1/25 Already a month has passed since the beginning of the war. No matter how many people in the region thought that war was inevitable, no one could have predicted that it would last so long, and still no one knows how long it will last.
2/25 But one thing is clear: it’s the battlefield and the political realities, not outside parties, that will drive any future peace talks or calls for ceasefire. I will share my views on what the war looks like in Azerbaijan and from Baku.
3/25 Within a month, Azerbaijan's advance along the southern front, and it has secured control over the border with Iran.This part of the border hasn’t been controlled by Baku since the first war of 1992-1994. This has huge symbolic, political and economic significance for Baku.
4/25 The symbolic aspect is especially connected with the Azerbaijanis in northern Iran and has reignited a sense of unity with this community across the border.
5/25 Economically there is a large reservoir and a large hydroelectric power station near the village of Khudaferin, and in 2016 Iran and Azerbaijan signed an agreement to continue building hydropower plants and hydroelectric power plants over the Araz (Araks) River.
6/25 However, a few months ago when this info gained public attention, it became a controversy. Many Azerbaijanis questioned how, if Azerbaijan cannot control the region, it could signed a contract that will serve Iran’s economic interests.
7/25 Militarily – people often ask, what was the goal and what is the goal now? It could be assumed that Azerbaijan’s military strategy takes into account the potential and actual political developments. Until mid-October, in return for progress on the frontline in Azerbaijan,
8/25 there was a commitment and confidence that the negotiations would be based on the Basic Principles, with Baku’s desire to start the process with return of 5 and then 2 districts with no clarity on the issues of status and security provisions for rest of NK.
9/25 With regard to the 5 districts to be returned on the basis of the Basic Principles, Azerbaijan has already taken most of the 4 districts by force, as can be seen from the map based on the announcement of the government. https://haranialdiq.com
10/25 One of the goals on the front is to take full control of the Lachin region and thus close the corridor between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. Azerbaijan could then stop any military aid/travel from Armenia to the NK conflict zone.
11/25 Although President Aliyev recently spoke about Azerbaijan's military operations, saying that the army’s work would be incomplete if they did not take Shusha which inside the NKAO, it remains unclear whether this is a military or political target.
12/25 The military offensive indicates that it is still a target- but everyone knew that it would be a costly one.Even before the war it was accepted that Azerbaijanis attitudes to any future peace deal were highly dependent on how effectively that deal provides
13/25 for the Azerbaijanis return to Shusha.The inability to return to Shusha is perceived as proof that Azerbaijan cannot secure a dignified peace by peaceful means.
14/25 Of course, the current approach to granting status to Karabakh Armenians is seen unacceptable,& it is likely that Azerbaijan's approach to this issue is changing. While no Azerbaijani official has publicly offered details of how NK’s self-rule under Azerbaijan would work,
15/25 in interviews with ICG,several discussed models that involve minimal subordination to Baku.We published details on this in 2019.They were unacceptable to Yerevan & de facto authorities in breakaway NK. https://d2071andvip0wj.cloudfront.net/255-digging-out-of-deadlock.pdf Now this idea has become unacceptable to Baku.
16/25 After a month of growing international pressure on official Baku, society is even more united around the leadership. Public opinion supports ongoing military operations and people believe that if they army stands down, peaceful return of lands will not happen.
17/25 Government officials I spoke to in Baku also support this view. Officials thought that when Azerbaijan stopped military operations in 2016, a peace process would materialize. Now they say that the same mistake cannot be repeated.
18/25 One of the most frequently asked questions is why Azerbaijan does not disclose its military losses. There are those who say that if it is made public, it can demoralize the public and lead to demands for an end to the war.
19/25 Right now, every Azerbaijani has lost someone, and people understand the cost of the war. No matter how many losses there are, the mood now is that people will tolerate these losses based on the end result.
20/25 The main problem now is that the mediators are calling for an end to the war, but they are not presenting a peace plan that takes into account the changing realities. Changing realities affect any ceasefire and even peacekeeping plans.
21/25 Calling for a peacekeeping or monitoring mission may look like putting the cart before the horse – because first the political issues should be resolved. We need a mission to identify technical issues in the region and consent of both conflict parties for its mandate,
22/25 origin and which countries can contribute. One of the most worrying issues today is the neglect of humanitarian issues. Although official Baku allows international aid through Red Cross and says it has provided humanitarian assistance to people crossing to Azerbaijan
23/25 in recent days, it needs a proper plan to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. The situation of the thousands of Armenians living there, many of whom have left their homes but remain there with and without shelter, will be even more deplorable due to the coming of winter
24/25 and the possibility of a war in the former NKAO. This is not logistically difficult in the context of military operations, and international humanitarian assistance should be provided without delay. Violations of humanitarian law (execution of POWs) reported on social media
25/25 should be investigated. These behaviors, if proven, are not only a gross violation of international law, but also increase the growing hatred between the two nations.