Tuesday’s announcement that Azerbaijan began an anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in its Karabakh Region prompted a flurry of fake news and fearmongering from Armenia’s supporters. Some counterfactually claimed that the ATO is “illegal” while others wildly predicted that Baku will genocide Christians. These two disinformation narratives and their supplementary components are aimed at justifying a NATO-led Libyan-like war against Azerbaijan. Here are the facts about what’s happening so that nobody is misled:
- Karabakh Is Universally Recognized As Part Of Azerbaijan
Not a single member of the UN ever recognized the self-declared “independence” of Armenian separatists in Karabakh, and this includes Armenia itself. In fact, the UNSC actually passed four resolutions in 1993 here, here, here, and here calling on Armenia to withdraw its armed forces from Azerbaijani territory. Accordingly, Azerbaijan has the full international legal right to carry out its ATO, and no actor has any international legal right to intervene.
- Most Of Azerbaijan’s Arms Come From Russia
A popular disinformation narrative that’s swirling around alleges that Azerbaijan is mostly armed by Turkiye and/or Israel, both of which supposedly want to genocide Karabakh’s local Christian population for ideological reasons, but SIPRI proved that 60% of its arms came from Russia between 2011-2020. If there was any credence to concerns that Baku wants to exterminate this religious group, then President Putin wouldn’t have authorized any arms sales to Azerbaijan, let alone so many over the past decade.
- Russia Only Has Mutual Defense Obligations To Armenia
Another false claim that many folks have fallen for is to think that Russia’s CSTO mutual defense obligations to Armenia extend into Azerbaijan’s universally recognized Karabakh Region. They don’t, and the official English-language translation of the CSTO charter that can be read here proves it. Even so, members of the mainstream and non-mainstream media communities alike cling to this debunked narrative for the purpose of discrediting Russia, which they wrongly think might pressure it to intervene.
- Russia’s Peacekeepers Can’t Legally Stop The Fighting
Supplementary to the above, many also falsely allege that Russia’s peacekeepers in Karabakh have a legal obligation to stop the fighting, but this also isn’t true. The Moscow-mediated November 2020 ceasefire that can be read here at the Armenian Prime Minister’s official website mentions nothing about that. Moreover, head of the State Duma Defense Committee Andrey Kartapolov confirmed to publicly funded TASS on Tuesday that Russian peacekeepers can’t use their arms unless they themselves are threatened.
- Armenia Already Agreed To A Regional Corridor Across Its Territory
The final fact to draw attention to is that the aforesaid ceasefire agreement’s last point stipulates the creation of a regional corridor across Armenia’s territory that’ll be protected of Russia’s Border Guard Service. Therefore, Azerbaijan’s desire to connect with its Nakhchivan Region across Armenia’s Syunik Province isn’t “imperialist” like some have claimed, but is the embodiment of regional geo-economic processes agreed to by all three parties during the Moscow-mediated ceasefire nearly three years ago.
Interested readers should also review these recent analyses about the latest regional dynamics:
In brief, the West is using Armenia to provoke a regional war, but Russia and Iran aren’t falling for it.