Regional Conflict Brewing in Azerbaijan, Armenia

Armenia+and+azerbaijan+have+been+in+a+battle+over+the+_11a859b54ab0e67139e691e2e238381bBy Brandon Turbeville

Regardless of which side you choose to listen to in the Armenian/Azeri conflict, one thing everyone can agree on is that the ceasefire is not holding. The regularly ignited dispute between the two neighboring countries has been a fixture for years but, over recent months, has seen a flare up that is threatening to throw yet another part of the world into chaos and open warfare.

On April 5, Russia was able to organize and mediate between chief officials of the Azeri and Armenian militaries and clench a “ceasefire agreement” on the “contact line” in Nagorno-Karabkh, the area currently being fought over by the two countries and Armenian “militias.” However, ever since the ceasefire agreement was made, both sides have traded accusations that the other side has violated the agreement. In fact, the accusations of violations are so numerous that one could scarcely call the ceasefire a functioning agreement. For instance, Armenia has claimed that, in the last 24 hours alone, Azerbaijan has violated the ceasefire 50 times. There have been similar claims against the Armenians by the Azeris.

A Brief History Of The Conflict

The roots of the Azeri-Armenian conflict are connected to both national histories and the fall of the Soviet Union as well as ethnic histories and regional ties.

Essentially, in the late 1980s a referendum was held by the inhabitants of the Nagorno-Karabkh region where the majority Armenian population largely voted for reunification with Armenia while the minority Azeri population boycotted the vote. The vote obviously favored independence from Azerbaijan and reunification with Armenia causing a rift between both countries which escalated from a political disagreement and social disharmony to outright violence and eventually military operations that only grew as the Soviet collapse appeared more and more imminent.

Nagorno-Karabkh is a small enclave located within Azerbaijan but whose territory is actually held by Armenian “paramilitaries” and the self-declared “Government of Nargorno-Karabkh.” In fact, the territory held by Armenian forces surround and extent past the boundaries of Nagorno-Karabkh, which creates a novel border dispute between the two countries as well as a porous border situation.

The National Sentiment

In Azerbaijan, the declaration of separation and the subsequent defeat to Armenian forces, who were perceived as drastically inferior both in terms of military and demographic strength, intensified nationalist feelings. As a result, a campaign of destruction of ancient Armenian sites took place in Azerbaijan in an apparent Azeri attempt to erase any cultural and historical evidence and legacy that Armenians had in the country as well as to provide the opportunity for the falsification of history in regards to the Armenian presence and connection to the land. As such, this is the same method that was employed by Turkey in the time leading up to the Armenian genocide. It is the same method as that of ISIS regarding Shi’ite, Christian, and other religious artifacts and sites.

As a result, after being faced with the anti-Armenian sentiment in Azerbaijan, the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabkh are even more entrenched and committed to the idea of independence and separation from the Azeri national government.

Outside Supporting And Opposing Forces

Turkey plays a conspicuous role in the Azeri/Armenian conflict. Interestingly enough, the Azeris have ethnic and linguistic ties to the Turks and Turkey has shared a rich and bloody history of discrimination, antipathy, and violence toward Armenians. This anti-Armenian history, coupled with Erdogan’s Islamism, has contributed to the reasoning behind Erdogan’s recent statement that Turkey stands with Azerbaijan “to the end.”

Of course geopolitical elements are at play here as well. After all, the Turkish “nationalist” Grey Wolves operate a chapter in Azerbaijan, a clear indication that NATO and not only the Turks has a clear foothold in Azerbaijan. Indeed, Azerbaijan is an active participant in NATO’s Partnership For Peace and Individual Partnership Action Plan. Azerbaijan has also shown signs that it intends to become a member of NATO proper in the near future.

Armenia, for its part, is also a member of the NATO Partnership For Peace program, the Partnership Against Terrorism, and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. While it is not a member of NATO, there are talks of the future of Armenia by “opposition” parties who argue for joining the Anglo-American world army.

On the other hand, Russia is also heavily involved in both Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 2015, a report was released which claimed that Azerbaijan purchased around 85% of its weapons from Russia in the past five years. The weapons transfers amounted to about $4 billion worth of transactions.

Russian ties go deeper with Armenia, however, since the tiny nation hosts two Russian military bases there, serving as an extension of Russian influence as well as a deterrent against Turkey.

With Russia maintaining such close ties with both nations, it presents a very precarious position for the Russian leadership in regards to the Azeri/Armenian conflict. On one hand, weapons deals and military bases provide a close relationship with which to negotiate a peaceful solution. On the other hand, a close relationship with both countries provides for the necessity to walk very carefully so as not to appear to be taking one side over the other and thus isolating one of the Russian partners. One false step can cost Russia either billions and influence or bases and influence.

Conclusion

With all of this in mind, (i.e. the Russian influence and arms sales to both countries as well as the growing/ever-present NATO “Western” influence), both Armenia and Azerbaijan are clearly attempting to walk a tightrope between two world powers amid a potentially explosive situation that could ignite the region in conflagration.

With both the Syrian and the Armenian/Azeri conflict holding so much interest for Russia and Turkey, the potential for Erdogan to overplay his hand is a distinct possibility. As with the hubris of many world leaders, however, the most unfortunate aspect to a loss of one’s senses is that the general population pays the price in blood and treasure.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 650 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

This article may be freely shared in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

Original Article: http://www.activistpost.com/2016/04/regional-conflict-brewing-in-azerbaijan-armenia.html

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In Solidarity From Pakistan To Belgium

In solidarity With People of Belgium
   In solidarity With People of Belgium

The world reacts to the heinous attacks that shock the defacto capital of European Union, in the heart of Brussels. Those who struck Belgium have targeted the heart of Europe itself for the city is home to EU Parliament, NATO, international agencies and Belgium’s government itself.

It would not be wrong to say that Belgium is facing darkest days known since World War Two ended. This cowardly act has resulted in both loss of lives and hundreds wounded in critical situation. What has been brewing in Belgium and the Islamic State was already hinting something of this sort could happen, as many Belgian nationals were expecting a response from jihadists.

Right after the news broke on Pakistani channels, many locals scrambled to learn more as Belgium shares a friendly bilateral relationship and Pakistanis are the highest Asian recipients of Belgian citizenship and the country hosts a large number of overseas Pakistanis residing there, some 15,000 in total.

The Government of Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain have condemned the attack and offered condolences. The Pakistani Foreign Office released the official statement as, “Pakistan condemns this terrorist act in the strongest terms and expresses solidarity with the government and the people of Belgium and Pakistan reiterates its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestation.”

Moreover, a minute silence was observed on Wednesday at a Pakistan Day ceremony at the Embassy of Pakistan in Brussels, Belgium to honor the victims of these horrifying terror attacks. And all other activities in connection with Pakistan Day celebrations were cancelled.

The Parliamentarians, Opposition parties leaders and civil society activists have all come out to condemn the brutal attacks that ripped Brussels apart. The condemn for Brussels attacks has also come from Pakistan Ulema Council in harshest words and declared that it violates the tolerant teachings of Islam.

We, people of Pakistan stand in sincere solidarity with Belgian nation in this most trying time.

Writer from the East

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The Just War Doctrine

I am in the process of writing a white paper on terrorism…..it will not be an emotional rambling on the act but rather a study of what it is and how it operates…..with the hope that it will help others understand the term more.

While doing my research I got to thinking about something I learned in my conflict management classes at university…..that would be the notion of “A Just War” doctrine.

First of all….just what is a just war?

Just war theory deals with the justification of how and why wars are fought. The justification can be either theoretical or historical. The theoretical aspect is concerned with ethically justifying war and the forms that warfare may or may not take. The historical aspect, or the “just war tradition,” deals with the historical body of rules or agreements that have applied in various wars across the ages.

What are the principles of a just war?

  • A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.
  • A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.
  • A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause (although the justice of the cause is not sufficient–see point #4). Further, a just war can only be fought with “right” intentions: the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury.
  • A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.
  • The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.
  • The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.
  • The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.

Source: Vincent Ferraro Resources, Mount Holyoke College International Relations Program

How does one justify war?  Another good question and the one that comes to mind most readily is the most recent War in Iraq……

A number of religious leaders including Richard Land, Bill Bright, Chuck Colson, D. James Kennedy, and Carl Herbster wrote a letter to President Bush arguing that a war against Iraq could be justified. They believe that such a war meets the tradition of “just war” theory:

  • Just cause. Saddam Hussein is a threat to freedom and has attacked his neighbors and his own people.
  • Just intent. The United States has no interest in occupation, exploitation, or the destruction of the state of Iraq.
  • Last resort. Hussein has defied UN resolutions for years.
  • Legitimate authority. Resolutions from the UN as well as the U.S. Congress strengthen the authority of this action.
  • Limited and achievable goals. The goal of war is to dismantle weapons of mass destruction.
  • Limited casualties. Unlike Hussein, we do not intend to target civilians.
  • Proportionality. The human cost of war is less than the human cost of not going to war.

All that justification was just chest thumping…if it had been Poland instead this list would not have been sent.  several parts of this letter mare lies…..intent, goals, casualties and the proportionality….all we made up to justify the invasion of a sovereign country.

To my way of thinking…the fact that someone other than the policy makers had to justify a war was in fact the very reason we should have not committed the act.

I know that was a lot of info to wade through but I offered because of an occurrence last week……

“There is no ‘just war,'” the some 80 participants of the conference state in an appeal they released Thursday morning.

“Too often the ‘just war theory’ has been used to endorse rather than prevent or limit war,” they continue. “Suggesting that a ‘just war’ is possible also undermines the moral imperative to develop tools and capacities for nonviolent transformation of conflict.”

“We need a new framework that is consistent with Gospel nonviolence,” say the participants, noting that Francis and his four predecessors have all spoken out against war often. “We propose that the Catholic Church develop and consider shifting to a Just Peace approach based on Gospel nonviolence.”

Source: Landmark Vatican conference rejects just war theory, asks for encyclical on nonviolence | National Catholic Reporter

Sorry but years of the study of war I can only think of a couple of times that it could be deemed “a just war”.

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