakyan, the President of Nagorno-Karabakh, in response to the question by Regnum news agency, whether the president of Artsakh thought it would be possible for his country to join the anti-terrorist coalition’s operations in the Middle and Near East after Stepanakert’s airport is put into operation, said that his country is able to withstand the attacks of Azerbaijan, and it is a manifestation of the anti-terror fight.

“If the airport is operated, Nagorno-Karabakh is ready to negotiate around this issue,” President Sahakyan said.

Safarian told ArmeniaNow that by this statement Shakyan attempts to resolve the international status of the airport in Artsakh, which also, of course, will turn Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, into a target for ISIS.

According to Stepan Grigoryan, the head of the Globalization and Regional Cooperation Analytical center, if the airport in Karabakh is provided to Russia for that purpose, there will be tensions over Armenians living the Middle East: they will become a target.

“On the other hand, if Russia does something like this it may mean that the country recognizes the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. But in any case, some calculations should be made. If Bako Sahakyan really said something like that, then it’s a very bold statement. Maybe he said in Moscow that we are ready to provide the airport for some activities, but he did not say for the anti-terror operations. The emphases are very important. But in any case it should be understood that being involved in the fight against the Islamic State is really dangerous. It will have serious consequences,” Grigoryan told 1in.am.

Tevan Poghosyan from the opposition Heritage faction wrote in his Facebook account that Bako Sahakyan said two important things by that statement: to help to operate the airport and that they are ready to discuss the issue.

“If they do not do that by three co-chairmen, life may force it to be done by only one. They should move forward and, instead of talking, those three co-chairpersons, motivated by their interests, should take stapes towards carrying out the operation of the airport,” he wrote, referring to the fact that Russia is one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs – along with the United States and France.

“The second problem is that we have been making many attempts to explain to the world that Artsakh is an established entity and is always ready for discussions and negotiations,” Poghosyan added.