The “Religion of Peace” is at it again, but you may not hear much about this one because of the noise created by the race for the US Presidency (and all that means) within the US. Thus, it’s being mentioned here for the benefit of those of you who read this blog.
Just to keep things straight, you can’t tell the players without a program.
Context and Precedence: Nagorno-Karabakh is a territory in the southern Caucasus between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The dispute over ownership of the territory is unfinished business from the end of the Soviet Union, though the roots of the dispute lie in its demography. Most of the population, probably 75%, is ethnic Armenian and Christian. The ethnic Azeris are Muslims and make up less than 24% of the population.The region belongs ex officio to Azerbaijan. However, since 1991, it has been de facto self-governing and aligned with Armenia. In 1991, the Armenians held a referendum proclaiming the region as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. A reinvigorated and well-funded Iran is flexing its muscles to help the minority Muslim population to wipe out (or convert) the Christians with whom they have been coexisting peacefully. If that sounds familiar, yeah, it is. Another jihad.When Armenia and Azerbaijan obtained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, tension of the territory lead to a three-year local war. The war ended in 1994 when the Russians mediated a ceasefire. The ceasefire has held for more than 20 years, marred by periodic small clashes.The weekend clashes were the worst since 1994. Each side blames the other for starting the fighting, but it is not clear what started the fight.President Putin has called for the two sides to stop fighting. Russia sells weapons to both, but tends to be pro-Armenia. Turkey is a primary backer of Azerbaijan. An Azerbaijani exclave borders Turkey and is surrounded by Iran and Armenia.
Armenia-Azerbaijan-Nagorno-Karabakh: Clashes continued for a third day. The Armenians said they sustained 20 killed.
Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov instructed all troops of the country’s Armed Forces to prepare for a major attack on the city of Stepanakert (Xankandi) and other territories “occupied” by Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on 4 April.
“The defense minister has instructed all troops of the Armed Forces, including artillery troops, to be prepared for a major attack on the city of Stepanakert (Xankandi) and other occupied territories, using military hardware, if the enemy [Armenia] does not immediately stop shelling our settlements,” said a statement posted on the official website of the Defense Ministry.
“Despite repeated warnings from the Defense Ministry, Armenia leaves no other way to Azerbaijan but take appropriate retaliatory measures in response to its inhuman steps,” the statement said.
The defense minister’s statement is both a warning order and a species of information terrorism. During the Armenian-Azerbaijan war in 1992, Azerbaijani artillery destroyed or damaged every building in Stepanakert. The warning order is intended to evoke memories of that destruction.