Irreconcilable Armenian/Azeri Differences Over Nagorno-Karabakh
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Nearly a month after Azerbaijan launched war on Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, fighting rages.
Two Russia/Minsk Group negotiated ceasefires to halt fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK below) broke down straightaway because Azerbaijan wants war, not resolution — supported by Turkish and Israeli-supplied heavy weapons.
Turkey’s President Erdogan wants war continued until Baku takes full control of NK.
With Azeri forces achieving battlefield success against Armenia, Baku has no reason to want a negotiated settlement.
On Friday, foreign ministers of both countries met separately with Pompeo in Washington.
Whatever was discussed or agreed on failed to halt fighting.
Azeri FM Bayramov unjustifiably justified his country’s war on Armenia in NK.
Under the UN Charter, self-defense militarily is permitted by a nation under attack, never preemptive war on another country for any reason.
On Friday, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry issued the following statement after FM Bayramov met with Pompeo in Washington:
“During his (October 23) working visit to the (US), Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov met with…Pompeo.”
“The sides discussed the situation in (NK).”
Bayramov “informed his US counterpart about Armenia’s destructive policy, deliberate shelling of Azerbaijani civilian population, mass recruitment of foreign mercenaries and terrorists (sic).”
He claimed that “Azerbaijan’s fair position is based on four United Nations Security Council resolutions and corresponding documents of other international organizations.”
“The sides also exchanged views on the Azerbaijani-US ties.”
On September 27, Azeri’s military preemptively attacked Armenian forces in NK, an act of aggression under the UN Charter and other international law.
Despite all-out efforts by Russia to halt fighting and negotiate differences diplomatically, conflict rages with no letup.
Despite its majority Armenian population and control by Yerevan, NK is internationally recognized as Azeri territory.
Continued fighting shows Baku has no appetite for ceasefire or resolving differences with Armenia diplomatically.
Azeri ruling authorities are hellbent for pushing on to gain full control of NK by driving Armenian forces from the enclave.
Both sides experienced large numbers of casualties, around 5,000 according to some reports, including combatants and civilians.
During his Thursday Valdai Club address, Vladimir Putin said “(t)here are a lot of casualties from both sides, more than 2,000 from each side,” adding:
Numbers are “nearing 5,000” — the toll much higher than either side is willing to admit, including civilians caught in the crossfire.
On Friday, Azeri forces claimed control over a strategic NK high ground area.
According to Southfront, Armenian forces in southern NK are “collapsing” as Azeri troops advance toward seizing “the strategic Lachin corridor” mountain pass.
In Azeri territory, it’s “the shortest route between Armenia and” NK.
Control of Lachin will greatly weaken Armenia’s chance of defeating Azeri forces.
Separately, Azeri President Aliyev claimed his country’s forces captured the village of Aghband, gaining control over territory along the border with Iran.
On Friday, Iranian envoy to Russia Kazem Jalali said his country will not tolerate breaches of its border by warring sides in NK, adding:
“(W)e told both sides that anyone violating this principle will be fully rejected.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is thoroughly monitoring activities in the border regions of our country.”
“In this regard, as we declare inadmissible aggression by any of the warring sides on our territory.”
“We seriously warn them of the need to be cautious.”
Iran’s IRGC spokesman General Abolfazl Shekarchi stressed that “Iran will give a tough response to any form of threat and violation.”
Reportedly, Armenian forces retreated from Aghband in the face of Azeri advances, “supported by Turkish specialists” and jihadists recruited by Ankara.
If Azeri forces take Lachin, its capture will be a major strategic defeat for Armenia.
While the outcome of ongoing fighting is uncertain, Azerbaijan appears to have the upper hand — because of direct Turkish involvement in the conflict on its side.
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