Baku, Azerbaijan, July 7
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
As Americans set off fireworks throughout the land on Independence Day, the Armenian military occupying the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan were using explosives of their own, ordinance not directed at an opposing military force but at innocent civilians, Alexander Murinson, senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center and Bar Ilan University, wrote in the article published in Washington Times.
“A near-daily incidence, the Armenian military alternately shells, mortars, snipes at civilians along the line of contact of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops,” Murinson said.
“Often used as a harassment and instigation tactic, seemingly geared to draw Azerbaijan into a larger-scale conflagration, the fourth of July incident is indicative of new Armenian military doctrine — avoidance of the Azerbaijani military in favor of engaging civilian targets — challenging Azerbaijan to respond as an aggressor,” he said.
According to the article, this doctrine appears to have come into practice following the April 2016 Five-Day War, begun as a heavy artillery bombardment initiated by the Armenian military that resulted in the heaviest fighting in more than 20 years.
During the fighting, the Azerbaijani military fielded state-of-the-art weapons, command-and-control systems, and a military force demonstrably better trained, and more proficient and professional than the Armenian military faced previously.
“Azerbaijan, compelled to retaliate, routed the Armenian forces and the liberated strategic highlands and a significant swath of territory,” he said.
According to the article, in this incident, roughly three miles inside Azerbaijani territory, the Armenian military explicitly chose to avoid targeting Azerbaijani gun emplacements, tanks and troops. Instead, Azerbaijan’s Alkhanly village was targeted with 82- and 120-millimeter mortars and heavy grenade launchers.
During the bombardment, 2-year-old Zahra Guliyeva lost her life, one of the many children killed in recent and nearly exact military on civilian engagements.
“Also, killed in the attack was Zahra’s grandmother, 50-year-old Sahiba Allahverdiyeva, while numerous other villagers were hospitalized for serious shrapnel and other wounds,” Murinson added.
It is worth noting that Azerbaijanis who live in proximity to the line of contact, build their homes and children’s schools into the back side of hills to keep citizens safe from the Armenian military. This, while on the Armenia side of the line of contact, there exists only military installations — no civilians.
“Although media report the Armenian military states that the village was targeted due to the presence of Azerbaijani military assets, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan as well as international observers have avowed that no military assets existed in Alkhanly,” Murinson said.
According to the article, In America’s best interests, the Trump administration should lend support to Azerbaijan — diplomatic, military and political — as a geopolitical and geostrategic hedge related to the reasons above, but also because Azerbaijan is one of the America’s true, stable and dependable Muslim-majority friends.
“Azerbaijan is an indispensable ally for the United States, the West and Israel. America should be proactive in supporting its allies,” he said.
On July 4 at about 20:40 (GMT+4 hours), the Armenian armed forces, using 82-mm and 120-mm mortars and grenade launchers, shelled the Alkhanly village of Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli district.
As a result of this provocation, the residents of the village Sahiba Allahverdiyeva, 50, and Zahra Guliyeva, 2, were killed. Salminaz Guliyeva, 52, who got wounded, was taken to the hospital and was operated on.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.