On November 9, after Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia signed a ceasefire agreement on the six-week war in the Naka region, residents of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
Took to the streets and cheered to celebrate Azerbaijan’s “historic” victory; while in Armenia’s capital, Egypt In Revan, protesters rushed into the government building, tore off Prime Minister Pashinyan’s name tag, and accused him of being a “traitor.”
On September 27 this year, Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war again over the historical issue of the ownership of the Naka region.
The Naka region has been an autonomous prefecture of Azerbaijan since the Soviet era, but most of the local population is Armenian. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Naka declared the establishment of an independent republic, which triggered the Asian-African War.
After the war, the Armenians actually took control of Naka and the seven surrounding areas. This pattern remained until the resumption of war in September this year.
Today, with the signing of the ceasefire agreement, Azerbaijan has regained control of the three regions of Naka and the seven regions around Naka, including Shusha, the second largest town in Naka; Armenia, which has no Russian blessings, has lost Naka’s Military losses were heavy in key strategic areas.
At the same time, Russia and Turkey became the biggest winners: Russia was able to send nearly 2,000 soldiers to the Naka region to guard important passages for at least five years; Turkey, which provided military support to Azerbaijan during the war, received a new route to Central Asia. The trade channel can go directly from Turkey to the Caspian Sea.
The other two chair states in the Minsk group, France and the United States, arrived late. French President Macron said on November 12 that France is ready to find a long-term solution to the Naqqa issue.
The Minsk Group was established by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to resolve the Asian-African dispute. Russia is one of the three presidencies. But in this ceasefire agreement, the Minsk team did not participate.
What Azerbaijan Did For Armenia
What Azerbaijan Did For Armenia killed 1,200 soldiers in the six-week crossfire. According to estimates, Azerbaijan’s weapons losses include about 20 tanks, 20 drones, and 10 howitzers.
Statistics from the Global Firepower Index show that Azerbaijan is stronger than Armenia (45 thousand active soldiers) in terms of the number of active soldiers (126,000) and weapons and equipment.
On this basis, Turkey actively supported Azerbaijan in this war. In terms of weapons, Turkey has provided Bayraktar TB2 tactical drones and other new equipment; in terms of personnel, Turkey recruited mercenaries from Syria to go to Nakah to assist Azerbaijan in combat.
With the help of Turkey, Azerbaijan regained Shusha, the second largest town in Naqa. The town is regarded as the cradle of Azerbaijani culture and was once inhabited by a large number of Azerbaijanis. In addition, Shusha also has important strategic significance.
Shusha is located about 10 kilometers from Stepanakert, the “capital” of Naka, on the top of a hill overlooking Stepanakert. The Naka region does not border Armenia, and the Lahin Corridor that connects the two places passes through Shusha.
According to the agreement reached on Monday, Azerbaijan will retain control of three areas, including Shusha, and the Armenian army must withdraw from the relevant areas before December 1. Seven areas around Naqa, previously controlled by Armenia, will also be handed over to Azerbaijan.
In addition, Azerbaijan will be allowed to build roads connecting the country’s Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic. Nakhichevan is located southwest of Armenia, bordering Armenia, Iran and Turkey, and is an enclave of Azerbaijan.
This result is tantamount to a historic victory for Azerbaijan, breaking Armenia’s actual control, and reversing the pattern of the Naka region since 1994.
Russia and Armenia
Russia and Armenia Although Armenia’s military strength is weaker than that of Azerbaijan, Russia has a military base in Gyumri, northwest of Armenia, responsible for protecting Russia’s southern wing. Armenia is also a member of the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization led by Russia.
In this Naka War, Russia has reservations about Armenia.
Why Russia has such an attitude can be seen in an article by Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the International News Agency of Russia Today.
In July of this year, before the start of the Naka War, Simonian made a comment, entitled “After years of evil suppression, do the Armenian authorities still think they have the right to wait for Russian help?”
In the article, Simonian listed the “evil deeds” of the Armenian authorities against Russia: refusing to recognize Crimea as part of Russia; arresting Russia’s “forever ally” former President Kocha in front of “Russian friends” Liang (Robert Kocharyan); expelled Russian Armenian businessmen; allowed the media to discredit Russia and Russian President Putin; accepted a large number of anti-Russian non-governmental organizations; became a springboard for anti-Russian forces in the Caucasus.
According to the article, after making this series of anti-Russian actions, when Armenia again faced the threat of war, the Asian authorities suddenly remembered that “Russia should save you again.”
The turning point in Russia’s attitude towards Armenia came after the current Prime Minister Pashinyan took office.
In 2018, a large-scale anti-government demonstration broke out in Armenia, pro-Russian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan stepped down, and Pasinyan, regarded as a representative of liberalism, became prime minister.
Before officially taking office as prime minister, Pashinyan had stated that he was neither pro-West nor Russian, but only pro-Armenia.
After Pashinyan became prime minister, although Armenia stated that it would not join NATO, it also began to eliminate pro-Russian forces in the security sector and arrested former pro-Russian officials, the most famous of which was former Asian President Kocharyan.
Kocharian is Putin’s old friend. On August 31 this year, Kocharian’s birthday, Putin called to celebrate his birthday. In 2018, Kocharyan was accused of cheating in the 2008 presidential election to help Sarkisian, who is also pro-Russian, rise to power. Sarkisian served as prime minister twice and was elected president in 2008.
Prior to this, Russia has expressed its dissatisfaction with the Asian authorities through other means. In the cold winter season in January last year, Gazprom increased the price of gas supplied to Armenia.
Galia Ackerman, an Eastern European historian, said in an interview with French 24-hour news that on the one hand, the Naka region is not Russia’s strategic priority; on the other hand, due to dissatisfaction with the current Armenian government, Russia is more inclined to Let the Naka War go its course, and eventually Pashinyan stepped down and Armenia’s political situation changed.
The current outcome of the Naga War is moving in this direction.
According to the agreement, Armenia can only retain control of Stepanakert, the largest city in Naga, and the northern region. In the next three years, Armenia will build a new corridor linking Armenia and Stepanakert along the Rachin corridor. The Rachin corridor will be patrolled by the Russian military.
In the next five years, Russia’s 1960 peacekeepers, 90 armored vehicles and 380 military vehicles will be stationed along the Rachin Corridor and the Naka region to prevent Azerbaijan’s further advancement.
Five years later, if Azerbaijan and Armenia do not express their opposition six months in advance, the Russian troops will be automatically postponed.
On Tuesday, Russian peacekeeping forces have entered Nakah. This is also the first time that Russia has a garrison in the region since the historical dispute in Naqqa. This move has further enhanced Russia’s influence in the South Caucasus.
In Armenia, the protest march against the ceasefire agreement has entered its third day. Thousands of people took to the streets of Yerevan on Thursday, demanding that Pashinyan step down.
When announcing his acceptance of the ceasefire agreement, Pashinyan bluntly stated that he was following the request of the runner-up: “We are in trouble and cannot solve it. Our resources are exhausted.”
The Middle East Observer calculated that Armenia’s losses included approximately 100 tanks, 50 armored vehicles, and 70 howitzers, accounting for nearly 35% of the country’s tank, artillery and truck inventory. The number of dead soldiers may reach thousands.
What Turkey win from this war ?
Although Turkey did not appear in the tripartite agreement signed by Asia, Afghanistan and Russia, Turkey has actively participated in this round of the Naka War from beginning to end.
Azerbaijan is one of the natural gas and oil sources for Turkey and European countries. The natural gas and oil transportation pipelines from Azerbaijan pass through Georgia and Turkey and enter European countries.
On Wednesday, Turkey has announced that it will sign a memorandum with Russia to establish a joint observatory in the Naka region to ensure a ceasefire in Azerbaijan and Armenia. With this battle, Turkey has deepened its ally with Azerbaijan, and has further stepped into the affairs of the South Caucasus.
The bigger gain is that as Azerbaijan is able to build roads to connect with the enclave of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, Turkey will open up a new trade route: from Turkey to Azerbaijan via Nakhichevan, to the Caspian Sea, and finally to Central Asian countries .
Realizing that the situation in the Naka region is undergoing earth-shaking changes, France and the United States, which were left on the periphery, began to prepare to intervene.
On Thursday, French President Macron announced that France is ready to help find a balanced, long-term solution to the Naka dispute. Macron’s office statement stated that Macron expressed support for the ceasefire during the phone call with Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan and reiterated the friendship between France and Armenia.
France has 400,000 to 600,000 Armenian citizens. In this round of war, Macron has been asking Turkey to stop sending mercenaries to the Naka region.
US Secretary of State Pompeo will visit Georgia on the 17th to discuss the new situation in the South Caucasus. On Thursday, Russia has announced that French and American diplomats will go to Moscow to start talks on the Naqqa issue.
Although Yah-Ah officials did not release specific data, this round of the Naka War has suffered heavy casualties.
According to Putin last month, the death toll of soldiers on both sides was close to 5,000. More than 100 civilians are expected to die, and a large number of civilians will be forced to move out of the Naka area.