Author: Samir VELIYEV
It is difficult to call the recent front-line confrontation as yet another aggravation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It is not only about the conflict, which has long been smoldering on the front line and now covers the border areas of the two countries. In fact, international reaction to the recent event was not the same as before.
Moment of truth
Armenian provocation in Tovuz along the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border, planned to show the world the "aggressive character" of Azerbaijani policy, failed miserably. As a result of the fighting, which began on July 12 with the shelling of Azerbaijani positions by the armed forces of Armenia, both sides had technical losses and casualties. But this was not what Yerevan wanted. Armenian strategists aimed at drawing the attention of their allies and the overwhelming majority of participants in international politics to "Azerbaijani aggression." Expecting, as usual, to hide behind the backs of the CSTO allies and achieve "condemnation" of Azerbaijan for the "attack" on Armenia, Yerevan assumed that they could provoke a conflict between Baku and its partners, and at the same time strengthen their own positions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Armenian provocation was planned not only against Azerbaijan, but also against the interests of its own allies, which have developed friendly relations with official Baku over the past decades.
Yerevan, hoping to arrange diplomatic "showdown" with the CSTO countries in Baku, had to admit that the Azerbaijani side had more allies, and that all of them definitely declare their support for Baku.
Most vibrant description of the incident came from the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: “Three of six CSTO member states unequivocally supported Azerbaijan. It could not be otherwise, since we are friends. They can trust us both in good and difficult days. Also, let the coward leadership of Armenia remember how they insulted the CSTO, from which they asked for help, how they arrested its Secretary General without any agreement with other countries. Armenia also was against the appointment of a Belarus representative as the new CSTO Secretary General. For a year, the Armenian authorities prevented the newly appointed Secretary General from starting his job. What happened? CSTO was bad then and you insulted her, and now you are begging her for help?! Come on, let’s fight face to face, and we'll see who wins,” President Ilham Aliyev said.
Military exercises: lesson learnt
Apparently, Armenian leadership is not going to fight one on one with Azerbaijan. Immediately after the Tovuz incident, Armenian information space reported that Moscow initiated a comprehensive check of the combat readiness of the Southern Military District, followed by joint air defense exercises between Armenia and Russia. Although the Russian Ministry of Defense denied any links between these exercises and the incident between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the euphoria in Armenia overshadowed even the CSTO's refusal to respond to Yerevan's request to intervene in the conflict.
Let alone the hysteria after Turkey and Azerbaijan announced joint military exercises. As reported by Interfax-Azerbaijan, large-scale manoeuvrers involving aviation and ground forces started on July 29 and will last until August 10. They will cover Baku, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Kurdamir and Yevlakh regions of Azerbaijan.
Spokesperson of the Armenian Foreign Ministry Anna Naghdalyan emotionally stated that the decision of Baku to announce the Azerbaijani-Turkish military exercises on the day of the death of an Armenian military impedes the efforts of international mediators to resume the peace process.
In response, the representative of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Leyla Aliyeva recalled that the Azerbaijani-Turkish exercises have been planned in advance and contribute to strengthening of regional security. Simply put, the military exercises are conducted according to the plan approved last year.
Nor were Armenians satisfied with the fact that right before the Azerbaijani-Turkish military exercises, presidents of Turkey and Russia discussed the tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia by telephone. The leaders of the two countries, as stated in the official statement, expressed their readiness to coordinate forces in order to stabilise the situation in the South Caucasus. Although, perhaps, Yeervan became worried about the "coordination of forces" between Moscow and Ankara, as it realises that Armenia is the main source of destabilisation in the region.
As always, Armenian authorities rushed to look someone to blame. Again, as always, it was Russia. Armenian politicians and public figures did not hide their irritation with Moscow's actions, which, most likely, was inspired and fuelled by Armenian authorities.
Position of Nikol Pashinyan is indicative. “Many citizens of Armenia are wondering why Turkey unequivocally supports the position of Azerbaijan, while the Russian Federation, which is a strategic partner of Armenia, does not so unequivocally support Armenia,” N. Pashinyan said in an interview with RBK TV channel on July 28.
Many other examples can also be cited confirming that the tension provoked by Armenia on the border with Azerbaijan is returning to Yerevan like a boomerang not only at the front, but also in international relations.
Armenian provocations: as you give, you receive
Azerbaijan's actions got support from many states. Some of them expressed sympathies to Baku, noting the need to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
Echo of the battles around Tovuz reached Moscow, Brussels, Los Angeles, London and other capital cities, where the representatives of the Azerbaijani diaspora took part in peaceful actions to draw the attention of the world community to Armenian aggression.
For the first time in Russia, Azerbaijanis also took consolidated actions toward representatives of Armenian business. The administration of the Food City market owned by the natives of Azerbaijan, God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliev, has curtailed the trade of Armenian goods. The city authorities held negotiations with the owners, but the sellers refused to sell the goods, since most of them also come from Azerbaijan.
Situation has reached the point that it demanded the intervention of Russian Foreign Minister S. Lavrov. He met with the representatives of Armenian and Azerbaijani diasporas - President of the Union of Armenians of Russia Ara Abramyan and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kievskaya Ploschad LLC God Nisanov. The participants noted the need to create conditions for promoting the normalisation of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Anyway, despite the dramatic events in Russia, it is clear that the Western diaspora, which Pashinyan and the Armenian leadership are fond of, has a greater influence on the situation in Armenia than Russia.
Western Armenian diaspora almost instantly supported the provocations of Armenian authorities at the border. And it did it in aggressive form so characteristic of her. Actions in Brussels and Los Angeles, where provocateurs were particularly aggressive against peaceful Azerbaijanis and journalists, were especially remarkable.
In Los Angeles, local authorities, including law enforcement agencies, were absolutely reluctant to interfere given the serious criticism of police actions in the US. Situation once again confirms that the American police shows indifference to the blacks and Azerbaijani residents of the US. This is unacceptable since the law is law for everyone.
First vice-president of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva asked questions trying to assess the actions of Armenian provocateurs: “Why do the law enforcement in these countries allow gangster groups to commit such actions? How can they turn a blind eye to these crimes? On behalf of millions of Azerbaijanis around the world, I call on the law enforcement agencies of the US, Belgium and other states to conduct a thorough investigation of these events, give them an appropriate legal assessment and bring all those responsible to justice, for evil must be punished,” Mrs. Aliyeva states on her official website.
Who are they? Who is to blame for these criminal actions? Why California? Apparently, more serious people are behind the actions of hooligans and bandits.
They support such actions by funding them, protect Armenian businessmen in the US, lobby for Armenian interests both in California and in the US Congress. In particular, one of the pro-Armenian organisations involved in recent events is the well-known Armenian Assembly of America, same as it was involved in the 2018 events in Armenia. According to some reports, the same organisation was largely involved in Pashinyan's rise to power.
It is no coincidence that the growth of anti-Russian sentiments in Armenia was observed during the rule of the current prime minister.
In September 2019, Pashinyan visited California, where patrons and organisers of the current rallies arranged for him a meeting with local business circles, promising him political and economic support. So, these are not just bandits operating in Los Angeles today. This is an organized criminal group of Armenians, which pursues quite obvious specific goals. These businessmen are now trying to undermine Azerbaijani-American relations and harm the interests of the US in South Caucasus.
What have they achieved so far? Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives is planning to discuss an amendment suggested by Congressmen Steve Shabot and Stephen Cohen. It deals with "refugees from the occupied territories of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan." According to the amendment, the Secretary of State, together with the Secretary of Defense, will submit a report on the status of internally displaced persons in these countries to the relevant committees of the Congress.
The report should contain the number of those citizens of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan who, since 1991, have been banished by foreign forces from the territories illegally occupied by these forces. The list should also include the number of killed citizens of these countries in areas illegally occupied by foreign troops. This amendment means the recognition of the occupation of territories around Nagorno-Karabakh, showing that all actions of Armenians are illegal, including deportation and ethnic cleansing against internally displaced persons.
Armenian diaspora and their supporters make ordinary Armenians hostages of their short-sighted policy, poisoning their people with hatred of Azerbaijan all around the world.
A striking example of this was the recent civil unrest in Moscow and other cities of Russia on July 24 and 25 caused by provocative actions of representatives of the Armenian diaspora in the US and Europe. Specially trained people from the Armenian diaspora smashed cars, attacked restaurants and shops owned by Azerbaijanis. As a result of adequate answer dozens of representatives of both diaspores were detained.
Obviously, it’s easy to talk about the need to continue the war with Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis around the world sitting in California, drinking orange juice, and eating all kinds of tropical fruits. People who have become hostages of this policy bear the burden of this war. Poverty and social problems in Armenia testify to this situation.
They sacrifice the fate of their compatriots living in Armenia, make them hostages and victims of their provocative policy.
Unfortunately, while the influential foreign diaspora influences the policies of its puppet government in Yerevan, Azerbaijan has no choice but to strengthen its military and prepare for new provocations.