"Armenia will not go to war with Azerbaijan as it does not want a second capitulation"
Russian expert Korotchenko shares his opinon on situation in Garabagh
INTERVIEWS 20 September 2023 - 10:27
Azerbaijan's actions to clean up separatist hotbeds in the Garabagh region continue successfully and are already paying off. However, we would like to hear the opinions of foreign military experts. For this purpose, Caliber.Az editorial office reached out to Russian military expert, Director General of the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies Igor Korotchenko.
- How do you assess the local anti-terrorist activities of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the Garabagh region?
- The first stage of anti-terrorist measures of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in Garabagh was to destroy the enemy's strongholds, communication centres, locations of military equipment, and air defence systems. This was carried out with surgical precision with the use of high-precision weapons, thus avoiding civilian casualties. These actions show a very good military-technical level and professionalism of the personnel of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.
It is obvious that the first stage is likely to be followed by the second stage - the introduction of ground forces, if Baku makes a political decision to establish control over certain regions of Garabagh where separatists are present today. The level of training of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces makes it possible to fulfil this task.
At the same time, it is important to understand that the defence system in Garabagh has been prepared for decades, and this, of course, has an impact on the nature of further actions. It is obvious that Baku will combine both methods of point military response and diplomatic resources, but for now, judging by the statements made by certain Azerbaijani officials, the task is to implement the second stage of the ground operation. At least, such a conclusion can be drawn from the statements, from the algorithm of goals and tasks of further development of anti-terrorist actions. The Armenian population is also informed about the logic and motives behind the actions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the form of text messages sent to mobile phones. And this also indicates that the second phase will be a land operation.
- Should we expect any negative international reaction to Azerbaijan's actions?
- As for the international reaction to Azerbaijan's actions, of course, we know the capabilities of Armenian lobbyists in the United States and France. Naturally, lobbyists are now determined to achieve the necessary political and diplomatic effect in favour of Yerevan in those countries where their positions are strong, so the situation should be assessed cumulatively. I think that still the main thesis, the logic of Baku's actions proceeds from the fact that the operation is conducted on the internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan clearly states that it distinguishes between military and civilian goals and offers various security options. This also shows the thoughtfulness and responsibility of the Azerbaijani military command. Therefore, the Azerbaijani Army is not an asphalt paver that drives and crushes everything that falls under the roller. It is important that Baku emphasises that historical heritage sites, religious buildings, and homes of civilians will not be subjected to any military impact. That is, from the point of view of humanitarian law, everything is legitimate here.
The logic and motivation of the Azerbaijani side is clear. Cargoes on the Aghdam-Khankendi and Lachin-Khankendi roads had just begun to pass, and a dialogue on the practical reintegration of Garabagh Armenians into the legal and political space of Azerbaijan could have taken place. Everything was heading towards this logical outcome. And suddenly, just a day later, separatist sabotage groups planted anti-tank mines on the roads. As a result of mine explosions, civilians and servicemen of the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry were killed. In these conditions, a decision was made to start anti-terrorist measures of local character. That is, there was a clear reason, and Azerbaijan's actions were a reaction to what happened.
Therefore, if we look at the situation in a completely unbiased manner, without the desire to single out one side and negatively characterise the other, everything is clear - Azerbaijan did everything for the reintegration of the Armenian population, but its efforts were reciprocated by provocations, bombings and loss of life. Therefore, it is quite natural that Azerbaijan used the so-called "logic of Israeli response".
- How will Yerevan react?
- Pashinyan has already made his main statement that Armenia will not start military actions against Azerbaijan, and it is quite obvious because Armenia does not want a second capitulation. At the same time, a number of Armenian units are being moved to the conditional border to reinforce it.
I assume that certain events similar to those that took place in Yerevan on the night of November 10, 2020, may repeat, at least there are already reports that the crowd is trying to storm the government buildings. And we remember that the maddened crowd is capable of acts of physical violence against Pashinyan, as it once beat up Ararat Mirzoyan. It is obvious that Pashinyan will seek refuge in some underground bunker under the building of the Armenian Defence Ministry, or even on the territory of the French Embassy. That is, extreme scenarios are possible.
We are also watching with trepidation as a crowd of agitated Armenians surrounded the Russian Embassy in Yerevan. If you are so outraged, then take machine guns and go to Garabagh to fight. What does this have to do with the Russian embassy? We did not undertake to defend the separatists. The distorted logic of nationalism multiplied by hatred is a very dangerous mixture and the Russian authorities will have to monitor the situation carefully, think about what will happen tomorrow, and be ready for different scenarios and provocations. Meanwhile, Pashinyan and the Armenian law enforcement agencies are directly responsible for the safety of Russian diplomats and their families.
We can predict further that if Pashinyan strengthens and retains power, he will start actively shifting responsibility for what is happening from himself to the Russian Federation. Up to some desperate political antics: threats to withdraw from the CSTO and dirty political accusations. There is no doubt about that.
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