Azeri president Ilham Aliyev continues to threaten Artsakh and Armenia with almost daily statements. “They will have no status, no independence, and no special privileges, just like any other citizen of Azerbaijan,” he recently said, revealing his true goal, which is to eliminate Nagorno Karabakh and its population from the map of Azerbaijan.
Responding to Aliyev, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Artsakh, Davit Babayan thanked the President of Azerbaijan for his sincerity, which was not a surprise, but reaffirmed that any status within Azerbaijan is unacceptable for Artsakh.
Official Yerevan did not respond to Aliyev’s words this time around, completely ignoring them. According to well-known commentator Hagop Badalyan, Yerevan is trying to create a situation where Azerbaijan is forced to communicate directly with the Artsakh side. “Yerevan keeps itself somewhat withdrawn to increase the responsibility of the Russian side on the one hand, and to open a certain space for the independent unit of Artsakh on the other hand.”
Aliyev is not alone in his anti-Armenian campaign. Turkish Foreign Minister Çavusoglu declared that Armenia is not fulfilling its promises, and continues to talk about the “Zangezur Corridor,” while President Erdogan, without hesitation, recently announced that Azerbaijan won the war thanks to Turkey’s help.
On the other hand, during a telephone conversation between Prime Minister Pashinyan and Iranian President Raisi, referring to the tense events taking place in the South Caucasus in recent days, Raisi reiterated the sentiment made by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, during recent meetings with the presidents of Russia and Turkey, that Iran is sensitive about its borders in the Caucasus region and will oppose any attempt to change them. These words are addressed equally to Ankara and Baku. “Zangezur Corridor,” as imagined by those two countries, means the separation of Iran from Armenia.
Baku also recently began to raise the issue of disarmament of the Artsakh Defense Forces and is trying to put this subject on the agenda. For Stepanakert, this matter seems absurd, and cannot be agreed upon under any circumstances, considering it a red line.
Ignoring Aliyev’s threatening speeches, Yerevan is choosing the best option. It is a war of nerves that Azerbaijan is waging against Armenia and Artsakh. It thinks that coming out victorious from the war, it has that right and should use it to achieve its goals.
Negotiations about the peace agreement, as well as the border demarcation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, remain stalled and seem to be difficult to reach an agreement, let alone implemented. On the other hand, time is working in Armenia’s favor, during which the army is being rebuilt, which remains the only guarantee to curb the ongoing Azerbaijani-Turkish campaign and their anti-Armenian appetites.