The Karabakh conflict is not Hussein’s Iraq, Commentary and Analysis


By | Rachel Brooks

April 17, 2021 

Above image recently submitted to the record is of an Azerbaijani grave that was disinterred during the Armenian occupation of Karabakh. The Karabakh conflict was not a hostile foreign invasion by Azerbaijan of Armenian territory, but was rather the ethnic cleansing by the Armenian government of a region that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but was once mutually occupied by Azerbaijanis and Armenians. Read more survivor testimony below to understand a further perspective of the conflict.

The Karabakh conflict is not, nor has it been, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, even though the National Interest on April 16 argued that it was. The article, written by Michael Rubin, made comparisons between the Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev and Saddam Hussein. The basis of the criticism was the direct comparison between the explosively controversial Park of Trophies museum that displayed helmets and wax figures of fallen Armenian soldiers from the conflict and the war museums of the Iran-Iraq conflict. 

Context of the era of the Khomeinist revolution in Tabriz, Iran followed by the war in Iraq as told by a survivor sheds a light on why the Karabakh conflict is not to be seen in the same light. 

The Azerbaijani Independence Fight: Part I- A Revolution in Tabriz


Yet, the analysis in the National Interest piece made some inferences in its analysis that were based on media campaign rhetoric and not fact. Critics of Rubin’s piece most swiftly pointed out the discrepancy between Aliyev’s defense of his own country and Hussein’s invasion of a foreign country, Kuwait. The comparison of Aliyev and Hussein in regards to their conflicts would need to take the position that Aliyev was invading and seizing Karabakh, when in fact Karabakh was land occupied illegally by the Armenian government initially. 

In addition to Azerbaijani views of the conflict, we also asked Marat Grigoryan an ethnically Armenian-Azerbaijani who sympathizes with the Armenian side of the conflict what his views are, to understand them and put them into context. Hearing the opinions of both sides is part of Republic Underground’s standards of fair coverage. Views expressed in this interview are solely attributed to the guest. 

Pathways to peace, with special guest Marat Grigoryan


A further survival testimony of the ethnic removal of Azerbaijanis from the Karabakh territory again shows that the conflict in Karabakh has been portrayed in a false light by the western media in a rhetoric that is counterproductive to the peace process, which has been continuously damaged by the heated rhetroic surrounding it from both sides of the domestic interest, as well as foreign interest in the outcome. 

Surviving ethnic cleansing & Black January: Mehriban Aliyeva’s story

Rubin continued his argument in the light that Aliyev, as a proud state leader, continues to work to deceive the American government from the supposition of naivety. Rubin wrote through the lens that the U.S. shows no concern for Azerbaijan’s alleged violation of international agreements, but gave no context to the specific agreements that they were accused of violating. As is common in the polarized rhetoric of the Karabakh conflict, the National Interest article makes generalizations regarding the events of the Karabakh conflict, and points out events that were circulated in the media that were not proven on the official record, or was proven to have been attributed to the opposing combatant. 

For example, Rubin alludes to Azerbaijan’s recruitment of Syrian mercenaries during the conflict. The expert analysis reviewed these allegations, made in the western media, and concluded that, with a superior fighting force, it would have been an act of frivolity for Azerbaijan to recruit Syrian mercenaries. However, troops wearing fatigues of the Syrian variety were photographed on the Armenian fighting line, and when taking into context that Armenia has a historic relationship with Syria, analysts of the Karabakh conflict concluded that it was more likely Armenian lobby-backed guerilla forces recruited Syrian mercenaries and then pinned their presence on the fighting line on the Azerbaijani government as part of a protracted information warfare campaign that has continued to fuel the Karabakh conflict for nearly 30 years. 


The article only alludes to the use of chemical weapons during the Karabakh conflict. Armenia and Azerbaijan have been engaged in heated public rhetoric regarding the use of banned weapons during the war, in which further examination found that Armenia had fired banned weapons such as Smerch missiles on civilian areas including Ganja and Barda, which were outside the firing line. 

“Your sons have become our sons,”Az & Arm responses to wax museum controversy

In conclusion, the comparison of similarities between Aliyev and Hussein’s characters is a matter of the author’s opinion, but a comparison of Aliyev’s Karabakh conflict and Hussein’s Iraq conquest does not hold the same basis as a logical argument. 

The era politicized as the Armenian genocide was an era of ethnic cleansing from the Transcaucus region that impacted Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Meskhetian Turks, and Jews. An field report by two U.S. troops that were contemporary with the conflict gives a political and unbiased account of both sides of the conflict and the ethnic cleansing of the time, which is now weaponized and politicized for the war of today. 

“The question of Van” the ruin of a city split by race politics

Rather, the comparisons are made as a continuous motion of the lobby with a vested interest in the conflict. Rubin also writes that Biden, and the American left, are scheduled to recognize the Armenian genocide a century after it happened. This is a continuation of the Armenian rhetoric and lobby support of the American left which weaponizes the era of conflict between the Ottoman Turks and Tsar Nikolas II the Bloody of Russia during the First World conflict. The full context of the ethnic pogroms in Armenia in the 20th century must be weighed outside of the American politicization of them. For example, while Armenians were forced from their land by military advancements of the Ottoman Turks and were rescued by the Tsar of Russia, Armenian Dashnaks likewise exacted a fierce ethnic pogrom policy against Azerbaijanis, Meskhetian Turks, and regional Jews during that conflict, with regards to Van, Turkey. 

Harmful politicization of the conflict in the form of the museum of the fallen Armenians led to a discussion between both Armenians and Azerbaijanis who have expressed the grave hurt that both sides have mutually felt over the governmental decision to raise such a museum, at this raw time of peace process. Articles further politicizing that museum continue to emerge, with western leftist rhetoric of the Karabakh conflict at an all time high. 

“Your sons have become our sons,”Az & Arm responses to wax museum controversy


The politicization of this fraught period in Transcaucasian history is not conducive to the fragile peace process which has been disrupted by the media narrative of the Park of Trophies, a park that the Azerbaijani people themselves, for a large demographic, found loathsome and asked for the removal of.