The Geneva peace talks for Syria have becoming something of a running farce as every time the Takfiri extremists lose to the Syrian government on the battlefield, their representatives saunter into the negotiating room in Geneva with even more extreme demands and increasingly unrealistic preconditions. With fewer and fewer pockets of Takfiri terrorists in Syria, the negotiations may become all but meaningless as the real question in Syria is now about international spheres of influence of anti-Syrian nations (the US and its proxies in particular) being balanced against the right of the Syrian government to rule its own territory and the further right of the Syrian government to work with its partners to rebuild the country after the conflict. Nevertheless, the so-called “opposition” Takfiris still act as though by shouting and screaming in Geneva, they’ll get to take over Syria, even though no one, even those among their old state allies tends to take their statements seriously anymore.
The Armenian “opposition” have now adopted similar tactics of refusing to negotiate with interim Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan unless a ridiculous set of pre-conditions are met. Such tactics are less akin to constructive dialogue than to the kind of blackmail that the Takfiris are prone to using in Geneva. The important difference however is that while Takfirism in Syria has been and continues to be defeated in battle, in Armenia, those making the ridiculous and anti-democratic demands continue to be able to stage loud rallies in central Yerevan.
Among the most ridiculous demands the opposition are marking is that the ruing Republican Party of Armenia cannot play any role in the interim government in spite of the fact that in elections held in April of 2017, the Republicans won 58 of 105 seats. By contrast, the party of self-appointed opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan only won 9 seats. Clearly such figures do not represent a mandate to be a governing party let alone an interim ruling party.
Furthermore, Pashinyan and his political comrades are demanding what they call a “peaceful transfer of power” which in this context appears to be blackmail for the resignation of the entire government, in spite of the fact that the current government is drawn from a party which won a comfortable victory in a very recent election.
When taken as a whole, Pashinyan has now changed his demands from “Sargsyan must go” to “the entire government must go”. Not content with merely ousting a Premier who had previously been President since 2008, now he wants to take things a step further. The only conclusion one can reach is that Pashinyan wants to form his own interim government in spite of not having a political or legal mandate to do so.
At such a point it is unclear what would come of the ‘fresh elections’ that Pashinyan is demanding. Unless people’s views have changed drastically since April of 2017, the whole thing could be an exercise in futility, unless Pashinyan has something else up his sleeve which given the tendency of ‘colour revolutionaries’ in other countries, he may well have. These tricks can range from forcing a governing party to break-up or banning it entirely, to outright vote ridding and widespread bribery. While thus far Pashinyan has been careful to avoid the lexicon of other post-Soviet “colour revolutions” the mask is rapidly slipping as today’s cancelled meeting with Prime Minister Karapetyan indicates.
While Karapetyan has now decided to call for a wider ‘dialogue congress’ which would include not only liberal parties like Pashinyan’s but also leftist-socialist parties and conservative parties, Pashinyan’s liberalism looks ever more like a vehicle not to increase dialogue and political diversity, but instead, a means of propelling Pashinyan and his colleagues into a totalitarian position where their rule cannot be questioned. Ironically, it is Pashinyan accusing the ruling Republicans of being totalitarian in their political outlook even though it is a Republican Premier who is calling for a genuine opposition dialogue which would include parties not currently represented in the National Assembly.
Just as the Takfiris continue to shout “Assad must go” Pashinyan is now shouting “the entire government must go” even though the former Premier/President has already left. Pashinyan looks as though he’ll continue to make demands until he gets everything what he wants – something otherwise known as blackmail.
The authorities in Yerevan now have a duty to support their own democratic mandate and refuse to surrender to the rule of the mob. If Pashinyan is willing to sit in a wider dialogue congress with no preconditions he should be welcomed, but if he insists on the rule of the mob and the jungle, his place is in prison and the interim Prime Minister must now make this clear.