After 44 days of fighting, Azerbaijan has triumphed in the war against Armenia, which had started the conflict with heavy cross-border shelling and bombardment of various civilian populations and installations. On Nov. 10 Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement to end the fierce fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The aggressor Armenia’s military preparedness proved insufficient. It was demotivated and demoralized that day after day it was confronted with retreat and defeat. During this war faith superseded nationalism, harmony conquered horrendous crimes and, last but not least, Armenia’s own nationalism defeated its regional and global terrorist franchises.
The fall of the strategic city of Shusha proved to be fatal for Armenia, which decided to sign a deal with Azerbaijan, with Russia and Turkey deployed as peacekeepers to make the truce effective. Armenia has been notorious for genocidal activities against the peaceful people of Azerbaijan for centuries. The attackers have been disturbing the geographic and social balance of the illegally occupied areas through holding fake elections and referendums which ultimately proved inadequate to settle Nagorno-Karabakh.
During all these painful years, the Azerbaijani leadership has been advocating a just solution for Nagorno-Karabakh in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council (Resolution 884, adopted unanimously on Nov. 12, 1993, reaffirmed earlier resolutions). These clearly rejected the illegal occupation by Armenia and demanded its withdrawal. However, complex regional and international power dynamics could not resolve the issue, which has been frozen for the past 29 years. Now Azerbaijan has ousted Armenia from its territory, where, since the deal was signed, houses and public installations have been set on fire by leaving Armenians.
Recent clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh started on Sept. 27. The Azerbaijani army responded to Armenian provocations and started its peace enforcement operation. Azerbaijan’s military drones initially softened Armenian targets and prepared an easy entry for its ground troops onto the battlefield. It also preserved its armed forces and inflicted heavy losses on the Armenian forces. Meanwhile, Armenia adopted a human shield policy to respond to Azerbaijan’s superior drone campaign. According to Azerbaijan figures four big cities and 300 villages have been liberated from Armenian forces since Sept. 27.
Armenia’s strategy consisting of spreading hostilities beyond the occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh to other Azerbaijani territories. While the Azerbaijani army was successfully liberating major parts of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian forces wasted their time and resources firing Soviet-made missiles at Azerbaijani towns such as Ganja, Tartar and Barda.
The main aim of this was to inflict massive civilian losses and raise the political and economic cost for Baku.
Armenia even bombarded strategic energy facilities such as the Mingachevir hydroelectric power station and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. It demonstrated the Armenian frustration and designs to undermine the energy security and infrastructure of the entire region. Moreover, it targeted the civil population and infrastructure of Azerbaijan to draw Baku into attacking Armenia directly. Such a reaction would have boosted Yerevan’s propaganda and would have offered Armenia a legitimate reason to call on the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) to send its troops to Armenia.
Azerbaijan showed restraint when it responded to Armenia on the battlefield. Not a single civilian Armenian was killed during six-week-long war. Not a single school, house, hospital or educational center was fired upon by Azerbaijan, which showed its international commitment to superior human values.
According to the peace deal, Armenia will also guarantee transport from mainland Azerbaijan to the Nakhchivan exclave. Russian peacekeepers will monitor this transport corridor as well as the Lachin corridor between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia for five years. Turkish peacekeepers will join the Russians to monitor the frontline. Internally displaced persons and refugees will return to Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions under the control of the UN refugee agency. Last but not least, prisoners and bodies will be swapped. All in all, this is a big victory for Azerbaijan. It will certainly be written in golden letters in the history of the country.
The liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh has now become reality, which once again shows that nationalism does not have any place in the world. Coexistence and concept of shared prosperity is the way forward. It is indeed a wake-up call for all the supporters of ethnic cleansing that humanity may be the only benchmark for regional cooperation, and that horrendous crimes and conspiracies are always short-lived.
• Shahin Abdullayev is Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.