After the Azerbaijani Armed Forces ended the nearly 30-year lasting occupation of Armenia on Azerbaijani territories in 2020 with the Iron Fist Operation, on November 10, 2020, Nikol Pashinyan, the Prime Minister of Armenia, had to sign the capitulation agreement. Do you know what was Armenia`s purpose of the time period almost 30 years? To gain time, to try to make the problem forgotten by spreading it over time, to try to legitimize the occupation fact by producing fabricated concepts that have no basis, to hide the main purpose by creating an imitation of negotiations. Despite the 4 binding resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 1993, Armenia was able to continue its occupation of Azerbaijani lands and other crimes of international law for nearly 30 years. However, this stubbornness of Armenia resulted in the loss of it`s 10,000 soldiers in 2020 and their expulsion from the territories that they occupied. The Iron Fist Operation was the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions by the Azerbaijani Army. This operation also had the purpose of teaching Armenia to respect international law, preventing it from impeding the establishment of peace in the region, and thus creating peace.
It is impossible for this important question not to arise: Why didn’t Armenia end this occupation before thousands of its soldiers died? Do they have to be punished to come to the right path?
On November 10, 2020, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan signed a trilateral declaration of Armenia’s acceptance of defeat and withdrawal. All three leaders signed the second declaration on January 11, 2021 in Moscow in support of the November 10 declaration on the observation that Armenia’s steps towards the peace are very slowly. After these two important documents in the direction of peace, statement of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and the President of the Russian Federation was signed in Sochi, Russia on November 26, 2021.
The Armenian side has still not fulfilled any of its obligations arising from these documents it signed. By making a humanitarian gesture for the Armenian minority in the Karabakh region, the Azerbaijani side allowed Russia to temporarily deploy the peacekeeping force in the region. At the same time, it also aimed to enable the native Azerbaijanis, who were forced to migrate from their homeland during the Armenian occupation, to return to their own homes and live together in peace with them. The declaration of 10 November 2020 stipulated that the Armenian armed units, which remained behind, would leave the territory of Azerbaijan in parallel with the entry of Russian peacekeepers into the region. But illegal armed forces of Armenia continue to remaining in the Azerbaijani territory. One of the countless evidences is that the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces Sahak Sahakyan on June 29, 2022 at a meeting with the parents of the recruits from Armenia stated that: “Armenian conscripts in the Karabakh region will be replaced by servicemen of active military service”. Another confessional statement is that the Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia Armen Grigoryan in an interview dated July 19, 2022 reminded that “the withdrawal of the units of the Armed Forces of Armenia from Karabakh will be completed by September of this year”. Both statements are confessions and contradict the obligations undertaken by Armenia, and it clearly demonstrates that Armenia still illegally deploys its armed military units on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
After Armenia signed the capitulation act, we can say that there are more illegal activities of Armenia rather than steps towards peace that prepares the legal basis of severe military operations by Azerbaijan. That is, the remnants of Armenian military units remaining in the territory of Azerbaijan, the digging of trenches in the territory of Azerbaijan against the Azerbaijani Army, the opening of fire against the Azerbaijani Army, the martyrdom of the Azerbaijani soldier in Lachin on August 3, lay the ground for anti-terrorist operations by the Azerbaijani Army. Thus, it was inevitable for the Azerbaijani Army to carry out an anti-terrorist operation on August 3-4. Many illegal Armenian soldiers were killed and wounded. Armenia has started to reduce the number of illegal troops in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region. The number of appeals made to the Azerbaijan Government regarding the integration desires of the Armenians in the region has increased. Why after Azerbaijan`s retaliation operation?
Without wasting any more time the Armenian side should understand that the temporarily deployed Russian peacekeeping force is on the Azerbaijani territory for the integration of the Armenian minority into Azerbaijan. Fabrication of new concepts such as “Karabakh military units”, “contact line”, “ceasefire” will not be of any use to Armenia and Armenians via the tactics of gaining time. It is clear that the criminal illegal separatist gang also cannot stay in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan any longer by continuing its racist rhetoric, corruption and embezzlement activities. The existence of this gang and its prevention of integration lays the legal and logical basis for new and larger-scale anti-terrorist operations by the Azerbaijani Army.
It is seen that Armenia is also dragging its feet on the issue of the Zangezur Corridor, which it has committed by signing the documents mentioned above. It is not a logical and ethical choice to prevent the regional peace and stability, as well as the opening of transportation-communication routes that will be beneficial on a global scale. Although it has been stated many times that Armenia will benefit most from the opening of transportation-communication routes, it is difficult to understand the reason for this delay.
The past and the logic tells us that it is not useful at all to wait for punishment to fulfill obligations.
Dr. Elsevar SALMANOV