Smoke rising near Republic Hospital, Stepanakert. Marut Vanyan
Today, the dictatorship of Azerbaijan launched a full-scale military attack on Nagorno Karabakh, also known as Artsakh, where 120,000 Armenian Christians have been under siege for nine months.
The president of Christian Solidarity International (CSI), Dr. John Eibner, warns, “If Azerbaijan’s allies and commercial partners – the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, European Union, Israel, and Switzerland – do not act immediately to restrain it, there will be mass killings and other atrocities against the region’s civilian population. Genocide is imminent.”
CSI has received word from the minister of health for the Republic of Artsakh, Vardan Tadevosyan, that the capital city of Stepanakert is being bombed continuously by artillery. “We are under attack,” he says.
Azerbaijan’s defense ministry has announced that it has begun a military operation to “neutralize [the] military infrastructure” of the Armenians and “restore the constitutional order of the Republic of Azerbaijan.” An armed Azerbaijani conquest of Nagorno Karabakh will entail nothing less than the destruction of its ancient Armenian population.
On September 7, Elchin Amirbayov, a senior spokesman for Azerbaijan’s president, menacingly predicted “a genocide may happen” if Nagorno Karabakh’s elected leaders fail to submit.
A CSI team was in Armenia from September 11 to 16, and was able to observe Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno Karabakh to the outside world. The CSI team also observed Azerbaijani military outposts built many kilometers inside the Republic of Armenia itself. It is highly likely that this war will spread to southern Armenia and beyond.
CSI’s Joel Veldkamp, who was part of the visiting delegation, stated, “For nine months, the major powers – Russia, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom – have done nothing to end this siege, or avert this very predictable outcome.”
A week after Azerbaijan’s siege of Nagorno Karabakh began, on December 19, 2022, CSI and nine other human rights groups issued a Genocide Warning for the Armenian Christians of the region. “Despite this early and clear warning, the world failed to respond,” Veldkamp stated.
On September 14, Yuri Kim, the U.S. State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, stated in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that “the U.S. will not countenance any action or effort—short-term or long-term—to ethnically cleanse or commit other atrocities against the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Azerbaijan is now doing just that.
Eibner states, “The United States and other members of the UN Security Council must now do collectively and individually what they should have done nine months ago – immediately use every lever at their disposal to restrain Azerbaijan and protect Nagorno Karabakh’s Armenians, including sanctioning the Azerbaijani perpetrators.”
“If not, they will be complicit in another Armenian Genocide.”