On October 15th, 2023, Red Lantern Analytica and The Network State, jointly conducted a webinar titled ‘Azerbaijan’s Aggression Over Armenia’s Nagorno-Karabakh’. The expert speakers of the webinar included – Vahram Ayvazyan, Founder and Board Chairman at The Network State; Vahan Zanoyan, Global Energy and Security Specialist; Major General Ashok Kumar (Retd.), Kargil War Veteran & Military Expert; and Michael Nersisyan, UK Based Armenian Journalist. The moderator of the session was Paul Antonopoulos, Editor of Greek City Times.
Paul Antonopoulos from Greek City Times commenced the session by elaborating on the topic focusing on Azerbaijan’s aggression in Armenia’s Nagorno-Karabakh. He said that Azerbaijan has been an autocratic country under its current ruler Ilham Aliyev, son of the former president, Heydar. He has suppressed minority rights in the country. He has astutely used his country’s wealth to forge close relationships with other autocratic regimes across the world in order to gain supporters & allies for Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia.
Major General Ashok Kumar (Retd.) pointed out the hypocrisy of the Global community in their approach to events involving two regions in a bitter war. “People in large numbers spoke against Russia-Ukraine tensions as well as the ongoing violent conflict between Gaza & Israel but hardly hue & cry happened against Azebaijan’s aggression against Armenia”, he said. Major General Ashok Kumar highlighted the peculiarity of ethnic population and geographic areas of Nagorno-Karabakh. The first war for Nagorno-Karabakh started in 1988. It continued for almost 6 years, was won by Armenia in clear terms, and became unified with the country, he said. There was some peace for 14 years but from 2008 a different kind of trend started emerging with the 2008 Mardakert clashes, he added.
Major General Ashok Kumar (Retd.) said that from 2014, things started turning in favour of Azerbaijan, he further added. In the 2020 war, Azerbaijan gained a huge territorial victory with the country capturing cities and villages in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. In 2023, Azerbaijan forced the entire population in the region to migrate to Armenia to save lives but the entire world remained silent on the tragedy.
Vahan Zanoyan pointed out the rich natural mineral resources angle in the Nagorno-Karabakh region which Azerbaijan wants to exploit. He said Armenia was an independent country before the Soviet Union with Nagorno-Karabakh being shown as its parts in the maps by League of Nations. He further said that there is no legal way to defend Azerbaijan’s claim on Nagorno-Karabakh. He put light on the geopolitics of trade routes in the region with Armenia providing smooth access to both Europe and Asia. “Understanding this region is significant to understand the geography of Nagorno-Karabakh or Artsakh as the axes of this region is surrounded by key players in the world who eye for the trade routes,” he said.
He also informed the audience about Turkey’s role in the Armenia and Azerbaijan war. Turkey supplied logistics support, advanced weapons, military hardware & intelligence to Azerbaijan. Georgia provided its airspace to Azerbaijan & Turkey but not to Armenia. He said that Azerbaijan’s Army heavily outnumbered the Armenian Army. Vahan Zanoyan also elaborated on the role of the infrastructure & commercial interests of the Western World in Azerbaijan. He said that British Petroleum is heavily invested in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital and that’s why its BBC remained so much pro-Azerbaijan throughout the war. Another dimension mentioned by him included Azerbaijan’s act of erasing the history of occupied regions by bringing down churches and all other historical monuments. He said that there are huge chance that Azerbaijan will do the same in Nagorno-Karabakh. He concluded by saying that Azerbaijan is getting away by doing all this with the support of nations like Turkey and its strong propaganda machinery.
Vahram Ayvazyan said that Azerbaijan is part of the ‘One Turkey’ or Turan project. It is a project to Turkify everything in regions like Central Asia, Iran, the Indian Subcontinent, China and Russia. He also warned that the ugly marriage between Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Turkey is dangerous for both Armenia and India. He pitched for an Indian military base in Armenia to balance things in the region. Vahram Ayvazyan called for a stronger India-Armenia partnership as India can be a good negotiator with both the West and Russia & balance helps in balancing things in the region.
Michael Nersisyan said that Azerbaijan is making lots of mistakes in its endeavours and it will reach breaking point soon. He said, “A lot of political capital is the cost of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s mistakes are the loss for the civilians than the leaders.” Azerbaijan’s aggression in collaboration with Pakistan and Turkey is a big challenge for Russia, China and India, he added. There is no end to hunger for land and the expansionist agenda of these countries, he warned. Michael Nersisyan also added that there is very negative sentiment against the UN in the region and the UN has largely become irrelevant when it comes to stopping war & ensuring peace in the world.
Following the guest speaker’s address, there was an in-depth Q&A session. Ms Karneet Bhasin senior member of Red Lantern Analytica delivered the vote of Thanks. The session closed after the vote of thanks was given.