What should Armenia do?

Armenia needs to look to solve its #N-K issue with its neighbor even as Pakistan, Turkey, Iran & Russia try to get behind Azerbaijan

Armenia needs to look to solve its #N-K issue with its neighbor even as Pakistan, Turkey, Iran & Russia try to get behind Azerbaijan
Armenia needs to look to solve its #N-K issue with its neighbor

This is the concluding portion of the article on the #N-K conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Part 2 is available here and Part 1 can be read here.
The recent skirmish in Terter on April 2, 2016 shows that it ended in almost a draw: 12 Azeri soldiers died, one tank damaged, and one Mi-24 helicopter was shot down while Armenians lost 6 American tanks. 15 gun mounts, reinforced engineering structures, and 100 men, wounded or killed.10    But Azeri forces are preparing for a major onslaught, as 120 shells a day are dropped on Azerbaijan.  Azeri Defense Minister Zakir Gasanov recalled 70 Azeri fighters from Raqqa, Syria.11 Turkey and Iranian Azeris offered to fight for Azerbaijan, while Pakistan’s Secretary to the President Ahmad Farooq offered weapons and men since Azerbaijan backed it on the issue of Kashmir.12

From these events, one can conclude that Azerbaijan’s Muslim neighbors and allies are uniting on the issue of N-K.  Since Armenians pride on being the first Christian nation, since the 4th century, there is a thread of Christian-Islam rivalry running through the N-K issue.  Reporter Naila Baginova13 and Armenian President Sargsyan have warned that the N-K could turn into an all-out war: a regional war is more likely than a world war.  But, the N-K issue can be used as an excuse to start a world war by those who tried in vain to use Ukraine to start World War III.  Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Turaz Qartali took the view, perhaps wrongly, that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan wants to “spread instability, terrorism and bloodshed” both in Turkey and in neighboring countries.14    Azerbaijan felt that as Armenia blocks all attempts at peace, sanctions should have been placed on it.  Founding director of the Regional Studies Centre Yerevan Richard Giragosian sees the death of diplomacy since neither side is willing to make concessions.15

The major powers can be good brokers but they cannot be honest brokers.  Russia is keen to be a player in the Caucasus since it is faced with subduing on average one plot a day in its Near Abroad.  The USA is keen to weaken Russia by any possible means.  It would be best for Armenians from N-K to negotiate with Azerbaijan directly: they know the problems and they have to live with their neighbours indefinitely.  The process might be lengthy, but it will be better than massive slaughter: the Armenian Genocide took 2½ m lives; in January 1990, ¼ m Armenians were expelled from Baku; 20-30,000 died, and 800,000 displaced as Armenians attacked and took Azeri territory in 1994.  Such tragedies could follow if the contestants themselves do not find a modus vivendi.  It does not matter who the victims are, Armenians or Azeris; all that matters is that human carnage should stop.  Legally, the problem is not between Armenia and Azerbaijan; it is between N-K and Azerbaijan. Prominence should, therefore, be given to Armenians in N-K, and not Armenians from Armenia, during the negotiations.

Armenia should concentrate on making the country prosperous so as to attract the 10 million Armenians living abroad: the countries having more than a million are Armenia (3.8m), Russia (2.2m), Turkey (1.08 m), and USA (1.4 m.)


  1. Aynur Karimova, “Global ignorance of N-K conflict should be blamed for renewed hostilities,” azernews.az, April 4, 2016.

  2. UNSC Resolution 62/243, “The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.”

  3. Armenia’s President’s Office, “N-K Republic: History and current reality.” president.arn.

  4. Simon Vratzian, “The Armenian Revolution and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation,” The Armenian Review, vol.3, No.3, October 1950. The ARF was founded in 1889-90.

  5. CIA Factbook: N-K, Wikipedia.org.

  6. Can Kasapoglu, “N-K: Rehearsal for an upcoming war?” aljazeera.com, April 3, 2016.

  7. Galib Mammadov, “N-K conflict: Armenia’s Victory or Nightmare?” foreignpolicyjournal.com, October 13, 2011.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Russian Stalin and Turk Ataturk signed the Kars Treaty apportioning these lands.

  10. “Dozens killed in N-K clashes,” aljazeera.com, April 3, 2016; also see “Yerevan asking for truce,” azernews.az, April 4, 2016.

  11. ru, April 5, 2016.

  12. “Pakistan always stands by Azerbaijan, says high-ranking official,” azernews.az, April 4, 2016.

  13. Nailia Baginova, “Armenia warns N-K clashes could turn into all-out war,” reuters.com, April 4, 2016.

  14. “Turkey spreads instability by backing Azerbaijan in N-K,” sputniknews.com, April 4, 2016.

  15. Editorial, “No other option except Independence for Artsakh,” asbarez.com, September 2, 2015.

Henry D'Souza is a prolific author who has written over 60 papers and 4 books, of which 2 books, 1 booklet and 28 papers were published. He is a distinguished sportsman, having represented Kenya in Field Hockey and also played tennis for the country.

Henry currently resides in Canada.


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