Pompeo’s ceasefire violated, commentators say “shelling of peaceful cities” must end

The Azerbaijani flag placed in the rubble of recent shelling.

By | Rachel Brooks

October 26, 2020

Azerbaijan has been taken back occupied territories as ceasefire continues to be violated. The above image was retrieved from social media. Fair use. 

On October 26, the ceasefire agreement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict mediated by the U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo was again violated. The Caucasian Knot reported that the Azerbaijani military positions in Karabakh were shelled despite the humanitarian truce. This was citing the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense. Caucasian Knot stated that Armenia’s Ministry of Defense subsequently accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire. The new agreement on the truce in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone had come into effect as of October 26. 

The international community stated that these actions are likely to provoke Moscow to intervene on behalf of Yerevan, due to the treaty agreement between Russia and Armenia. At the same time, it is anticipated that Azerbaijan will seize back all of the occupied regions of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as fighting persists. 

In the wake of ceasefire violations, Paul Goble, a former advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State, told the Caucasian Knot that Armenia continues to send artillery and military strikes into Azerbaijani civilian cities to provoke retaliation from Baku. As Baku motions to ward off the assault on civilian settlements, the idea is to provoke the foreign powers to intervene. 

Above, the assistant to the Azerbaijani president provided footage of the scene of missile fire on Azerbaijani territory in the wake of the U.S. mitigations. A forest fire was reported in the wake of events. 

Goble noted on his blog that the Armenian strategy of foreign provocation has had the intended effect of sending an influx of ethnic Armenians joining the Nagorno-Karabakh fight from the diaspora. This stirring of the nationalism movement is prompted by Azerbaijan’s recapture of its former territories lost in the 1994 cessation of hostilities. 

Goble likewise noted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of the 2020 era has already created an influx of forced migration from the Nagorno-Karabakh. Many of the displaced ethnic Armenians will flee to the Russian Federation. The Nagorno-Karabakh region has been predominantly populated by Armenians since the ethnic cleansing and occupation of the region in the post-Soviet conflict, which is the reason why primarily ethnic Armenians are affected. 

When interviewed, Mr. Goble did not, however, believe that the situation would create a proxy war or have any expansion outside of the immediate area of the conflict, in terms of militarized activity. 

“An expansion of the war is possible but in my view highly unlikely,” said Goble, speaking with Republic Underground. 

“That Russia has not intervened in support of Armenia up to now says to me that it won’t except in extremism, and Turkey has already achieved what it hopes for, a growth in its influence in the South Caucasus at Russia’s expense.”

The U.S. has not, as of the time of this report, made a direct comment regarding the ceasefire violation. However, the U.S. has commented on the issues it has with Iran, a supporter of the Armenian cause in the region.

“The Iranian regime pawns its oil to fund the destabilizing misadventures of the IRGC rather than improving conditions for its people. Today the U.S. is imposing major counterterrorism sanctions against Iranian energy institutions for providing support to the IRGC’s Qods Force,” tweeted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The U.S. interests in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are expected to maintain neutrality, but the escalation and provocation of regional neighbors as the conflict persists may prompt a more official response from the OSCE Minsk Group and world leaders.