Baku, Azerbaijan – As a new page opens in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, Azerbaijani leader Aliyev said live: “those who want a ceasefire send weapons to Armenia. I have a list,” he said. Russia asked Turkey to play a role in keeping the weapons quiet, while the AP served the world the frame, which was taken in the garden of a military hospital in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.
A month into the Nagorno-Karabakh War today, the ceasefire agreement announced by the United States on Sunday evening blew up in just five minutes.
At 08: 00 local time (TSI 07: 00), the weapons were supposed to shut up, Azerbaijan announced that the Armenian army fired artillery at the village of Sefiyan in the Lachin region at 08: 05.
Azerbaijan Defense Ministry, Aghjabedi, Terter, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Lachin, Gubadli fronts further north Tovuz, gedebey, Daşkesen also announced attacks.
The Armenian army reportedly opened fire on a high school in the village of Garadagli, connected to Aghdam, earlier this morning. The school, where 400 students were studying, was severely damaged.
In a Twitter message, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan argued that despite the ‘provocations’, the army fully complied with the ceasefire.
“The Armenian Prime Minister is lying again,” Azerbaijani vice president Hikmet Hajiyev reacted to Pashinyan on his Twitter account.
Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev, who made a speech to the nation today, said: “those who want a ceasefire are sending weapons to Armenia. I have a list. Why would anyone want a ceasefire send weapons? ” he said.
Aliyev, who stated that 17 more villages were saved, said: “I say To You, supporters of Armenia. If you want to save it, tell the state of Armenia to get out of our land. Come out with a word,” he said.
Aliyev continued: “Where does this money come from? We got our money. Everything is transparent. We buy it with our own money. So how does the debt-ridden country get these weapons? Who gives them all these guns? Why doesn’t anyone ask that? They always ask me,’ What are Turkish F-16s doing with you?’ I’m tired of answering. Everyone knows that the F-16s are waiting on the ground. They came for the exercise, and our Turkish brothers kept them here to give us spiritual support. If there’s an outside attack against us, then they’ll see those F-16s.”
After the ceasefires, which had been announced twice before but did not respond on the ground, the third decision was taken when the foreign ministers of the two countries visited the US capital Washington.
US President Donald Trump congratulated Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in a Twitter message on the announcement of the ceasefire.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who played an important role in previous ceasefires and met with his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts, made a new statement.
“We continue to convince our Turkish partners that it would be appropriate to use their influence to support this goal,” Lavrov said, noting that Moscow had urged Turkey to use its influence to secure a ceasefire.
The Armenian army, which has lost many cities and more than 150 towns and villages, has been carrying out missile attacks on cities inhabited by civilians since the beginning of the conflict.
Since 27 September, 65 civilians have been killed and hundreds injured in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani troops finally liberated the city of Gubadli from occupation.
News media passed a photo of bloodied stretchers lined up in the garden of an Armenian military hospital in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. Although the Nagorno-Karabakh administration has officially announced the death of about 1,000 soldiers, the number is said to be in the thousands.
A commander in the increasingly cornered Armenian army was dismissed today. President Armen Sargsyan signed the signature of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, removing Border Troops Commander Vaginak Sargsyan from his seat. Argishti Kryamyan, the head of Armenia’s National Security Service, was also dismissed on 8 October.
On the Iranian border, which was completely cleared of the Armenian army last week, there is mobility. The Tehran administration is piling tanks on the border line.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who personally announced the first ceasefire on October 10, said that Russian military units could be deployed to observe the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev responded for the first time to Moscow’s offer. Aliyev said they are not against the deployment of peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh, but will present their own terms. The Azerbaijani leader also noted that Armenians living in the occupied region can have cultural autonomy.
Sunday (September 27th) clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh began in the morning with Armenia violating the ceasefire. Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as part of Azerbaijan by the United Nations (UN) and the international community. However, some areas in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, which accounts for about 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, have been under Armenian occupation since the early 1990s. The region was declared a ‘Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’ in 1991. But no country, including Armenia, has recognized this place internationally.
Nagorno-Karabakh (Upper Karabakh), which covers an area of 4,400 square kilometers in the South Caucasus, has been waiting for a solution for many years as the biggest problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia. So, what is the history of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, both countries of the former Soviet Union? The word origin of the’ Nagorno-Karabakh ‘ region consists of a mixture of several different languages. Even a few languages found in its name show how the region has been exposed to the transition between different cultures throughout history.
Nagorny (or Nagorno) in English is Karabakh. The word’ Nagorny ‘means’ mountainous ‘ (нагорный), in Russian. In Azerbaijani, just like in Turkish, it is referred to by the words ‘dağliq’ or ‘yuxarı’, which means ‘mountainous’. Karabakh, on the other hand, is a common word in Turkish and Persian, meaning ‘black garden’.
When Azerbaijan and Armenia joined the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922, Nagorno-Karabakh developed into a structure that seemed accepted, but was not adopted by Armenians. In Nagorno-Karabakh, which was granted autonomous region status under the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1923, the status quo was maintained until the end of the 1980s, when the Soviet system came to a standstill, although ethnic Armenians living in the region raised their discomfort with the Azerbaijani administration from time to time.
Along with the process of openness (glasnost) and reconstruction (perestroika), which Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, initiated in 1985 to pave the way for a blocked system, Nagorno-Karabakh, like all the problem areas of the Caucasus, came to light. Evaluating the ever-weakening authority of the Soviet administration, the Autonomous Administration of Nagorno-Karabakh demanded annexation to the Republic of Armenia in 1988. While this demand was not reciprocated, after Azerbaijan and Armenia declared their independence in 1991, the secession attempts of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh also intensified.
During this period, the Azerbaijani population in Karabakh had fallen by up to 20 percent due to forced migrations. In a referendum held on December 10, 1991, which was boycotted by Azerbaijanis remaining in the region, Armenians voted to leave Azerbaijan. After the referendum, the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh was declared, but this initiative did not find a response in the international community. Tensions between the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, supported by the Armenian army, and the Azerbaijanis living in the region increased with the declaration of independence. In 1992, the conflict turned into a hot war between the Armenian army and the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijani army.
At the end of the war, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh took control of the entire region, as well as occupied seven neighboring regions (Rayons). Thus, the direct contact points of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan were quite limited. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been described in academic circles as a ‘frozen conflict’ for years. Despite the ongoing settlement negotiations at intervals, violations of the mutual ceasefire are frequently repeated both on the Nagorno-Karabakh-Azerbaijan contact line and on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border. August 2014 saw the bloodiest clashes in 20 years. 13 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in two days of fighting on the Nagorno-Karabakh border. The Armenian Defense Ministry also announced that 20 soldiers were killed.
Half a million refugees took refuge in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and about a million people were forced to relocate. Some towns and villages that existed before the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were completely abandoned and destroyed. More than 14 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory is still under occupation. Azerbaijanis say that the region has historically been under their control and therefore belongs to them, while Armenians claim that Armenians have always lived in the region and that Azerbaijani rule is illegitimate.
Other states were reluctant to intervene because it was seen as a domestic issue. Since 1992, the conflict has become interstate due to the fact that it took place between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Defense spending in Azerbaijan has increased by about 50 percent every year since 2003. In 2012, defense spending accounted for a fifth of Azerbaijan’s total public spending. Armenia also expanded its arsenal with the help of Russia.
Although the exact numbers are not known, it is believed that the population of Lachin and Kelbajar with small settlements totaled about 14 thousand people. According to the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, there has been no significant increase in the population since 2005. Ethnic Armenians settled in the region have limited access to infrastructure, economic activities and public services. Many of them are also missing identity documents.
The weakest part of the problem is the contact line, which is 175 kilometers long. This line, filled with minefields, resembles the trenches of the first World War. 30 thousand soldiers have been deployed to the contact line by the Armenian side and slightly more than this number by Azerbaijan. The negotiations, conducted through the OSCE Minsk Group, have been difficult, as leaders are approaching a compromise, but are backing down out of concern that their country may not meet the demands of the public. Azerbaijanis and Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh cannot influence the process. Armenian and Azerbaijani public opinion has more influence on the process than the locals of the region.
The Minsk Group Co-Chairs have no spokespersons or media secretaries. For this reason, the talks have little media coverage. Russia, having previously taken a position close to Armenia, now prefers to stand at an equal distance from Azerbaijan and Armenia. This strategy strengthened after the war with Georgia in August 2008. The strategic priority has become the isolation of Georgia. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is less important to the United States than the conflicts in the Middle East. The Armenian Lobby in Congress, the energy security of the Caspian Sea Basin, the ‘fight against terrorism’ and the ability to use Azerbaijani airspace on flights to Afghanistan are priority issues for the United States.