Azerbaijani Army. Photo: press service of the Ministry of Defence of Azerbaijan

10 July 2020, 19:14

In Baku, analysts assess risks of Karabakh conflict escalation

Despite the crisis in Azerbaijan and Armenia caused by the pandemic, there is still a threat of the resumption of large-scale hostilities in the Karabakh conflict zone. Meanwhile, the key factor of the possible escalation is not the intensity of the shelling attacks, but the lack of progress towards a political settlement. This opinion was voiced by Azerbaijani military analysts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot".

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that every day, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Azerbaijan registers a number of shelling attacks on its positions in the Karabakh conflict zone. On July 8, the MoD of Azerbaijan claimed 78 shelling attacks on the positions of the Azerbaijani troops over 24 hours.

After the escalation of the Karabakh conflict in April 2016, the parties agreed on the ceasefire. Despite the agreement, over two years, the parties claimed daily shelling attacks in the conflict zone, as it follows from the infographic "Karabakh after the truce: a two-year war" prepared by the "Caucasian Knot". After the meeting of officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Armenia and Azerbaijan, held on June 20, Azerbaijan stated an almost complete cessation of shelling attacks; however, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Nagorno-Karabakh continues to register violations of the ceasefire.

Military analyst Azad Isazade associates the increased intensity of the shelling attacks with the domestic political tension in Armenia. "The political situation is becoming increasingly aggravated amid the crisis of the health care system in connection with the pandemic, the accusations of violation of the Constitution addressed by the opposition towards the country's authorities, and the criminal prosecution by the power of its opponents in Armenia. In such a situation, the country's authorities may always have a wish to divert public attention from internal problems and focus it on external ones and to escalate the tension in the conflict zone with the above purpose," Azad Isazade told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

The military analyst admits that the risk of the resumption of the large-scale hostilities remains until the conflict is resolved by political means. "The war can begin at any moment. Any local clash can develop into combat actions," the military expert explained.

Togrul Djuvarly, a member of the Azerbaijani National Public Committee for European Integration, believes that lasting peace is possible only in case of certain measures aimed at resolution of the conflict, including the start of political settlement, steps to be taken to return the territories around Nagorno-Karabakh under the Baku's control, restoration of communications, reintegration of the territories, return of migrants, and granting temporary status to the region.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 10, 2020 at 04:29 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medzhid Source: CK correspondent

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