Robert Gazaryan: Baku has every reason to eliminate remnants of armed gangs in Karabakh

    POLITICS  08 August 2022 - 10:50

    On August 3, members of Armenian illegal armed formations (IAF) in the territory of Azerbaijan, where Russian peacekeepers are temporarily deployed, carried out intensive shelling of Azerbaijani positions in the direction of the Lachin region, as a result of which a conscript died from a bullet wound. During the counter-terrorist operation "Revenge" carried out by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, the heights of Girkhgiz and Sarybaba were taken under control.

    Robert Gazaryan, the author of Vestnik Kavkaza, writes about this in the article "What details of the Russian peacekeeping mission Pashinyan was going to clarify", Caliber.Az reports.

    Yerevan rushed to accuse Baku of escalating the situation in the zone of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers but did not deny the presence of illegal armed groups. The sides predictably traded accusations, and for the first time, the Armenian government accused the Russian peacekeepers of inaction.

    This latest escalation, which resulted in bloodshed on both sides, suggests that one side of the peace process is having little contact with the Russian peacekeeping contingent. Otherwise, it is unclear why, almost two years after the signing of the trilateral statement, the illegal armed groups are operating on the territory of the Lachin region, while the security of the corridor of the same name should be the responsibility of the Russian military. The construction of the bypass route is underway, including from the Armenian side, and the unlikely damage to the existing branch of the gas pipeline, power grids, and Internet, which are laid along the currently operating road, is not in Baku's interests - no one wants to be accused of creating a threat to humanitarian and energy security.

    Consequently, there are some conditions under which the interested parties are reluctant to vacate the territory of the Lachin region in accordance with the agreements reached.

    Pashinyan's public statement during the August 4 parliamentary session allows Baku to more insistently demand the disarmament of all illegal armed groups operating in Azerbaijani territory. Pashinyan questioned the legitimacy of Russian peacekeepers, suggesting that a number of institutional issues need to be clarified. Simply put, Yerevan concluded that the actions of the Russian military do not fully correlate with what is commonly referred to as a peacekeeping policy. Thus, speaking of the misunderstanding of the form and content of the peacekeeping operation, Pashinyan voiced a non-trivial desire to adjust the actions of peacekeepers, in other words, to impose conditions on them.

    The details of a peacekeeping mission do not need to be specified. Under international law, the actions of states to maintain or restore international peace and security include protection of a territory or population from aggression; provision of humanitarian aid; monitoring of the situation, collection, and processing of information, etc. None of the provisions indicate that the peacekeeping contingent must support one of the parties to the conflict or provide support to any armed formations.

    As for Russian weapons, they will not and should not be used to change military parity. The Russian Armed Forces are successfully coping with all this. The impression is that Yerevan once again wants to reshape the peacekeeping policy to suit the peculiar desires and aspirations of Armenian politics, which do not correlate with the professional activities of peacekeepers, misleading the society. This is an unpleasant signal for Baku, which can be seen as Armenia's desire to use peacekeepers against the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.

    Moreover, Armenia's support of the IAF in the territory of sovereign Azerbaijan can be regarded as a desire to maintain the occupation policy vector, which does not correlate with the proclaimed policy of peace. In this case, Baku has every reason to declare the continuation of the conflict and to insist on a change in the peacekeeping policy in the region, demanding the non-interference of mediators in the process of eliminating the remaining illegal armed groups in the de-occupied territories.

    However, despite the urgency of the situation, the Armenian prime minister is keen to avoid responsibility for the escalation. This is indirectly confirmed by statements about partial mobilization by the fake head of the unrecognized separatist entity Araik Harutyunyan. Perhaps Yerevan is distancing itself from the separatists. Nevertheless, Pashinyan will hardly be able to escape responsibility. It is noteworthy that the first direct meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Tbilisi after the war ended with Armenian Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan announcing the withdrawal of armed formations from Azerbaijani territory. True, no one was confused by the fact that the official withdrawal had been outlined long ago.




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