Is Nagorno Karabakh Facing An Existenial Threat?

Haxtanaki-Or-1-Info (1)

Karabakh Armed Forces stage a military parade


“Azerbaijan strives to resume the military phase of the conflict to suppress the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination through the use of force.”
–Armand Kirakossian, Permanent Representative of Armenia to the OSCE

Ambassador Armand Kirakossian was not exaggerating when he said in his speech at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, “that the physical survival of the population of Artsakh and its protection from mass atrocities are the responsibility of Artsakh authorities.”

The news from the line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan is indeed alarming. Tensions are escalating, there are constant violations of the cease fire, there are attacks and incursions by Azerbaijani Special Forces and a gradual increase in the caliber of artillery being used and an almost constant bombardment of Armenian border villages.

The death toll is rising; young Armenian soldiers are indiscriminately being killed by Azerbaijani snipers or during border attacks. The OSCE – Minsk group permanent representatives are “alarmed” by the rising tensions at the line of contact. OSCE – Minsk group’s US co-chair James Warlick “urges the two sides to strictly adhere to the ceasefire to create a more conducive atmosphere.”

Basically, no one is concerned by the situation on the ground, no one takes Azeri official threats seriously, and no one is alarmed by the looming existential threat facing the inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh. In fact, immense efforts are made to placate Azerbaijan.

One thing is certain: What is happening at this time, on the eve of the Genocide Centennial, is not coincidental. It is planned and coordinated by a Turkish – Azeri military alliance at the highest level. It may devolve into major hostilities at any time. The threat is very real: witness our fallen soldiers, witness the general apathy towards the plight of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, witness the massive military buildup in Azerbaijan aided by Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Israel. An “October surprise” may be imminent.

* * *

Fact I. Nagorno-Karabakh has never been part of the OSCE conflict negotiations. It is not recognized as a party to the conflict even though it was a signatory to the cease-fire agreement. Effectively, as far as Azerbaijan is concerned, Nagorno-Karabakh does not exist as a full-fledged viable entity to be negotiated with.

Fact II. No country -including Armenia or Russia -has recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent entity. In other words, Nagorno-Karabakh’s people’s right to self-determination is not honored.

Fact III. There is a complete disregard for Azerbaijan’s arms buildup beyond the quota amount allowed. According to Karen Mirzoyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nagorno-Karabakh, “Azerbaijan has a complete disregard for and manipulation of the norms of international humanitarian law.”.

Fact IV. Azerbaijan has no intention of ever accepting the existence of Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent country, and it is convinced that it can re-conquer it by military means.

Fact V. Azerbaijan is encouraged in this course of action by its massive arms buildup and by its big brother – Turkey, that it will succeed in doing so. It is a shame that certain other countries are encouraging it in this belief as well.

Fact VI. According to Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian, the situation at the border is “tense” but under control. That must be no consolation to mothers who keep losing sons at the front. This is an untenable situation and an ominous sign of what is to come.

Fact VII. Why is Russia supplying billions of dollars of offensive weapons to Azerbaijan? Why is Turkey? Why is Israel? One would tend to believe that there is a conspiracy brewing against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and question their motivation.

Fact VIII, Finally, it is clear that the writer of this opinion piece has grown to be utterly pessimistic and foresees dire prospects facing Nagorno-Karabakh. In addition, this writer has lost his trust in the best intentions of the nations that are involved and are in apparent collusion with Azerbaijan.

* * *

We need a wake-up call. The danger is real and inevitable. There is an existential threat facing our brothers and sisters in Artsakh. This tiny mountainous republic is facing war and possibly annihilation. Once we acknowledge this, we can conclude that the threat is real. There has to be a major shift in strategy.

Maybe we in the diaspora have grown complacent and are not doing what needs to be done as far as raising the alarm and garnering support – both political and material – for the survival of Nagorno-Karabakh. We are not investing there, we have not encouraged repatriation, and we are not helping families who have lost a husband or a father to the defense effort.

Maybe our defensive military posture is not the right deterrent against the enemy and should be reassessed by the Armenian Defense Ministry.

Maybe the opposition in Armenia should reinforce the borders in support of our soldiers instead of internal squabbles. For example, it would be useful for their members to volunteer to train and serve as army reservists with the same urgency accorded to public protests and rallies.

Maybe the Armenian Government should increase its political support of Nagorno-Karabakh through the efforts of its ambassadors throughout the world.

Maybe the next time an Armenian officer is hacked to death in Budapest, or an unarmed Armenian helicopter is shot down, the Armenian Government can act decisively and respond forcefully and in kind to such provocations.

We witness countries that strive to achieve peace and security for their people as their primary goal. Security is the inalienable right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. What is the world going to do to avoid another genocide masked in the guise of war? What are we doing to stop the inevitable?


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    • GeorgeMardig said:

      @Harry: I agree, Nuclear power is the Real Power, if you want to be respected you should be in the Nuclear power club.

      • State-Of-Emergency said:

        What good is it if you’ll be killed along with your enemy. Besides, nuclear weapons never prevented other countries from attacking, Israel for example.

  1. Craig said:

    If all of this is true, if things are really this bad, we all must be ready to act in the most organized and effective way possible before it’s too late

  2. Armanen said:

    The author failed to mention that the snipers killing the Armenian farmers and soldiers are trained not just by Turks but American and British soldiers.

  3. Saaten Maagar said:

    Armenia & Artsakh do not advertise how they respond to Azeri aggressions and Aliyev has strictly ordered no negative news to be publicized of what happens at the borders. So do not be so sure that the response is not adequate enough. If AZ thinks for one minute that they can get the upper hand by starting an all out military action, they would have started it yesterday.
    The Armenian diaspora’s indifference towards Artsakh is correct and it is another sad story all together.

  4. Hratch Karamanoukian MD said:

    Nice article. The people of Artsakh have full support of the Armenian diaspora and this country will stay independent and free no matter what Turkey or Azerbaijan intends to do. War is not the answer to this problem. Azerbaijan will lose no matter what kind of military build up it has. You have to go to this mountainous republic to appreciate the terrain and the difficulty Azeerbaijan will have to overcome to reconquer it. Sleep well Artsakh, we have your back. One of the ways we can help is to promote the conomy with tourism from abroad. Instead of vacationing in Aruba, spend your money in Artsakh – and for that matter, Armenia.

  5. Jacque said:

    Sorry to say but nothing.
    I don’t understand and find it odd that big brother Russia came to help its people in Ukraine and even annexed Crimea with no hesitation but still can’t help its only logistical allay to do so in the case of karabagh .is armenia an equall partner or just another dispensable chess piece in Russia’s disposal, I think it’s the later. As long as our faith lays in someone else’s hand were nothing but slaves in prince costumes .
    Its time to put all differences aside and prepare for war, I promiss you it’s coming and no body cares or going to help. Let us not let history repeat it self . If it does shame on all of us.

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      We should donate generously, money takes a long way, as for Russia in a Chess game every move has to count the following moves, a strong Russia benefits Armenia.

  6. Norayer Honarchian said:

    We diaspora can help by investing and job creating , organized help and resettling all the regions in and around Karabakh, vibrant economy prosper cities and villages will increase population, building roads,
    hospitals, schools, Arm forces of Karabakh is good defensive army but time to time need some offensive one too, in case of turks and tatars during the centuries hostilities proved that “best defense is offense”
    God bless and protect My ARMENIA and Karabakh with the help of Armenian people

  7. State-Of-Emergency said:

    Russia should take an immediately stand on the status of Artsakh and extend the scope of its military treaty with Armenia to protect its borders as well.

  8. State-Of-Emergency said:

    It’s interesting how Azeri aggression coincided with its purchase of heavy weaponry from Russian. Up until their shopping spree they were not as adventures. Now with multi-billion dollar weapons under their belt, they seem to have gained confidence.

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      @State-Of-Emergency: Soon all these weapons will be outdated, now that their Oil and Gas resources are falling, it’s question of time that those Rusted weapons to be on sale at a discount. while with the sale of weapons to Azerbaijan Russia is financing the supply of arms and military asissance to Armenia.

  9. George k said:

    Everybody calm down lol Look at all of you getting into thoughts here after reading an article. Look, the war coming our way is inevitable that being said our military is heavily equipped and is standing guard. Azeris new tanks and a few trained soldiers isn’t going to change anything!! For christ sake look at how we destroyed them back in 91… Azeris had 42,000 casualties and Armenia had 6,600 not including they had a 4-1 advantage over Armenia AND we had nothing to fight them with, but teachers, farmers, average citizens etc. . Armenia can’t go Nuclear because the Nuclear bomb thrown on Azeris will also kill Armenians and surrounding nations not counting the radioactive clouds that will be sent everywhere also it will trigger of WW3 if Russia and Turkey and Nato move in. Russia is giving us free tanks and hardware with the money Azeris give them to buy weapons imo. So irregardless of what happens we are a fortress not to be reckoned with!! We will destroy the enemy given they are still the same dumb donkeys from yesterday and always remember the attacking army suffers more casualties than the defending army (historically proven) Many Empires have come and gone and we will remain strong as ever!! The only difference is they have a few better tanks and some missile launchers other than that Armenia has it’s crazy ballistic missiles and other heavy bombs and launchers that will send baku to the stone age :)) Don’t worry my fellow brothers if they attack, this time their graves will be in the Caspian sea. Pray they’re that stupid

    • State-Of-Emergency said:

      In the the meantime, our soldiers continue to die in this war of attrition.

  10. Edward Demian said:

    When you need inspiration. look to a Monk called Nerses. He was a chamberlain to the Bizantine emperor. The Goths were pestering the Bizantines with constant rape and pillage. So the emperor sent Nerses to deal with them. After a few ineffectual battles, he captured a great number of prisoners, which he had blinded of both eyes eccept for every hundred’th man which he blinded of only one eye, sohe could lead the ninetynine others home. When the Goth king saw his sorry army return, he died and the Goths picked up their baggage and left for the other side of the continent never to return. They are still in Portugal. We need another Nerses. Look him up. “Narses the Hammer of the Goths”

  11. Shahe said:

    While Mr. Hrant Apovian has rightly exposed his concerns, I recommend those to be kept in his close entourage as it has no diplomatic value or else, without expressly knowing it, are serving the enemy rather than improving on the situation. Let diplomacy be left to diplomats and let us follow their judgment or else do not create confusion by abusing your position, whatever it may be, as long as you do not form part of the diplomatic circles. Even then make use of proper judgment to encourage in a positive way and away from public hearing by having the courage to meet and coordinate with men of decisions in the government. My suggestion respectfully is that you keep positive total silence.

  12. Marshall said:

    This is what mongul invaders did 700 years ago the ancestors of Azeris and turks are we going to let it happen again?