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Genocide Warning: Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh

Firefighters walk in the ruins of a building in the Armenian village of Sotk that was reportedly hit by shelling. Source.

By Nat Hill

Genocide Warning: September 2022

Genocide Watch is issuing a Genocide Warning due to Azerbaijan’s unprovoked military attacks on Armenia and on the unrecognized Armenian Republic of Artsakh.

By the end of its 2020 war with Armenia, Azerbaijan had regained control of all six provinces it lost to Armenia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijani forces have consistently violated the terms of the ceasefire agreement that ended that war. Russian peacekeepers were posted along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border as part of the ceasefire agreement. But they have been unable or unwilling to prevent violent Azerbaijani attacks along the border. Since late September 2022, Azerbaijan has used artillery and drone strikes against positions in Eastern Armenia, including the towns of Vardenis, Goris, Sotk, and Jermuk; killing hundreds of Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers and forcing Armenian civilians to evacuate.

Azerbaijani military attacks on Armenian territory show Azerbaijani disregard for Armenian sovereignty. The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has encouraged genocidal hate speech against Armenians and banned ethnic Armenians from entering Azerbaijan. He denies the Ottoman Genocide of Armenians from 1915 - 1922. He even built a theme park that displays captured Armenian war trophies and images that dehumanize Armenians. Internally, the Azerbaijani government is cracking down on opposition party members and individuals who question the purpose, legitimacy, and cost of the new offensive against Armenia, labeling them “traitors”.

A Russian military base in the town of Gyumri and continuing tensions over the Armenian-Turkish border could widen the conflict. The United States and NATO member states are unwilling to intervene to prevent violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The war in Ukraine and Azerbaijan’s critical supply of natural gas to Europe has paralyzed NATO involvement.

Armenian cultural heritage sites in Nakhichevan and Nagorno-Karabakh are under constant destruction by Azerbaijani forces. For comprehensive monitoring and analysis of Armenian heritage sites, see the report of Cornell’s Caucasus Heritage Watch. Also see Genocide Watch reports on the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

Due to its unprovoked attacks and genocidal rhetoric against ethnic Armenians, Genocide Watch considers Azerbaijan’s assault on Armenia and Artsakh to be at Stage 4: Dehumanization, Stage 7: Preparation, Stage 8: Persecution, and Stage 10: Denial.

Genocide Watch Recommends:

· The EU, NATO, and US should pressure Turkey and Azerbaijan to stop Azerbaijani attacks on Armenia and Artsakh. The US, Canada, and Israel must halt military sales to Azerbaijan.

· Sanctions should be placed on Azerbaijani oil and gas exports if Azerbaijani attacks on Armenia and Artsakh continue.

Genocide Warning Azerbaijan & Artsakh
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