The following article has links to graphic footage.

The 2nd of April 2016 marks the thawing of an unofficial ceasefire that followed the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994. Following the 1994 ceasefire, the independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabkh remained internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan despite Baku having no control over the region.

What separates this war however from its 1994 predecessor, is that Baku has had over two decades to invest its vast oil wealth into modernizing and building its military. This is a luxury that Armenia, a small landlocked and resourceless state, has not had. However, why is this small region so important geopolitically, culturally and historically?


Nagorno-Karabkh is a small enclave within Azerbaijan, however, since the end of the war in 1994, Armenian paramilitaries and the government of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabkh hold other lands in Azerbaijan proper creating an unhinged border between Armenia and the unrecognized Republic.


The embarrassing defeat to the demographically and militarily inferior Armenian forces accelerated nationalist sentiment in Azerbaijan. This led to the destruction of ancient Armenian sites in a systematic manner in an attempt to remove all cultural and historical legacies of the Armenian people in Azerbaijan and to falsify history, particularly in the Nakhichevan enclave.

This is in the same manner in which Turkey had attempted to remove all Armenian cultural and historical legacy in its land that eventually culminated into the Armenian genocide. The Azeri’s as ethnic and linguistic brethren to the Turks have continued this policy of eliminating any Armenian connection to the land.

Nationalists in Turkey and Azerbaijan, particular the far-right terrorist group the Grey Wolves who also have a chapter in Azerbaijan, advocate for a union between the two countries. Therefore the same anti-Armenian sentiment found in Turkey is also found in Azerbaijan.

The latest destabilization by Azerbaijan has prompted Turkish President Erdogan to announce that Turkey stands with Azerbaijan ‘to the end.’ This is unsurprising when one realizes that the Azeris and Turks are one and the same in its Armenia policy. Just as the Turks killed over 1.5 million Armenians in a genocide it has yet to recognize, the Azeris engaged in a violent pogrom against Armenians within its territory and engaged in a systematic destruction of Armenian sites. Turkey’s open support for Azerbaijan comes despite the Azeri’s starting this latest bout of conflict.

Therefore, what else did Nagorno-Karabakh have but to defend itself against a discriminatory dictatorship in Baku?

The role of Russia cannot be overlooked though. A 2015 report found that Azerbaijan bought 85% of its weapons in the previous 5 years from Russia. This accounted for over $4 billion worth of arms trade.

These trade deals come as Armenia hosts two Russian bases. It seems Moscow is walking a fine line between economic gain through Azerbaijan and having positive relations with its traditional ally in Armenia.

Although Russia cannot intervene directly in the Nagorno-Karabkh conflict as it would lose international political and military standing whilst its fighting terrorists in Syria, it can hold great influence over both warring parties.

With Turkey downing a Russian jet in Syria late last year, and Russia having a significant presence in Armenia, it is difficult to fathom a Turkish intervention against Armenia despite the rhetoric coming from Ankara.

Armenian memories of a genocide committed by the Turks, and pogroms along with destruction of historical sites by their Azeri kin, would resonate on why Nagorno-Karabkh cannot be lost.

With Azerbaijan following the line that it is only attempting to liberate the land it lost in in the last war, it cannot explain why its soldiers cut off the ears of its victims, a Turkish tradition dating back to the Ottoman era.

Footage also emerged of Azeri soldiers parading the head of a Yezidi fighting for Nagorno-Karabkh in scenes that would resemble something from an ISIS video. A professional standing arming that is mostly armed by Russia had beheaded a person, yet little international condemnation can be heard.

There’s also the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azeri forces that has led to the death of an innocent 12 year old boy.

The mutilations of dead bodies, beheadings and indiscriminate shelling of civilians has led to no international condemnation with media towing the line of being ‘neutral’ despite the Azeri initiating the conflict.

Meanwhile prominent Russia Today reporter, Murad Gazdiev, is in the conflict zone dismissing that Azerbaijan are adhering to a ceasefire it announced. He has also reported on Azeri forces using illegal cluster bombs.

Again, there was no condemnation to the use of these weapons by Azeri forces.

The struggle in Nagorno-Karabkh is one for the very survival of its Armenian history and population. Armenian’s have seen what happened to its people and history in the Nakhichevan enclave and do not want a repeat of it.

Azeri dictator Aliyev admitted in an interview in 2002 that he ‘tried to increase the number of Azeris and to reduce the number of Armenians’ in Nagorno-Karabkh. This was coupled during the Soviet times of incentives for Azeri’s to migrate to the predominately Armenian region to engage in a demographic shift as had happened in Nakhichevan. This also goes hand in hand with Azeri falsification of history to lay claims to a land that they are recent to whilst downplaying the rich connection Armenians have to the land.

However, with the near collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, Armenians still remained the majority in the region at 76.4% to the Azeris 22.4%. With the Azeri failure in demographic change, and the memories fresh in Armenian minds of the atrocities the Azeri’s and their Turkish kin have committed against them, it was no surprise they chose to fight from the grapples of its oppressors.

It is yet to be seen how the international community will respond to this conflict, but its eyes must be peeled carefully on Azerbaijan so that it does not descend into another radical Islamist hotspot. The first war saw around 1500 Afghani and Arab mujihadeen’s fight, along with thousands of Turkish volunteers including the Grey Wolves, and hundreds of Islamist Chechens. If Azerbaijan are to follow the same policy in recruiting Islamists, Azerbaijan has the potential to descend into chaos that is now seen in Syria and Iraq, all the whilst Armenian’s continue to defend their historical homeland in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Therefore the fight in Nagorno-Karabakh is not one of Azerbaijan reclaiming its internationally recognized land, but rather one of the Armenian’s fighting for its very survival in its ancestral lands. As emphasized, the memory of Nakhichevan in which the Armenian population were killed and driven away, and its historical sites destroyed, resonate deeply. A repeat of that is now being avoided in Nagorno-Karabakh so long as the Armenian fighters resist the Azeri aggression.

Although as of writing a new ceasefire has been agreed, it remains to be seen how long this will last. Azerbaijan have already embarrassingly lost countless tanks, aircraft and personnel to a supposedly inferior force.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Al-Masdar News.
Paul Antonopoulos is currently a Candidate for an MA Degree, writing his dissertation on the Saudi-Iranian Geopolitical Rivalry in the Syrian War.
You can follow him on twitter: @oulosP


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  1. Wow finally unbiased reporting! Honest and straight forward it’s a breath of fresh air to hear the truth all you hear is the azeris Bullshit propaganda machine. Thank you Armenia is great full. Long live Syria and the Lion Assad!!

  2. Alright– an article that speaks the truth without apologies. Finally! The turks (including the azerbaijani’s) have been trying to falsify history for as long as they have existed. Search for “Azeries destroy Armenian cemetery in Julfa” on youtube. There, the azerbaijani army destroyed several thousand year old Armenian cross stones. Idiots were even caught on camera as they destroyed the historical site. The damage was so bad that the change was visible from outer space. Still, because they have no shame, now they claim, “see, Armenians never lived here. This has always been azerbaijani land.” Never mind that azerbaijan was created for the first time ever in 1918.

  3. The sitution Armania- Azari region is part of bigger deal. If you look at the map you see Iran- Saudi involve in every conflict. The Sodomite da’esh loving Saudi are fighting to their lifes now

  4. Your “understanding” of this conflict is not based on the legal principles, international conventions or jurisprudence. It is based on pan-Orthodox principle or worse a Sectarianism which play-book of fascism/imperialism. In that sense you are no different than the Nato’s mercenaries that are spreading havoc in Iraq and Syria for past decade and more. Now since you are a “white” and I assume European than you fall in category of the West-stricken man, Imperialist one, that is to say, somebody else territory is mine because it is their “ancestral” lend.

    If you are into camp of Pax-Russiana than the same above principle apply as for the Nato’ one. Let’s face it, a Cultural identity of the “others” is your problem (hate) not disputed border of that region which is fully part of Azerbaijan. Double standard is your problem, as a such no amount of education will make-you-better-person let alone journalist.

  5. n Brussels it was TERRORISM! In San Bernardino it was TERRORISM! In Tel Aviv, the shooting was TERRORISM! In France it was TERRORISM! But if Azerbejan violates the 1994 treaty with Karabagh, and attacks and beheads Karabagh’s soldiers it is ok and NOT TERRORISM!! Don’t you see international discrimination from world countries in power when it is not profitable for them!?! I DO!

    • More manipulation, obfuscation, and redirection. How do you see world around you, as an collection of idiots, uneducated serf? i.e. as Amerikans. Really?

      Go back to your family and friends or boyfriend with this narrative.

      Go get that PhD but you will still be UNEDUCATED and find a job at Brookings and similar imperial fascists outlet. Yes, I know it is “dream” job for you.

  6. Thank you for your honest reporting! Turkey & Azerbaijan are the two largest terrorist funding countries in the world. They train,support & fund Terrorism. If the world wants to truly stop Terrorism for good then these two Barbaric countries need to be control. The poor civilized Christian Armenians have been fighting them for hundreds of years for survival. We need to help our brothers & sisters in Armenia to continue to survive sandwiched between these two Barbaric countries. We must support Armenia in it’s quest for survival!