Nagorno-Karabakh: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union

The historic conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is one that is consistently overlooked by the world. The reality is there are 3 not 2 countries in conflict – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh). The dispute is – should Artsakh be independent or should Azerbaijan rule them? The dictatorial pan Ottoman regime of Azerbaijan wants the land and ignores the plea for democratic self-determination – writes Martin Dailerian  and Lilit Baghdasaryan.

Artsakh people who oppose this are met with their deaths each day while the world is turning a blind eye. For this reason, it is important toraise awareness and we are asking for acknowledgement to be made on this global geopolitical conflict, so that increased humanitarian aid can intervene.

Aggression on Artsakh

The current aggression has been planned and well timed. The World is preoccupied with COVID and the US is focused on a major election.

Azerbaijan has significantly upgraded its military capacity with help from Israel and Turkey equipment and munitions. Azerbaijan is using ISIS killers to combat Armenian soldiers protecting the border.

Civilian settlements are bombed and forced to evacuate before the incoming army. Massive information warfare which is successfully keeping the world media confused and silent. We urge you to act in the interest of stopping the war and bringing in a peaceful process.

Call for Action

The war needs to be stopped and the people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) have the right to self-identify. Azerbaijani dictatorship should not be allowed to take over Artsakh without civilian consent. Our demand is to preserve democracy as well as the historic heritage and many of the first Christian churches. Azerbaijan has a history of aggressively destroying Armenian heritage sites.

Lack of American Mediation

The current American President, Donald Trump, has tried to avoid involvement in the conflict which enables Turkey to give its full support to Azerbaijan. President Trump is also known for having personal interests in Turkey (hotels in Istanbul) which may be a reason for his reluctance to stop the humanitarian crisis unfolding at the present. Although Donald Trump does not have much of an interest in the war, his opponent for the upcoming elections, Joe Biden, has strong opinions on the conflict as he believes that it is important to halt the siding with Turkey and for Turkey to stay out of the conflict, as Turkey borders Armenia and Azerbaijan. U.S. officials in general wanted to stop the trade of weapons and the transfer of mercenaries within the battle zone, but there is no diplomatic plan in place. A diplomatic plan needs to be put in place to achieve peace and stability. It is imperative that the United States involve itself in activities to create peace in the Armenian-Azeri conflict. Israel is providing weapons and aid to Azerbaijan throughout the conflict.

Refugee Crisis

History seems to repeat itself for Armenians. This is a humanitarian crisis as many Artsakh families are leaving their homes to escape the bombs and the advancing Azerbaijan army.

Another Armenian genocide is unfolding before your eyes. Hospitals and social systems in Armenia are struggling due to COVID and the onslaught of wounded soldiers from the front lines. There is no refugee plan and many families have lost the fathers on the front lines which creates further strain on refugee families and the social system.

Invisible Human Crisis in Artsakh

A war has been raging on for a month between the Defense Army of Artsakh backed by Armenia and the Azerbaijan army backed by Turkey. Artsakh is also known as Nagorno Karabakh. Azerbaijan has a history of human rights violations and using heavy propaganda to maintain an image of control and being victimized by a small nation.

Cluster Bombs on Civilians

During an on-site investigation in Nagorno-Karabakh in October 2020, Human Rights Watch documented 4 incidents in which Azerbaijan used cluster munitions. The report says that HRW researchers have identified the “remnants of Israeli-produced LAR-160 series cluster munition rockets” in the capital Stepanakert and the town of Hadrut and examined damage caused by them. HRW researchers say that “Azerbaijan received these surface-to-surface rockets and launchers from Israel in 2008–2009″.

Premeditated War

Clearly, there has been preparation by bringing in ultra-modern technology from Turkey and Israel and staffing up with Syrian fighters. International news organizations like Reuters and the BBC already reported about Syrian militants being sent to help Azerbaijan emerged in late September. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan are ruled by dictators and they face little opposition internally. The fear is that due to the slump in oil prices and the desire to unite their territories they are counting on the world being preoccupied with COVID to be able to execute their aggression on the land.

“Thanks to advanced Turkish drones owned by the Azerbaijan military, our casualties on the front shrunk,” said Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in a televised interview with the Turkish news channel TRT Haber. Their Armed Forces destroyed a number of Armenian positions and vehicles with the aerial assaults conducted by Bayraktar TB2 Armed UAVs. These are Turkish drones capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations manufactured by Turkey′s Baykar company.

However, time is running out as more world leaders are begging to notice the rising human death toll and suffering. The advancing army is not even stopping to collect the dead bodies. The battlefield is filled with a putrid stench and sometimes Armenians would bury those soldiers in fear of an outbreak and wild boars or other animals eating them. However, according to this Washington Post article, the bodies of the mercenaries seem to be removed and sent back to Syria.

Decapitations

Several news sources reported another inhuman incident by Azerbaijan – the decapitation of a soldier. On 16th October, at around 1 pm a member of the Azerbaijani armed forces called the brother of an Armenian soldier and said that his brother is with them; they beheaded him and were going to post his photo on the Internet. Afterward, several hours later, the brother found that horrible photo showing his beheaded brother on his brother’s social media page. Those pictures are archived as they are too gruesome. Unfortunately, people who decapitate Armenians are awarded medals and it is a common practice during wartime.

Azerbaijani military forces beheaded an Armenian soldier and posted this photo on his own social media.

Prisoner Executions

There is a viral video of two prisoners of war, who were violently killed by Azerbaijani soldiers. In the video, the prisoners appear to have their hands bound behind them and are draped in the flags of Armenia and Artsakh sitting on a small wall. In the next 4 seconds an Azerbaijani soldier orders in Azerbaijani: “Aim at their heads!”, then hundreds of shots are heard which kill the prisoners of war in no time.

Strained Medical System

Artsakh and Armenian hospitals are strained by the rise of COVID-19 cases. Additionally, there is a growing shortage of staff and beds to tend to the wounded who are getting rushed from the front line. Many refugees have escaped the bombing in Artsakh by Azeri forces and have fled to Armenia to seek shelter. Many families have lost the father to the war and are also on the run during this extremely dangerous time.

Turkey has blocked hundreds of tons of international humanitarian aid to Armenia traveling from the US. They banned it from flying through Turkey’s air space which has impacted getting much-needed medical supplies donated from abroad.

We call the attention of the international community all around the world to the seriousness of the situation.

We call on the leading countries of the world to use all the leverages of influence they have to prevent any possible interference on the part of Turkey and Azerbaijan, which have already destabilized the situation in the region.

Today we are facing a serious challenge. The situation is being aggravated by COVID-19. We ask you to exert all the possible efforts to end the war and resume the political settlement process in the Azerbaijani-Karabagh conflict zone.

The seriousness of this moment calls for everyone’s vigilance in every country. Peace depends on our individual and collective efforts.

We urge you to act in stopping the war in the interest of preserving human lives on both Armenian and Azerbaijani sides. The people of Armenia are hurting but so are the people of Azerbaijan who are ruled by a dictator who is careless with human life on both sides and enjoys international support. Israel, USA, Germany and Russia: you created this and you can stop this while you still can!

The authors are Martin Dailerian, a Citizen of the U.S.A, and Lilit Baghdasaryan , a Citizen of the Republic of Armenia.

The opinions expressed in the above article are those of the authors, and do not reflect any support or opinions on the part of EU Reporter.


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