Karabakh Army Chief Dismisses Azerbaijani War Threats

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)–The top military commander in the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh has brushed aside Azerbaijan’s continuing threats to take back the disputed region by force, RFE/RL’s Armenian Service reported Wednesday.

Lieutenant-General Movses Hakobian said on May 12 that the rhetoric from Baku is mainly for domestic political gain.

“The resumption of the war would be unfavorable only for Azerbaijan,” Hakobian told the press at Karabakh army positions east of the Armenian-controlled enclave. “It would be favorable for us because we [will] manage to easily achieve our objectives.”

“And I think in that case we would solve the Karabakh-Azerbaijani conflict once and for all,” added the general, who played a prominent role in the 1991-1994 war.

Hakobian’s remarks were made on the 16th anniversary of the signing of a Russian-mediated, cease-fire agreement that ended the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. His statements echo those made by Armenian leaders recently.

President Serzh Sarkisian said earlier this year that an Azerbaijani assault on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh would trigger “serious counterattacks.” Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian similarly stated in January that Armenian forces have significantly beefed up fortifications around Karabakh in recent years and are prepared for renewed fighting.

Hakobian said the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s army has received new military hardware and ammunition this year. “[We] have had quite a serious success in acquiring air-defense systems,” he said.

Colonel-General Mikael Harutiunian, Armenia’s chief military inspector and former defense minister, has been in Karabakh in recent days to visit frontline positions. He told journalists in Stepanakert on May 12 that “the Karabakh army is combat ready.”

Azerbaijani leaders have long warned they will resort to military action over Nagorno-Karabakh if the long-running Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations fail to yield a settlement acceptable to Baku. Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev spoke in late February of the growing likelihood of “a great war” with Armenia.

The truce signed in 1994 has largely held and has left virtually all of Nagorno-Karabakh free from Azeri rule.

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9 Comments

  1. Christo said:

    Attack already otherwise stop barking like an abandoned dog! (No offense to animal lovers, but to a person of the other faith calling them a dog is offensive) Peace

  2. Nairian said:

    Hello Christo, lets say they’re venoms from dangerous and poisonous snakes. The only thing that is in their favor is Baku’s oil, nothing else. And if the Brits and some European countries didn’t buy their oil, where would they be? I hope they all reconsider buying oil from them.

  3. Vasken said:

    In the late 1950s and 60s United Arab Republic (that is Egipt Syria and Yemen) President General Abdul Naser used to make speech on radio 5hour programme at times, with the worm-ups of Umcalsum’s singing 3 hours at the start of the speech: subject of the speach was threat to enemy Israel, and her existance was in question on the account of the Arab brotherhood. In the mean time, in Israel the military was planning how to make an attack and claim it was a defence: they comleted their plan by 1967. The rest is history.

  4. MihranK said:

    I firmly believe that the Karabagh problem will be solved with another war, and this time we should give them the knock out blow as there is no other way, its just a matter of time when the Azeris will feel confident and start a war, that’s when we should bring then to their knees.

  5. john papazian said:

    I can only hope that if it comes to open war over Karabakh,that the Americans can keep the Turks out of it.Thats about all they can do,or at least thats all they will try to do. If the Turks think for one second they can intervene,they will.War has to be averted,the only real outcome is,well everyone knows.With Armenia all but completly on her own and Turkish support for the Azeries,Karakakh will be over run.Oh sure,ther will be protests and marches in the west,but lets not kid our selves,America,the EU,the UN,they will not be there when the going gets tough.

  6. Alex said:

    In the event of a war its pretty obvious what Armenias #1 target will be: Azeri Oil Pipelines. Lets see how the Azeris handle their primary source of income being bombed to obliteration. This being said its also important to note that the Azeris are bluffing.

  7. Andranik said:

    I hope there’s a war and war is going to come sooner or later and it’s better for as that it would be sooner. We would be alone aginst azeri and turks would interfere?… Just like last time if the turks try to intervene so will the russians. I’m sure we have the power and capacity to win and it would settle the whole issue. The war would settle the issues, if they succeed to take Artsach back so be it, they earned it by their force, but if we keep it and recover even more lands that belong to Armenians then to must accept it for good.

  8. john papazian said:

    Andranik hoping for a war? Does name Custer mean anything to you?Fighting the Azeris is one thing but when it comes down to it Muslims will side with their fellow Muslims and I hate to say it but lets be real here,without any real support from the west,Armenia could loose alot more than it could gain

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