Our Analytics 13 september — 13:16

One step away from Karabakh war ... On brink of disaster... (Leading article)

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BY EYNULLA FATULLAYEV

In the summer of 1992, Azerbaijani military units under the command of the then brigade commander, the current chief of the General Staff, Najmeddin Sadigov, came close to the capital of the rebellious Nagorno-Karabakh autonomy - the city of Stepanakert (now Khankendi). The complete defeat of the Armenian army was a matter of several days. The victorious march of the Azerbaijani Army to the village of Vank predetermined the fate of the first Karabakh war. Azerbaijani tanks were only 50 minutes away from the separatist centre. However, on July 7, Azerbaijan, by order of President Elchibey, unilaterally suspended hostilities. While fierce battles were going on near Stepanakert, fierce negotiations were underway in distant Rome between Azerbaijani and Armenian diplomats, mediated by the CSCE.

Azerbaijani soldiers march towards Stepanakert, 1992

In the first years after the collapse of the great and powerful country, the future leading security organisation in the Eurasian space acted only in the format of the Conference - the anachronistic legacy of the Brezhnev-Nixon pact on the counterbalance of the two powers. And the silhouette of the amorphous chairmanship of the Minsk Group has not yet emerged on the horizon of the endless Armenian-Azerbaijani substantive (what a word they came up with after 30 years!) negotiation process. The European, as well as the liberal-Yeltsin community, imagined sweet dreams about the conclusion of a large peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia at the upcoming Minsk conference. And this conference had to be waited for 30 years!

But Azerbaijan, from the first days faithful to its international obligations in the Karabakh settlement, at the request of the chairman of the Minsk Conference - the well-known mediator Mario Rafaelli, whose name sounded sore on edge in the early 1990s - stopped its offensive. In Rome, of course, the opposing sides could not agree on anything. The spiritual father of the current Armenian prime minister Levon Ter-Petrosyan demanded that the frontist government recognise Karabakh as a third party to the conflict and begin direct negotiations with the separatists.

Please note that for 30 years the political agenda and rhetoric of the heads of state have not changed. Thus, 28 years ago Azerbaijan renounced the format imposed by the aggressor. The negotiations broke down. Armenia once again, taking advantage of the ceasefire, regrouped combat units, received new military equipment, and with the help of a new rearguard rushed into a counteroffensive. For the sake of fairness, we admit that the Azerbaijani Army also attacked Mardakert, and then Stepanakert, with tanks inherited from the Soviet army. This counteroffensive began the military-political defeat of Azerbaijan up to the signing of the ill-fated Bishkek Protocol...

In a matter of days during the April war, the Azerbaijani Army turned the tide of the Karabakh war

22 years after the signing of the armistice agreement, after a long road of futile and fruitless negotiations, Azerbaijan finally decided to resort to a military solution to the conflict after yet another provocation of the Armenian army of occupation. But the Azerbaijani Army was stopped again - this time too by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, who, alas, now are not building blissful illusions about a big peace agreement... The mediators looked the truth in the eye - Azerbaijan and Armenia have no common points of contact. There is an unbridgeable chasm between the hostile parties. But the mediators, in order to avoid a large regional conflagration of war, achieved a new ceasefire.

However, the uncompromising and persistent position of Armenia, which de facto annexed both upper and lower Karabakh, in the period of post-diplomatic confrontation is aimed at achieving a new strategic goal - to achieve international recognition of the annexed territories. And in their desire to legitimise the occupation, the authorities of present-day Armenia have resorted to the implementation of another conceptual task: the active settlement of the occupation zone by the Middle Eastern, in particular by the Syrian and Lebanese Armenians.

Official Yerevan does not invent a new model, but only uses the successfully tested mechanism for repatriating Jews to the occupation zone in the West Bank of Jordan. Yes, according to the 1947 UN plan, the West Bank was to become part of an Arab Palestinian state. However, as a result of the six-day war, the West Bank was occupied by Israel. And from that time on, despite the outrage and even opposition of the most powerful states that supported the UN two-state plan, Israel began and completed its plan to reintegrate illegal Jewish settlements. If 30 years ago someone dared to suggest that someday the United States would raise the issue of recognising the West Bank as a part of the Israeli state, that someone would be compared with the heroes of H.G. Wells from the immortal Time Machine.

Armenia is pursuing a far-reaching, insidious political agenda. And the theorist of the blasphemous plan for the active settlement of the upper and lower Karabakh is again the spiritual mentor of the current Armenian prime minister, a Syrian Armenian by descent Levon Ter-Petrosyan. After all, the process of resettlement of Middle Eastern Armenians from Syria and Lebanon, and with it the internationalisation of the conflict, began during the first Karabakh war.

Once, after the end of the Second World War, a native of Aleppo Ter-Petrosyan, in the arms of his dashnak mother and social-democrat father, came from Syria to Armenia. And in Yerevan, a descendant of the priest Petros found a second home.

A native of Aleppo Ter-Petrosyan finds his second home - Yerevan

Armenia, with the insidious shamelessness inherent in the occupation force, openly declares the implementation of the aggressive plan of resettlement of the Lebanese and Syrian Armenians. And for the descendants of those who moved, that is, in the foreseeable future, Karabakh will become a native land. And this treacherous program, despite the repeated appeals of the Azerbaijani government, is being carried out with the complete silence of the mediators, first of all, Western institutions, the United States and the European Union.

By and large, in the light of the latest aggressive actions of Armenia - the malicious violation of the ceasefire regime, the attempt to seize a new border post and the dastardly murder of an Azerbaijani general, and then the appearance of an armed cavalcade headed by the editor of a leading Armenian publication, the wife of the Armenian prime minister, near peaceful Azerbaijani villages. The militant statements of the separatist leader about his desire to join Armenia and, finally, to implement the plan to create a colony of Lebanese Armenians, one summary suggests itself: the peace negotiation process in the OSCE format has been completely disrupted.

President I. Aliyev has nothing to talk about with Prime Minister N. Pashinyan. There is no subject for negotiations, because Armenia categorically rejected the Madrid principles, previously approved by the two governments and mediators. Azerbaijan sees Karabakh within its borders, Armenia as its own integral part. No one will yield to another. Yes, there is one alternative - imitation of negotiations. But in the name of what? Peace for a truce? Nerves are too exposed and emotions are inflated.

Aliyev has nothing more to discuss with Pashinyan

In the conditions of the new world order, built on the principle of the 'Munich Agreement' on the redistribution of the world and the absolute deformation of the entire international legal system, Azerbaijan is left the only way - to return to the starting point of 1992 and resume a large-scale war. After all, when the diplomats are silent, the guns start shouting. Or abandon the claims to return Karabakh to the legal fold of Azerbaijan. There is no third way.

Of course, Armenia is bonded with a great power - Russia - by allied relations. Yes, another regional player, Turkey, openly supports Azerbaijan in this confrontation. And lately, experts are inclined to talk about a proxy war - a big regional confrontation over Karabakh, implying the entry into active hostilities of regional powers, which will undermine the fragile security system and the balance of power in the region. The described worst-case scenario can lead to unpredictable consequences and huge sacrifices. A second catastrophe similar to the Middle East fire will reign...

So the negotiations are at an impasse. The war promises disaster. How to be? What to do? How can the parties get out of zugzwang?

A step away from war... On the brink of a disaster

Let's be frank, in the new time and with the new post-liberal Trump world order, the West and the United States have no leverage over Armenia. In a world where Greece is one step away from a war with Turkey, and in Libya everyone is against everyone, in a world in which little Kim threatens Washington with missiles, and big Trump, caught by surprise by a new civil war between whites and blacks, is withdrawing troops from Germany, in this crazy world that has chosen the law of force and rejected the force of law, even Putin's Russia cannot stop Armenia.

When there are no negotiations, the desperate expectation of war intensifies. And in history quite often emotions took over the mind. Reason rejects the catastrophe, and feelings cannot come to terms with the loss of Karabakh... Although reason also suggests that in the current stalemate, all of us, both sides, are one step away from war. Almost on the brink of a disaster...

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