Gagik Harutyunyan, the Director of Noravank Scientific and Educational Foundation in his interview with ArmInfo comments on the connections of recent unrest in Iran with regional, global and geopolitical processes. He talks about the situation in Turkey, around the Kurdish problem. As well as characterizes the development of science-accumulated technologies in Armenia as a pledge to increase the degree of national security and the termination of the country's existence as an object of neocolonial policy.
Disorders and unrest in Iran have internal reasons, or that is all the same a part of a general regional and wider process?
In my opinion, both of these factors are present here. Of course, there are social and economic problems existing in Iran. And, within such background, a sharp growth of prices for some products on, of course, could trigger a protest movement. The latest developments in Iran could not have been caused on an equal footing. We must remember that all "orange revolutions" and attempts to commit them take place there and only where there are socio-economic or other kinds of problems. It is really very difficult for me to imagine a "color" revolution somewhere in Switzerland. Imagine this in Iran, which is also involved in known armed conflicts in the Arab countries, it is likely. Therefore, it seems logical to attempt to initiate and use the protest movement in Iran by forces seeking to create chaos there, similar to the chaos in Syria and Iraq during the years of ISIS prosperity.
In your opinion, is the ISIS in its current condition is already incapable to carry on the role of a regional "chaos” sprayer?
Despite the fact that the situation in the countries mentioned is still far from being sustainable, some points in the confrontation today are still set. ISIS has lost its independence after a number of missed attacks and kicks, and its members scattered around the world, continuing to operate there already on the network functioning principle. As a result, problems of an ethnic, not a religious nature, have already come to the forefront. It's not a secret that the entire chain of events fits into the strategy once upon a time developed in the US as more than a conditional "managed chaos."
In other words, the "Managed chaos" strategy gradually trends to change its color from religious to ethnic?
In any case, today we are witnessing such a trend. And the Kurdish factor gradually comes to the fore. First there was an attempt to proclaim the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. Today, the US is updating the question of the military formations of Kurds in Syria. The Iranian politicians also point to the Kurdish factor in the unrest in Iran. As a preventive measure, Turkey is building a 150-kilometer wall on the border with Iran, where Kurds live mostly.
Don’t you think that the terrorist threat has only intensified within the destruction of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the appropriate spread of the adherents of this organization around the world? After all, the ground slides under ISI fighters feet, they are not neutralized as such and could well be used for any other “job” in other parts of the world...
Unfortunately, this is indeed the case. Moreover, many of ISI fighters scattered around the world have got essential aid not only by word, but also by deed. However, the absence of a single headquarters, the coordinating center, in many ways reduced the role and capabilities of this organization, which does not accidentally call itself the state. The main "culprit" of the destruction of this "state" was the Russian Air Force in Syria. I think that it was the actions of the Russian military that largely compelled the American coalition in Syria to follow their example and seriously engage in the IGIL. I cannot avoid noting once again the sharp strengthening of the same ethnic, Kurdish factor after the reduction of ISIS in Syria, especially on the borders,. This has already provoked opposition of both Syria and Turkey and Iran.
Do you see any prospects for the more active involvement of foreign architects of the of the ethnic-Kurdish factor global policy in Middle Eastern geopolitics? The presence of Kurds in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran looks to create good preconditions for this...
According to various estimates, there are about 40 million Kurds in the Middle East. And, to my great regret, these people have always been used by the powerful of the world as an instrument. And today the Kurds continue to be a people who have not managed to build their own state in their historical evolution. And this continues to be used today. Kurdish autonomy appeared in Iraq, the same is being tried in Syria. Perhaps all this can be a stage in the formation of the Kurdish statehood, however, all this, above all, is initiated by external forces, and not by the Kurds themselves. The Kurds, of course, have their own aspirations in this regard, but, apparently, the credo-based potential is still lacking.
What geopolitical prospects, in your opinion, may be viewed for another regional power, which is Turkey, having worsened relationship with the United States and Europe, lived the unprecedented centralization of power and now pursuing a "swing policy" in respect to Russia?
There are, of course, many scenarios for the collapse of Turkey as a result of the policy of Recep Erdogan. What is to me personally, I y believe that Erdogan leads Turkey today in the direction of independence, at least from the West. As it is known, in previous years, when instability occurred, the military simply changed the Prime Minister, following the orders from outside, and everything went according to the well-laid scenario. It is very likely that today the Turks are fed up with this scenario and they decided to take power into their own hands. Evidence of this was a severe suppression of the riot of the same military. The fact that it is the formation of multipolar realities contributes to an increase in the degree of autonomy of many pseudo-independent states. In our region for about 40 years already exists a completely autonomously functioning state in the person of Iran with its ideology and credo. And Turkey today is also trying to become such a country, using the imperial ideology of New -Ottomanism. Recep Erdogan, in this context, could be considered by me as the largest Turkish politician after Kemal Ataturk.
Yes, but it was Erdogan that actually destroyed Ataturk's Turkey...
Yes, actually. However, at the same time Erdogan creates a new Turkey, probably more adapted to the new realities in which everything is against all in which Turkey, for example, in the Syrian issue cooperates even with Iran. And we must admit that under the leadership of Erdogan, Turkey is acting very adequately to the new "hybrid" realities and threats.
The "hybrid" realities mentioned by you comprise not only threats, but also opportunities. Are there any steps in the direction of their use by the leadership of Armenia?
Politically, we are acting quite adequately to these realities. Continuing to fulfill its alliance obligations within the CSTO and the EAEC, Armenia successfully succeeded in combining them with integration policy in the European direction last year. Such a policy in the conditions of the current instability is practically non-alternative. A small country always needs allies and partners. We found the first in Russia, the second in Europe. And I personally regard such a policy as correct. However, there are also problems. It is noteworthy that relatively recently at one of the conferences the chief of US military intelligence explained to those present quite easily that in modern wars the mind and cognitive abilities of the opposing sides will be the main weapon. And in this regard, the position and state of Armenia personally bother me. In the world rating of universities, Armenia lags far behind even Azerbaijan, not to mention the fact that out of 250 universities of this rating there are about 50 Turkish universities. And the fact that we are not all right with science and technology is still a fact. There are, of course, encouraging trends regarding the introduction of solar power plants, certain technologies, the creation of the Big Dat center, and the successful promotion of new technologies in the Armenian military-industrial complex. But all this is still not enough and we need to mobilize to restore the once powerful scientific potential of Armenia. In order to understand the real situation of Armenia, one simply needs to look into the structure of our exports. In Europe, Armenia, as in the good old colonial times, mainly exports ore, mainly agricultural products to the EAEC. Not surprisingly, some analysts characterize today's relations as neocolonialism. In my opinion, in the geopolitical situation in which Armenia is today, such a situation cannot and should not suit us. Meanwhile, there is practically no scientific and technological policy in Armenia. Many in this area are hoping for a tool for liberal legislation, whereas in the same US orders in the scientific and technological sphere are made under strict control and state interference. Therefore, the exclusively liberal instruments of the USA and the West, in general, are still intended, rather, for other, third countries. In Armenia, however, they continue to rely on the old-fashioned way to regulate the aforementioned spheres by the liberal market. In my opinion, the market can regulate something in the bazaar. And inside the state, priority areas should still be regulated also by the state administration.
In other words, the independent development of science-accumulating technologies in Armenia is a pledge not only to raise the level of national security, but also a serious reserve in favor of ending the existence of our country as an object of neocolonial policy?
Yes, exactly. And no one will do this instead. To others it is not profitable and therefore it is not necessary. Not in vain, Arnold Toynbee in his time described technology as the biggest secret of the West. Against this background, "advanced" schools are being created in Armenia, the graduates of which subsequently succeed in the West, i. E. the country is gradually turning into a kind of genetic incubator of educated children. In my opinion, the scientific policy and education should have its own specifics and, nevertheless, it is built from the top down, and not from the bottom up. And without a thoughtful state policy, nothing will happen here. I'm not saying this by hearsay, but as a person who worked 10 years in a laboratory run by a Nobel Prize laureate.