The old and new border wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan | Conflict News


Since early summer, the mobile phones of Armenian and Azerbaijani military combatants have but dramatically described the new and evolving confrontation between the two countries.

As early as May, the soldiers shot themselves rushing through the enemy outpost. They yelled at their opponents to leave in crappy Russian, planned carefully, kicked behind, and shot fists or volleys in the air with submachine guns. shoot.

On the picturesque alpine meadows, the platoons of Armenian and Azerbaijani armies are usually only a few meters apart. This is a gunpowder box that caught fire in the afternoon of November 16.

Although there is no independently verifiable information, military sources and local media have reported that several hours of full-scale fighting took place on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia on Mount Ishhanasal or nearby.

Both sides have reported casualties; Armenia claimed that at least 6 soldiers had been killed, while Azerbaijan announced that at least 7 soldiers had died.

Moving footage shows Azerbaijani artillery units bombing Armenian positions. The Armenian Ministry of Defense released a video of an Azerbaijani armored vehicle being hit by a guided weapon.

The distressing video taken at night during the snowstorm seems to show Azerbaijani soldiers beating uniformed Armenian regulars on the ground.

This is a new conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan: in order to control the disputed border defined by Soviet cartographers.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Before last year’s war in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, these borders were buffered by territories in Azerbaijan that had been under de facto Armenian control since the 1990s.

However, with the military victory of Azerbaijan and the regaining of almost all of its lost territory, the border area between the Syunik and Gharkunik provinces of Armenia and the newly established East Zangezur region of Azerbaijan has become the front line of militarization.

Olesya Vartanyan, a senior analyst with the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said that in mountainous terrain, both armies are eager to establish positions in the best places.

“The current daily problem is that there is no communication between opposing armies. The same is true between the joint staff of Azerbaijan and Armenia. When he saw several large trucks with soldiers on one side, he immediately suspected that he might be preparing for an attack. There is no way to check before launching the attack.”

In some places, Syunik Province separates Azerbaijan from its enclave, the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, within 40 kilometers (25 miles).

Crucially, the road connecting the Armenian towns and villages of Syunik runs through the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Azerbaijani army set up checkpoints.

Armenian human rights defender Arman Tatoyan accused Azerbaijan of deliberately adopting a policy of isolation, describing the almost insurmountable alternative route that villagers were forced to take. School children and teachers cannot go to school.

“Blocking the Goris-Kapan road or the so-called Azerbaijani border and customs checkpoints will violate the rights of civilians and serious humanitarian issues, including the isolation of some civilian communities,” Tatoyan told the Armenian media.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are caught in a decades-long dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh issue [File: Artem Mikryukov/Reuters]

Although Azerbaijan insists that Armenia has provoked the latest fighting, the geographic positioning of some footage recorded since Tuesday strongly suggests that the Azerbaijani armed forces have invaded the Armenian homeland.

Armenian Prime Minister Nicole Pashinyan claimed on Tuesday that Azerbaijan has occupied 41 square kilometers (15 square miles) of sovereign territory of Armenia in the border area since May.

Azerbaijan may have a strategy: after reaching a ceasefire agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh last year, pressure Armenia to complete the negotiations.

These provisions include Armenia’s commitment to allow “unimpeded traffic” between the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic and Azerbaijan.

Fuad Shahbaz, a military analyst in Baku, said the recent battles are the result of these negotiations failing to achieve their goals, including the delimitation of borders.

“Yerevan is not ready to make concessions on the transit route. I guess Baku has lost patience. It hopes to resolve this issue before winter during the conference that was originally scheduled to be held in Moscow in November but was postponed.”

Although Shahbaz believes that the opening of the route to Nakhchivan will benefit both Azerbaijan and Armenia through ties with Turkey, for many Armenians, this poses a direct threat to Armenia’s national status.

“Azerbaijan’s strategic goal is to at least establish de facto control over Syunik Province,” said Benyamin Poghosyan, a political scientist in Yerevan. “The President of Azerbaijan, Aliyev, has stated on many occasions that Syunik Province has artificially divided the Turkic world from Istanbul to Kazakhstan.”

Russia exists

Russia’s military presence in Armenia should be to ensure the safety of Armenia, and local Russian boots in Karabakh are helping to maintain a fragile peace, despite occasional local violence.

So far, as part of the collective security treaty with Moscow, Armenia has not formally requested Russian military intervention. But Moscow can exert influence in ways that other mediators cannot.

“It is the only regional power that has an actual military presence on the ground and a serious political voice over the leaders of the two capitals. Therefore, it is not surprising that Moscow has succeeded. Especially the OSCE Minsk Group has been working hard. Update its functions,” Vartanyan said.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. Even Armenia has a large population and until recently it was controlled by Armenians [File: Reuters]

The so-called Minsk Group is co-chaired by Russia, France, and the United States. It was established after the first Karabakh War in 1994 and is dedicated to achieving permanent peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“Until recently, the co-chairs have found a way to come up with an agenda and format that will satisfy both parties. But they still have a long way to go before the dialogue can bring real change.”

The intervention of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu caused the fighting to cease on November 16.

For a moment, the gunfire was silent.

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