Armenia has always been the aggressor

The September 4, 2014 post by Mark Dietzen is a classic case of an attempt to obfuscate the origins of Armenian aggression and the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. What we see is a narrative that is fundamentally deficient.

To begin with, let us be clear about the basics of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Armenia is the aggressor, having illegally occupied 16 percent of Azerbaijan, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts, and having ethnically cleansed 800,000 innocent Azerbaijanis. Do not take my word for it – there are four UN Security Council resolutions, 822, 853, 874 and 884, to back this up.

{mosads}However, Armenia has ignored these UNSC resolutions, encouraged by intense Armenian lobbying efforts in the U.S. and other key nations as well as by ongoing strong Russian military and political aid.

Those who thought such disregard for international law by Armenia would not have repercussions throughout the former Soviet Union were obviously mistaken. Case in point: Transnistria, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. And now there is Ukraine, which recently lost Crimea (where “separatists” also first illegally declared “independence”), and is now losing two large swaths of territory on its east to puppet “separatists” of  the “Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR)” and “Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR).”  The striking similarity of these puppet regimes and the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh republic” project comes as little surprise. In essence, the script of Russian-sponsored separatism has been the same over the past two decades – tactics and operations change and adjust, but overarching strategy is permanent chaos and dependence on Russia.

The claim that military threats supposedly emanated from Azerbaijan against Armenia, constitutes reckless disregard for the truth. In reality, the Armenian leadership, especially the military brass, has been making grave threats against Azerbaijan for many years. That is, history does not start on August 8, 2014, as Dietzen claims.

For starters, the August 8 Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense statement came in response to oft-repeated threats issued on August 7 by the Armenian Minister of Defense against Azerbaijan’s life-sustaining Mingechavir Dam. Destruction of this civilian target would flood a fifth of the country, while damage alone could leave millions without electricity and life support.

 Previously, on November 8, 2012 in an interview to The Wall Street Journal, President Sargsyan said that Armenia would strike Azerbaijan in a “disproportionately” hard way.

Before that, on November 14, 2010, Sargsyan said: “our strike must be devastating and final this time around.” Such threats evoke Endlösung chills from the Nazi era.

In October 2012, General Artak Davtyan, Head of Operative Department of Armenian Army, threatened: “Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia can attacks military units of the supposed rival with missiles, as well as its strategic and economic objects at a distance of 300 km and more”.

Thus, the record is rife with unprovoked aggressive military threats by top Armenian officials against Azerbaijan. Being protected and continually supplied by the Russian army emboldens Armenia to make threats, commit acts of aggression and prolong the occupation of Azerbaijani lands.

My article was clear as to how Armenia violated, inter alia, the Missile Technology Control Regime: “Armenia and Sargsyan have made a laughing stock out of the MTCR and the HCOC by illegally receiving SCUD-B and potentially Iskander-M (SS-26 Stone) short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) from Russia, an MTCR signatory.” Thus, while Armenia is not a signatory to the MTCR, Russia, the allied supplier, is.

Meanwhile, Armenia subscribed to The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) in 2004, but never came into full compliance, having continually faltered on making the required disclosures and declarations. The HCOC Executive Secretariat does not have Armenia’s annual declarations and pre-launch notifications, nor do media.

Section 907, which prevented U.S. Congress from also allocating any military/security aid to Armenia, has been waived since 2002, and since then Azerbaijan has purchased and received U.S. military equipment, from Humvee’s to patrol boats and radars. As of this moment several U.S. defense firms are in Baku attending the ADEX 2014 military exhibition.

When the Armenian side accuses Azerbaijan of CFE Treaty violations, they cite a State Department report that clearly points the blame at Armenia. Aside from Armenia violating the CFE Treaty on its own territory (“An inspection conducted by Denmark at Yeghvard, Armenia, June 4-7, 2012, observed TLE – almost 60 battle tanks, over 50 armored infantry fighting vehicles, and about 120 APCs – not assigned to this site”), it continues to violate it on Azerbaijani territory: “Armenia continues to station troops and CFE limited equipment on the territory of Azerbaijan without Azerbaijani permission”. In other words, Armenia’s continuing illegal occupation of Azerbaijan has a negative effect on the latter’s quota and compliance with CFE. But Armenian lobby is historically able to divert attention in the Congress.

Finally, Armenia has been sanctioned by the U.S. before. In fact, Armenia barely escaped new sanctions for its export of arms to Iran. Not only were three U.S. soldiers wounded by these weapons from Armenia, but they were also used to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq such as Matthew Straughter. The UN Security Council has also reviewed evidence of Armenia’s arms supplies to Muammar Qaddafi of Libya. The list of arms violations and scandals involving the Armenian government, and president, is extensive.

No amount of Armenian lobbying in the U.S. Congress, or its double-dealings with Russia and Iran, can ignore the simple fact that Armenia is an aggressor nation that continues to occupy Azerbaijan, and constitutes a belligerent threat to peace and security in the entire former USSR. Allowing Armenia to get away with aggression and the occupation of Azerbaijan has facilitated destabilizing events to unfold in Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and could carry similar repercussions for Kazakhstan and the Baltic states.

Jaffe is U.S. Azeris Network (USAN) military analyst.


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