Sunday, 18 August

Artsakh MP - "Only way to decrease border incidents is to fortify the front-line"

Hayk Khanoumyan, an Artsakh MP and President of the National Rebirth Party, responds to questions posed by Hetq.

Regarding the Artsakh conflict, the Stratfor geopolitical intelligence firm has not ruled out the possibility that problem might be resolved via a military conflict.  The Center also didn’t rule out the possibility of Russian and Azerbaijani collaboration in this respect. What’s your take on the matter? Could the dead end in the negotiations process lead to war? Do you see any preconditions for the resumption of military operations?

Military operations are taking place today. The question is whether they will intensify or not.

If a ‘snipers’ war’ was occurring five or six years ago, in conjunction with diversionary tactics that resulted in serious incursions one year ago, then today we are witnessing the firing of large diameter weapons, even rocket fire.

It is possible that all this will suddenly get out of hand and lead to much wider operations. Our challenge is to be prepared for all eventualities. I’m inclined to believe that Aliyev’s regime, even in the case of certain understandings with Russia, is fearful of starting widescale military operations.

War always leads to new and unpredictable forces that can seriously threaten the Aliyev clan. It’s more than evident that Ilham Aliyev seeks to maintain authority forever and will not take risks.

Yesterday, in Dushanbe, at a meeting of the presidents of CSTO member states, President Sargsyan reported about the tense situation along the Line of Contact. In their summary statement, the presidents didn’t have anything specific to say about this issue. On the other hand, Sargsyan stated that, “our actions must stem from our federal obligations and take into account the opinions of our partners, as well as the necessity to jointly react to the initiatives that contradict the interests of one or several member states of CSTO.” What is he referring to here?

It’s nothing new that various members of CSTO tend to support Baku regarding the Artsakh conflict. To expect that Kazakhstan, for example, will adopt a pro-Armenian position regarding incidents along the border would be senseless and it’s futile to speak of carrying out federal obligations by such states.

Furthermore, regarding Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, certain CSTO states cannot even declare a neutral position. One must not have favorable expectations from such a structure. Such a situation is   conditioned on the decrease of Armenia’s role in the region as a factor and the low status of Armenia’s authorities on the world stage.

A meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan is scheduled for September 24-25 in New York. Azerbaijani’s FM Mamedyarov had noted the uptick of ceasefire violations and was hopeful that the meeting would have some results to that end. He also said that Russia has strengthened its diplomatic hand in the matter. What results is he referring to?

I am not an optimist regarding efforts to prevent incidents on the border. I am also sure that such incidents will not disappear due to any meeting of the foreign ministers or presidents.

The only way to decrease such border incidents would be for Armenia’s military to fortify its border positions and to obtain a positional advantage over the enemy.

In the coming years, our efforts must be aimed at obtaining superior positions along vulnerable directions and improving our civil defense system by creating safe havens in all communities.


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