The spotlight on the conflict between Ukraine and Russia tends to obscure the resumption of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan which has left 170 dead in two days. The Catholic Patriarch of the Armenians denounces the inaction of the international community.
During the night of September 12-13, 2022, the Azerbaijani army repeatedly violated the integrity of Armenian territory, not hesitating to bombard different localities. Within hours, at least fifty Armenian soldiers had lost their lives.
The two countries blame each other for the clashes, which caused hundreds of Armenian civilians living in the border area to flee. Azerbaijan justifies its intervention by claiming that its neighbor would not have respected the ceasefire in force in the Nagorno-Karabakh region since 2020, which Armenia formally denies.
In fact, the attack by Azerbaijan is said to be aimed at pushing Armenia to apply certain clauses of the ceasefire agreement signed two years ago: “Baku wants to push Armenia to sign a peace treaty recognizing its territorial integrity, completely demilitarizing Nagorno-Karabakh, and establishing a demarcation line at the border,” explains the Azerbaijani analyst Zaur Shiriyef, quoted by La Croix.
Before the war in 2020, the two countries had already clashed in the 1990s for Nagorno-Karabakh, a conflict which left more than 30,000 dead. Nagorno-Karabakh is an enclave mainly populated by Armenian Christians who seceded from Azerbaijan – a Muslim-majority country – with the support of Armenia.
On September 15, thanks to the mediation of Russia, a new ceasefire was decreed, which has so far been respected, but more than 170 people were killed in a few hours.
The same day, the Patriarch of Armenian Catholics, Msgr. Raphaël Bedros XXI Minassian published a declaration condemning the aggression of which Armenia had just been the victim: “This attacked land is called Armenia, it is an aggression against humanity, justice, and human conscience,” the high prelate protested indignantly.
An attack in the greatest indifference, denounced Msgr. Minassian: “Today there are still deaths, destruction, and thousands of refugees. But nobody talks about it. No international power says: ‘stand back, you have no right to do this.’ The only thing I am convinced of is that no nation or world power has an interest in the Armenian people.”
A New Source of Oil and Gas for Europe
The silence is not surprising. The oil and gas issues are not unrelated to the resumption of the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh. The Armenian separatist enclave is indeed located a few kilometers from the two pipelines that allow Azerbaijan to export its hydrocarbons to Turkey, and soon to Europe.
While the European Union (EU) intends to do without Russian gas and oil because of the bellicose policy of the master of the Kremlin, it is turning to another authoritarian regime that flouts the independence of its neighbor so as to obtain supplies. It is a “double weight, two measures” at the end of which Europe is not likely to gain credibility.