Karabakh Farmer Killed on Cease Fire Anniversary

Karabakh soldiers at the Karabakh-Azerbaijan border

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

On May 12, 1994, the cease-fire agreement signed between the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Artsakh, and Azerbaijan went into effect and, 17 year later the winds of war are still circling over the people of Karabakh with no end in sight.

On the eve of the cease-fire anniversary, Arayik Balasanyan, a farmer from the Kyratagh village of Hadrut, was operating his tractor on his farm when an Azeri sniper bullet shot and killed him. The 33-year-old farmer became the latest victim of Azeri sniper attacks as the international mediators tasked with finalizing a resolution to the conflict continue to issue tepid warnings and declarations.

“The Azeri side continues violating the ceasefire regime in different directions of the line of contact between the armed forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan. More than 400 shots were fired only during the past two days,” reported the Nagorno-Karabakh Army only days after celebrating Armed Forces Day.

 “With such steps Azerbaijan not only goes against the logic of the peace process, but also strives to maintain the tension at the line of contact, thus preventing the resolution of the conflict on the basis of the proposals of the international community,” said Tigran Balayan, the spokesperson of Armenia’s Foreign Ministry.

For the past 17 years tensions along the border of Karabakh and Azerbaijan, also known as the “line of contact” in diplomatic parlance, have escalated. This year alone sniper attacks by Azeris, as well as continued threat by official Baku forced the OSCE leadership to call for a removal of snipers from those regions.

Aside from the rampant violations of the cease fire by Azerbaijan, the military threats coming from high ranking officials, including Azeri president Ilham Aliyev, have created a climate whereby the mistrust that already existed has exponentially increased.

A new twist on the Azeri campaign is Aliyev’s claims that Azerbaijan ceded Yerevan to Armenia in 1918, failing to acknowledge that there was no country or entity called Azerbaijan until 1918.

Meanwhile, the international community—the OSCE Minsk Group tasked with the resolution process—has refrained from calling out Azerbaijan for its declarations of war and literal violations of the agreement, for fear of not being seen as siding with Armenia.

“Progress in the negotiations on the Karabakh conflict is possible, if Azerbaijan stops using the peace process as a cover for continuing its anti-Armenian campaign and distorting the essence and reasons of the Karabakh conflict, demonstrates willingness to restart negotiations with the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, stops its threats and starts implementing the documents it has signed,” Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan said Thursday.
 
“No matter how hard Azerbaijan tries to present the Karabakh issue as a territorial dispute with Armenia, it will have to assume responsibility for its policy of ethnic cleaning and launching an aggressive military effort against the Nagorno Karabakh Republic,” added Kocharyan who reiterated that if Azerbaijan continues its current tenor, Armenia will have no other choice but to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

The conflict resolution process has become a full-court shuttle diplomacy event, with OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen going from Azerbaijan to Armenia to Karabakh and issuing statements that express confidence in the sides for reaching final resolution.

The failure of the OSCE Minsk Group to include Karabakh as part of the sides to the conflict and bring them to the negotiation table further complicates matters, given that the cease fire agreement signed in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan was between the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan, with Armenia and Russia acting as “witnesses.”

The people of Artsakh have spoken. They overwhelmingly voted for independence and reaffirmed that commitment during the constitutional referendum in 2007. Simply put: they expressed their right to self-determination—one of the fundamental principles of human rights and international law.

As long as this expression the people’s will is being ignored by all sides, the cease fire will remain fragile, Azerbaijan will increase its military threats and the situation will continue to remain tenuous on the border of Artsakh and Azerbaijan.

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26 Comments

  1. Vartkes said:

    And we are sitting still while these b@startds snipe at us day and night. Let us kill 1000 filthy Azeri pigs for each drop of precious Armenian blood.

  2. Arm1 said:

    What I don’t get is, since NKR took “Azeri land”, every time an Armenian is killed, why not take more “Azeri land”? The peace process is already violated, so these should come at a hefty price. They would soon realize that with each Armenian death, NKR is getting closer to Baku.

    • Fred said:

      That is my point as well. But then we are not talking about Azerbaijan. We are talking about the whole so called civilised nations who have wested oil interest in Azerbayjan. But to be honest they will not want Baku in Armenian hands so they will force Baku to negotiation if we decide to push forward. If we do decide we have to be ready to take on more than just the Azeries. To be honest I think we can take them all if we join together. All of us from all over the world. Enoguh is enough. We are not the people of 1915. We are awake and we mean business.

  3. Ruben Malayan said:

    Astvats hokin lusavore. We will make the turks pay so dearly that they’ll run back to the steeps of Central Asia where they came from. Let them dare attack Karabagh, it will be their end.

  4. Z said:

    Azeri’s are doing good job… Armenia fails to protect it”s citizen, fails to “neutralize’ their snipers, fails to punish them, fails to retaliate… So if azeris active and their passive it’s their fault.
    Armenia, who thinks war is wrong, gets sniped out by azeri’s, who think it’s right.
    They gotta max up or keep counting bodies

  5. Christo said:

    Armenian Fedayee’s kick some mujahedeen and taliban A**, what’s the problem with the NKR and Armenian Forces? There are wild elephants in the living room and we are pretending that everything is OK! What the F? Where are our snipers, 100 azeri turkish heads for every Armenian private citizen, 200 azeri turkish heads for every NKR soldier.

  6. Kirk said:

    Emotions aside,it’s not a good idea to start a war.
    We need to be patient,because the war will absorb all of Artsakh’s and Armenia’s resources and we will
    be weakened economically and financially.The geopolitical situation is not favorable now.
    On the other hand,I truly believe,that our leaders know when is the right moment to launch a counter attack.The moment they decide to do that,it means that they have planned to give the last and final
    slap to the azeris,probably at the entrance of Baku.

    • Avery said:

      well said Kirk:

      In any hot war several hundreds, possibly thousands of Armenian troops will die or be badly wounded/crippled. When it becomes necessary, at least there should be a huge return for Artsakh and Armenia, e.g. a push to the Kura River, and dissolution of the artificial ‘country’ of ‘Azerbaijan’.

      We should have faith in Artsakh’s and Armenia’s military: who do you suppose defeated a numerically superior enemy (4 to 1 advantage in manpower), who had more tanks, artillery pieces, Grads, ammunition, jet fighter/bombers, helicopter gunships…?
      Who do you think had a kill ratio of 5-to-1 in Armenians’ favour during the war ?
      Does anyone believe it was an accident ?

      As to sniper killings: what does not get reported by the Azeris are the counter-sniping kills by the Armenian side. ‘Azeris’ hide these kills, then report them as accidental deaths. Why would Armenians not be able to snipe back ? Are Azeris born snipers ?
      Only Azeris have sniper rifles ?
      Or foreign (Western) hired-snipers are somehow inherently superior ?
      During WW2 Russian snipers were far superior to the (Western) German snipers.
      Armenians have just as good Russian-made sniper-rifles and Armenian snipers are no less deadly.

  7. Seervart said:

    Arm1, Good suggestion! I’d love first that Armenia recognize Artsakh and then start getting more of our lands that the azeris stole it from us!!!!!

  8. Turan said:

    Ruben, how are you planning to take the Turks back to the central asia?

    • Avery said:

      Turan,

      you arrogant, boastful Turks always imply (or think) that Armenia’s military will take on Turkey’s military.
      Not at all: although Turks’ Military is overrated, we can count – numbers are numbers.

      We don’t need to fight you Turks: your country will disintegrate – just like the Ottoman Empire – from its inherent, internal instability.
      There are about 20-25 Million Kurds, whose population growth rate is 3 times that of the rest of your country: they hate your guts, and only need some outside help to eat you from inside.
      Only about 50% of your population can trace their Genealogy to Seljuk Turks: rest are hostages, kept by force as ‘Turks’.
      Your country is inexorably moving towards radical Islamism: the phony Kemalist experiment has failed.
      Your presumed allies of today, the West, will turn against you when your move to Radical Islamist is complete.
      Armenians will simply wait – then take ownership of what’s legally ours, without shedding a drop of blood.

      And finally, one question to you boastful, proud, fearless Turks: if you guys have such a tough military, why is it that 1 year after Israeli Naval Commandos murdered 9 Turks, your Navy has not done anything to avenge their murder, as your fearless leader Erdogan boasted 1 year ago ?
      [Note: like or dislike the Turks, the 9 Turk civilians were in fact murdered on a civilian ship in International waters]

    • bigmoustache said:

      i wouldnt ferry them that far….but take nakhichevan, the villagers there could be driven by truck to the azeri fronline and dumped there…i couldnt care less.
      or we can take a whole bunch of boats and float them down the arax river into azerbaijan, sounds good to me.

    • Ruslan said:

      We should, we should, we should…. This is most lovely expression of armenian readers in this site. And in everywhere. Then why do you live your glamorous life in Cali? Fearing to fight?

      • Claudia said:

        Armenians did, did and did in the early 1990’s. How did that go for Azerbaijan?

        Given the same or slightly less manpower, equipment, etc (given a fair chance in a fair fight) as the Turks and Azeris, the Armenians will win

  9. manooshag said:

    Killing Armenian/s – especially timed together with certain/special events… by Turkey, by Azeris – against our Armenians of Artsakh a/o Haiastan is to be acted upon as an “in your face”… to Armenians.
    Yet, it is not just against the victims of Armenian heritage – but “in your face” to all the civilized peoples of the world! Timing is of the essence for these muslims. As has been the destruction of President Woodrow Wilson’s memorial site in Washington DC by Turkish funding.l Wilson’s efforts for the Armenian nation was outstanding in the early 20th century. Imagine! Turkish leaderships can recall Wilson, enough to need to destroy his memorial in our nation’s capitol. (No coverage in USA media)!! But yet, these same Turk leaderships are claiming not to recall the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation – beginning in the 19th, 20th, 21st centuries. Today, 2011, the muslim Turk abuses of their victims, the Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and more, continues… ongoing./unending/

    But, yet, they also show their barbarism to the civilized world

  10. Aram said:

    Please read: http://times.am/2011/05/16/s-ohanyan-azerbaijanis-are-always-punished-for-their-provocations-on-the-contact-line/

    We report every ceasefire violation by the Azeri side because we can use it as leverage on the international stage. While Azerbaijan does not report its losses because it is embarrassing for their rulers in front of the public who is already fed up with them. And Armenia is not about to publish a press release claiming how many Azeri soldiers we’ve neutralized this week.

    • bigmoustache said:

      but we need that propaganda too. youre showering your people with the image of ‘innocent victim’ and although that may be the case, it can be demoralizing. im not hateful so dont take this as such, but we need to keep the flame of vengeance alive in our hearts should the turks start another war anytime

  11. Hrant K. said:

    Make the azeris (Geidar Aliyev then) fear and re-live the very same reasons they had rushed to

    sign the ceasefire agreement in1994 with the Artsakh authorities!!! (7)

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