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The Karabakh conflict, rules of the game changed

10 March 2010 [16:25] - TODAY.AZ
A peaceful solution is better than war but only when it exists.

Older people still remember the phrase: “If only there was no war.” Usually journalists and writers ascribe those words to an old and wise woman.

This was still not the most illogical way to convince Soviet people that waiting for an apartment for twenty years and stores’ empty counters are not so important. The main thing is that there was no war.

Today, it seems that the leaders of many influential international organizations think like an old Soviet woman - we will solve everything with diplomacy and negotiations.

Obviously, no one in Azerbaijan needs an explanation that a war is bad and peace is good. For us war is not just a story told by grandparents but shooting, including those shot by Chingiz Mustafayev in Khojali.

There is an alley of martyrs in every city of Azerbaijan. And most importantly, is the ongoing occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory with rich and fertile lands, mineral deposits, cultural and historical monuments and nature reserves...

Today, everything is clear. Azerbaijan found an opportunity for a dynamic and consistent development and even the global crisis could not slow down the pace of economic and social programs. Unlike many neighboring countries “floating rate” and closed shops, the economy in the country shrank with 15 percent. Moreover, not only the oil sector is developing but private investments in the social sphere, education and infrastructure have increased.

During a recent trip to the country’s Gabala region, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev unveiled a hotel, a sports complex, a children's garden and finally a piano factory.

The president also cut the red ribbon to open a residential block for displaced people from Karabakh. Addressing new tenants, the president said that not a single tent camp has been left in Azerbaijan: “There are good living conditions here and I'm sure you will be comfortable to live in these houses. But the main issue is that you return to your native land.”

Aliev also added, “We must strive to ensure that criminals who participated in the genocide against the Azerbaijani people were prosecuted.” He also said, “As to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan will continue its efforts. We try and should try to fully develop our country and increase its strength so that our position is stronger.”

The most remarkable begins here. The international community is engaged in a “solution to the question” for 18 years already, while the OSCE has undertaken the settlement of the Karabakh conflict in 1992.

Two years later a cease-fire agreement was reached and the solution of the Karabakh problem finally moved to the negotiations table. However, Azerbaijan’s lands still remain occupied and those that committed the Khojali genocide have not yet been brought to justice. Moreover, they are honored guests in the capitals of major states, red carpets are laid for them and they say that “the Karabakh people are ready to defend their church.”

The results of such “protection” can be seen in a video footage showing the atrocities against the Azerbaijani people.

A 1993 U.N. Security Council resolution still remains only a paper. No sanctions have been imposed against Armenia and the country has not even been openly bemoaned.

OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs still refuse to answer the question who is the aggressor and who is the perpetrator in the Karabakh conflict, saying, “we must look forward, but not backward.”

The main thing is that there was no war. In this case this is a war against Armenia, because Karabakh and the surrounding areas became under Armenia’s control not in a peaceful way, as the Azerbaijani president stated in Gabala. The president clearly said that “We are enhancing our power, boosting the military and economic potential of our country and should be prepared to liberate our land from the enemy at any time. To do this, Azerbaijan should be strong.”

In fact, the mediators may talk about peace as much as they want  but the bitter world experience is that aggressor and its victim will disagree, until the aggressor makes sure that the advice to act  in accordance with international law is backed also by force.

The Dayton Agreement would have not been signed if Bosnian Serbs had not suffered a bombing and Belgrade had not faced sanctions. The fate of Alsace-Lorraine was decided by the Elysée Treaty which laid the foundation of the EU.

Today things have changed and everybody says that a peaceful solution is better than a war. Of course, it is better but only when it exists. And what to do when it does not exist and there are no prospects that it will emerge because the aggressor and the victim will not agree until the aggressor faces pressure?

What to do if the world community, which already knows where the boundaries and the frontline are, and knows what happened in Khojali and Baganis-Ayrum decline to call Armenia an aggressor and impose economic sanctions?

To say that there is no occupation, that the boundary coincides with the frontline and that nothing important happened in Khojali? Maybe it would be better to take it for granted that war crimes already go unpunished in the modern world? Maybe the Geneva Convention has already been canceled and the Nuremberg trials were a mistake?

The truth is that no one has yet reached a firm and lasting peace by ignoring the aggressor.
Authors of the 1938 Munich deal chose disgrace to avoid war. If left unpunished an aggressor seizes more lands. There can be only one conclusion from almost 20 years of diplomatic chit chat while Karabakh and the surrounding areas remain under Armenian occupation.

Of course, it would be better to solve the conflict peacefully but one should be ready to liberate one’s land in any way because in the case of a credible military superiority negotiations will be more productive.

Day.Az writer

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