The attempted annihilation of ethnic and indigenous Armenians from Artsakh by Azerbaijan began well before the 2020 44-day war and has not ended after the supposed ceasefire was announced on November 9, 2020. On August 3, 2022 at 9:00 a.m., following separate closed-door meetings between first, the CIA, and second, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijan launched multiple attacks on Armenian positions in the Berdzor region of Artsakh, in stark violation of the November 9 announcement. Nineteen individuals were injured, and two members of the Artsakh Defense Forces, Gurgen Gabrielyan and Artur Khachatryan, were martyred defending their people’s right to live in their ancestral homeland. Following the unprovoked attack, the mayor of Aghavno, Antranig Chavoushian, confirmed that residents of the Berdzor district were told to abandon their homes and leave their village by the Artsakh Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, Hayk Khanumyan.
Azerbaijan’s unprovoked hostilities against the native Armenians of Artsakh is the latest in unsuccessful attempts to finish what the Ottoman Empire started in 1915. Equally worrisome, however, is the lackadaisical and inadequate response by the Republic of Armenia. In the weeks between July 19 and August 4, Pashinyan removed all units of the Armed Forces of Armenia that were stationed in Artsakh, and has yet to condemn the attacks against Berdzor. Moreover, while Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan noted that Azerbaijan’s actions constitute a violation of the November 9 capitulation, the Armenian nation in general, and the people in Artsakh in particular, deserve more than a mere acknowledgment of the obvious. The treasonous government’s failure to take strong action against Azerbaijan and its willingness to appease and aid the Aliyev regime’s goal of ethnically cleansing Artsakh is the latest in a long line of troubling developments.
Amidst the continued attempted Genocide and ethnic cleansing of Armenians by Azerbaijan and its parent-state Turkey, Pashinyan’s government continues to entertain normalizing relations between Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Such talks and negotiations are futile when both Turkey and Azerbaijan deny the Armenian Genocide, praise its architects, and repeatedly demonstrate their desire to finish what the Young Turks started over 100 years ago. Pashinyan falsely believes that by trading our ancestral homeland, the Armenian people will finally attain peace. However, this delusion blatantly, and dangerously, ignores both historical and contemporaneous evidence to the contrary, such as the 2020 Artsakh War, the recent attacks against Berdzor, in conjunction with the long list of illegal Azeri aggression and the continued unlawful detention of hundreds of Armenian Prisoners of War by Azerbaijan. The Armenian Nation deserves a leader that protects Armenian lives, liberty, and human rights against the genocidal neighbors that would see it wiped from history. The Armenian Nation deserves a leader that places justice and dignity for their people above domestic power and profit. The Armenian Nation deserves a leader.
This most recent surrender of Berdzor and Aghavno now leaves Artsakh completely surrounded by Azerbaijan. This is not the time for us to shake our heads with yet another disappointment. It is high time for everyone to step up. The Armenian National Committee of America has put together two action items you can take from the comfort of your home. First, call the White House at (202) 456-1111 between 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays and urge the White House to stop all military aid to Azerbaijan. Second, write to Congress and urge your senators and representatives to condemn Azerbaijan’s attacks, stop US arms and aid to Azerbaijan and support expanded aid to Artsakh. All of this can be done in a matter of two minutes by going to anca.org/907. We do not give up on Artsakh, we do not give up on the people of Aghavno and we do not give up on each other. Every one of us at some point has described Armenians as “resilient.” It is the time to demonstrate that resilience. That outrage. That fight. That will to live, survive and thrive in our homeland.