Co-Chairs’ Parity Destructive as Azeris Kill Another Soldier

Junior Sergeant Armen Hovhannisyan


What do foreign ministers Eduard Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov aim to accomplish on Friday in Paris, when the body of the latest martyr is barely cold in his rightful grave at Yerablur National Cemetery?

How can these leaders—mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen—discuss a peaceful resolution to the Karabakh conflict, when at every turning point the Azeri Army aims to thwart any progress, each time claiming the lives of Armenian soldiers and/or civilians?

How will Azeri President Ilham Aliyev’s repeated threats to take over all of present-day Armenia, which he characterizes as historic Azerbaijan, come into play in these talks?

How does the continued and destructive parity regarding the tense situation on the Azerbaijan-Karabakh border being articulated by the mediators—most recently by the US Minsk Group co-chairman—supposed to advanced what most see as stalled peace talks?

More important, how do all the aforementioned factors justify the loss of another young life who forsaking everything else advanced to repel a two-pronged attack and in the process saved the lives of his comrades and possibly countless others?

The official line from Yerevan continues to be finger-pointing at Azerbaijan for derailing the talks. The official line from Baku is an escalation of its military attacks on Armenian positions. Meanwhile the so-called mediators seem to ignore the mounting casualties and continue to depict the realities as a two-sided issue, when clearly attacks by Azerbaijan have become commonplace ahead of scheduled talks or during visits to the region by foreign officials.

This week’s headline-grabbing death of Karabakh Armed Forces junior sergeant Armen Hovhannisyan highlights the explosive state of the so-called peace talks with the Armenian side bearing the brunt of the violence with loss of lives and the birth of new heroes in this 26-year-old struggle.

While we honor our heroes and elevate their ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our homeland, the international community—especially the United States, one of the three Minsk Group co-chairing countries—continues its tone deaf policy and fails to unequivocally condemn the unilateral attacks launched by Azerbaijan.

When Baku threatened to down civilian aircraft, the US urged both sides to quell the violence. When the US, Russia and France urged the withdrawal of snipers from borders, Azerbaijan refused and the reaction was the same. When Azeri forces attacked several positions in Armenia and Karabakh ahead of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s visit to the region, she barely blinked. And the list goes on…

At 20, Armen Hovhannesyan had four months left in his tour of active duty. He had written his parents that he was looking forward to returning home and “may God be with you until I come back.”

So, how will the death of Armen Hovhannisyan play into Friday’s talks? Will we get the usual boilerplates from the parties to the talks that suggest things were discussed without further elaboration? When another Armenian soldier dies, however, we will realize, once again, that not much was accomplished in these diplomatic meetings.

After Hovhannisyan’s death, the Armenian National Committee of America reiterated its long standing demand that the US withdraw all military aid to Azerbaijan.

“Azerbaijan’s latest fatal cross-border attack underscores—painfully and profoundly—the ongoing human cost of the international community’s failure to either meaningfully confront or constrain Baku’s march toward a renewed Caucasus war,” commented ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “At the very least, this should serve as a wake-up call to Congress here in Washington to cut-off all military aid to Azerbaijan.”

While it is imperative for decisive condemnation of Azerbaijan, there is no real sign that the international community’s approach will abate any time soon. This will only encourage Azerbaijan to continue its military aggression and further turn the region into a powder keg.

Amid this diplomatic rhetoric and machinations, which bolster violence on the border, Armen Hovhannisyan was not able to keep his promise to “come home.”

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  1. ABOVYAN said:

    Nalbandian ay himar ches tenum incha katarvum u du inchkan apush piti lines vor etum es u nstum es et himari het u bazar es anum ay tufta , hima el kezi sksenk hayhoyele ay bardak..

  2. Hay said:

    Will repeat for the tone-death – WE CAN ONLY RELY ON OURSELVES. History has shown us time and time again that no outside force will be our saviour and there is nothing fair in politics.

  3. dvo said:

    this is madness what a lunatic its time to urge the world to recognize Artsakh’s independence what a agressor This Aliyev keeps amazing me this man doesn’t give a shit on peace talks or any rulles or agreements.
    after all the threats of shooting down planes promoting coward killers that kill Armenians threating Amenians around the world as number one enemy’s, killing our soldiers, al those warmongerings against Armenia those massacres they did against the Armenians in Azerbaijan, refusing to remove the snipers at the border. everyday they keep threating to attack, continuing their illegal blockades
    I thought that every people on this planet had the right of self determination.
    especially when people like Aliyev do not only want to get Artsakh but also Armenia thise savage Azerbaijani state wants to finish what the Turks could not they want to kill us.
    Dont people have any right of self-determination when they are forced to be killed?
    you all see that Aliyev does not only wants Artsakh but Armenia what talks are their left.
    I am slowly understanding why everyone hates the west and the USA democracy and their justice
    the history of Armenia is slowly repeating its self after all the massacres and genocides lies and propaganda against the Armenians, Armenia should have been harnessed by now.
    We should have changed our attitude a long time ago its very importend to teach our children the Armenian history and to be patriotic in order to survive as a nation.
    We have lost great people in the past great patriotic figures and as always have become soft.
    The USA & the west doesnt give a shit about people’s live you all saw what happend in libya iraq and what is happening in syria and those USA drones that kill innocent people.
    for them all people from the middle east or africa asia are all the same they dont care about lives of people from there.
    but when something happens in europe or in the USA they immediately if their soldiers get killed its becomes world news.
    i am not saying we need to hate them, Armenia has to stop relying on all countries to bring us so called justice.
    These Aliyev makes every threat public he announced a multiple times that they do not only want Artsakh but also Armenia who is going to stop them.
    They will do everything to go to war with Armenia and make every excuse and lies for it becouse they want to be seen as a country that is justifying and not as an agressor.
    our enemys want to get more from us they already recieve the wealth from our lands and our history.
    Armenians should always be prepared for the worse! and there is no peace without Artsakh’s independence.

  4. Tsoghig said:

    Thank you for writing what most of us are feeling Ara. This makes us livid. Our young men and women on the border are being hunted and no one cares. How can we all stand up against this? The US State Dept does nothing, and the others just give us lip service. Maybe we need to develop more ties with Iran. Rouhani seems reasonable and they pretty much hate Azerbaijan, because they know that Azeri’s, especially the Aliyev family is barely human. They have their own oil so the depleting oil reserves in Azerbaijan will not sway them. I don’t know man, we are being attacked left and right, Karabagh, Syria, Turkey. WTF, no one cares to stand by the first Christian nation.

  5. said:

    Azeri Turk attacks are very predictable – every time these OSCE mediators come, Sultan Alyev unleashes his Turkish trained NATO armed jackals to try to penetrate Artsakh and Armenian defenses.

    The message is loud and clear – he ran out of negotiable arguments but has to keep his population in a war mode, because peace for him would mean the end of his clan’s rule. That will mean that BP, Exxon and all his buddies might need to move away.

    The current attack was to commemorate the end of Armenian pogroms on January 19-20, 1990 in Baku. Their purpose was to get to the nearest Armenian villages and kill Artsakh civilians there.
    The result for them was minimum 7 dead (2 bodies still in noman’s land) , at least 25 wounded.

    Their attack lasted 30 minutes after that they abandoned their dead, weapons and returned back to their positions.

  6. GeorgeMardig said:

    Most international community politicians have corruption in their hands, and Azerbaijan has a lot of cash, Armenians should use them when it is for their interest and for the rest depend on Armenians own means, we should learn from Israel.

  7. craigprophet said:

    I always use the Israeli situation as a comparison to ours: had an Israeli soldier died at the hands of Hamas, they’d have sent a few rounds of bombs their way in retaliation.

    • Gurgen said:

      When we have a country like the US pumping 3 billion dollars a year direct aid and another 10-11 billion from tax deductible donations into our country and providing us with the latest advanced weapons, nuclear technology and unconditional political support, when we have another super power willing to fight wars for us and kill their own soldiers and destroy their own economy for us then we can start to pretend we are tough too. For now lets all grow up and stop comparing apples to oranges.

      • Harutik said:

        Bravo Gurgen

        These people that want Armenians to be like Jews are the ‘exact’ same ones that fearmonger about Russia even though Armenia has today the opportunity to be in Russia what Jews are in the US.

  8. Garo Yeghichian said:

    The OSCE Minsk group is not doing any thing to the Azerbaijani attacs and killings.How long the Armenians can wait?And what about if th Armenians run out off patience?

  9. bigmoustache said:

    As long as we participate in this farce they won’t listen to us. We have to leave the negotiations to show we are serious about the minsk group and their bias

  10. GeorgeMardig said:

    Armenians are waiting help from uncivilized politicians from called civilized world

    • Sarkis said:

      Sad, but true.

      Armenia’s leaders know that, though. They are playing the diplomatic game and trying to extract maximum benefits from all sides, including Europe, while focusing on strengthening Armenia’s military.

  11. karakeuz said:

    It is time , or getting close to time, to go onto the offensive. We can not sit like sitting ducks and pray that Azeri fire zooms above our heads. We need to attack them in retaliation. So far , unless the armenian army is saying nothing, there is no record of any retaliatory action against the enemy. This is a pathetic situation. Nothing happened with the ax murderer , nothing is happenning with the violations. Aliev keeps blustering he will not only recover Artsakh but the whole of Armenia. He has vowed to wash his filthy feet on lake Sevan. They will launch an invasion at the most opportune time. Peace talks are a source of diplomatic entertainment. We can not learn anyhting from Israel, Israel can get away with anything on account of their inexhaustible wealth , military prowess and complete control of all western nations; every western nation dances to the tune of Israeli rythms; besides the Israelis are partnering the criminal Azeri-Turk state. We must learn from our own past history and experiences and apply the strategies best fitted in our present circumstances. We have sufficient military strength to punish the enemy aggression . A decision has to be made as to when we respond with appropriate means. For every Azeri incursion the Azeries must pay with an additional loss of their territory. Then the attacks will stop.

    • Sarkis said:

      Actually, Armenian sources on unofficial channels have reported at least seven dead azeris and 2x-3x as many injured. Azerbaijan denied casualties as always, then slowly over the next few days azeri news sources started reporting azeri soldiers dying from “accidents, suicide, disease, etc.”

      You can search azeri media, it’s available in English online. Read about their casualties over the past week. Azerbaijan pounds its chest loudly and fails at all attempts. Armenia responds like a true master: silently and effectively.

      • Sarkis said:

        Remember that Armenia did not announce that S-300 anti-aircraft systems had been protecting Armenia’s airspace until 2011, even though Armenia had possessed several S-300 complexes since the 1990s. Just because we aren’t screaming it at the top of our lungs does not mean we have been sitting on our hands.

  12. Mihran said:

    Don’t ever expect any help or any statement against Azerbaijan by the US,EU,NATO,or OSCE.

    They will always take the side of OIL,in this case corrupt Azerbaijan.

    We need to do things with our own strength and not rely on these countries as they are all morally bankrupt,just look at the examples,Iraq,Afghanistan,Libya,Syria,Cyprus,all failures by the west.

  13. Parsik said:

    I am afraid this situation will prolong and I don’t see any prospect of change in near future. Karabakh has been designated as hot spot in geopolitical arena that no regional or overseas powers want that to cool down and its in their interest that status quo to be maintained just the way it is. None of them really want any wars and disruptions in this important region but meantime none of them want real peace and they all hate to see the conflict be solved for good.
    Let me ellaborate, Russia our supposingly closest friend is the most important player here but another oddity is that they created this conflict in the first place as then soviets back in 1920s reversed their original high level decision and presented historical Armenian lands Nakhijevan, Zangezur and Karabakh (luckily we had Nejdeh in Zangezur, so decision once more got reversed later by force) to artificially made by British and then patroned by Soviets, the republic of Azerbaijan to please revolutionary Ataturk in Turkey each of opposing sides persuading him to stay in their own camp, and back in 1988 is well known fact that Moscow orchestrated and fueled the hotspot in Getashen to start an all out conflict among republics to prevent Soviet Union from collapsing or atleast to keep an wild card in Moscow and next all Russian administration even if the old weakening system was gone. Turkey doesn’t want this conflict to die down because they want to see their little non-Turkish adapted brother Azeris in need of support and by knowing they will lose their control and leverages on them if historical enemy Armenia in between make peace with Azeris in other side. Iran ofcourse is trying to play impartial but meantime wants the conflict to be prolonged and not settled to keep the most pressure on Azerbaijan for demographic and terratorial reasons(Baku and rest of Azerbaijan being historical Iranian regions). Then comes this big block which I call West (including US, Europe and Israel and the rset of the bunch), they are the biggest manufactureres and sellers of arms in the world so it will be naive to think they want peace and conflicts to be solved all over the world, it is their business to make wars, plus by supporting Azerbaijan they are opposing Russia in the region sothat preventing them to get even more powerful and influential.

    So in this geopolitical circus that we live in , any small and little nation like us wishing and hoping other nations to solve our home problems in their expense are as naive as nation of sheep, scared, feeling abused and inevitably slaughtered by the hungry wolves in the end!

    • Sarkis said:

      Soviet/Bolshevik does not equal Russian. The Bolsheviks were the ones who mutilated Armenia in 1920, they were actually ethnic Jews by majority, and in fact there were more Armenians in leading positions in the early days of Bolshevism than there were ethnic Russians. Ethnic Slavic Christians, along with the Armenian masses, suffered the absolute most under the Jewish/Armenian lead Bolshevik movement. In fact, the Bolsheviks killed more Russians and Ukrainians and Belorussians than the turks killed Armenians or the Germans killed anyone.

      As for national interests, the west supports the turkic, islamic factors (chechen, azeri, etc.) against Russians. Orthodox Christian Russia supports its only possible ally in the South Caucasus – Apostolic Christian Armenia. Pax Russicana is the only hope for peace and stable development in Artsakh and Armenia.