Nagorno-Karabakh War - Armenia vs Azerbaijan

Aeneas

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I was not too sure whether to open a new thread about the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but as it is still about the conflict between the Western empire and Russia, it is valid to post it here. Thorbiorn has already posted about it and here is another article that explains a bit more and also the appearance of war so to be in a better bargaining position. Lavrov is meeting the Azerbaijani president on the 7th of April so that could explain it as the author of this article thinks:
http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/04/armenia-azerbaijan-simulation-of-war.html

Armenia-Azerbaijan: Simulation of War
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April 2, 2016

Kommersant

Translated by Kristina Kharlova


“Kommersant” observer Maxim Yushin — on causes of the new escalation in the Karabakh conflict zone


Judging by the statements coming from Yerevan, Baku and Stepanakert, you might think that a big war has already broke out in the region. But "offensive across the entire line of contact" reported in the last hours, looks quite different. In fact, we observe local skirmishes, albeit very intense, and battles of local importance that are unlikely to result in anything more serious.

None of the parties are now ready to start a big war. With the Armenian side it is clear — it will not launch it by definition. War may only be started by the party which lost in the previous war, and the 1992-94 conflict ended with the victory of Armenians. Today, they control not only almost the entire territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, but also (fully or partially) the seven districts of Azerbaijan. There is no reason for Armenians to capture anything else, their interest is to maintain the status quo.

Another thing is Azerbaijan. The return of the "occupied territories" — is a national idea, goal, dream. That in case of the failure of peace talks Baku will be ready to force the return of Aghdam, Fuzuli, Lachin and Stepanakert, officials and president Aliev periodically remind the fellow citizens and international community. One of the most reliable ways to make the world remember Karabakh conflict, not to allow to completely freeze it, is to maintain tension on the contact line. Thus it has been long noticed — the situation in Karabakh and around it often intensifies on the eve of important international negotiations. And they are coming next week — on April 7 the foreign minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov is flying to Baku.

At the official level, the rhetoric of Azerbaijani authorities is very aggressive. When I was recently in Baku, not a single person missed a chance to tell me that Azerbaijan's military budget exceeds the entire budget of Armenia. Thanks to petrodollars Baku can really afford to spend much more on the needs of the armed forces than Yerevan. And today the Azerbaijani army is very different from that which was defeated by Armenians twenty years ago.

But, as I was told by Russian and Western sources familiar with the situation, deep inside Azerbaijani politicians and military continue to fear a potential enemy and want to avoid a serious clash. Too strong is the shock from the defeats of the 1990-ies. And by and large, there can be no assurance that in the event of a new war — real, not demonstrative — Baku will be able to win. Despite the modernization of the army in recent years, there is a parity between the armament of the Azerbaijani and Armenian forces (if you combine forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia itself). Besides, Armenia is Russia's ally, is included in the CSTO, i.e. in case of attack on its territory (outside Nagorno-Karabakh) theoretically there is a risk of Moscow getting involved in the conflict.

And Baku knows it. As they understand, that if a full-scale war breaks out, all the relative well-being, which the authorities have achieved in the last decade — before oil prices plunged, followed by the collapse of the national currency — manat, will be under threat. Social problems in Azerbaijan had exacerbated in recent years, but nowhere close to how they will deepen if the country is drawn into conflict with Armenia, during which it is impossible to exclude strikes on oil fields, pipelines, and other industrial facilities.

Being a pragmatist, Ilham Aliyev does not want to risk the current stability for the sake of war with unpredictable outcome. But public opinion (especially media, as well as part of the Azerbaijani elite) today is very determined, if not revanchist. The authorities have to consider this fact. And occasionally mimic activity at the fronts, so the people don't get the impression that the president accepted defeat and the loss of the "occupied lands".

In other words, stabilization in the conflict zone cannot be expected in the foreseeable future . The war will be periodically simulated. And it's bad news. But there is good news: imitation of war is still not a war.

***

KK: Russia has been very careful not to take sides in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in order not to upset the delicate balance, seeking closer relations with both countries and maintaining peace in the Caucasus, however Turkey and USA had professed their support for Azerbaijan, which may provide it with too much dangerous confidence. Incidentally, Azerbaijani president was visiting Washington during the break out of the new round of hostilities.
 

Aeneas

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Re: Re: Civil War in Ukraine: Western Empire vs Russia

Regarding the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, then there is as always the likelyhood of outside influences...those who love color revolutions and regime change. Something the vice-speaker of the Russian Duma also noted:
http://tass.ru/en/politics/866824

MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. Vice speaker of Russia’ State Duma (lower house of parliament) Sergei Zheleznyak has said a "third force" is behind developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh region describing them as a provocation.

"It is clear that the force that continues to fan the flames of war in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus dissatisfied with the peacekeeping and counter-terror success of Russia and our allies in Syria is interested in the speedy exacerbation of the protracted conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region," the parliamentarian wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday.

According to Zheleznyak, "neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia essentially need this exacerbation now." He noted that "there is every likelihood that this provocation has been organized by a third force," adding that "information on its presence is beginning to leak out." In view of this, he drew attention to the fact that "at night in the mountains it is enough to have a few trained armed persons who know the opposing sides’ balance of forces to provoke them to open reciprocal ‘reprisal’ fire."

"That’s why the Russian president and our government agencies urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to cease fire and not to allow to draw them into someone else’s insidious game, as long as it is still possible," he noted, adding that "Russia will do its utmost to defuse tensions in the Caucasus."

"I hope the Caucasian wisdom will prevail over emotion," Zheleznyak wrote.

According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, there are fatalities on both sides after Saturday’s armed clashes in the region. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry earlier said the Armenian Armed Forces had intensively shelled the populated localities along the contact line. Later it said that the Azerbaijani armed forces had brought under their control a number of strategic heights and inhabited localities in Nagorno-Karabakh. The two countries blame each other for the deterioration of the situation.

Neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan fell out with each other in the late 1980s because of Nagorno-Karabakh, the disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up but was mainly populated by Armenians.

In 1991-1994, the confrontation spilled over into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and some adjacent territories. Thousands left their homes on both sides in a conflict that killed 30,000. A truce was called between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh republic on one side and Azerbaijan on the other in May 1994.

Talks on Nagorno-Karabakh have been held on the basis of the so-called Madrid Principles suggested by co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - Russia, France and the United States - in December 2007 in the Spanish capital. They include three key principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act: refraining from the threat or use of force, territorial integrity and the right to self-determination.
 

Aeneas

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Re: Re: Civil War in Ukraine: Western Empire vs Russia

One can see that from the viewpoint of the empire a conflict in this area puts pressure on both Iran and Russia and complicates things. Iran borders both countries in the conflict and is also calling for calm:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/04/03/458801/iran-azerbaijan-armenia-calm/



Iran has called for an immediate halt in clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces along the disputed border region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
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Tehran called on both of its northern neighbors to “refrain from any manner or action” which could "worsen the situation," said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari on Saturday.

He added his country recommends that they cease hostilities by reaching a peaceful solution within the framework of the United Nations regulations.

Jaberi Ansari underlined that as the region has been the scene of “destructive actions” by extremist groups, the news of such clashes has aroused "severe concerns" for Iran.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also voiced concerns over the conflict and called on both parties to stop the fighting.

“The secretary-general urges all relevant parties to put an immediate end to the fighting, fully respect the ceasefire agreement and take urgent steps to deescalate the situation,” said the statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson.

The chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, also urged a halt in the conflict.

"Steinmeier is calling on the sides to cease hostilities immediately," read an OSCE statement.

Following the escalation in the disputed region, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Russia said that his country was prepared for a military solution.

“The attempts of a peaceful solution to this conflict have been underway for 22 years. How much more will it take? We are ready for a peaceful solution to the issue. But if it’s not solved peacefully then we will solve it by military means,” said Polad Bulbuloglu.

Earlier, Azerbaijan announced that 12 of its troops had been killed and Armenia said 18 had lost their lives in the violence which started overnight Friday.

After the announcement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan phoned his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, to express his condolences over the Azeri casualties.

"The Turkish president expressed his support and solidarity in relation to the events on the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani and stressed that the Turkish people will always be with the people of Azerbaijan," read a statement released by the Azeri president’s press service.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also reacted to the conflict urging "an immediate ceasefire."

Karabakh region, which is located in the Azerbaijan Republic but populated by Armenians, has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian militia and the Armenian troops since a three-year war, claiming over 30,000 lives, over the region ended between the two republics in 1994 through Russian mediation.

Last December, the Armenian Defense Ministry said the ceasefire deal reached in 1994 was no longer in place, saying the current situation amounted to “war.”

Although the two countries are divided by a buffer zone, both sides frequently accuse one another of violating the ceasefire.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
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Re: Re: Civil War in Ukraine: Western Empire vs Russia

The escalation of hostility in Nagorno-Karabakh also comes at a time when Russia and Turkey are showing signs of willingness to mend the fences as indicated by http://www.sott.net/article/315710-Trying-to-make-nice-Turkey-to-restore-Russian-monument-in-Istanbul http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160401/1037314310/turkey-russia-signals-response.html and http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160401/1037313423/turkey-russia-su24-killer.html This event happened right after these news. In Ukraine there also was a third force which kept the war going, when it looked like it would subside. One can, and without excluding other possibilities name two governments who are not interested in Turkey Russian cooperation, one country is East of Gaza and the other North of Mexico.

In the meantime it appears Aserbaijan has achieved something
http://sputniknews.com/asia/20160403/1037404508/azerbaijan-halts-karabakh-op.html#ixzz44kuEg3dg said:
"Striving for peace and taking into account the calls of international organizations, Azerbaijan has made a decision to unilaterally stop retaliatory military operations and will seek to strengthen the recently liberated territories," Vagif Dyargahly told RIA Novosti
Yesterday it was claimed and denied that Azerbaijan took some villages, from the statement that indeed seems to be the case.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Armenia has lost 10 battle tanks during the intensified Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan, according to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.

Azerbaijan Destroys 10 Armenian Tanks in Nagorno-Karabakh - Ministry
http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160403/1037407447/azerbaijan-armenia-karabakh-tanks.html?utm_source=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2F1Gz0iduQZo&utm_medium=short_url&utm_content=aX7C&utm_campaign=URL_shortening

Azerbaijan's military has destroyed 10 Armenian tanks in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh during nighttime clashes early on Sunday, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Sunday.

On Saturday, Armenia and Azerbaijan noted a sharp escalation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, with both sides accusing each other of violating the ceasefire that had been in place since 1994.

The Armenian side is escalating the situation despite the Russian-led initiative to resume the ceasefire from 15:00 p.m. Baku time (11:00 GMT), the spokesman added.

Earlier on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts, discussing Russia's steps toward settlement and urging to put an end to the violence.

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh began in 1988, when the Armenian-dominated autonomous region sought to secede from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, before proclaiming independence after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. In September 2015, the conflict escalated, with the sides blaming each other for violating the truce.



Azerbaijan has made a unilateral decision to halt all military operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the head of the country's Defense Ministry's press service said Sunday.

Azerbaijan Decides to Unilaterally Halt Military Operations in Karabakh
http://sputniknews.com/asia/20160403/1037404508/azerbaijan-halts-karabakh-op.html

"Striving for peace and taking into account the calls of international organizations, Azerbaijan has made a decision to unilaterally stop retaliatory military operations and will seek to strengthen the recently liberated territories," Vagif Dyargahly told RIA Novosti.

Earlier on Sunday, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced the shelling from the Armenian side across the line of contact during the night.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic claimed on Sunday morning that the shelling from the Azerbaijani side has resumed.



Heavy fighting takes place in the south-eastern and north-eastern directions of the Nagorno Karabakh- Azerbaijan line of contact.

Karabakh Defense Army liberates base captured by Azerbaijan in Talish direction
http://artsakhpress.am/eng/news/41673/karabakh-defense-army-liberates-base-captured-by-azerbaijan-in-talish-direction.html

STEPANAKERT, APRIL 3, ARTSAKHPRESS: At dawn, in response to large-scale artillery shelling by Azerbaijani forces, the Defense Army undertook counteroffensive measures and dominated the strategic base in the direction of Talish, which was earlier occupied by Azerbaijani forces. The enemy suffered heavy losses, and was forced to retreat, informed the Press Service of the Nagorno Karabakh Defense Army.

During the military operations 2 soldiers were wounded from the Karabakh side. The Nagorno Karabakh forces conduct successful military operations in the southern part of the frontline also. By withstanding the enemy’s artillery and rocket attacks, the Defense Army units destroyed 2 enemy tanks and 1 battle vehicle. Details and developments will be reported in upcoming press releases.



The Baku Declaration on the suspension of military operations in Nagorno Karabakh is not true and is an information trap, according to the Press Secretary of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia - Artsrun Hovhannisyan.

Yerevan: Azerbaijan's Ceasefire Declaration Is an Information Trap
http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/04/yerevan-azerbaijans-ceasefire.html

"The Azerbaijani statement is an information trap that does not mean a unilateral ceasefire," said the journalist on his page on "Facebook".

He also said that the Ministry of Defense of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic will make an official statement on the matter.

Previously, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said it would unilaterally stop all military operations in Karabakh.

As a reminder, on April 2nd the representatives of the unrecognized NKR, the Armenian Defense Ministry, as well as Azerbaijani security officials, reported the deteriorating security situation in the Karabakh conflict zone. Shelling and clashes were reported.

The President of Russia Vladimir Putin expressed his concern about the resumption of hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh. He urged the parties to the conflict to start a ceasefire.
 

Aeneas

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This article has a good map, which gives the geographical overview:
http://sputniknews.com/military/20160404/1037432274/azerbaijani-tanks-destroyed-morning-battle-karabakh.html
The Armenian Defense Ministry reported on Monday that three Azerbaijani tanks have been destroyed.

YEREVAN (Sputnik) – On April 2, Armenia and Azerbaijan noted a sharp escalation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, with both sides accusing each other of violating the ceasefire that has been in place since 1994. Azerbaijan announced unilateral ceasefire on Sunday, but later said military actions were resumed.

“During morning battles, three enemy tanks were destroyed,” Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Ovannisyan said on his Facebook page.

Initially, the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh began in 1988, when the Armenian-dominated autonomous region sought to secede from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, before proclaiming independence after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. In September 2015, the conflict escalated, with the sides blaming each other for violating the truce.

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thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Another article which gives the background behind the conflict
http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/fighting-nagorno-karabakh-headache-moscow/ri13720 said:
Fighting in Nagorno Karabakh: A Headache for Moscow
Russian diplomatic intervention in an area of strategic importance to Moscow is likely to prevent escalation.
Alexander Mercouris[..]

Nagorno Karabakh is a small territory which before 1988 was largely Armenian but which is now entirely so.

For complicated historical reasons, whilst the USSR was in existence, Nagorno Karabakh, despite being predominantly Armenian, instead of being incorporated in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (one of the 15 constituent republics of the USSR) was incorporated in the Azerbaijanian Soviet Socialist Republic instead.

There is much argument about the reasons for this, with the Azeris claiming that Nagorno Karabakh was always historically part of their territory, the Soviet authorities in Moscow saying it was done out for pragmatic reasons to develop a small and poor region by attaching it to the richer of the two Caucasian republics (Azerbaijan) rather than the poorer (Armenia), and some scholars saying it was the result of Stalin’s divide and rule policy.

I do not have the necessary knowledge of Caucasian history to say who is right. What I will say that what I have heard is that Nagorno Karabakh was incorporated in Azerbaijan rather than Armenia not by design but by accident - and I strongly suspect that is the truth.
The territory was apparently occupied by the Red Army and administered from Bolshevik controlled Baku (Azerbaijan’s capital) during the Russian Civil War before the Red Army conquered Armenia - which enjoyed a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution.

This arrangement was then left unchanged even after Armenia was forcibly incorporated into the USSR because of bureaucratic inertia. This was true even during the period of the Transcaucasus Soviet Socialist Republic when all these territories (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh and also Georgia) were supposedly administered jointly.

That is not to say that there were not other factors. Over time it became politically increasingly difficult to change the arrangement because of hardening Azeri opposition to any change. Apparently there were also objections to any increase in the USSR’s Armenian administered territory from Turkey’s leader, Mustafa Kemal Attaturk.

Kemal was one of Moscow’s few friends during the inter-war years and the Soviets were unwilling to offend him.

What I have also heard is that after the Second World War, following Armenian complaints, Stalin decided shortly before his death to revisit the whole issue, and was prepared to look into the possibility of having Nagorno Karabakh transferred to Armenia from Azerbaijan. Supposedly he appointed the powerful Central Committee Secretary Georgy Malenkov to carry out an inquiry to look into the question and to report back to him.

By this point relations between Russia and Turkey had all but broken down after Turkey joined NATO, so the need to appease Turkey no longer existed.

Stalin however died before a decision was made. This removed the one person with the power and authority to solve the whole problem by transferring Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan to Armenia at the stroke of a pen.
[..]
I have attached the map from the article, which continues to be useful reading, but I cut it short, for example Azerbaijan is popoulated mostly by Shia muslims.

Turkey wish to support Azerbaijan, http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/04/turkish-mercenaries-and-trainers-to.html and Georgia also wants to help out http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/04/georgian-legion-is-ready-to-help.html
Although Turkey is a possible instigator, and although it might easily get drawn in to help Azerbaijan Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov does not put the blame om Turkey: http://tass.ru/en/politics/866982 Russia doesn't blame Turkey for tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh — Lavrov.

There are people in the planet who are very concerned about creating and maintaining peace and others who don't care at all. Maybe there is reason to be optimistic about Russias, it certainly gets tested all the time.
 

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bjorn

The Living Force
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[quote author= thorbiorn]Turkey wish to support Azerbaijan, and Georgia also wants to help out[/quote]

Apparently the 'Georgian National Legion' already forgot what happened the last time when they provoked Russia.

Matters like this should be resolved through the international body of the UN. If it ever could serve it's truthful purpose. In others words, I think it's up to Russia to act yet again, this affair affects them to. Sadly any resolution of peace progress would be vetoed by the US, France, UK anyhow. Peace does not translate well to the Empire of Chaos.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Erdogan Seeks Revenge in Nagorno-Karabakh

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/erdogan-seeks-revenge-karabakh/ri13738

But Russia is ideally suited for the role of arbitrator

Originally appeared at Komsomolskay Pravda. Translated by Julia Rakhmetova and Rhod Mackenzie

http://www.balkans.kp.ru/daily/26512.7/3381021/

Over the years the author has been a prominent member of the Russian MSM and is an influential political columnist

A serious escalation of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh risks tuning into a large scale conflict, for the first time since it ended in 1994. Both sides are members of the Commonwealth of Independent States and maintain good relations with Russia, including military and technical. However, Armenia is also a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and Euro-Asian Economic Union (EurAsEC) but Azerbaijan is not. There is a Russian military base in Armenia close to the Turkish border.

Both sides accuse each other of starting the conflict. But there is another consequence to provoking escalation: after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 over Syria a few months ago, relations between the two countries deteriorated – unexpectedly it seemed. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict became a victim of the crisis in relations between Moscow and Ankara.

Even before the plane was shot down, the latter didn’t appreciate the State Duma passing a law recognizing the genocide of Armenians in 1915 (and Putin’s visit to Yerevan on the hundredth anniversary of this tragedy).

Relations between Armenia and Turkey also deteriorated over this incident. Adopting a “macho style”, Turkey has been violating the Armenian border more frequently, and as if on command, there was a sharp increase in the number of violations on the demarcation line between Azerbaijan and Armenia near Karabakh. Since 2014 there has been a steady increase in the number of incidents. This was “after the Crimea” when the work of the OSCE Minsk Group on Karabakh (which includes Russia and the USA) deteriorated.

Azerbaijan in turn spent huge amounts of money rearming during the year of high oil prices (its military budget is several times larger than Armenia’s) and made clear that it wasn’t going to wait forever for the Minsk group to come up with a solution. If they failed to solve the conflict peacefully, it would use military force. Last fall, high ranking Turkish politicians made a series of sharp statements saying that Turkey would “do its best” to help friendly Azerbaijan liberate its land.

Turkish Prime Minister Davoutoglu made his first such statement two days after shooting down the Russian plane in Syria. The same statements were made during the meeting of Erdogan and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, with a lot of pan-Turkish statements from Erdogan. Turkey has many military advisors in the Azerbaijan army, and its policy can be considered as pay-back for Moscow’s actions in Syria, in particular for supporting the Syrian Kurds.

There is another factor strengthening political position of Ilham Aliyev. When he was in Washington at the summit on nuclear security, he met with Vice President Biden, who told him Azerbaijan was strategically important for America, confirming its support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, including Karabakh.

Relations between the two countries is far better than in the 1990’s, when Baku was under American sanctions. Azerbaijan is a member of the Western coalition in Afghanistan, and American investments in Azerbaijan exceed $10 billion.

The US wants the country to become an important player in the “Southern Gas Corridor” to Europe, bypassing Russia. There is already an oil corridor, the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline through Turkey. One would think that America doesn’t need a new large Karabakh war that would ruin plans for any ‘corridors’. The only country that needs a war is Turkey, as it plays its own game in the region without considering its principal ally, NATO.

Still, there are reasons to hope that the high level relationships between Moscow, Baku and Yerevan as well as the experience working with Washington on Syria will at least allow the conflict to be refrozen if not resolved, before it’s too late.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Well, this incident explains a few things ..... Kerry and his frequent flyer-miles in action. Guess, his time in Brussels wasn't explosive enough?

Another Washington Involvement, A Kerry Visit And War Breaks Out In Nagorno-Karabakh
http://novorossia.today/another-washington-involvement-kerry-visit-war-breaks-nagorno-karabakh/

The Nagorno-Karabakh situation, whereby a territory that the UN recognizes as part of Azerbaijan is under the control of an unrecognized autonomous government backed by Armenia, has sat unresolved and rarely spoken of for 22 years. The resumption of hostilities this weekend, however, comes just days after Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, calling for an “ultimate resolution” to the conflict.

Kerry made it clear he wanted a diplomatic settlement, but that still doesn’t mean his comments didn’t play a role in precipitating these new hostilities, if it convinced Aliyev that the US isn’t going to allow the status quo to remain in place. The Nagorno-Karabakh situation is complex, but the US interest seems primarily in resolving it to spite Russia, seeing Russia as using the standoff as leverage to keep itself tied to both nations, particularly Armenia.

It”s clear the US sees a quick and clean resolution as undercutting Russian interests, but the dispute has a solid century of history underpinning it, and there is no practical “solution” that’s going to satisfy all parties. Hence, an end to the standoff is largely predicated on one side or the other imposing it militarily. That’s a war that could rapidly spread far beyond Nagorno-Karabakh, however. Armenia has heavy Russian backing, and a significant Russian military presence for defensive purposes. The primary reason isn’t Azerbaijan itself, but Turkey, which is a close ally to Azerbaijan, doesn’t care for Armenia at all, and could quickly get involved if war breaks out.

Turkey”s involvement would all but oblige Russia to back Armenia, turning this into a major regional war. Turkey’s NATO membership could rapidly escalate it even further. The US isn’t necessarily anti-Armenia, but has major business interests in Azerbaijan’s energy sector which would likely oblige them to back Turkey’s play. The 22-year status quo didn’t really satisfy anyone or open a path for resolution, but may have been better than the alternative, a dangerous and costly war.



Instructors, mercenaries and hitmen from Turkey are to help Azerbaijan's military in Nagorno-Karabakh, this fact has been reported in the Armenian media.

Turkey sends mercenaries and instructors to aid the Azerbaijani army to assult Karabakh
http://katehon.com/news/turkey-sends-mercenaries-and-instructors-aid-azerbaijani-army-assult-karabakh

"Informed sources report that on the front line of contact of the south-easterly direction towards helping the Azeri forces of the Turkish military instructors and mercenaries",

"Turkish instructors here, I confirm", - he told the Rusvesna, as a competent source in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

"Now the clashes are continuing in spite of Azerbaijan's stories about their stopping. Don't believe their words, battles and skirmishes are in fact continuing, "

Armenian-Azerbaijani tensions and serious battles with the use of heavy equipment continue to remain the focusmass media in Turkey.

Turkey's state-run news agency, citing the Turkish press claim that afterwards the Turkish President had a telephone conversation with the leader of Azerbaijan, who also hosted Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

The phone conversation heads of states, in which Erdogan expressed his condolences to Ilham Aliyev for the death of the Armed Forces troops of Azerbaijan and Baku, and assured support .



Armenia recognizes the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR)

Armenia Is Ready to Recognize the Independence of Nagorno Karabakh
http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/04/armenia-is-ready-to-recognize.html

Armenia recognizes the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), and Azerbaijan will strengthen the offensive in the conflict zone, which will ignite into a full-scale war, said the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, at a meeting with ambassadors of member countries of the OSCE in Yerevan.

According to Sargsyan, in general, if hostilities increase, this would adversely affect the security of not only the South Caucasus, but also in the European region.

"Armenia, as a party to the 1994 ceasefire agreement, will continue to fulfil its obligations to ensure the safety of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh," said Sargsyan.

According to him, Yerevan has already begun work on a military cooperation treaty with the NKR Defense Army. Sargsyan added that the OSCE should intervene in the conflict, reports RIA "Novosti".

On April 2nd, Armenia and Azerbaijan announced the resumption of the Karabakh conflict: Baku reported aggression by the armed forces of Armenia and Yerevan announced "offensive actions" from the Azerbaijani side. In three days of clashes, 33 people were killed, and more than 200 were injured.


The Hawaii State Legislature adopted a resolution on Tuesday recognizing the Independence of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.
Hawaii is the seventh U.S. state to have recognized the independence of the NKR following Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Maine, California, Georgia.

HAWAII RECOGNIZES NAGORNO-KARABAKH
http://novorossia.today/breaking-news-hawaii-recognizes-nagorno-karabakh/

HR 167 titled Honoring and Recognizing the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic resolves that the House of Representatives of the Twenty-eight Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2016, recognizes the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and encourages the international community to recognize Karabakh as a free, independent and sovereign democracy.

David Babayan, Spokesman for the NKR President stated that the resolution adopted by Hawaii State Legislature is one more significant step in international recognition of independent Artsakh, which is a victory of the Armenian people.

According to him, it is a great political, legal and moral victory, which stems from national values and special respect for Artsakh.

“We believe that it is one more significant victory of the Armenian people and one more significant step in international recognition of independent Artsakh. It is our common victory as it has been built up due to our unity – Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora,” Mr Babayan said.

“It is noteworthy that the State of Hawaii is the first to recognize independent Artsakh in that geographical area, and this is a great event, indeed.” Babayan stated.
 

Niall

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Administrator
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FOTCM Member
We've a couple of analyses about this up on Sott:

http://www.sott.net/article/315892-Armenia-vs-Azerbaijan-East-vs-West-Nagorno-Karabakh-crisis-and-the-NATO-Israeli-connection

http://www.sott.net/article/315889-Armenian-Azeri-tensions-Why-they-re-happening-and-who-benefits

As with the destruction of Russia-Turkey relations, it's clear that only the US/Western Order benefits from this latest flare-up.

In the above article by Korybko, he mentions a third recent flare-up along Russia's southern flank (in addition to Nagorno-Karabakh and Donbass): the Fergana Valley region, spread across eastern Uzbekistan, southern Kyrgyzstan and northern Tajikistan. Here's a recent report on the situation there:

Troops Deployed Near Disputed Ferghana Valley Mountain

TOL - 24 March 2016

Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have sent troops to a disputed border area; the latest in a string of incidents over the poorly demarcated border.

The incident began on 18 March when two Uzbek armored personnel carriers and about 40 soldiers arrived at the border area near a small mountain, known as Ungar-Tepa in Uzbek and Unkur-Too in Kyrgyz, which is claimed by both countries.

Kyrgyzstan then sent “dozens of armed border guards” to the area, about 10 kilometers from the western Kyrgyz town of Kerben, and moved members of a special forces unit to the area, Radio Free Europe reports.

“The majority of the twisting 1,314-kilometer-long Uzbek-Kyrgyz border is still undefined, and conflicts on and near border crossings are often violent. Several in recent years have ended with people being shot dead,” RFE says.

Kyrgyzstan also requested an emergency meeting of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to discuss the incident.

After meeting on 22 March in Moscow, the group “expressed concern" with the situation and agreed to send its deputy secretary-general, Ara Badalian, to the region. Uzbekistan left the CSTO in 2012. Kyrgyzstan has been a member since the treaty took effect in 1994.

The border incident has had an impact on domestic politics in Kyrgyzstan, with opposition groups reportedly calling off a large rally planned for today in the southern city of Osh over fears of a government “provocation,” one opposition figure said.

On 22 March an opposition rally in Kerben to protest perceived government negligence over the border issue attracted 700 demonstrators, according to Kyrgyz officials, while the opposition claimed a turnout of up to 2,500, EurasiaNet.org says.

Ahead of the planned rally in Osh today, authorities say 3,000 police and 2,000 volunteers would be deployed to maintain security.

“The show of force indicated Bishkek was taking the opposition more seriously in light of the standoff between Kyrgyz and Uzbek troops at a disputed section of the border,” EurasiaNet commented.

Bishkek saw Uzbekistan’s deployment of troops to the disputed mountain as a violation of bilateral agreements not to "militarize" border disputes, RFE says.

The long Uzbek-Kyrgyz border is pocked with enclaves. In one violent incident in 2013, residents of an Uzbek enclave attacked Kyrgyz border guards. The enclave, on the opposite side of the Ferghana Valley from the site of the latest incident, is inhabited mostly by ethnic Tajiks.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
An Armenian parliamentary commission on foreign affairs will debate a draft law recognizing the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s independence, head of the commission Artak Zakaryan told local media Saturday.

Armenian Commission to Debate Law Recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh on May 16
http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160514/1039621800/karabakh-armenia-commission.html

The Armenian government reviewed and submitted to lawmakers the bill to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on May 5.

After submission, parliamentary regulations allow for the draft bill to be added to the Armenian National Assembly’s four-day agenda. The regulation allows lawmakers to either add the bill on the agenda, reject, or postpone it.

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh erupted in 1988, when the autonomous region populated by mostly Armenians sought to secede from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, before proclaiming independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The warring sides agreed to a cessation of hostilities in 1994.

The situation in the mountainous region deteriorated in April, with Armenian and Azerbaijani sides accusing each other of provocations and attacks. On April 5, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire in Moscow under the Russian mediation.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan is scheduled to visit Vienna on May 16 for talks on settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
Looks like another flare-up is in the workings - compliments of NATO and the gang?

Baku, Fineko/abc.az. NATO starts training the Azerbaijani army for psychological and information operations during crisis.

NATO starts training Azerbaijani army for psychological and information operations during crisis
http://abc.az/eng/news/99632.html

The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan reports that the Mobile Training Group of NATO Allied Joint Forces Command conducts a Training Course on "Psychological & information operations during crisis" in Baku since 24 October.

“The aim of Course to be held until 28 October is the planning and implementation of psychological operations during operations in response to crises, as well as the preparation of presentations concerning the experience obtained in this area and use of guidance documents, organization of work in syndicate groups,” the Ministry informed.

The Course was organized within the framework of the Individual Partnership & Cooperation Programme between the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan and NATO for 2016.


The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan has suppressed the next provocation of Armenians on the Karabakh frontline.

Azerbaijan Defense Ministry suppressed next provocation of Armenians
http://abc.az/eng/news/99700.html

The Ministry reports that on 26 October, in the evening, the Armenian armed forces, using sophisticated climate condition and getting closer to the positions of our military units in southern direction, attempted to carry out provocation.

“Enemy actions were predetermined, and it was defeated by preventing strike. After suffering the losses of the dead and wounded, the enemy was forced to retreat. The Ministry warns that military and political leadership of Armenia bears full responsibility for the escalation of the situation on the line of confrontation of the troops,” it was reported.

Yesterday in Baku Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov received the EU delegation led by EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Herbert Salber.

“The meeting discussed issues related to the current situation regarding to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution. Colonel General Zakir Hasanov informed the guests about the ongoing attempts of the Armenian side to aggravate the situation on the frontline.

Mr. Salber, in turn, noted that the European Union is in favor of a speedy resolution of the conflict in a peaceful way to ensure stability in the South Caucasus region and considers it as appropriate to continue the negotiations in this sphere,” the Ministry said in a statement.

The sides also exchanged views on the military and political situation in the region and regarding to other issues of mutual interest.


Armenia on 01 January 2015 became a full-fledged member of the Eurasian Economic Union [EEU], the Russia-led trade bloc, which also includes Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The EU-like integration project includes a common customs policy, free trade, free movement of labor and other measures aimed at boosting the economies of member states.

Armenia - Relations with Russia
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/armenia/foreign-relations-ru.htm

Armenian leaders have repeatedly stated that they are not seeking NATO membership and will remain part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Russian-dominated alliance of six ex-Soviet states. Russia counts on Armenia to be its ally in the Caucasus. Armenia recognizes its reliance -- even dependence -- on Russia's continued support on security and trade issues and will remain a loyal supporter of Russian policies where it counts. Russia can rely on continued Armenian support for its military presence and for the majority of its positions in international fora such as the OSCE. Armenia can count on Russia for its role as mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Complementarity remains the watchword of Armenian foreign policy, but when push comes to shove, Russia remains Armenia's key ally.

Russia has a closer relationship with Armenia than with any other country in the South Caucasus. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Armenia's national security continued to depend heavily on the Russian military. The officer corps of the new national army created in 1992 included many Armenian former officers of the Soviet army, and Russian institutes trained new Armenian officers. Two Russian divisions were transferred to Armenian control, but another division remained under full Russian control on Armenian soil.

[...] [...]

Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to sign an agreement with Armenia on the creation of a joint regional missile defense system in the Caucasus, according to the decree published 11 November 2015. “Accept the proposal by the government of the Russian Federation on signing an agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Armenia on creating a Joint Regional System of Anti-Air Defense in the Caucasus region of collective security,” the document reads. Putin instructed the Russian Defense Ministry to sign the agreement with Armenia on behalf of the Russian Federation. According to the Council of CIS Defense Ministers, creating joint missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia regions is a key objective for the Commonwealth of Independent States.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Time has passed and according to South Front there is now a situation where:
MSM FUELS “ARMENIAN MAFIA” NARRATIVE IN GERMANY. WHAT IS GOING ON? [...] It’s interesting to note that the ongoing media campaign against the “Armenian mafia” is taking place amid important developments in the Armenian internal policy. A new pro-Western Armenian leader, Nikol Pashinyan, is now attempting to retain the power, which he has recently gained thanks to street protests. Some experts suggest that the media pressure on the Armenian diaspora in Germany could be a part of the ongoing standoff between Pashinyan and his opponents. In this case, the Der Spiegel-led media campaign against the so-called Armenian mafia would be an attempt to put an end to support, which the Armenian diaspora in Germany provides to the opposition to the new pro-Western Armenian leadership.
I posted this piece here, because it was the only thread with "Armenia" in it. And it is connected to the previous conflict with Azerbaidjan in the sense that both can be reasonably interpreted as being desirable for the aims of NATO in the region.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
To the previous post, one could add that the Armenian criminal gangs are not all innocent, see [Armenian mafia in Germany - RESEARCH] they are one of several criminal groupings about which South Front writes:
The report of Der Spiegel adressed an important issue of the organized crime and street violence. However, it’s strange that the report focused on the Armenian mafia, which operates within a 50,000-strong Armenian diaspora. The report uses noisy terms to slam the Armenian ethnic crime and to fuel tensions in this sphere.

The current complicated situation with the organized crime and street violence in Germany is an open secret. Furthermore, it has recently become even more complicated and the number of criminal acts constantly grows. However, there are much more influential ethnic criminal gangs operating and carrying out most of criminal acts (hooliganism, thefts, plunderings, robberies, drugs and human trafficking etc) in Germany. These are descendants from Albania, Turkey, Russia’s North Caucasus, Romania, Georgia as well as different ethnic groups from Russia, the Middle East and North Africa. A detailed and complex overview of these criminal groups will be more useful for understanding of the modern criminal situation in Germany.
 
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