An update on the nargono-karabakh conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
To start with both sides have claimed that the other side is using mercenaries. However if you look at most of the footage available on the conflict they are series of artillery strikes. So they mostly do not get close enough to each other to enter rifle range. Another very disappointing aspect of conflict actually is that Armenia has been mostly repeating Russian propaganda. The most egregious of these claims is that Azerbaijan is attempting to genocide Armenians. There are Armenians living in Azerbaijan who are not afraid of the Azerbaijan government. Azerbaijan has made no references to the Armenian way of life, every justification leveled by the Azerbaijanis has been about territorial integrity and nothing else.
But before we get too far into the status of the conflict let’s start with how it began.
each side blames the other, however, Armenia has repeatedly made fairly outrageous and unsubstantiated claims on a regular basis. Which is only to suggest that in response to the joint Turkey Azerbaijani military exercises that were going on at that time was actually offensive which is also false. Similar propaganda campaigns have occurred even in the United States. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jade_Helm_15_conspiracy_theories
so it is entirely possible that the Armenian started the conflict in response to propaganda publications and a benign military exercise. Those exercises had ended on August 5 and it had taken weeks for the Turkish forces to return to Turkey. Which is to say that the attacks occurred after Turkey had left Azerbaijan so when the as azeri Armed Forces were at their lowest levels, which hardly seems like the time to start a conflict.
I think that the leaders themselves do a great job of describing their positions in the recent interviews.
Here is Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan:
And here is Nikol Pashinyan, the president of Armenia:
where he makes some pretty inflammatory claims starting with Turkey hiring mercenaries in Syria. Turkey is a professional military they don’t do mercenaries. They mostly fight mercenaries but they do not typically hire mercenaries. This particular talking point seems to be targeted at Turkey by dragging the Kurds into a conflict they have no part of, which is just another gyration of the propaganda war.
Russia has historically sown conflict between these two countries in order to make them more manageable. However it should be noted that all three of these countries Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan all are fossil fuel dependent for their economies. This means that this conflict also contributes to a rise in oil prices which is Russia’s economic incentive.
Pashinyan is open to the idea of an independent Nagorno-karabakh region, which may be a stopgap measure in the negotiations for this region. Which is to suggest that as a part of the peace process the region may be allowed to elect its local leadership which would still be subordinates to the leadership and Azerbaijan. This is different from the previous situation only in that it would be administered Azerbaijan instead of which is in accordance with previous international agreements. The issue is not that there are range of Armenians living in region. The issue is who administrates the region. And this is why I feel that many of posh Pashinyan positions are not in good faith because he ripped only makes the claim of genocide against the Armenian people instead of what the conflict is actually about which is administrative control. The so-called guarantor of freedom for this region.
As for the of mercenaries he references to this Guardian article https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/28/syrian-rebel-fighters-prepare-to-deploy-to-azerbaijan-in-sign-of-turkeys-ambition
Which occurred over two weeks before this conflict even began, and quoted specifically:
“Our leader told us that we won’t be fighting, just assisting in guarding some areas,” Muhammad said. “Our salaries aren’t enough for living, so we see it a great opportunity to make money.”
So to call those mercenaries is an insult and suggestion that this conflict was pre-meditated. Just seeems odd to stick the people you were just fighting in the middle of your own front lines, if they were so bloodthirsty and genocial as to pre-meditate the war and then lie about it. Why would they need to lie if that is what they belive?
And then once again I would remind you that most of the combat is long-range so a bunch of unskilled foot soldiers would not be very useful, something Armenia is quickly figuring out as some of them can’t even figure out how to turn a tank before they get demolished by artillery.
Which is only further evidenced by the crash of 2 SU-25s which they falsely claim Azerbaijan had shot down.
so the majority of the arguments are actually based off of propaganda and not facts.
So on to the less honorable aspect of this conflict. Something that surprised all of us was even Russia asking for a cease-fire. After reviewing some of the footage of the fighting I think I see why.
Many Armenian positions have collapsed quickly due to the remarkable upgrade in accuracy provided by drones which were purchased from Turkey. So for Turkey this conflict is in a way a weapons demonstration because there’s something oddly satisfying about watching a brand-new t-90 with reactive armor, get completely demolished by artillery without even being aware they were targeted. This is not the type of conflict that russia wants to get sucked into, should the Aerbaijanis decide to push their advatage and cross into Internationally recognized armenian territories.
while at the same time the Armenians are mostly making use of rocket artillery which can be comparatively inaccurate, because rocket artillery is a saturation weapon not a precision weapon. This is the primary cause of the civilian casualties in this conflict. Meanwhile Azerbaijan has been careful to only target legitimate military targets and avoid civilian casualties as much as their technology allows.
Turkey meanwhile gets to describe this military advantage as being a more humane form of warfare.
In my opinion, if the Minsk group wants to maintain relevant in this conflict, they should consider creating a fund to purchase the property of people who are evacuating the area or have had their property destroyed conflict, and consider a temporary international peace keeping for to monitor the withdrawal of Armenian military equipment and ensure that civilians are not harmed. After withdrawals and migrations have completed new elections can be held and even if the majority of the positions are held by Armenians, they will either be administered autonomously or via Baku, with a minimum of Azeri forces for border control. It seems unlikely for a cease-fire without some international peacekeeping forces to assuage the fears of Armenians in regards to a possible genocide, which are still claims based entirely on propaganda.