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W Weekly Update

12-19 December

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Weekly update


19 December

Official responses in Britain to the war of Azerbaijan and its allies against the world’s oldest surviving Christian nation have tended to be low-key ritual appeals for peace, reported The Church Times.  For the Karabakhi Christians, there have been no demands from officialdom for “humanitarian” military intervention of the kinds executed in response to violence against civilians by geopolitical adversaries such as Serbia’s Miloševic, Libya’s Gaddafi, and Syria’s Assad. The options for combating persecution suggested in the Truro report (News, 17 July), such as sanctioning those responsible for atrocity crimes and tabling a UN Security Council Resolution for the protection of endangered Christian communities, were not used. This abdication of responsibility suggests that implementation of the Truro policy recommendations will follow the imperial logic of the Great Game, at the expense of endangered, but inconveniently situated, ancient Christian communities.


18 December

The European Union is ready and would like to play a role in efforts to bring about a settlement to the Karabakh conflict, the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell said on December 18, throwing his support behind efforts led by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. In line with the EU leader, who welcomed the end to military hostilities in Karabakh last month, lamented recent reports of ceasefire violations. “The ceasefire agreement that Russia brokered last 10 November, around 40 days ago, has certainly prevented further loss of life. But last week, unhappily, we have heard reports from both sides of ceasefire violations. Full respect for the ceasefire remains imperative,” he said. “The EU welcomes and supports Armenia’s strong commitment to further pursue its reform agenda and to fully implement our bilateral agreement, despite the challenges the country is confronted with,” said Borrell.


17 December

Ethnic Armenian authorities in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh accused Azeri forces on December 16 of capturing several dozen of their troops, putting further strain on a ceasefire deal that brought an end to bloody fighting in the region last month. According to CTVNews the Russian-brokered deal halted a six-week conflict between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces over the region and its surrounding areas, locking in territorial gains for Azerbaijan. Moscow has deployed peacekeepers to police the ceasefire, but skirmishes broke out on December 13. The incident came shortly after Armenia and Azerbaijan confirmed they had begun exchanging groups of prisoners of war, part of an "all for all" swap mediated by Russia. "Several dozen servicemen were taken hostage by Azeri forces in the direction of Ktsaberd village, and the defense ministry is currently trying to figure out all the circumstances," Harutyunyan said in a pre-written speech posted on his Facebook page.


16 December

“Azerbaijan’s war aims were initially limited to regaining the seven inner-Azerbaijani, Armenian-occupied districts adjacent to Upper (“Nagorno”) Karabakh.” According to The Jamestown Foundation this formulation of goals was acceptable to Russian President Vladimir Putin who, exploiting Western disengagement, had positioned himself as the unique mediator between Azerbaijan and Armenia. At every stage of the Azerbaijani forces’ advance, President Ilham Aliyev offered to stop if Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian would publicly commit to withdrawing Armenian forces from those seven Karabakh-adjacent districts by a certain date. Given Yerevan’s refusal, not only of this demand but of any negotiations unless Azerbaijan stopped advancing, Baku enlarged the definition of its war aims to include Upper Karabakh’s southern part, with the town of Shushi. This turned out to be the limit of what Putin would accept, and only in return for Azerbaijan’s consent to a Russian “peacekeeping” intervention in Upper Karabakh’s remaining territory (see EDM, November 1213). Under the November 10, 2020, armistice, Azerbaijan has regained some 80 percent of the total area that the 1994 armistice had left under Armenia’s control.


15 December

The United States essentially forfeited its influence over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and allowed Russia’s Vladimir Putin to wield power in the region, reported The National Interest in an article headlined “In Caucasus War, Russia Succeeded to Demonize Democracy.” It further goes on to say that democratic revolutions may bring short-term political freedom, but they also lead to territorial loss and an erosion of sovereignty, in contrast, Putin has shown that dictatorships and counter-revolutionary regimes succeed where their democratic predecessors fail. Elchibey in Azerbaijan, Saakashvili in Georgia, and now Pashinyan in Armenia all assumed office amidst popular acclaim. All presided over significant territorial loss—Elchibey to Armenia, Saakashvili to Russian-backed forced, and Pashinyan to Azerbaijan. Both Elchibey and Saakashvili ended their political careers in exile and disgrace and, if opposition parties in Armenia have their way, Pashinyan may not be far behind.


14 December

The meeting between the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, the Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk and the President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan has been cancelled at the initiative of the Armenian side, President Harutyunyan’s spokesperson Vahram Poghosyan told Armenpress.“ The reason of the cancellation is the incomplete format, especially given the fact that the Russian Co-Chair Igor Popov isn’t participating in the regional visit,” Poghosyan said. The American and French Co-Chairs - Andrew Schofer and Stéphane Visconti -  of the OSCE Minsk Group arrived in Armenia on December 13 after visiting Azerbaijan. On December 14, they met with the Armenian FM Ara Aivazian. A meeting with the Armenian Premier Nikol Pashinyan is underway.


13 December

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has renewed calls for zeroing out military aid to Azerbaijan and sending $250 million in U.S. assistance to Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) in the aftermath of Azerbaijan’s latest attack on Artsakh – its first major ceasefire violation following the disastrous Russia-brokered November 9th agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. As reported by The Armenian Weekly, on December 11, Azerbaijani forces attacked Artsakh’s southern Hadrut villages of Hin Tagher and Khtsabert, injuring three Armenian soldiers and raising questions about the future status and security of these Armenian villages and the nearby 4th-century Katarovank Monastery. An Armenian civilian was also reportedly captured by Azerbaijani forces.


12 December

Armenia accused Azerbaijan on 12 December of resuming “offensive operations” in Nagorno-Karabakh’s southwest one month after a Russian-brokered ceasefire that stopped the Armenian-Azerbaijani war, said Azatutyun. The Armenian Defense Ministry said the Azerbaijani army is attacking Karabakh Armenian positions near two remote villages in Karabakh’s southern Hadrut district that was mostly occupied by it during the six-week war. In a short statement, the ministry said Karabakh’s Armenia-backed army is “taking adequate measures” in response. A spokeswoman for Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said Russian peacekeeping forces deployed in Karabakh must react to the “Azerbaijani attack.” “The leadership of the peacekeepers has been fully informed about the events unfolding there since the early morning,” Mane Gevorgian wrote on Facebook. The Karabakh Defense Army said earlier in the day that three of its soldiers were wounded while thwarting an Azerbaijani attempt to attack one of its frontline positions late on Friday. A senior Karabakh official, Davit Babayan, likewise claimed that Azerbaijani forces tried to advance at a southern section of the Karabakh “line of contact” but were repelled.



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