Author: Namig MAYILOV
Karabakh is on fire again. Early in the morning of September 27, the armed forces of Armenia in the occupied Azerbaijani territories bombarded settlements and positions of the Azerbaijani armed forces on the line of contact. According to Azerbaijani authorities, yet another provocation of Armenia claimed the lives of and injured several servicemen and civilians in various settlements of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani military positions and villages were attacked from several directions simultaneously, which prompted the Azerbaijani Armed Forces to launch a counteroffensive along the entire perimeter of the contact line. In the afternoon, at a meeting of the Security Council of Azerbaijan, Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov reported to Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev on the liberation of six settlements and a number of strategically important positions, including the villages of Garakhanbeyli, Yukhary Abdurrahmanly, Kend Horadiz, Garvend of the Fuzuli region, as well as the settlements of Boyuk Marjanli and Nuzgar of the Jabrayil region of Azerbaijan. In addition, a number of posts of Armenian military units deployed in the occupied territories were destroyed and taken under control. Later, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry also announced the return of the village of Ashaghy Abdurrahmanly in the Fuzuli region and the strategically important Murov Height. Thus, the Azerbaijani military took visual and fire control of the road connecting Vardenis of Armenia and Aghdere of Azerbaijan. Up until August 29, as of the date of this publication, Azerbaijan maintained both the strategic and tactical advantage in the battles, which moved into the next phase of the counteroffensive – the liberation of entire regions.
Azerbaijan fights on and for its own lands
Azerbaijani army also has a moral and psychological advantage in the battle. The counter-offensive increased the hope and faith of Azerbaijanis to return to their native lands. President and the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, received unconditional support from the population. Immediately after the start of military operations, President Aliyev addressed the people of Azerbaijan and very openly outlined the essence of the ongoing operation. “Our position is based on international law and justice. We are fighting on our own land. Today the Azerbaijani army strikes a crushing blow at the enemy on Azerbaijani soil. Today our army protects the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. What are Armenian soldiers doing on our lands?! What is the Armenian army doing on our land?! It's no secret that 90% of the troops of the so called Nagorno-Karabakh Army are citizens of Armenia. Armenia is an occupant. This occupation must and will end,” President Aliyev said.
The Armenian leadership presents a completely different picture. On the very first day of the Azerbaijani counter-attack, they rushed in panic to seek protection from their patrons. No matter how the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan tried to take his country to the West, he made his first call for help to Moscow. Yet, according the reports of both the Armenian and Russian media, Pashinyan did not receive the expected support from the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moscow limited itself only to an appeal for restraint and calls of concern from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to his colleagues in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. A similar reaction came from France, Germany and other countries.
By the way, in order to get the major world powers sided with Armenia, Yerevan tried to present as an argument the military-political support of Ankara to Baku. Also thanks to the support of the Russian media, the Armenian leadership is trying to turn the global attention to Turkey in a failed attempt to bypass the essence of ongoing events. At the end of the day, no matter what political support Ankara provides to Baku, Azerbaijan is fighting in Karabakh on its own. “Turkey provides us with moral support, and we are grateful to the Turkish leadership, President and the Turkish people for their solidarity and support. Turkey does not participate in this conflict in any other capacity. All the rumors spread in Armenia about Turkey’s involvement in the conflict are provocative. Fake news. There is no evidence of Turkey's involvement in the conflict. We do not need it either. The Azerbaijani army is well prepared to ensure the protection of its people and its territory,” President Ilham Aliyev said in his interview to the television program 60 минут of Россия-1.
Even Armenia cannot dispute the ownership of the territories, where the Azerbaijani army has been carrying out a counter-offensive since September 27, because Nagorno-Karabakh is an internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan. If the world leaders are concerned about the current dangerous situation, they should, first of all, force Yerevan to respect international law. In particular, the requirements of the UN Security Council resolutions on the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from the Azerbaijani regions.
Armenia destroyed the platform for negotiations
Baku has long waited that the leading countries of the world show respect for its decisions. Instead, after responding to each Armenian provocation, we only hear calls for restraint, observance of armistice, etc. At the same time, it was obvious that such a peace could not last long, and it was necessary to deal with the root cause. The repeated statements of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group about the unacceptability of the status quo in the Karabakh conflict remained ignored by Yerevan. Every time peace negotiations approached the conclusion, either the power was removed in Armenia or Armenians caused new provocations at the front.
The ‘revolutionary’ government of Nikol Pashinyan completely destroyed that fragile platform of the peace process. President Aliyev also noted this to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who expressed their concerns about the situation. Mr. Aliyev drew attention to Nikol Pashinyan's statement "Nagorno-Karabakh is Armenia, period", which was a serious blow to the negotiation process, and his attempts to involve the Armenian separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh in peace negotiations to change the format of negotiations. However, the leadership of the OSCE Minsk Group emphasised that this approach was inadmissible.
In a word, by ignoring the problems accumulated over the long years of negotiations, making periodic provocations on the line of contact, voicing a thesis of "new war for new territories", Armenia left no other way for Azerbaijan but to launch a military rebuff and liberate its lands by force.
Incidentally, the ongoing confrontation in Karabakh is the most fierce incident since the conclusion of an armistice between the parties in 1994. Immediately after the resumption of hostilities in the conflict zone, both Armenia and Azerbaijan declared martial law. At the same time, Yerevan immediately declared a general mobilization, while Baku announced only a partial one.
Obviously, any war, first of all, means devastation and death. Losses in manpower and equipment, economic problems are integral part of any way. But Azerbaijan is determined to oust the Armenian army off the Azerbaijani soil!