Aliyev threatens new attacks, admits Azerbaijan started 2020 war in Artsakh

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attends a military parade in Shushi (November 8, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan)

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev threatened to launch renewed attacks on Armenia during a speech he delivered in Shushi on November 8.

Aliyev said that Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces captured strategic mountainous heights during the mid-September war, from which it could easily initiate attacks on Armenian military positions. From September 13-14, Azerbaijan launched attacks within the territory of Armenia proper, an unprecedented escalation of the ongoing conflict that left over 300 soldiers and civilians dead on both sides. During his speech on Tuesday commemorating the end of the 2020 Artsakh War, Aliyev referred to various Armenian cities, as well as Lake Sevan, by Azerbaijani names. 

“After the September 13-14 military operations, the strategic heights of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border are under the control of the Azerbaijani armed forces. Armenia should be well aware of what this means,” Aliyev said. “Today, we can see the cities of Garakilsa [Sisian], Gafan [Kapan], Gorus [Goris] and Istisu [Jermuk] from those strategic heights. We are on the shore of Lake Bala Goyce [Lake Sevan]. All these are realities that we created.”

“Because most of Armenia’s military posts are visible from the heights I mentioned, and if there is a concentration of forces there, we will see it and take immediate action,” Aliyev continued.

Aliyev also admitted for the first time that Azerbaijan started the 2020 Artsakh War. Until Tuesday, Azerbaijani authorities had insisted that Armenia was responsible for initiating the 44-day war. 

“We are not afraid of anyone. If we were afraid, we would never have started the Second Karabakh [Artsakh] War,” Aliyev said. 

Azerbaijani armed forces have not left the territories they captured within Armenia’s borders during the mid-September attacks. They now hold advantageous positions from which to launch new attacks and shut down critical Armenian highways, explained Senior South Caucasus analyst for the International Crisis Group Olesya Vartanyan after visiting the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. 

“Azerbaijani troops are now in a very important position. In some places, they are absolutely controlling the mountainous heights, but in some other areas, like for example near the town of Jermuk, they are sitting on the mountain. Let’s say something happens, there is another pretext for Azerbaijan to start another operation,” Vartanyan said during an episode of the Crisis Group’s War & Peace podcast. 

Military experts from Armenia and the West told Vartanyan that it would take Azerbaijan “just a couple of days” to take over the Goris-Kapan road, which would “effectively cut the south of Armenia from the rest of the country.” 

During his November 8 speech, Aliyev also repeated his demand for the so-called “Zangezur corridor.” The November 9 trilateral ceasefire statement ending the 2020 Artsakh War says that Armenia would provide transport links between Azerbaijan and its exclave Nakhichevan as part of the regional unblocking of transportation and communication links. Azerbaijani authorities have said that under this agreement, Armenia should provide a corridor passing through southern Armenia under Azerbaijani jurisdiction. 

“For two years, we have not touched the cars going from Armenia to Karabakh and back on the Lachin road. We provide free movement,” Aliyev said. “Armenia committed to providing a road connection between the western regions of Azerbaijan and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic. Two years have passed, there is no feasibility study, no movement, no railway, no highway. How long do we have to wait?”

Head of the parliament’s foreign relations committee Eduard Aghajanyan responded that the corridor is a “red line” for Armenia that it will never concede.

“Our position has never changed on this issue and will never change,” Aghajanyan told reporters. 

Aghajanyan said that Aliyev has not been constructive throughout the “entire negotiation process, especially in the post-war period.” 

“Ilham Aliyev’s last destructive statements should not be connected with the negotiations conducted in Washington or Sochi,” Aghajanyan said, referring to recent trilateral meetings organized by the US and Russia between Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities. 

Meanwhile, fighting along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and in Artsakh has been ongoing. The Defense Ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of opening fire along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border on the night of November 6 and November 8. The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan also accused “illegal Armenian armed detachments” of opening fire on Azerbaijani positions stationed along the line of contact in Artsakh. Neither side reported any casualties. 

Azerbaijani authorities have repeatedly called for the removal of all Armenian soldiers from Artsakh, including members of the Artsakh Defense Army. The Republic of Armenia has withdrawn its troops from Artsakh in response, yet it says that the November 9 ceasefire agreement does not call for the disbandment of local armed forces. 

During his November 8 speech, Aliyev threatened to take “necessary steps” if the Artsakh Defense Army does not disband.

“Karabakh is our land. Russian peacekeepers are temporarily stationed there,” Aliyev said. “What are the Armenian armed forces doing in Karabakh? Our patience is not inexhaustible and I want to warn once again that if this obligation is not fulfilled, Azerbaijan will take necessary steps.”

Azerbaijani forces along the line of contact in Artsakh are stationed near civilian towns and communities and periodically fire on civilians. On November 5, a tractor was damaged during targeted shootings of civilians working in their fields in the Khramort community of the Askeran region of Artsakh.

Tractor damaged by Azerbaijani gunfire (November 5, Artsakh Human Rights Defender)

We have repeatedly stressed that Azerbaijani military positions, located next to peaceful settlements, pose a direct threat to the lives of civilians and their basic rights, the threatening consequences of which we have repeatedly witnessed after the ceasefire was reached,” Artsakh Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan said

While Azerbaijan denied the incident, it was confirmed in the daily bulletin of the Russian peacekeeping force in Artsakh.

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She reports on international women's rights, South Caucasus politics, and diasporic identity. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Democracy in Exile, and Girls on Key Press. She holds master's degrees in journalism and Near Eastern studies from New York University.


  1. This is yet another one of Aliyev’s dog and pony shows and all for internal consumption. That’s how he stays in power, by feeding fairy tales to his politically ignorant and gullible peasant populations. Artificial Azerbaijan’s little insignificant chicken-hawk Aliyev does not shy away from admitting all what he says in terms of occupying swaps of lands in Armenian border regions and stresses this fact repeatedly as part of their military plan but blames Armenians for their own preplanned and criminal actions thus incriminating himself. The 1994 defeat he felt at the hands of the victorious Armenians for sure is still torturing him and it is so deep in his psyche that he can’t escape it. His big empty words attest to the condition he is in. Let’s hope he suffers and tortures himself to death.

    This little man with his Napoleon Complex and in his artificial state’s fake uniform who repeatedly denied responsibility for the start of the 2020 imposed war is now claiming responsibility which shows he can never be trusted and that he is a well-known LIAR. He claims they are not afraid of anyone but rest-assured when the leader of any state who has to make such a statement, the fake leader of an artificial state such as this scoundrel in particular, who was MIA in the first Artsakh Liberation War, while leaning on a half dozen terrorist states and entities is someone who truly is afraid because he feels the political situation in the region can change any moment and he will be left all alone to do the impossible and thus expose himself as this hollow-talking clown who is unable to do anything without all those he had bought and paid for by his precious swindling petrodollars. The Russians are not going anywhere now that they are back after thirty years of absence. What is he going to do, force them out? Can’t wait to witness that disaster with utmost joy. Iran armed to the teeth has 50,000 soldiers at the border for the first time in thirty years. Slowly but surely Armenia is recovering and getting back on its feet with new military alliances. What is this poor little nobody Aliyev going to do? I personally suggest suicide!

    This belligerent loud-mouth con artist Azeri mutt should be put out of his misery. He either did not learned from his late father what Armenians are capable of doing to him or he thinks those terrorists he bought and paid for the 2020 war are going to be there forever. He is sadly mistaken. If we believe in the famous American proverb ‘like father like son’ then we should also know and predict what is awaiting this clown in the near future. In the meantime, we need to keep arming ourselves and at the right moment when opportunity presents itself we break little Aliyev’s glass jaw!

  2. Illegitimate Nicole is a criminal that should have been kicked out of power long time ago he has made so many terrible decisions and humiliate Armenians all over the world. He is disingenuous, deceitful and toxic

    • Please, stop your hatred speech, against PM Pashinian. We know he’s not perfect, but you can’t deny his re-election after the war. Armenian people needs consensus and support from diasporas. Armenia provided a great lesson of Democraty.

    • The more we rely on others the more vulnerable we become. Even worse is when we need that help badly and it does not arrive and often times deliberately and by design for various reasons. Being reliant on allies we can trust is one thing but blindly trusting and putting our proverbial eggs in one basket by relying on an unreliable self-serving ally is a whole different thing that could prove and has proven to be disastrous. Given the geopolitics of the region and the fact that we live in a very bad neighborhood, we ideally need to be fully self-sufficient which may not be possible in practice but surely we must strive towards that goal.

      We become self-sufficient by creating factories that produce the weapons we need to defend ourselves. We have the means to do so and I have no doubt our homeland will receive the full support of the world wide Armenian Diaspora, their financial support in particular, because they after all were one of the first victims of our enemy’s acts of terrorism. Our homeland is in such a volatile region that things can literally change overnight and we must be ready for that. The more we rely on ourselves the more confident and the more capable we become. Being surrounded by belligerent enemies with bad intentions, only a strong army can be the guarantor of our homeland’s security and we must provide the army the means to perform and accomplish its tasks.

      In reality, our enemies do not want peace but in the eyes of international laws, if there still is such a thing, they ultimately have no other choice so they are trying to accomplish this at our expense and at maximum loss to us. We need to get strong and dictate peace onto them like we did thirty years ago. Deep down in their psyche they know we are capable of doing this because they have felt our united power on their skins already.

  3. This is the reason why Aliyev and his band of murderers must be sanctioned. He commits to peace and a few days later threatens violence. He is a threat to any civilized approach to conflict resolution. He will only understand economic punishment.

  4. God knows that i full support Armenia and the armenian people but where are the drones and the modern military equipment that Armenia acquired since the country lost the war?
    This is a situation of live and death since Armenia is surrounded by enemies (Turkey and Azerbaijan) that want to destroy the whole nation! Is the armenian goverment aware that a weak russia will have an impact in its national security and enbold the enemies to take advantage of the currents events in Ukraine? Armenians have enemies that are savages, willing to dismember the body of a female soldier and a lot more atrocities, i pray for you and hope your goverment knows what they doing.

  5. A bad news from France that will churn the bowels of Hook Nose ,Aliev.
    Today, the Senate of the France Republic, adopted a resolution supporting Armenia and proposing sanctions against Azerbyejan (No, not a typo)
    Among multi resolutions, the French Senate demands:
    Removal of armed forces of Azeris from Territory of Armenia.
    Demands the release of all Armenian prisoners of war.
    French government, with cooperation with EU partners, imposing diplomatic and economic sanctions, that will target the assets of the Azeris , as well as EMBARGO on the import of gas and oil from AzerBYEjan.
    Reaffirming the need to recognize the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.
    Considering the possibility of supporting the reinforcement of the defence capabilities of Armenia (arming Armenia to the teeth ) . I just hope the French government sticks to their resolution and starts punishing the savage Azeris ASAP. Despite the Armenians being loyal to The Kremlin, these Russians have shown over two centuries, that they are nothing but unreliable, two timing, back stabbing, sorry butt ally, I mean , A LIE. Time for them to pack their crap and leave Armenia and take that imbecile Nikol and his leaches with them.
    Thank you, France. Hope you don’t disappoint us.

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