An interview with Ashot Beglaryan for VT
…by Alla Pierce, Belarus
[ Editor’s Note: Alla brings us a perspective on the current fighting based on her earlier trip in 2016, where she reported on the short war. Before that she had reported on the disastrous Ukraine war.
Here we are again viewing the continuing scourge of the regional wars being instantly fueled by the ever growing pool of cheap hired gunmen, hiding behind their religious veil of honoring some warped religious duty, and looking for some fast money, or purely for the enjoyment of killing people with no judicial concerns whatsoever.
The EU, NATO and the US have dirty hands here, as these instant cannon fodder mercenaries are all the rage now, even more so because most are already battle hardened and don’t require any training.
So called democratic western governments have done nothing to rein this in, despite the old battle cry of our war against terrorism. It has sadly become a legitimate business, totally unregulated.
If there was any attempt at the UN level to require all those engaged in using proxy fighting forces to be fully regulated in terms of keeping a complete database of everyone involved and full records of all their activities, it has escaped me.
Fortunes are being made doing this, where it appears that those on the business end have no threat of accountability. That can normally only be possible because the politicians, including law enforcement, are being cut in for a piece of the action.
We have organized terrorism going on inside our own countries; and we do not lift a finger morally, politically or via law enforcement to stop it. Whose fault is that?… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … October 11, 2020 –
This interview was taken a while ago but I still wanted you to hear a voice from Karabakh. While I was waiting for publishing some additional news appeared on the stage of this war.
On October 6, the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, announced that militants of the Jabhat al-Nusra, Firkat Hamza, Sultan Murad, as well as extremist Kurdish groups were being transferred to Nagorno-Karabakh.
The presence of militants significantly increases the degree of escalation in this war.
This beastly essence has long been known. War correspondent RT Murad Gazdiev says, “They are completely soulless, repulsive, highly organized and dangerous assassins, adapted to and hardened by war. It took Assad years to learn how to fight them effectively”.
Gazdiev also emphasized that he worked in Syria for years, was in Karabakh in 2016th and knows know who is fighting and how. If enough members of “Nusra” have arrived, Karabakh will burn, stated by the journalist ttps://t.me/msgazdiev/201
The director of the SVR of Russia emphasized that the Transcaucasia can become a new springboard for international terrorist organizations, from where the militants can subsequently infiltrate into the states adjacent not just to Azerbaijan and Armenia, but also in Russia as well. This fact is indeed a matter of serious concern for Russia.
Another notorious international relations activist has revealed a desire to participate in the war on Azerbaijan’s side. This is, of course, Ukraine. What would we do without them?
According to Oleg Tsarev, a former Rada deputy and presidential candidate, in Kiev, “they are now carefully conducting work and forming a group to send militants from Ukraine to Azerbaijan. This process is underway.”
Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh has not died down for more than a week. This time it is not a short-term military conflict, but an open, brutal and merciless war, accompanied by the destruction of cities and villages and the death of civilians.
It is difficult to determine the real numbers of losses since in the context of an information war, all parties to military conflicts tend to exaggerate their victories and belittle the achievements of the enemy.
But the Armenians have always been known in history as good warriors, and the main factor in this war is that they are now fighting for their land, while for Azeris Karabakh is just a territory, even for those who are willing to fight. Besides, what is important, this territory used to be temporarily under the jurisdiction of the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic, the legal successor of which Azerbaijan is not.
For Armenians, Karabakh is the ancient land of Artsakh, where Armenians have lived for a long time and where they live now. This is their home-land. It is enough to take into account the fact that Azerbaijan tempts, first of all, to destroy the ancient Armenian artifacts, getting to the Armenian lands, as it happened in Nakhichevan, to be able to understand all the precariousness of arguments in the favor of the Baku officials.
I was in Karabakh during the 4-day war in 2016th. I have met with soldiers and civilians, ordinary villagers, and officials and I was amazed at how monolithic these people are. Therefore it is not surprising that martial law and mobilization have been declared in Karabakh and Armenia.
I bet if the mobilization had not been announced, then the entire male population filled the military enlistment offices with a request to include them in the ranks of volunteers.
It is not surprising that the President of Nagorno-Karabakh Arayik Harutyunyan announced that in conditions of heavy battles with the enemy along the entire border, he personally went to the front line to fight the enemy.
“Generals, officers, sergeants, army soldiers! Comrades-in-arms and volunteers!
Heavy battles with varying intensity are going on along the entire line of contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Civilian settlements, including the capital, Stepanakert, came under fire.
The right to live independently with dignity and to create and produce on their own land, liberated at the cost of the blood of Armenian sons, is now under threat.
Therefore, now I am leaving with Special Forces to the front line to conduct my battle since I will be more valuable on the front line than in the rear…” said the President of Artsakh to the people of the republic.”
A significant difference in this war from previous conflicts is the opened although not official Turkey’s participation in hostilities. It looks more like Ankara is the mastermind of this new aggression against the Armenian people. Many noted that the senseless, unjustified destruction of the civilian population is, in fact, another round of genocide of the Armenian people.
“The fifth day of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan and Turkey against Artsakh and the Armenian people, in general, was distinguished by more obvious targeted shelling of peaceful cities not only in Artsakh but also in Armenia.
Among the civilians, there are more than a dozen dead and dozens of wounded. Journalists, including foreign ones, were seriously injured. Residential buildings, civilian structures, including objects carrying out a humanitarian function, were destroyed and damaged.
In the other words, the enemy does not make any differences between military and civilian targets, trying to destroy everything living and inanimate as much as possible. This once again confirms the fact that the main goal of the fascist tandem Erdogan – Aliyev is not a political solution to the Karabakh problem, but the destruction of the Armenian population in the region and the seizure of their territory. “
This is an excerpt from one of a whole series of articles by the remarkable Artsakh writer, warrior, and public figure Ashot Beglaryan with whom I managed to take a blitz interview exclusively for VT.
Q: Why do Turkey and Azerbaijan need this war at all? It is supposed to be clear that they won’t succeed in returning Artsakh. Then what are the goals of Baku and Ankara? Perhaps Aliyev is planning to seize the disputed areas?
Answer: Baku has revanchist goals – to return what was lost during the war unleashed against Nagorno-Karabakh in 1991-1994. The Baku regime believes that huge investments in the army and active support of Turkey in the current complex geopolitical and military-political situation in the region and the whole world will help resolve the issue by force. But Ankara and Baku are hopelessly mistaken in this, as evidenced, in particular, by more than 3000 victims on their part.
Q: This time Turkey openly participates in hostilities on the side of Azerbaijan. It even, in my opinion, looks more like Turkey is acting, but with the hands of Azerbaijan. And it looks like a challenge to Russia. Why would Erdogan go into conflict with the Kremlin? Is Erdogan hoping that the Russian Federation will limit its actions with “expressions of concern,” and he is guided by a feeling of complete impunity? Or does Turkey, in turn, is backed by some forces that allow it to act so brazenly? If so, who can act behind Turkey’s back?
Answer: Turkey believes that Russia is preoccupied with its many problems and is not in a position to undertake anything significant. Besides, recently Erdogan has tied Putin with false bonds of friendship, and he cannot get out of them. Turkey, of course, has “sympathizers” and “partners” in the Muslim world.
Turkey decided to take advantage of the situation when the whole world is fighting the coronavirus, and Russia has a lot of its own problems, including those related to its image in the context of its position on Belarus, to solve its pan-Turkic goals, expanding its influence in the Caucasus.
Q: In some Russian press, Pashinyan, as well as Lukashenko, is accused of being a multi-vector politician and of turning towards the United States, which, according to the authors of articles and posts, was the spring for the start of the war.
Answer: In principle, it is wrong to blame multi-vector politics since it is the choice of a sovereign country. The desire to build multi-vector relations with the countries of the world cannot be condemned. Pashinyan, as prime minister, never opposed relations with Russia; on the contrary, he repeatedly noted the need to bring them to a higher level. So statements about the need for support from the CSTO, in particular, Russia, would look quite natural, although Yerevan has not yet officially applied for help.
Q: “The Armenian Ambassador in the Russian Federation Vardan Toganyan stated that the signal for launching the missiles will be the use of F-16 fighters by Turkey, which is clearly warned by the Turkish side.” How serious is this statement? Such a statement threatens an open war with Turkey.
Answer: If the Iskanders are also involved, the round of the war will rise to the most critical level, fraught with going far beyond the region. And this is where the bold interposition of Russia and other powers is needed.
Turkey has thrown a direct challenge to the leadership of Russia, unleashing a large-scale war under its nose and not hiding its claims to increase its role in the Transcaucasian region. Artsakh and Armenia are like a bone across their throats in realizing pan-Turkic goals. Russia’s further silence will have a very negative impact on its image of a great power country.
The border regions of Armenia have been already shelled for the second day and Russia, I think, must intervene in what is happening.
The situation for Russia is extremely difficult. We know that Pashinyan has already called Putin four times. While the shelling of the NKR was going on, Russia could not interfere, but now the shelling of the border regions of Armenia, which, along with the Russian Federation, is a member of the CSTO, has begun.
For Russia, the Caucasus has historically been an area of interest, and Turkey’s aggressive actions will most likely force it to take some decisive action, which is what Turkey and those behind it were trying to achieve. Breaking a corridor to Azerbaijan through Nakhichevan and reaching the Caucasus would be a great victory for Turkey and a colossal defeat for Russia.
But it seems that the whole point of this war was to drag Russia into another war, to weaken and exhaust it on the external borders, while undermining the situation from within.
If for Aliyev the unleashed war is a pretext for solving his regional ambitions, then Turkey’s open entry into the war is undoubtedly a challenge to Russia. So Turkey is behaving more and more aggressively; F-16s are already being used to deliver air strikes in hostilities, which will force Armenia to use the Joint Air Defense System of Armenia and the Russian Federation. Pashinyan’s statement on the possibility of using the Russian military base in Gyumri could not have been made without the approval of the Kremlin.
It’s very likely that the Russian Federation will insist on a diplomatic resolution of the conflict for some time, avoiding an open demonstration of support for Armenia, given the fact that the Turkish army is stronger and that Azerbaijan is its business partner. It’s important to Russia not to take sides outwardly while maintaining the ability to play the role of a peacemaker.
At this point, it remains to be hoped that the Turkish aggression will be stopped and will not lead to the outbreak of a global war.
 Ashot Beglaryan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashot_Beglarian