I. WHAT’S HAPPENING BETWEEN ARMENIA AND AZERBAIJAN?
Nothing below comes from Armenian sources or opinion articles.
1) Azerbaijan unilaterally launched a massive attack on the Armenian-populated Republic of Artsakh.
Armenia has nothing to gain through conflict, and all signs indicate that this escalation began when Azerbaijan unilaterally attacked. Read this analysis from Thomas De Waal, the foremost third-party scholar on the conflict. https://perma.cc/PE33-GAVN
In the words of the Brookings Institution’s Pavel Baev, Azerbaijan “tim[ed] the offensive to minimize attention” and “has been preparing for a new war, meticulously investing plenty of its petro-revenues into equipping its armed forces with modern weapons.” https://perma.cc/9KT5-EZBP
2) Azerbaijan has an overwhelming military advantage.
Azerbaijan spends six times more than Armenia on its military and enjoys massive air and artillery superiority. https://perma.cc/PUX6-ET54
3) Azerbaijan is bolstered by thousands of Syrian fighters deployed by Turkey.
Many of these fighters are coerced and exploited. https://perma.cc/BS4E-DWS4
4) Azerbaijan continues to systematically shell civilian targets of no military significance.
The city of Stepanakert (population 60,000, in a valley far from the front line) is suffering from ongoing and indiscriminate artillery attacks. https://perma.cc/34JL-FX6D
II. SHOULD ARMENIANS OR AZERBAIJANIS CONTROL NAGORNO KARABAKH (ARTSAKH)?
1) Artsakh’s population is overwhelmingly Armenian and has been since reliable records were first kept.
According to a report prepared for the U.S. Army by the Federal Research Division, as of 1924,
94.4 percent Nagorno Karabakh’s population was Armenian. According to the same report, this proportion has never since declined below 76%. https://perma.cc/KPK3-B6QZ
2) Artsakh has legitimately expressed its desire for independence.
“On December 10, 1991, a Karabakh referendum chose independence,” from the Soviet Union. Artsakh “officially declared independence on January 6, 1992.” (Congressional Research Service). This is the same way Azerbaijan itself established independence. https://perma.cc/M8F2-739R
3) Azerbaijan’s record of killing Armenians under its administration and destroying Armenian heritage within its territory demonstrates that the Armenians of Artsakh can never be subjected to Baku’s control.
Between 1988 and 1990, the Azerbaijani public committed gruesome pogroms against their Armenian neighbors. https://perma.cc/8VRV-9UHS
In 2005, an Azerbaijani (Ramil Safarov) used an axe to murder his sleeping Armenian classmate at a training academy in Hungary. Safarov returned to Azerbaijan in 2012, where he was welcomed with a military promotion, adoring crowds, a free apartment, and a special pension. https://perma.cc/6D2U-W4HX
In 2016, Azerbaijan briefly captured an Armenian-populated village in Artsakh, torturing and executing the elderly residents who remained. https://perma.cc/7LXU-C8DZ
In Nakhichevan—a historically Armenian province under Azerbaijani control—authorities have deliberately destroyed thousands of UNESCO-protected Armenian monuments and at least 89 churches. https://perma.cc/T42M-4U6G