The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention is issuing a Red Flag Alert for the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Republic of Armenia, due to the alarming potential for an invasion of Armenia by Azerbaijan in the coming days and weeks.
Azerbaijan has long coveted Armenia’s southern Syunik Province, which has been discussed in the recent past as the site of an Azerbaijani-controlled “Zangezur Corridor” to Nakhichevan.
‘Considering recent political developments in the region—including the Azerbaijani invasion of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) on September 19, 2023 and the ensuing seizure of the territory—and well-established genocidal Armenophobia endemic in Türkiye and Azerbaijan, an Azerbaijani invasion runs a dangerously high risk of devolving into genocide,’ the Lemkin Institute said in a statement.
‘We remind the world that genocide is not only expressed through mass murder. As was the case during the recent seizure of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh in September of 2023, genocide can also be expressed through a pattern of massacre, atrocity, and forced displacement from indigenous territory when the ideology behind these actions is aimed at destroying an identity in whole or in part.
Although Azerbaijani officials have recently distanced themselves from the plan for a “Zangezur Corridor” through Syunik, there are several reasons to remain concerned. After Azerbaijan’s aggressive war against the Armenian territory of Artsakh—which led to the brutal murder of Armenian civilians and the forced displacement of almost its entire Armenian population—Azerbaijan has publicly set its sights on Armenia’s southernmost Syunik Province, which it claims as its own territory, calling it “Western Azerbaijan.”
The statement says that Western leaders must also take responsibility for destabilizing regional security in the South Caucasus in pursuit of self-interest, which has actively served to undercut Armenia’s geopolitical security. This can only be achieved by placing pressure on NATO member Türkiye and its ally Azerbaijan to pursue real peace and to cease using the illusion of “peace negotiations” as a way to threaten Armenia with dismemberment.
Furthermore, Western nations should pull back on any “all or nothing” ultimatums to Armenia that may exist to pressure Armenia to completely cut ties with Russia, especially given Russia’s increasingly friendly economic and strategic relationships with Azerbaijan and Türkiye.
Armenia must be able to use its sovereignty to explore new economic relationships with partners that will enable it to pursue an independent foreign policy without becoming embroiled in a new front of the proxy conflict between Russia and the West.
If the Western world continues to ignore genocide and effectively embrace it as a legitimate solution to intractable conflicts created and perpetuated by regimes like Azerbaijan, it will not only declare an end to the rules-based order of the post-Holocaust world; it will usher in an age of genocide as (if not more) destructive than the one that characterized the last mad rush for control of territory and resources across the globe.