"The risk of an Armenian-Azerbaijani war has greatly decreased." Opinion from Yerevan
Possibility of Armenian-Azerbaijani war
The Armenian Foreign Ministry does not rule out that Azerbaijan is preparing for “large-scale use of force both against the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia and against Nagorno-Karabakh.” The agency’s statement says that “all partners interested in stability and peace in the region” should take steps to eliminate “violations of international law by Azerbaijan and exclude manifestations of the use of force.”
The day before, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan also stated that Baku is creating “a media background for a large-scale attack.” According to him, as “a pretext for a new regional military escalation”, Azerbaijan claims “allegedly the Republic of Armenia has an army in Nagorno-Karabakh and that there are military transports from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.” .
“Baku has no grounds for military intervention”
Political scientist Gurgen Simonyan believes that the Azerbaijani authorities have failed to establish justifiable grounds for renewed hostilities. He says that the likelihood of a new escalation was high even immediately after the signing of the November 2020 statement on the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh, and remains elevated.At the same time, the geopolitical situation today is different from the conditions which obtained three years ago. According to Simonyan
- Turkey is unable to provide large-scale support to Azerbaijan,
- Russia is not in a position to open a second front,
- The Armed Forces of Armenia are in incomparably better condition than immediately after the 2020 war,
- Baku has failed to fully compensate for the losses after the war, and Russia, due to its own problems, was not able to supply Azerbaijan with weapons in the same volume as before,
- Iran’s Revolutionary Guard corps has been brought to the highest level of readiness for military operations on its border,
- The United States and Europe are reacting to the actions of Baku, in addition to a decision of the Hague Court on interim measures and the rejection of Azerbaijan’s accusations against Armenia.
“There is always the possibility of a resumption of hostilities because there is no peace agreement and Azerbaijan has not abandoned its previous policy, but these risks are much lower than in 2021 and 2022,” Simonyan said.
“They can strike at NK, then at Armenia”
Simonyan believes that some kind of military operation in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh is more likely.
“Here they can play out a scenario — allegedly there was a retaliatory strike from the territory of Armenia, thus creating a pretext for themselves to attack the sovereign territory of Armenia,” Simonyan believes.
In his view, Azerbaijan is unlikely to want to go against the course of the civilized world, so he does not consider the recent visit to Yerevan by former NATO Secretary General Rasmussen accidental. The latter went to the Lachin corridor and spoke of his intention to develop close cooperation with the Armenian government and obtain political support from the European Union.
Simonyan mentions that the newly appointed US Ambassador to Armenia, Christina Quinn, also visited the same place in the Syunik region bordering Azerbaijan. He believes that such visits and statements are calculated, indeed the advance of “European policy, behind which the United States stands with all its potential.”
“In the event of the outbreak of hostilities, hard times await Baku”
Simonyan believes that the United States, Europe and Iran can be deterrents for Baku and that they “will not leave a possible escalation without consequences”:
“Azerbaijan can be given the status of a state that supports terrorism, just as Russia was given this status. They can apply large-scale economic sanctions, support Armenia with military equipment. Numerous other consequences are also possible, getting out from under which will not be so easy.
Armenia is in a difficult position, Simonyan emphasizes, but it should be understood that hostilities will not be a cake-walk for Azerbaijan.
“They are pursuing a policy of extortion for maximum benefits, holding us at gunpoint. This is blackmail, not a real intent of attack.”
According to Simonyan, if they nevertheless decide to start hostilities in Baku, it will be difficult not only for Armenia, but Azerbaijan too must “expect hard times.” He does not think that “in the end Baku will win.”
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Possibility of an Armenian-Azerbaijani war