A year after the end of the 44-day war, hostilities continue, this time moving to the territories of Armenia proper itself, where Azerbaijan is waging a war of attrition to bring the “Zangezur Corridor” issue back on the agenda, utilizing maximum military and psychological pressure on Yerevan. These latest military activities started after Russia expressed its views, coinciding with the position of the Armenian side, that unblocking means of communications and opening roads between the two countries should be handled within the framework of territorial integrity, while roads should remain under the sovereignty of each state.
The issue of the corridor is not only the goal of Baku, but also Turkey, and Aliyev cannot ignore the terms set by his older brother, Turkish President Erdogan, given that he owes the victory of the last Artsakh war to the Turkish military and their political support.
Last week, during a “Conference of Cooperation Between Turkish-speaking Countries” held in Istanbul, Azeri and Turkish leaders tried to “sell” the idea of the corridor to other Turkish-speaking countries that were previously part of the former Soviet Union, as a means of connecting them all by land. The goal of taking these countries under its wings has been part of Turkey’s foreign policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union, without achieving much success, due to the cautious attitude of these countries.
It is clear that a year after the large-scale war, the Armenian army has not yet been able to fortify its positions on the new borderline. The construction and support of new posts are taking much longer than anticipated due to the rugged mountainous terrain. Taking advantage of the situation, Azerbaijan continues to infiltrate the sovereign territory of Armenia and will continue to do so as long as there is no force to restrain and push it back.
After the latest round of clashes, Armenia appealed to Russia to fulfill its obligations under the 1997 agreement between the two countries. “It has been said many times that the state border of the Republic of Armenia is a red line for the Russian Federation, and since May 12, the Azerbaijanis have violated that red line. In this regard, we appeal to our ally so that we can restore the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia within the framework of our allied obligations,” announced the Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Grikoryan.
As was the case with previous infiltrations, Moscow continues to pursue a policy of silent diplomacy, emphasizing its role as a mediator in the region. However, the Armenian leadership and the public are expecting clear and practical steps from its ally, which is not forthcoming anytime soon due to Russia’s policy of rapprochement with Turkey in recent years.
In light of last week’s border clashes, we can say without hesitation, that the 44-day war is not over yet. The scale and the methods of the war have simply changed and Azerbaijan is trying to “wear out” the Armenian side and thus achieve its goals by utilizing maximum pressure. This situation may continue for a long time until foreign intervention or international involvement can force Aliyev to stay away from further encroachments on Armenia’s sovereign territories. Otherwise, we must wait for the Armenian army to re-arm and re-establish itself, increase its capabilities and take matters into its own hands to repel the enemy from its territories and put an end to these flare-ups of violence that are costing the lives of many young Armenian soldiers.