-Dr Akhlaq A Usmani
On September 27, 2020, Armenia’s armed forces have launched another aggression against Azerbaijan, violating the ceasefire, attacking the positions of the armed forces of the border as well as Azerbaijan, as well as residential areas of Terter. By deliberate artillery firepower- Aghdam, Fuzuli and Jabrayil districts. In the following days, heavily populated residential areas- Shamkir, Beylagan, Aghdam, Fujuli, Jabrayil, Goranboy, Tartar, Barda, Aghjabadi and Ganja cities were heavily bombed with medium-range missiles.
The new aggression by Armenia against Azerbaijan is violation of fundamental norms and principles of international law, the international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols, as well as the United Nations Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874, 884 of 1993 demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from the occupied territories of Nagorno Karabakh and the djoining areas.
As of October 04, totally 22 civilians, including children and elderly have been killed, 111 civilians have been wounded as a consequence of heavy artillery shelling. More than 200 houses and civilian facilities, such as hospitals, schools, kindergartens, and graveyards have been destroyed as a result of the ongoing aggression
History of Nagorno Karabakh dispute
After the collapse of the USSR, the international legal doctrine of uti possidetis juris secured the international, regional and national legitimacy of the boundaries of newly independent States. Under this legal doctrine, the former administrative borders of Azerbaijan SSR, which had included Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, were recognized by international law as the legitimate borders of the newly independent Republic of Azerbaijan. This was later reaffirmed in the UN Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 on the conflict in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict started with the Armenians` open territorial claims to Azerbaijan’s historical lands and ethnic provocations in 1988. In the early 1980s, the Armenians in the Soviet Union leadership, leaders of Armenian SSR and the Armenian Diaspora abroad exploited the weakening of the central government of the USSR to embark on a campaign to annex the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast to Armenia.
The United Nations Security Council adopted the above-mentioned four resolutions in 1993 in response to occupation of territories of Azerbaijan. These resolutions condemn the use of force against Azerbaijan and the occupation of its territories; reaffirm respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, inviolability of its international borders and the inadmissibility of use of force for acquisition of territories; confirm that the Nagorno-Karabakh region is part of Azerbaijan; and demand the immediate, full and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces from all the occupied territories.
The resolutions also made specific reference to violations of international humanitarian law, including the displacement of a large number of civilians in Azerbaijan, attacks on civilians and bombardments of its territory.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of the Azerbaijan in Western Asia and Eastern Europe, but most areas are controlled by Armenian separatists. Nagorno-Karabakh has been a part of Azerbaijan since Soviet times. Armenians have wanted independent countries here since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. Several years of conflict ensued between Azerbaijan forces and Armenian separatists. Thousands of people were killed during this period and in 1994, Russia made a cease-fire, but by then the Armenians had taken control of the region.
The region is of Azerbaijan but is ruled by separatist Armenians, who have declared it a republic called “Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Observer”. While the Armenian government does not independently recognize Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia supports the region politically and militarily.
History of atrocities
The armed forces of Armenia with the use of artillery, missiles shelled Shamkir, Beylagan, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Goranboy, Tartar, Barda, Aghjabadi and the city of Ganja. As a result of indiscriminate deliberate targeting of densely populated residential areas 22 civilians were killed and 111 civilians were injured.
According to the 1989 census, there are 1,89,085 people living in a total of 4388 square kilometers of Nagorno Karabakh. The proportion of this population as of 1989 is around 77 percent Armenian and 22.5 percent Azerbaijanis. This number is only from Nagorno Karabakh, not the remaining occupied parts. The rest are Russians and others. Azerbaijan also has a figure of Shusha with 92.5 Azerbaijanis and 6.7 percent Armenian. Since independence from Soviet Russia, Armenia has occupied the entire territory from May 1992 to October 1993 on the strength of its army. At that time, the President of Azarbaijan was Hyder Aliyev.
This war and occupation imposed on an independent country by Armenia has killed more than 20 thousand people while more than 50 thousand people have been injured. About five thousand people are missing. The Armenian army, crying out for Armenian identity all over the world, compelled to displace 71 thousand people from Lachin, 74 thousand from Kalbajar, 1 lakh 65 thousand 600 from Aghdam, 1 lakh 46 thousand from Fizuli, 66 thousand from Jabrail, 37 thousand 900 from Gubadli in the region. Armenia expelled 39 thousand 500 Azerbaijanis from Zangil who took refuge in Azerbaijan. This displacement was done by Armenia based on the identity of religion and culture. If Nagorno Karabakh is taken as “Republic of Artsakh” by Armenia on ethnic equations, why it is not ready to recognise Shusha as part of Azerbaijan while it is Azerbaijan Muslim dominated area with 92.5 percent majority?
Apart from the killing of twenty thousand people, Armenia did not leave civic facilities, archeology even nursery and school. Not only Nagorno Qarabakh, Armenia has demolished one and 150 thousand houses in 20 percent of the area. One million hectares of farming have been destroyed, two hundred and eighty thousand hectares of forests have been wasted. Armenia cleared 890 settlements. Nearly seven thousand public administration buildings were demolished. A total of 693 schools, 855 nursery schools, 695 hospitals were demolished. Armenia exceeded the barbarity. Armenia also demolished 927 libraries, 9 mosques and 44 temples in the region. Nine historical sites, 464 archaeological sites and museums, broke six thousand factories. Dug a total of 800 kilometers road, downed 160 bridges, broke the 2300 km long water pipeline. Armenia ruined 2000 kilometers of gas pipeline in the occupied Azerbaijani region. A total of 15 thousand kilometers of area destroyed the power line and dusted over 1200 irrigation sites.
Today, 40 thousand soldiers of Armenia are present with 316 tanks, 322 artillery and 324 ACVs in in the occupied territory of Azarbaijan. Not only this, Armenia has so far settled over 23,000 Armenian refugees to change the demography of the region. Armenian Christians from Lebanon are being called and settled here. Due to atrocities in this region of Armenia, more than one million people have lost their lives. No one was surprised when Armenian Prime Minister Nicole Pashinyan’s wife, Anna Hakobayan, conducted a military exercise with a gun in Nagorno Karabakh region. In an interview with the BBC, Prime Minister Nicole refused to apologize for those who had been killed by Armenian oppression so far.
Backfire for Armenia
The fresh struggle was started by Armenia but Azarbaizan is getting an edge. Fearing the rise of Azerbaizan, Armenia attacked Ganja, the second most densely populated region of the country, outside the disputed region. The death toll is increasing due to the Armenian army’s attacks on the common Azeris, but Azarbaizan has an edge in the military struggle. Armenia’s Prime Minister Nicole Pashinyan himself has admitted that Armenia is suffering a lot of damage in the war. Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has condemned the Armenian attack and told the people of the country that Azerbaijan is not going to bow down. According to the official website of Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, in the disputed Nagorno Karabakh region, Azerbaijan liberating many villages. Armenia also claimed to damage to Azerbaijani forces.
World Politics during the war
Azerbaijan has open support from Turkey. Turkey is also accused by Armenia of extending military support to Azerbaijan. France is upset at Turkey’s role because France has always been in favor of Armenia. Turkey and France are both NATO member countries. On the strength of hostility with Armenia from the Ottoman Empire, there is no expectation that Turkey will bow from its current stand. Russia and the USA have appealed to both countries to maintain peace. Three resolutions have been passed in the United Nations to vacate the region but Armenia never took a notice.
Russia called foreign ministers of the both countries for the peace. USA has no intervention so far as country is busy to fight with Covid crisis and seeing Presidential elections in a month. Turkey and Russia have also come face to face with the conflict. There was also a dispute between Turkey and Russia in Syria when the Turkish Air Force blew up a Russian fighter jet. Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was also killed. Turkey’s support to Azerbaijan also means indirect conflict with Russia because Russia and Armenia are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Russia also supplies arms to both countries.
The conflict is expected to affect oil and gas supplies in the region as well. The war continues just 30 kilometers from the crude oil pipeline from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Besides Baku, Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, the Turkish city of Ceyhan also passes through oil and gas pipelines. From Ceyhan, this oil and gas is supplied to the rest of Europe. Azerbaijan owns a treasure of oil and gas which it receives from the Caspian Sea in the country’s aquatic area. Azerbaijan supplies 5 percent of all Europe’s need for oil and gas. Europe may face a crisis on the supply of oil and gas, but there is no hope of increasing oil and gas prices. Brent oil prices remain stable despite Armenia and Azerbaijan war.
With Inputs from open source of Ministry of Defence of Azerbaijan & Armenia