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April war - the tendency to escalation

April war - the tendency to escalation

2017 April 02 ( Saturday )  20:54:29
Print version
Русский Azərbaycan

A year passed since a three-day war on the Karabakh front, which formed a new military and political situation in the 30-year conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan for Nagorno-Karabakh.

The consequences of the war on April 1-3, 2016 had three results:

1. Beginning discussions in the Armenian society, and a new interpretation of the conflict in the conditions of a change in the military-political, economic and geopolitical balance in favor of Azerbaijan.

2. Strengthening the force line of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the context of the conflict settlement.

3. Strengthening the neutrality of international mediators in the person of the United States, Russia and France against the backdrop of building up the military component of the Karabakh settlement.

It should be noted, based on the data of open Armenian, Azerbaijani and international sources, all three results were the result of the defeat of the Armenian military-political doctrine in a limited military theater, and the restoration of Azerbaijan's control over the symbolic 20 square kilometers of territories liberated from the occupation.

Discussions in the Armenian society with the participation of an unusual the power-opposition format have put forward various ways for the future action plan, starting from new compromise initiatives, ending with reinforcements of the force line in the Karabakh issue. The same line was mirrored in Azerbaijan. This was expressed in the joining the process of settling the element of people's diplomacy, frozen by official Baku in 2003, as well as further building up the military potential of the parties. Especially this was manifested in Armenia's deliveries of Russian "Iskander", French, Italian and American tactical weapons with the aim of relative balancing the potential of the parties to the conflict. Just this last side of the issue became decisive in the post-April period.

Although the April war had a limited theater of action, by its consequences it withdrew, the military component beyond 14,000 square km of occupied territories, turned into practically lifeless space. The nature of the weapons acquired by the parties after the establishment of the ceasefire in 1994, and especially in recent years, shows that both Armenia and Azerbaijan have equipped the means of attack and the reflection of the average range now covering the space of 116 thousand km, the territory of both countries.

On the eve of the anniversary of the April war, the parties exchanged first on official and then official level statements about the readiness to strike at the infrastructure objects in the depth of hundreds of kilometers. The retired Armenian general Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan designated 12 objects subject to rocket attacks. "I have a map on which 12 points are marked, where people do not live, but there are important engineering infrastructures there, if we strike at these places, we will cause considerable damage. These are power stations, gas pipelines, oil pipelines. This is the Mingechaur reservoir, two large power stations that serve about 40% of the population of Azerbaijan, oil facilities near Baku. If we attack them, but not Baku, people will not die, but we will be able to destroy strategic objects, which can sober them. We have no right to allow a second offensive,

Armenia should not evade negotiations. The status quo is unacceptable. French President Francois Hollande.

and new April events," he wrote.

The answer of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Tofiq Zulfugarov was much more diplomatic and hypothetically foreseeing retaliatory attacks far beyond the line of contact of the side. "A completely different picture of the response military actions of the Azerbaijani armed forces should be in case of strikes by the Armenian side from the territory of the Republic of Armenia on human settlements for the life support facilities of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan AR. In this case, obviously, the goals of the attack of the Azerbaijani army can move to the territory of the Armenian Republic. The main task of the Azerbaijani army is the suppression of the enemy's firing points, which threaten the life and security of the peaceful population of Azerbaijan. Moreover, the retaliatory blows will be asymmetrical and pre-emptive taking into account the safety of the civilian population also from the Armenian side," the ex-minister said.

Against the backdrop of the plans for the transfer of military operations beyond the  conflict zone, the statement by the chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group and, in general, the position of the co-chairing countries looks not adequate. It is more observant and is characterized by the position preceding the April war, and not by the post-escalation of the force component of the conflict. On the eve of the April anniversary, the co-chairs again "expressed deep concern over the recent incidents on the contact line, urging the parties to exercise restraint in their rhetoric and in their actions."

The parties exclude capitals and settlements from the list of objects of destruction, thereby making it clear that in the future military operations can be deployed precisely so as not to lose controllability of the process, and to act further depending on the results of the so-called large-scale point war, if there is any.

In principle, such a war can start for a short period, because the tendency of the development of the conflict put the sides to it: the fatigue of both sides from the conflict, the build-up of the military component, the desire of international mediators to violate the existing status quo, which limits the development of the region and the interests of external alliances. "Armenia should not evade negotiations. The status quo is unacceptable," French President Francois Hollande said when he received the President of Azerbaijan in March this year at the Elysee Palace.

If to take into account that in fact the April military actions took place with the tacit consent of the mediators and had a negative result for Armenia, we should expect the repetition of this line in a new round of military action with the aim of changing the status quo. Today's status quo lies in the fact that after April Azerbaijan made another step towards a compromise, offering Karabakh the status of an autonomous republic, and Armenia, even after conceding the territory, finally decided after the public discussions to keep the position "Karabakh's independence in exchange for territories". It follows logically from this that one can expect the following developments of events, much more large-scale in compelling  the peace, where a compromise will be achieved as a result of changing positions in the status quo.