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Genocide Warning: Azerbaijan is invading Armenia

Azerbaijan occupied areas of Armenia credit:

Genocide Warning: Azerbaijan's Invasion of Armenia

Originally issued: October 2023, Updated April 2024 

By Ani Tonoyan 


For over 2000 years, Armenians have inhabited Syunik in southern Armenia. Now, Azerbaijan is claiming this region as its historical land. Azerbaijan delegitimized the Armenian historical and legal claim to Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). It is now using the same tactics on Armenia proper. In recent years, the irredentist political concept of “Western Azerbaijan” has emerged, which is now turning into calculated military action. 


In October 2023, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned lawmakers about Azerbaijan’s planned invasion of Armenia proper, which has now begun. Like Turkey, Azerbaijan seeks to expel Armenians from the region. 


International experts highlight Azerbaijan’s territorial expansionism. Stefan Meister, head of the Centre for Order and Governance in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia at the German Council on Foreign Relations, explained. “It’s part of this maximalist approach: you’re hungry so you never stop eating if no one draws a red line.” Meister urged Western governments to impose sanctions on Baku. Lack of consequences has led Aliyev to become so emboldened by his ahistorical, expansionist ideology that he announced a “Great Return Program” in which 140,000 Azerbaijanis will live in Syunik and Artsakh. 


Syunik is home to the Zangezur corridor in Armenia, through which Azerbaijan seeks to build an oil pipeline to Turkey. Azerbaijan and Turkey will reap the economic benefits from controlling Syunik. But their true intention is to “connect the Turkic world,” according to the Azerbaijani ambassador to Turkey, Rashad Mammadov. Mammadov’s words reek of Pan-Turkism, the ideology behind the Armenian Genocide. As seen in Artsakh, attempts to create a New Ottoman Empire will cost thousands of Armenian lives.


On September 20, 2023, Azerbaijan attacked Armenia proper during its genocidal campaign to take over Artsakh. Azerbaijani Armed Forces fired in the direction of Armenian positions in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia itself. This attack followed Azerbaijan’s bombardment and firing on the remaining Armenian populated areas of Artsakh. Attacking a country’s sovereign borders violates the UN Charter and international law. 


Since 2020, Azerbaijan has made several incursions into Armenian territory, resulting in Azerbaijan controlling 215 square km. of Armenian land. Azerbaijan faced no consequences for those incursions, nor for its war crimes in 2020. As a result, Azerbaijan was emboldened to seize Artsakh and to forcibly displace its residents without any repercussions. Without effective sanctions, the Turkish and Azerbaijani aggression will continue unchecked. 


Despite the denial of Azerbaijan’s intentions, the terror unleashed on Artsakh is not over. Armenian civilians and leaders were forcibly deported as they tried to escape the genocidal attacks. Now the world watches Azerbaijani show trials of Artsakh’s defenders as they are tried and convicted of “crimes against Azerbaijan.” 


The purpose of international law is to defend world order. But international law is not being enforced to prevent this Azerbaijani aggression. The world must act to defend Armenia. 


Genocide Watch considers Azerbaijan to be at Stage 4: Dehumanization, Stage 7: Preparation, Stage 8: Persecution, and Stage 10: Denial


Genocide Watch recommendations: 

  • To demonstrate that Azerbaijan’s genocidal actions will not be tolerated, EU leaders must pull out of their deal with Azerbaijan to double gas imports by 2027. 

  • The U.S. Congress must repeal the Freedom Support Act section 907 waiver authority and stop all military and economic assistance to the Azerbaijani government. 

  • The U.S. and E.U. should impose Magnitsky sanctions on Azerbaijani leaders. 

  • Global oil corporations should boycott Azerbaijan as they have boycotted Russia. 

  • The U.S. and France should provide military aid to Armenia to deter invasion and attack. 

  • Following reports by Caucasus Heritage Watch and the Center for Truth and Justice, UNESCO must protect Armenian cultural centers at risk of destruction by Azerbaijan. 

Azerbaijan invades Armenia
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