The narrative propagated by the Armenian government and their supporters across the world is that Azerbaijan’s counteroffensive is responsible for the suffering of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. However, in reality, Prime Minister Pashinyan is to blame for all of this. Not only did he perpetuate his country’s illegal occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding districts that are officially recognized as such by the UNSC, but he also followed in his predecessors’ footsteps by refusing to develop the region. Instead, he only sought to send more colonizers there from Armenia and its diaspora in violation of international law.
The separatists and their Armenian state allies have folded like a house of cards in the face of the Azerbaijani armed forces’ professional pushback
His extreme ethnic nationalism isn’t surprising since that’s precisely what he was known for while in opposition prior to seizing power, after his successful Soros-backed color revolution in 2018. Pashinyan could have chosen the path of peace and made his mark in history by sincerely negotiating a phased and internationally enforceable military withdrawal from Azerbaijani territory, but he knew that such a move would spell his political doom if he even publicly discussed it. Caring more about his personal interests than the Armenians’ in his country and Azerbaijan, he doubled down on his predecessors’ obstructive policies.
The Armenian military was always a paper tiger and wouldn’t have captured approximately a fifth of Azerbaijani territory nearly three decades ago had it not had foreign support. Taking such assistance for granted, Yerevan never meaningfully invested in improving its military capabilities. It could have developed its own country and even rebuilt parts of the occupied territories had it really wanted to, but the endemic corruption that plagues this rogue state prevented it from doing so. Pashinyan was no different despite campaigning on anti-corruption pledges, which explains everything that observers need to know about the course of Baku’s counteroffensive.
There’s no doubt that the Armenian forces will soon crumble unless Russia launches a military intervention in their support
The separatists and their Armenian state allies have folded like a house of cards in the face of the Azerbaijani armed forces’ professional pushback. The occupiers never thought to invest in cost-effective anti-drone capabilities, and the liberators are discovering that most of the recently freed territory has remained a wasteland since the first phase of the war ended in 1994. This has been shocking for many of the observers who were misled by Armenian information warfare into thinking that the occupiers truly cared about the foreign territory that they captured. They didn’t, at all, as their military competence and poverty proves.
This unfortunate reality explains why the separatists and their foreign backers are so desperate. Not only have they launched missile attacks against residential neighborhoods in Azerbaijani cities far from the front lines in order to distract from their battlefield losses, but their own forces in the occupied territories have been captured on film complaining about their hunger, improperly clothed for the coming winter, and even barefoot in one instance. Even worse, footage has emerged of child soldiers and even of a separatist meeting taking place in a school, both of which violate international law.
Armenia desperately seeks Russian military intervention
There’s no doubt that the Armenian forces will soon crumble unless Russia launches a military intervention in their support, whether unilaterally on an anti-militant pretext in response to unconfirmed reports about Turkey transferring Syrian and Libyan fighters to the front lines or as part of an internationally approved peacekeeping mission. Both scenarios seem unlikely for the time being, though, despite the Armenian diaspora lobby’s active efforts to incite the first one. About that, a scandalous photo was recently shared by a separatist spokesperson which raises serious questions about the the veracity of Armenia’s allegations of foreign militant involvement.
If there’s a silver lining to this sad humanitarian situation, it’s that the world is witnessing the savagery of the occupying Armenian forces and their commander-in-chief.
An Armenian soldier was pictured next to a military leader while wearing an Azerbaijani uniform. This confirms that the Armenian side has access to such clothing, which immediately throws into doubt the photos that earlier circulated alleging to be of foreign militants fighting on Baku’s side. It now seems pretty possible at the very least that those pictures were a false flag attempt by Armenia to trick Russia into intervening in its support on the earlier mentioned anti-militant pretext. It can’t be known for certain, but Moscow might now be wondering whether its allies were trying to manipulate it, which could further worsen mistrust between them.
Regarding the possibility of a Russian-led internationally approved peacekeeping mission, that also seems very unlikely at the moment. Moscow said that it would only engage in this course of action upon both sides’ agreement, yet neither has publicly requested it as of now. It would be in Armenia’s best interests if it did, but Pashinyan’s ultra-nationalist political selfishness prevents him from doing so. He knows that the purpose of such a mission (upon Baku’s approval of course) would be to disarm, demobilize, and remove his occupying forces and their separatist supporters. In other words, it would be a negotiated surrender, albeit a “face-saving” one instead of the chaotic retreat that the world is presently witnessing in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Pashinyan’s insecure political future
Their phased and internationally enforceable withdrawal from the occupied territories would also ease the civilians’ suffering there brought about by Pashinyan’s refusal to abide by international law. In fact, the current calamity could have been entirely avoided had Armenia respected the ceasefires, publicly announced its intent to withdraw, and returned to peace talks to that end in goodwill, but it didn’t and that’s why this catastrophe is unfolding the way that it is. Pashinyan would have committed political suicide at home but would have went down in history as a peacemaker, but instead he’d rather have his forces shamefully defeated on the battlefield so that he can then ridiculously blame Russia and hope that his ultra-nationalist population will forgive him.
Even then, however, his political future isn’t assured despite many lives unnecessarily being lost in his desperate attempt to secure it, as would have otherwise been the case had he respected international law to begin with. If there’s a silver lining to this sad humanitarian situation, it’s that the world is witnessing the savagery of the occupying Armenian forces and their commander-in-chief. Yerevan didn’t care enough about its own troops and their separatist forces to properly prepare them for war, let alone the civilians under their control who continued to live their lives in abject poverty and despair. Upon the region’s full liberation, however, they’ll finally enjoy the human rights and economic development that they’ve deserved all along.
Andrew Korybko is a political analyst, radio host, and regular contributor to several online outlets. He specializes in Russian affairs and geopolitics, specifically the US strategy in Eurasia. The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.