The 2nd Karabakh War between Azerbaijan and Armenia ended with an armistice ceasefire Statement, signed on November 9, 2020. However, Armenia’s intransigence continues regardless, which forced Azerbaijan to take action against Armenian terror operations.
In the past 48 hours, newly-placed Armenian landmines in the Karabakh region killed 3 Azerbaijani civilians and seven military personnel. Azerbaijan’s determined actions have brought the two sides to declare a ceasefire and Armenia to agree to adhere to the 2020 Ceasefire Statement clauses.
The trilateral Statement was signed by Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, Nikol Pashinyan, the Prime Minister of Armenia and Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia and Arayik Harutyunyan, the president of the self-declared “Republic of Artsakh” also agreed to an end of hostilities.
Subsequent to signing the Statement all hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region from 00:00, 10 November 2020 Moscow time ended.
Terms of the Trilateral Statement
The parties to the nine-clause Trilateral Statement signed it in good faith. However, this good faith has turned sour and hostilities have never really ended.
Casual observers must pay attention to the ceasefire Statement’s following two clauses:
Clause #4, the peacemaking forces of the Russian Federation shall be deployed concurrently with the withdrawal of the Armenian troops. The peacemaking forces of the Russian Federation will be deployed for five years, a term to be automatically extended for subsequent five-year terms unless either Party notifies about its intention to terminate this clause six months before the expiration of the current term.
Clause #6, the Republic of Azerbaijan shall guarantee the security of persons, vehicles and cargo moving along the Lachin Corridor in both directions.
Armenia Back to Its Provocation
Not only did Armenia not comply with Clause #4 of the ceasefire Statement, “the peacemaking forces of the Russian Federation shall be deployed concurrently with the withdrawal of the Armenian troops,” on September 19, 2023, on the Ahmadbayli-Fuzuli-Shusha road, in the Khojavand* region, an Azerbaijani vehicle exploded on an anti-tank landmine, planted by Armenia’s armed forces reconnaissance-subversion saboteur groups, present in Azerbaijan’s territory where a temporary Russian peacekeeping contingent is deployed. Subsequent to this provocation, 2 Azerbaijani civilians were killed.
* The Khojavend District is one of the 66 districts of Azerbaijan, located in the west of the country and belongs to the Karabakh Economic Region.
Armenian Terror Operation
On the same very same day, Azerbaijan’s vehicles carrying the Ministry of Internal Affairs military personnel, dispatched to the area of the aforementioned terror act, exploded over landmines also placed by the Armenian saboteurs, on a new road tunnel in Taghaverd* village of Khojavend region.
The explosion killed four Azerbaijani military personal policemen and others were injured. This incident was followed by another landmine explosion in which three more Azerbaijani military personal policemen were killed.
On the same day, Armenia’s shelling into the city of Shusha killed an Azerbaijani civilian. All in all three Azerbaijani civilians and seven policemen were killed by Armenia’s hostilities.
Such acts of terror are a testimony to Armenia’s intentional and ongoing terrorism policy against Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan Launches ‘anti-terror’ Operation in Nagorno-Karabakh
This outcome was foreseeable.
On Tuesday, September 19, 2023, Azerbaijan launched a military operation against the breakaway in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, warning that if Armenia does not remove all her military personnel from Karabakh, it would “continue [this operation] until the end.” At the same time, Azerbaijan urges Armenian separatists to finally surrender.
Armenia placed approximately one million landmines in the Karabakh region, which have been a thorn in Azerbaijan’s victory and the liberation of its territory from Armenia’s illegal occupation. That occupation has lasted 30 years and has engaged the two countries in two major wars.
Since the end of the 2020 44-days Patriotic War, the total number of Azerbaijanis’ landmine victims has reached 314 people, of which 61 people have died.
This latest landmines’ explosions and the loss of Azerbaijanis’ life could not remain unanswered. Such provocation has certainly validated Armenia’s main goal, not to comply with the November 2020 ceasefire Statement; in gross violation of Paragraph 4 of the Trilateral Statement, Armenia has not withdrawn its armed forces from Azerbaijan’s territory.
By using its puppet regime in Karabakh to conduct ongoing military activities and plant landmines Armenia has proved its clear intentions to escalate military tensions in the region and to engage in terrorism. Nihilism is Armenia’s dogma.
Furthermore, these provocations are implemented in order to intimidate Azerbaijan’s work force and thus prevent Azerbaijan from carrying out post-conflict large-scale reconstruction work. Also, to prolong or stop the process of the IDPs (Internally Displaced [Azerbaijani] People) return to their homes and land from where they were expelled by Armenia in the 1st Karabakh War.
Azerbaijan’s current ‘anti-terror’ operation in Nagorno-Karabakh goal is to ensure that peace and security in the region is achieved. Military provocations and terrorism acts, committed by Armenia and its puppet regime it created in Karabakh must be prevented, if not totally stopped by necessary means.
Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense Explains Defense Actions
It is because of Armenia’s armed forces formations systematic shelling Azerbaijan Army positions, using weapons of different calibers; it is because Armenia continues land mining Azerbaijan’s territories; it is because Armenia’s enhanced support for engineering battle positions. Also, in the past few months Armenia increased the number of trenches and shelters in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region. All these represent a security risk for Azerbaijan, intensifying tension in the region. Azerbaijan’s defensive operation in Nagorno-Karabakh was launched to end Armenia’s ongoing terroristic operations.
The continued presence of Armenia’s armed forces in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region is a source of grave threat to regional security, stability and finally arriving at coexistence and peace.
Azerbaijan’s anti-terrorism activities were launched to ensure the enactment of the Trilateral Statement’s provisions and prevent large-scale provocations in the Karabakh economic region. More so, to disarm and secure the withdrawal of Armenia’s armed forces formations from Azerbaijan’s territories and neutralize their military infrastructure; provide the safety of all the civilian population present in the region including the safe return of Azerbaijanis expelled by Armenia to their homes in liberated territory, all civilians involved in construction and restoration work and Azerbaijani military personnel, and ultimately to restore the constitutional order of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
If all fails, Azerbaijan’s anti-terror activities will continue until a satisfactory state of affairs is finally achieved.
From Republic of Azerbaijan Presidential Administration
Representatives of the Armenian residents living in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region were, on several occasions, invited by the Republic of Azerbaijan Presidential Administration to conduct a dialogue on their necessary reintegration into Azerbaijan, all were repeatedly rejected.
Now, with escalated tension, the illegal regime created on Azerbaijan’s territory and supported by Armenia, sounded a “call for starting negotiations.”
Following this call, the Republic of Azerbaijan’s Presidential Administration announced it is prepared to meet the representatives of the Karabakh region’s Armenian residents in Yevlakh*.
* Yevlakh is a city in Azerbaijan, 265 km west of capital Baku.
Still, for Azerbaijan’s military anti-terror undertakings to cease, Armenia’s illegal military formations present in the region must raise their white flag; all their weapons must be handed over to Azerbaijan and the illegal regime of their sham “Republic of Artsakh” must be dissolved.
At this junction, the fear of full scale war appears to have been averted. Azerbaijani and the ethnic Armenian sides agreed on an immediate ceasefire.
After a day of offensive attacks by Azerbaijan’s military, Baku appears to have achieved its stated goal. As of this writing, it is reported that a present ceasefire appears to hold in Nagorno-Karabakh while the de facto Karabakh authorities’ ethnic Armenian separatists agreed to disband and disarm their armed forces and are showing willingness to accept a ‘reintegration process’ with Azerbaijan.
As a journalist, who has widely covered Azerbaijan’s years of conflict with Armenia, in December 2022, while visiting the Karabakh region and being interviewed by the local media I openly predicted this anti-terror operation. Hearing about Armenia’s destabilizing actions in the region and witnessing Azerbaijan’s Civil Society’s consistent protests at the Lachin Corridor against Armenia and its partners’ and their ecological theft and destruction in the region, the only solution in my opinion was to launch a military cleanup operation.
We all hope that Armenia will finally come to its senses and peacefully resign to the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is not for it to keep, never was. Another option is spilling a lot of blood.