By | Fabrice Pierre Toussaint
September 28, 2020
This is the famous hotel in Naftalan, as it appeared in 2013. Naftalan is the city where five people of the same family, including two teenagers, saw the tragic end of their life’s story. Photo is CC BY 4.0 International license, President.az.
At around 6 AM on September 27, 2020, the Armenian armed forces violated the ceasefire and intensively fired on the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in the frontline using large caliber machine guns and sniper rifles. This appears to be another deliberate and targeted provocation by the Armenian armed forces manifested in opening fire on the civilians densely populated in the front-line areas and civil facilities. Due to the provocation of Armenian invading forces, there are casualties among the civilian population and military personnel of Azerbaijan.
Many houses and civil facilities were severely damaged. Starting from September 27, the center of Azerbaijan’s Tartar district, including densely populated villages, have been under heavy artillery fire by the Armenian armed forces beginning from around 7 am morning. The city police station, a courthouse and civilian facilities of Tartar district are chosen as targets. This once again shows the ugly face of Armenian fascism. As a result of Armenian shelling the whole family totalling five persons was killed in Naftalan, including 13- year-old boy Shahriyar Gurbanov and 14- year-old girl Fidan Gurbanova.
The command of the Azerbaijani Army decided to launch a counter-offensive operation of Azerbaijani troops along the entire front to suppress the combat activity of the Armenian armed forces and ensure the safety of the civilian population. The Azerbaijani army continues to counterattack in various positions of the front. As a result of the counter-attacks, a number of territories were liberated.
In the years that followed the Nagorno-Karabakh, separatists continued to receive financial support from Armenian external finance. They have used this finance and support from Armenia to create a subordinate settlement that is under the de facto governance of Armenia despite having an independent government in place.
Armenia occupies eight total districts of Azerbaijan, including Nagorno Karabakh district, which makes for 20 percent of Azerbaijan proper under Armenian separatist influence.
Gaining the support is crucial due to the fact that the subordinate separatist regime in the occupied territories is highly dependent on external financial support. While it comes primarily from Armenia, financial support is also drawn from the Armenian diaspora worldwide. Currently, there is an increase in militarization, violation of ceasefires and failures of mediation efforts. This could destabilize the South Caucasus region as well as the disruption of the oil and gas exports considering Azerbaijan is a vital exporter of those resources to most of Europe and Central Asia.
Separatists have taken advantage of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia to attempt to form an independent state. The Azerbaijan Supreme Court has stated that the Armenian separatists took advantage of the ceasefire agreement’s conditions, reached in 1994, to introduce themselves a legitimate independent state. They then established “a number of state institutions.” Armenia as of recently has been relocating Kurdistan Working Party (PKK) terrorists from Syria and Iraq to the occupied territories of Nagorno Karabakh to prepare for future hostilities.
In the years to follow their establishment, the Armenian separatists have received subordinate financing from external territories. Sometimes this comes in the form of government lobbies that Armenians have approached on behalf of their plight, playing the part of the victim to the international community. Other times, these funds come through the guise of legitimate or illegitimate NGO operations. Armenia has a documented issue of domestic NGOs being susceptible to corruption. An example of this is the shadow NGO issue that shows Armenian NGO institutions have fake offices and addresses, such as this incident documented by Radio Free Europe in 2016, and sometimes benefit from the Armenian government under questionable circumstances.
France, and it’s ambassador Zakari Gross who is also a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group met with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Baramov. One of the conversations was about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Noted that the negotiation process has been stalled due to reckless behavior on Armenia’s side which as of recently led to the escalation of July 2020 and the lack of reaction from some Minsk Group co-chairs were noted with discontent.
As Armenia continues to attempt to form an illegitimate statehood over disputed lands in Azerbaijan, the recognized Azerbaijani government continues to strengthen the confidence of its legitimacy. When Azerbaijan regained independence in 1991, the reorganization of its foreign policy establishment was underway. Strategic departments within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were created as well as training diplomats and establishing embassies abroad. A lot of nations moved to recognize Azerbaijan’s independence and establish diplomatic alliances, the first to do so was Turkey in 1992.
The Minsk Group, sponsored by CSCE included Russia, Turkey and the United States. Azerbaijan joined a number of regional and international organizations, including the UN, the CSCE, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the International Monetary Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization. Azerbaijan has observer status in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
The European Union has “gradually deepened” its relationship with Azerbaijan, citing European Union External Action. A couple of months ago, EU leaders held their annual (Eastern Partnership) summit via videoconference. The six partners in the EaP are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, known as the Eastern Partners. The European Parliament has emphasized the EU’s stance on territorial integrity in the context of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. 507 of the 663 lawmakers present backed a resolution that reiterated the “EU’s commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the EaP countries.” Furthermore, the pro-Armenian lobby in the US rejects the OSCE Minsk Group’s Madrid Principles for resolving the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The original version of the principles was presented to the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) ministerial conference in the Spanish capital of Madrid in November 2007. In August 2016, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), a U.S. Armenian lobby organization claimed the Madrid Principles based on the Helsinki Final Act were “reckless” and “undemocratic” and called for the Obama Administration at the time to reject them.
Armenia’s ambassador to the UN, Mher Margaryan, wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that argued that UN members have already “invested considerable efforts to address the crisis.”
He stated: “The critical importance of ensuring that (UN) member states make best use of the existing deliberation platforms and mandated formats available to this end.” In sharp contrast to the peaceful resolution that the rest of the EaP are advocating to quelch the conflict.