This past week, the fiercest hostilities took place on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, since the four-day war of April 2016. On July 12, after Azerbaijan’s encroachment on the Armenian positions in the Tavush region was prevented, the enemy began shelling the Armenian border positions with heavy artillery and unmanned drones. The Azeris were once again mistaken in their military calculations, as the response of the Armenian side was swift, with clearly defined and planned punitive actions. Within hours, the Azerbaijani side suffered significant human, military, and positional losses.

During the battles of the last few days, the Armenian military was able to not only establish the balance in aerial warfare, but by taking the initiative into its own hands, succeeded in neutralizing the advantage thus far enjoyed by the Azeris. The Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, used for the first time during the April war, were able to operate quite freely and efficiently, causing a large number of casualties. Over the past four years, Armenia has focused and succeeded in the production of local UAVs which were put into action during recent military operations, proving their effectiveness against the enemy. Moreover, the myth of the invisibility of Israeli Hermes-900 drones was shattered when the Armenian air defenses were able to successfully shoot down and destroy at least one of those devices. In total, Azerbaijan lost 13 UAVs, not all of them as sophisticated as Hermes-900.

Recent events have once again demonstrated the inability of Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev to control the events on the ground. The same dictator, who almost every day, was belligerent in his rhetoric threatening Armenia with war, to “liberate its occupied territories,” is now bragging about not losing an inch of land. Aliyev is trying to present another defeat as a victory with not much success, as the casualties are mounting and strategic positions are falling under Armenian control. Even the Azeri people are beginning to show doubts about the information provided by their country’s political and military leadership, and expressing its skepticism through social media posts. A government-sponsored rally, held in the capital city of Baku, with thousands of demonstrators calling for arms, turned violent and protesters attacked the Parliament building demanding the resignation of the top military leadership.

This week, it became obvious that the Azeri President is in a state of shock and despair. He sacked his longtime foreign minister and replaced him with someone who lacks experience in foreign affairs. Aliyev accused his diplomats of treasonous behavior, and criticized his people of dishonesty, stating that only 150 people out of thousands who were demonstrating in favor of war, have signed up to volunteer to go to the frontlines.

Foreign countries and international organizations were once again placing false equivalency between the two countries, calling on both sides to show restraint, ignoring the fact that Baku’s actions to attack Armenian positions were unprovoked, thus forcing Yerevan to come out of its defensive positions and repel the enemy forces.

These recent border clashes have reaffirmed that both at the negotiating table and on the military front, Armenian positions are becoming stronger and stronger, and those who claim the opposite are delusional. This week, it was proven that even the large-scale military exercises held in recent months, were not able to help Azerbaijan’s war machine, which remains ineffective on the actual battlefield.

In the face of all these facts, Ilham Aliyev has to come to terms with the realities on the ground and focus on resolving his country’s internal problems. Dissatisfied  masses of Azerbaijanis await him to resolve their deep economic crisis, as a result of falling gas prices, and the regime’s internal divisions. Aliyev should stop depending on his incompetent army to win a war against democratic Armenia and its unified nation. He should start to worry about the inevitable fall of his shaky regime.

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