BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
All week, the Azerbaijani armed forces have been relentlessly attacking Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic resulting in fatalities and injuries on two Armenian fronts and causing heavy damage to civilians in villages on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.
These attacks, which intensified presumably because of celebrations marking the 24th anniversary of Artsakh’s independence, have been different in scope since Azerbaijan has been using heavy artillery to bomb and shell its targets.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Ministry issued photographs of the artillery, which include 120mm mortars, 60 and 82 mm mortars, RPG-7 and HAN-17 grenade launchers, as well as Turkish-made TP-107 reactive rocket launchers.
Ambassador James Warlick, the United States Co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group, tasked with finding a resolution to the Karabakh conflict continued to sound tone deaf in his assessment of the situation on the ground, calling on both sides to quell the unrest.
Warlick, who has been known to frequently take to Twitter and other social media platforms to post updates about the Karabakh conflict, used a photo of a 120 mm mortar, released by the Karabakh army to voice his concern over the escalating violence on the border.
“This is a 120mm mortar reportedly used in the Nagorno-#Karabakh conflict. Such escalation in unacceptable. #NKpeace,” tweeted Warlick on Thursday, while posting the photo of the mortar that was collected by the Artsakh Army following Azerbaijani attacks toward border units, which resulted in the deaths of two soldiers on Friday.
“We condemn the deliberate targetting [sic] of innocent civilians in the Nagorno-#Karabakh conflict. We stand for a negotiated settlement. #NKpeace,” read another tweet from Warlick, who neglected to specify that it was Armenian border villages in the Tavush province of Armenia that were being attacked by Azerbaijan, resulting in fatalities and injuries.
This false parity that has become Warlick’s—and the international community’s—trademark does not help the peace process and, in fact, further exacerbates a volatile situation amid mounting cease-fire violations by Azerbaijan.
Earlier this summer, Warlick told a Russian publication that Karabakh forces must withdraw from what he called “occupied territories,” using the same parlance as Azerbaijani and its dictator president Ilham Aliyev use when threatening more military attacks on Karabakh and Armenia.
This blatant disregard to ALL sides to the conflict, represents a diplomatic approach that does not bode well for advancing stability in the region. Since Warlick is the most vocal of the three co-chairmen, it calls into question the United States’ policy and strategy for the region, which more and more is echoing Turkey’s approach to the Karabakh conflict.
It is one thing to call for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, which is what everyone wants. It is another to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the reality on the ground, at the expense of Armenian civilian and military lives.