Azerbaijan’s Aggression Towards Armenia

Over 150 Armenians dead and the number is still rising

Armenia protest, 2020, against Azerbaijan.
A protest in 2020 of Armenians in the diaspora and their supporters. (Scratchthat2009, Creative Commons)

On Sept. 12 Azerbaijan attacked Armenia at its border with an exchange of artillery fire, leading to over 150 Armenians and 50 Azeris dying. 

A cease-fire had taken place since then, though it has been violated. The Azeris have slowly been able to advance on Armenian Territory and are dangerously close to villages. “Armenia does not seem to have sufficient military power to prevent this,” according to Olesya Vartanyanwho, a Senior Analyst on South Caucasus with International Crisis Group who spoke to the NY Times. Nikol Pashinyan was being pressured into a peace deal by Azerbaijan’s terms that would recognize sovereignty over disputed Armenian territory. 

The U.S House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Armenia to speak with its prime minister on Sept. 17 and condemned the actions committed by Azerbaijan. She visited the Armenian Genocide memorial and expressed sorrow as she paid respects. The visit was not without controversies. Certain countries, such as Azerbaijan condemned Pelosi’s action, and some U.S. pundits saw it as a political stunt for the upcoming elections. 

Russia seemingly weakened and preoccupied with Ukraine cannot protect Armenia, although in recent years Russia has allowed aggression against Armenia to go unaddressed despite being Armenia’s main protector and arms supplier in the past. Some analysts have suggested Azerbaijan’s aggression towards Armenia could be a good thing for Russia, as it may pretend to be a hero, unless it has finally decided to clean its hands of Armenia. 

Armenia was attacked again on wednesday Sept. 28, resulting in three Armenians dead and one Azeri injured. “This latest provocation by Azerbaijan is the continuation of the large-scale aggression against the territorial integrity of Armenia launched on Sept. 13, and demonstrates a contempt toward calls made by the international community and U.N. Security Council members states, which urged [the sides] to maintain the agreed upon ceasefire,” said a statement from Armenia’s foreign ministry.

Diaspora Armenians and their supporters gathered on Sept. 24 around the world, including in Los Angeles and Paris, to protest outside of Azerbaijani consulates. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev claimed the Paris protesters were radical and demanded France take action. Armenians in the diaspora are trying to get the attention of the media because they want everyone to know that their small country of Armenia exists, and that this is a bigger problem than just a small skirmish. 

Prior to the latest conflict, another had occurred between Azerbaijan and Armenia involving Artsakh in late 2020. The conflict escalated to a war that spanned over a year and resulted in the deaths of thousands, as well as the loss of Artsakh to Azerbaijan, a holy land that has been a part of Armenia for centuries. The current smaller conflict is a part of a bigger, widespread conflict that has been going on between Armenia and the Turks and Azeris since the Armenian Genocide of 1915. 

Armenia has shrunken a lot over time. It used to be a vast country, spanning from sea to sea. But due to the aggression and cruelty from Turkey, and in tandem Azerbaijan, it is now a fraction of its former size and population. The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia right now is just another ploy to weaken Armenia even further in order to eventually wipe it off the map. If Armenia is wiped out, who’s to stop Turkey and Azerbaijan from attempting to wipe out other countries? 

Armand Andouzian can be reached at [email protected].