Armenia, a Bad Actor in the South Caucasus and Beyond

As of this morning news: latest fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan began on September 27, 2020. The two countries declared Martial Law and as of October 5, 2020, Azerbaijan regained control of its own seven villages that were illegally occupied by Armenia since its invasion in 1992.

The Caucasus is a region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and it mainly encompasses Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and parts of Southern Russia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, historically considered to be a natural barrier between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

The Conflict Origin

The ‘Nagorno-Karabakh War’ took place in the late 1980s to May 1994, in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, in southwestern Azerbaijan’s territory, between Armenian forces, backed by Russian military, and Azerbaijan.

The violent conflict caused the 1992 massacre of Azerbaijanis in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly and ethnic cleansing of some one million Azerbaijani civilians who ended up displaced inside Azerbaijan. It resulted in United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 4 resolutions, demanding of Armenia to withdraw its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts it is illegally occupying.

Over the years, during which Armenia has been illegally holding land to which Azerbaijan has territorial integrity, the conflict’s flares often erupted. On September 27, 2020, while the COVID-19 pandemic is well into its six months, the close to thirty-year-old conflict has escalated.

The 2020 Conflict Escalation

On September 27, 2020, Armenia launched a military offensive against Azerbaijani military targets and its civilian population across Azerbaijan’s occupied Karabakh region. So far Armenian military aggression resulted in 24 Azerbaijani civilians, including children, killed and as of October 4, 2020, 111 wounded. Kindergartens, schools and hospitals were targeted and were not spared.

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Map of missile attacks from Armenia on major cities of Azerbaijan-Photo credit Azerbaijan Consulate General Los Angeles, California
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Oct. 4, 2020 Azerbaijan’s second largest city of Ganja was hit by Armenian missile attack on civilians in whci 1 killed, 32 injured, including 6 children-photo credit Azerbaijan Consulate General, Los Angeles, California

A round of Armenian fire hit a single Azerbaijani family home and took the lives of an entire family; grandparents and children. Important to note that all the fighting has been taking place from and on Azerbaijan’s territory, defending against Armenian soldiers. Azerbaijan has not even once crossed into Armenia’s territory.

On October 4, 2020, Armenia expanded its confrontation during which it attacked Azerbaijan’s densely-populated major cities of Ganja and Mingachevir, killing and injuring untold number of civilians. Reports indicate that Armenia used cluster munitions against Azerbaijani civilians.

The Armenian-American Community Reaction

As of Monday, October 5, 2020, American news claims that there should be more coverage on this escalation of war.

While the fighting is taking place far away from the United States, Armenian-American lobbyists and sympathizers, are doing their usual. They are spinning a tale of victimhood, asking the world to pray for “Christian Armenia,” all the while Armenia has been launching an offensive on Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory.

To act the villain and play the victim is a notorious ruse with detestable orientation. Regrettably, the violent nature of this upside-down shameful war effort spreads across the world. Only July 21, 2020, radicalized Armenian-Americans held a protest, which turned violent, outside Azerbaijan’s Consulate General offices in West Los Angeles, California.

Hundreds of Armenian-Americans went as far as breaking the police scrimmage line and attacked the small and peaceful group of Azerbaijanis who were standing in a counter-protest, landing several of them in the hospital, as well as one Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer who was assaulted while trying to protect the smaller Azerbaijani crowd. The case is under LAPD hate crime investigation.

The Jewish Aspect

I, the writer, am a Jew and my roots are in the state of Israel. I served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for two years and inhaled the atmosphere of war.

I am not a supporter of making it appear the victim is the perpetrator.

Just as Israel has been the victim of Arab aggression for 72 years, but was made to be the perpetrator, Azerbaijan has been a victim of Armenian aggression, yet, made to look the perpetrator.

For nearly 2,000 years, Azerbaijan, a majority Muslim country, has been a rare safe and prosperous haven for Jews. There is a claim that Jews first arrived in the land after the destruction of the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 587 BCE. In the last century, it is known that Jews fled to Azerbaijan during the European Pogroms against Jews and later Jews who fled the Holocaust found refuge in Azerbaijan. The “Red Town” or the “Red Village,” possibly because of the red tiling used on many of its roofs, in the Quba District of Azerbaijan, is a home to the largest all-Jewish community outside of Israel.

During World War Two, Azerbaijan lost 400,000 men and women fighting the Nazis. In recent years Armenia has come under fire for unveiling a statue of an Armenian-Nazi general, in its capital city of Yerevan.

Today, Azerbaijan proudly stands as one of Israel’s most trusted and lasting allies with cooperation based on significant trade, resources, and a vision of peace that has been reverberating across the globe.

Known as the template for harmony, coexistence and peace, Azerbaijan is one of the most crucial allies to the Jewish state and the Jewish people. On an even broader scale, Azerbaijan is one of the key actors in the global movement for world peace.

Armenia Jewish Problem

It is no accident that Israel holds a deep relationship with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has no history of Antisemitism, nor contemporary anti-Semitism for that matter. A report that 60 Armenian Church students carried out an anti-Semitic attack in June 2019, in Jerusalem, on the eve of the Shavuot holiday, brings to light the centuries-old trend of Christians targeting of Jews, and in this case the ongoing anti-Semitism in Armenia.

World Must Stand Against Destabilization by Bad Actors

It is now imperative that Azerbaijan’s allies stand firmly against this criminal warfare brutality. Armenia’s illegal invasion and occupation of Azerbaijan’s land has gone on for nearly 30 years without the resolve the two countries can agree to live with. It is time to end it.

In today’s climate, with the catastrophe of COVID-19 pandemic and the traditional hope for a better and more peaceful world, outdated and brutal warfare has no room.

Armenia must cease this aggression, withdraw to its internationally recognized borders and leave Azerbaijan, a leader in science and technological innovation, a women’s rights trailblazer and education and the free world tireless ally, to do the great peace and coexistence work it is so much committed to do and has been doing for years.

Azerbaijan, as a peace yardstick, the rest of the world cannot afford to see damaged or distracted by this current Armenian aggression.

Distracted by illness and range of worries due to the pandemic, Armenia is counting on the world not paying attention or caring, allowing it to continue its nefarious war, causing more mayhem and destruction in the name of its colonialist goal.

Azerbaijan Seeks Peace

The Azerbaijani territory Armenia illegally occupies creates a cut off of Azerbaijani land, making commuting and flow of goods and services a challenge.

Nowadays, our world is in enough upheaval. Perhaps now, more than ever, it is vitally important for allies and friends to stand strong together.

Azerbaijan is known for its loyalty to the West and its support of all communities for peace and progress. In return, the West must make sure to stand with Azerbaijan today; speak out, reach out. American citizens should reach out to their elected officials and media, and make their voice heard, loud and clear.

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20 percent of Azerbaijan under Armenia’s illegal military occupation-Photo credit Azerbaijan Consulate General Los Angeles, California

Best, there is international pressure on Armenia to totally withdraw from the Azerbaijani land it illegally clings to, and then the two countries could begin a healing process.

If the conflict is not peacefully resolved, as it appears Armenia is totally unwilling to do, Azerbaijan may defend itself, or claim back and regain the land Armenia illegally occupies, stolen by force.

During the 2006 second Lebanon War, Nurit Greenger, referenced then as the “Accidental Reporter” felt compelled to become an activist. Being an ‘out-of-the-box thinker, Nurit is a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general. From Southern California, Nurit serves as a “one-woman Hasbarah army” for Israel who believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

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