Azerbaijan implements Lachin blitzkrieg as its patience wearing thin
    Karabakh Armenians may miss the chance for reintegration

    ANALYTICS  31 March 2023 - 13:25

    Bahram Batiyev

    The last days of July 2022. Road-building team workers are satisfied with the work done: soil leveling, sand layer, gravel and crushed stone layer, high-quality asphalt - everything is in order. The Lachin alternative road, scheduled to be completed within three years, turned out to be ready in a record time of one year and eight months. The officials responsible for the construction breathed a sigh of relief: it is possible to report to Baku about the work done. On August 2, the Azerbaijani side officially informs that since the alternative road bypassing Lachin is ready, the Azerbaijani armed forces will enter the town on August 5.

    Naturally, the Armenians who had illegally settled in Lachin and the surrounding villages were unprepared - after all, they continued to believe that they would live on those lands forever. Moreover, they could not even imagine that what they could not do in 30 years of occupation, was done in just 20 months. So they asked for more time until August 25. I am sure that any other state in place of Azerbaijan, especially after all the atrocities committed by the Armenians, would have categorically refused. Did you want a bypass road? You got it. Please liberate the territories. However, Baku has once again shown humanity by providing Armenians with such an opportunity. However, as further events showed, the kindness of the Azerbaijani side was not appreciated by the illegal settlers. Instead of abandoning Lachin, Zabukh, and Sus, the Syrian and Lebanese Armenians began to put their homes and forests to torch and sword. We saw the same thing in November 2020, when Armenians hastily fled from Kalbajar.

    It was the agony of an alien, foreign element leaving the Azerbaijani land, which could in no way prevent Lachin's full return to Azerbaijan. Which happened on August 26, as President Ilham Aliyev informed the Azerbaijani people. "Today, August 26, we - Azerbaijanis returned to the city of Lachin. Azerbaijani army is deployed in the city of Lachin. Zabukh and Sus villages have been taken under control. Congratulations to all Lachin people and Azerbaijani people. Long live Lachin! Long live Azerbaijan!", Ilham Aliyev wrote on Twitter. And on September 21, President Aliyev hoisted the Azerbaijani flag in the city of Lachin.

    The bloodless seizure of Lachin, Sus and Zabukh villages is an excellent military-political operation that should nevertheless have forced Armenia to speed up the construction of its 12-kilometre stretch of the new road (through the village of Kornidzor). However, the road is still not operational (once again it is promised to be launched on April 1), as Yerevan and the remnants of the bandits in Khankendi have spent the period from August 2022 to March 2023 in numerous provocations against the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, transporting (accompanied by Russian peacekeepers) personnel and ammunition to Karabakh by dirt roads, during which two Azerbaijani soldiers were killed on March 5. Numerous protests and warnings from Baku, which recorded all these violations, were ignored.

    But patience is wearing thin. On March 30, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry stated that due to the commissioning of the new Lachin road, several commanding heights, main and secondary roads, as well as the vast border area between the villages of Jagazur and Zabukh of the Lachin district had been taken under control. Again, as in August last year, bloodlessly.

    Despite Armenia's discontent, it is important to note that, firstly, the Lachin district is the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. Thus, Baku has the right to bring constitutional order to its territory and ensure security in any way it can. In this context, it is worth recalling the words of Ilham Aliyev, which he said to Masim Mammadov in connection with his appointment as special representative of the president in the Lachin region.

    "From now on one of the main tasks for us is both security of Lachin district and the speedy return of former IDPs there. All the engineering and fortification works in the Lachin district along the border with Armenia are at the stage of completion. Hundreds of kilometres of inter-village roads have been built, and roads leading to military positions have been laid in the Lachin and Kalbajar districts. Thus, today we have very favorable positions in the direction of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and we are consolidating these positions and will continue to do so. Of course, other steps are being taken to ensure the security of the Lachin region. These measures will enable our compatriots who will return there to live comfortably and safely", President Ilham Aliyev said.

    Secondly, everything is being done in full compliance with the Trilateral Statement, paragraph 6 of which states that "the Republic of Azerbaijan guarantees the safety of movement of citizens, vehicles, and cargoes in both directions along the Lachin corridor." There is not a single word about military cargoes. And, by the way, if Azerbaijan ensures the security of the Lachin corridor, this task is impossible without control of cargoes passing there. That is, it is Azerbaijan's responsibility.

    Thirdly, the new Lachin road (the same one through Kornidzor) will from now on run near the new Azerbaijani posts. This makes transferring weapons and personnel from Armenia to Karabakh extremely difficult. Indeed, any attempt to do so will be met with the most vigorous repression.

    And last but not least: now is the time for the Karabakh Armenians to decide on two invitations to the presidential administration of Azerbaijan to discuss their reintegration. There have already been two invitations. There may not be a third...


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