Nagorno-Karabakh war 2020: the war is over – The war in Nagorno-Karabakh is a tragedy reminiscent of the mechanical piano. Correspondent Dagens Nyheter examines the prehistoric status quo, in which the space for good neighborliness.
Nagorno-Karabakh War 2020: The War is Over, The Conflict Remains
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – One of the world’s longest conflicts is unfolding in a wonderfully beautiful mountainous region. The war that began at the end of September now seems to be over. But the conflict itself isn’t going anywhere.
“No one thought we would lose control of Hadrut. So we didn’t take anything with us. My photo album is still there.”
Armenian Gagik Avanisyan said quietly to me over the phone. He speaks calmly, basically like a temporary problem.
On Oct. 10, he had to give up all his past life. From his house, his construction company, his property, including photos. Everything he owned stayed in Hadrut, his hometown in southern Nagorno-Karabakh near the Iranian border.
Now, these territories will be under the control of Azerbaijan for at least five years. According to a recently concluded agreement, Azerbaijan will retain all the territories it occupies in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Twenty-nine years ago, Leyla Jahangirova found herself in the same situation as Gagik Avanesian does today. In 1991, at the age of eight, Leyla had to leave her home village of Tug, near Hadrut.
“We thought we’d be back soon, so we took almost nothing with us. At the last moment, dad had an epiphany and he seized a photo album,” Dzhangirova said.
Gagik is Armenian. Leyla is Azerbaijani. The war has played a huge role in both of their lives.
Nagorno-Karabakh war 2020: The Karabagh Mountains are an ever-repeating tragedy.
“Garabagh” is a compound word in Turkish and Persian, meaning “black garden.” “Mountainous” comes from Russian and means “in the mountains. In Armenian, this territory is known as Artsakh.
The name suits the region well. In spring, the mountains are juicy and vividly green, even turning into a deep blue with black shades. This mountainous province, about the size of Harland in Sweden, is even more beautiful than the landscape of the Lord of the Rings. Wherever they are, medieval Armenian churches and monasteries are a silent testament to how long Armenians have lived here.
But the Azerbaijanis also have a close relationship with Karabakh. Geographically, the territory is located near the plains of Azerbaijan. For centuries, Azeri shepherds used to take their livestock to the summer pastures in the mountains. Shusha is the home of many famous Azerbaijani scientists, poets, writers and musicians. Shusha is the cultural capital of the province, where the two cultures have long intermingled.
“We are very similar to each other. We use Persian and Russian words.” We cook the same food. Leyla Jahangirova says, “We are debating whether dolma and lavash are Armenian or Azerbaijani dishes.
She’s in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and I’m interviewing her by phone. And Gajik is in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Both are refugees: Leyla has been a refugee for 29 years, and Gajik has been one since October 10.
Both are eager for one thing: to return home.
Hadrut is located south of Nagorno-Karabakh, close to the demarcation line drawn in 1994 when the first war between Armenia and Azerbaijan was interrupted. The warring sides subsequently reached a ceasefire.
Yerevan and Baku came close to a peace treaty twice, in 1999 and 2011, and the negotiations were reduced to ashes when the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, along with several other Armenian politicians, were gunned down after a terrorist attack on the Parliament in 1999.
In 2011, in Kazan, the parties failed at the last minute to agree on a final amendment.
On September 27 of this year, war broke out again. The hometown of Gagik Avanisyan Khadrut was in the line of fire from day one. Gagik didn’t want to leave until the last day, convinced that Armenia’s defenses would stand.
“I’m in my 60s, so I wasn’t drafted. Instead, I became a driver and brought the people to safety. Everyone tried to help as much as possible. But when the Azerbaijani army entered Hadrut, there was no one to protect us. Everyone went to the front.” Gajik Avanyan said.
According to him, from the first day, the enemy bombed civilians in Hadrut.
“When we took the civilians out of Hadrut, the artillery opened fire on us.” From Smerchy and Hurricane.”
“Smerchy and Hurricane – Soviet artillery systems. Gagiku was familiar with the sound of their shells approaching their targets – whistling and evil. He is a veteran of the first war, which took place in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1991-1994.
According to Human Rights Watch, both Armenia and Azerbaijan are guilty of firing at civilian targets and using banned cluster bombs. Both sides deny this. However, it is clear that these crimes were deliberately committed in order to terrorize the enemy.
The history of Nagorno-Karabakh is a story of both coexistence and conflict. It’s wrong to talk about eternal hatred. After all, though, the two countries have lived together for centuries.
But violence has always existed. In 1920, Azerbaijani soldiers entered the important city of Shusha and drove out the Armenians. Three years later, the Bolsheviks decided that Nagorno-Karabakh should become part of the Azerbaijani Soviet Republic. This decision is often criticized as a classic example of Soviet social engineering. The Soviet Union intentionally created ethnically heterogeneous regions, so it was easy to manipulate people by fumigating conflicts.
However, Thomas de Waal, one of the world’s leading experts on the Caucasus, argues that this model does not apply to Nagorno-Karabakh. In his famous book, The Black Garden. (first published in 2003) he writes that from an economic and logical point of view, it is more practical to make the region part of Azerbaijan. Armenia is on the other side of the mountain. Economically, Karabakh has always been more closely linked to Azerbaijan.
Other experts believe that Nagorno-Karabakh War 2020 was handed over to Azerbaijan in order to strengthen support for communism in the Muslim part of Asia.
In the late 1980s, Armenians began to demand that the province be annexed to Armenia. Yerevan established the so-called Karabakh Committee, the first official organization in the Soviet Union that was not controlled by the Communist Party. The Azerbaijanis of Karabakh protested For them, becoming part of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic was unthinkable.
The Soviet forces were excluded and the former Armenians and former Azerbaijanis had to leave their villages because of ethnic cleansing. This went on for many years, and in 1991, the war officially broke out.
There were two competing versions of the situation in which the two peoples lived together during the Soviet period. The Armenians talk about a systematic policy of “Azerbaijanization”. Azerbaijanis – about the problems caused by Armenian nationalism.
“My nanny is Armenian. The woman who pierces my ears is Armenian. The girl next door that I used to play with was Armenian. I have a lot of Armenian friends in kindergarten and school. Armenians and Azerbaijanis go to each other’s weddings and funerals. Leyla Jahangirova says, “The only thing we differ in is our religion, the rest of us have the same culture”. . Both Armenians and Azerbaijanis live in her home village of Tuga.
But the picture doesn’t seem familiar to Gagik Avantian.
“We Armenians are constantly feeling moral pressure. The leadership of the Baku party regularly settles Azerbaijanis in the region, which reduces the percentage of Armenians. People are appointed to all senior positions in Baku. And it was always some strange Azerbaijanis, not Armenians from Karabakh. They used to send doctors to us and sometimes even refused to talk to us in languages other than Azeri.”
At the same time, both Leila and Gagik point out that the two countries often know each other’s language.
“Both my parents speak Armenian. Leyla Jahangirova says, “My Armenian nanny knows Azerbaijani”.
According to Gagik, first of all, the older generation knows the language well.
“I refused to learn Azerbaijani, purely on principle. Most young people don’t want to do that. But the older generation often speaks Azeri. It’s not a difficult language, it has Russian and Persian vocabulary just like us. And they have the same cultural customs.”
During the wars of the 1990s, Azerbaijan was plunged into political chaos. There were several changes of power and incompetent military leadership in the country, and the Armenians won some victories almost without a fight. In May 1992, for example, the most historically and culturally significant city, Shusha, was captured after Azerbaijani soldiers deserted.
Russia supplied the Armenians with ammunition and sent officers to Armenia. But Azerbaijan received the same assistance. The Armenians won because they were better prepared and had a stronger fighting spirit.
Now the situation was reversed. The Azerbaijani army was better equipped, it had, for example, Israeli drones, which wreaked havoc on the Armenian defenses. More than a month of fighting has passed, and the Azerbaijanis have managed to return most of the buffer zone around Karabakh, which was previously controlled by Armenia.
But most importantly, Azerbaijan won the battle for Shusha, which is the most important city in Nagorno-Karabakh from a cultural and historical point of view. It is located in the mountains above the capital, Stepanakert, and it effectively gives Azerbaijan military control over the capital.
According to the agreement that Armenia was forced to sign, Azerbaijan will get Shusha and the entire buffer zone and will keep all occupied areas of Nagorno-Karabakh War 2020.
In an interview with the independent newspaper RBK, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said with satisfaction that “the myth of the so-called victory of the Armenian army has been shattered”. He also repeated several times that Azerbaijan is ready to go all out this time.
“We keep hearing that there is no military solution. But we have shown on the battlefield that there is no military solution. We have changed the situation.” He said in the same interview.
A few weeks ago, a video of Azerbaijani soldiers shooting two Armenian prisoners of war spread on the Internet. The video was incredibly brutal: the prisoners, one of whom was elderly, were wrapped in an Armenian flag and shot. Azerbaijan claims that the video is fake and should be used as a weapon of propaganda warfare.
However, the respected international news organization Bellingcat studied the video and confirmed that it was real. Men were shot to death in Hadrut, not far from their homes, Gagik Avanesian and Leyla Jahangirova.
“I refuse to watch this video. Why would I do that? When I was at the front of myself in the 1990s, we soldiers always kept the last grenade or bullet for ourselves. If we were captured, we committed suicide,” said Gajik Avanesyan.
He called the Azerbaijanis “Turks.” Many Armenians equate Turkic-speaking Azerbaijanis with Turks, even though Azerbaijanis are Shiites and Turks are Sunnis, and their languages are different. But Armenians directly link the genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1917 to Azerbaijan.
Leyla Jahangirova very much hoped that this war would not have to be waged. At the same time, she stressed that Azerbaijani refugees have the right to return to their homes. That was also confirmed by international conventions.
The war in Nagorno-Karabakh has led to a large number of internal refugees in Azerbaijan. In terms of the country’s population, perhaps the largest number of internal refugees in the world is nearly one million. Many lived in primitive camps for years after the war.
“I saw the war when I was a kid.” I don’t want to relive it again. But Azerbaijan has the right to reclaim its territory. The refugees have been waiting almost 30 years to go home. I wish we could sit down and talk. I absolutely believe that we can live with Armenians in Karabakh, and I sometimes meet Armenians from Karabakh at various meetings. And every time we somehow find each other and are together. We have a lot in common. Leyla Jahangirova said, “President Aliyev promised that when the region is unified with Azerbaijan, Armenians living in Karabakh will be able to stay.
But Gagik Avanisyan doesn’t believe in this promise, one gram.
“The Azerbaijanis managed to massacre us in Sumgait and Baku as early as the Soviet period, despite the Communists’ attempts to stop them. So imagine what awaits us now if we let them into Nagorno-Karabakh. The genocide will begin.”
Nagorno-Karabakh War 2020: Conflict History
The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have a long history. Christianity began to spread in the region in the fourth century. As early as the beginning of the fifth century Armenians began to build churches and monasteries. The role of Christian Armenian monasteries continued to grow in the seventh and eighth centuries. The Persian kingdom controlled most of this mountainous region.
In the eleventh century, the Seljuks, ancestors of the present Azerbaijanis, arrived there. They grazed their sheep on the summer pastures in the Karabakh mountains, and their descendants continue to do so to this day.
For centuries, Armenian settlements were subordinate to Muslim rulers. Persian and Turkic influences are visible in the language and many cultural practices. Women in Karabagh were also treated more conservatively than their Armenian counterparts.
In 1813, the Russian Empire brought the region under its control.
In 1924, Nagorno-Karabakh became part of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. The party leadership in Baku began to settle Azeris in Karabakh. In 1923, the percentage of Armenians was 94%, and by 1979 it had reached 75.9%.
At the end of the 1980s, pogroms began to take place in Armenia against Azerbaijanis and Armenians in Azerbaijan. People were fleeing across the border in whole villages.
In 1988, the Armenian pogroms took place in Sumgait.
In 1988 the “Karabakh” commission was formed, which demanded the reunification of Karabakh with Armenia.
From 1991 to 1994, there was a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
In 1994 there was a truce. Armenia controlled the whole of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding Azerbaijani regions.
The war broke out again on September 17, 2020. Azerbaijan returned most of the lost areas bordering Nagorno-Karabakh.
On 9 October, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a treaty under which Azerbaijan retained all conquered areas, all refugees could return to their homes and Armenia had to withdraw from the rest of the buffer zone.
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