Impunity of separatism : from Nagorno-Karabakh to Catalonia
An intensification of separatist tendencies is a great danger and alarm in the contemporary world. The separatism in the South Caucasus that has begun from the occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan by Armenia has spreaded to other post-Soviet states, and today it has already begun to reflect itself in Western Europe, in particular in Spanish Catalonia. If you do not study and prevent this process in time, in the near future it can manifest itself in other states of the West and the world. Looking at the emergence of separatism in the modern world, we can remind the words of the famous Dutch thinker E. Rotterdam, who called for giving a stable character to territorial relations between states. He said: “We need to find ways to ensure that the borders of states cease to be subject to change and become stable, because changes in state borders lead to war.”
On November 20, the International Forum “Separatism as a threat to international peace and security” was held in Brussels, Belgium, organized by the Congress of European Azerbaijanis and the Nizami Ganjavi International Center with the support of the State Committee for Diaspora Affairs. The forum was attended 200 delegates, including Ali Hasanov, the Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on social and political issues, Nazim Ibrahimov, chairman of the State Committee for Work with the Diaspora, deputies of the Azerbaijan Milli Majlis, members of the European Parliament and parliaments of European countries, as well as deputies of a number of countries suffering from separatism, politicians, former presidents of the International Center Nizami Ganjavi, social and political figures, heads of Azerbaijan Diaspora organizations in Europe, experts, scientists and journalists. Initiated by Azerbaijan, this International Forum will support the struggle of nations and states whose territorial integrity has been violated, and whose population has been expelled from their homelands,” the Azerbaijani President’s Assistant for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov has told journalists.
“For many years we have warned Europe and the world that ethnic separatism is not to be played with. If you do, it ultimately leads to conflicts between peoples and states, causes bloody confrontations, and people suffer as a result. For many years, Azerbaijan has experienced every face of this pain – displacement, its peoples’ becoming refugees and internally displaced persons, and the killing of thousands of its people, and even its peoples’ remaining homeless,” the Azerbaijani President’s Assistant said.
‘Now, after Europe has seen the bitter consequences of this threat playing with ethnic separatism, it supported our right voice. Today’s forum is an obvious confirmation of this. Spain’s territorial integrity is its national right, the national law of the state and cannot be violated by anyone. This is one of the fundamental principles of international law. I think that as the EU demonstrates unanimous support for the territorial integrity of Spain, it will also adequately react to ethnic separatism, which takes place in the lives of other nations, and will continue to recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity as it has done so far. Ali Hasanov said that the policy of “double standards” currently prevailing in the system of international relations hinders the implementation of a resolute and principled struggle against ethnic separatism.
“In some cases the leading international organizations are indifferent to the issue of observance or non-compliance by all states of the world of legal norms providing for the elimination of ethnic separatism, encompassing effective methods of struggle and the mechanism of punishment of criminals. Moreover, this calls into question the objectivity and integrity of such organizations as the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. Therefore, these structures should abandon the position of double standards and increase their efforts to settle ethnic conflicts within the framework of international law” – stated Ali Hasanov.
Azerbaijan President’s Assistant said that according to Azerbaijan’s position, the creation of a territory of one state of another state within the framework of the state of another state established by the norms of international law, by resorting to dismemberment on national and ethnic grounds to achieve this goal is unacceptable. Warning the world of the dangers posed by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the region, Azerbaijan calls for decisive practical steps and forcing Armenia to abandon aggressive policies.
“We believe that if the actions of the aggressor are not stopped, the efforts of the international circles aimed at establishing peace and stability on the planet will remain unsuccessful, the scale of ethnic conflicts will be further widened, which is a big threat to the world order. Azerbaijan is considered a reliable partner of the West not only from the point of view of energy supply and security of the European Union, but also as one of the main partners of the “Neighborhood Policy”, but also through direct participation in peacekeeping processes in various regions of the world – Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans, supplying NATO with non-military resources, providing a safe air corridor.
Currently, the process of negotiations on a new agreement between the European Union and Azerbaijan continues. We are confident that the signing of this document will create favorable opportunities for strengthening large-scale cooperation between the parties in the field of political dialogue, human rights, in trade, investment, economic, legislative, cultural and other spheres. Unfortunately, such problems as the unresolved Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, hamper the development of partnership relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union at a high level. Despite the requirements of the relevant UN resolutions, as well as the European Union, Armenia continues its aggressive policy against Azerbaijan. We believe that the decisive position of the European Union against the invader state can become one of the next important factors that strengthen the strategic partnership between this structure and Azerbaijan, “said Azerbaijan’s President Assistant Ali Hasanov.
Honorary Consul of Azerbaijan in Germany, Otto Hauser said that almost all separatist centers are based on illegitimate use of force and one-sidedness of centrifugal forces. “The paradox is that Catalonia is the only example of unarmed, peaceful separatism, but for some reason the EU rejected it with particular zeal and this of course, since Catalonia is already the EU itself, its hut,” Hauser said. “Patriotism is good, but separatism is not the best form of patriotism. Azerbaijan is important for Europe, and the latter should understand its partner and support it in the same way as Spain. The heart of the resolution of the conflict is the return of refugees and IDPs to their homes, which is human rights, the human right to their homeland!”, Hauser stressed.
The former Israeli Deputy Minister of Defense, Brigadier General Ephraim Sneh said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has nothing to do with the right to self-determination. “It’s not even separatism; it’s a real occupation by one country of the territory of another!” There can be no self-determination by depriving the other side of the same self-determination. I am a soldier; I fought for my country, participated in the seizure of foreign territories. Yes, it was in the seizure and it was foreigners. However, when the UN decided to return the territories, we returned them, though they shed their blood for them. Does the same?
Everyone talks about the territorial integrity of Spain and Iraq, but what about Azerbaijan? It is not only the hypocrisy of Europe, it’s also ungrateful! In Europe, it is cold in winter, and namely Azerbaijani gas does not allow Europeans to freeze .With the risk for themselves, Azerbaijan warms Europe. However, where is the reciprocity? During the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Azerbaijan helped the Allies in logistics. What is the Americans cancel resolution S-907 This is not only a double standard, but it is also an indifference to the suffering of refugees “- said Israeli politician.
Former Ombudsman, the Moldovan parliamentary advocate Aurelia Grigoriu rejected the term “conflict” with regard to Nagorno-Karabakh. “This is an occupation; this is ethnic cleansing as a result of Armenian aggression.” She reminded that the current leaders of Armenia personally took part in the genocide of Azerbaijanis in Khojaly.
Head of Israeli NGO “International Society Projects”, expert on international relations Arye Gut presenting his documentary presentation about Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict said that the real test for Azerbaijan’s tradition of religious and national tolerance was during the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“For more than 25 years Armenia occupies 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 other regions of Azerbaijan. It is undisputable fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is an ancient and historical part of Azerbaijan. More than one million of Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons. George Mitchell, the British travel writer, who visited the occupied territories in November 2014, calls Agdam, an occupied Azerbaijani town, “a ghost town” and “Hiroshima of the Caucasus” and reports on the total devastation of nature and heritage all around. Destruction of cultural heritage in occupied territories of Azerbaijan includes looting of museums, destruction of monuments of historical, cultural and religious significance, attempts at changing the facts on the ground” said Israeli expert.
On Arye Gut’s opinion, it is obvious that if the UN Security Council resolutions on Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict are not implemented, there will continue to be civilian casualties in the region of South Caucasus. “It is an awful fact that civilians lost their lives and the heartbreaking news is that the Azerbaijan the little girl Zahra was the last victim of Armenian aggression in Fizuli district. There are numerous resolutions of the UN and they should be observed. The main question is still how to do it.
The modern world community should not ignore the facts of the revival of fascism, anti-Semitism, brutal chauvinism and should be ready to oppose its new forms. We bear this commitment not only to the Jewish people, but also to all others who are threatened by the same fate. The most terrible and immoral is that some countries, like fundamentalist and radical Iran, organize cartoon contests about the Holocaust of European Jewry. An other fact that President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan has participated in the opening ceremony of the monument to the fascist and anti-Semite Gen. Garagen Nzhdeh.
The history has never forgotten the cruelty of a 20,000-strong Armenian legion as part of the Wehrmacht in the WW II. The aim of the Armenian legion led by nationalist commander Dro and Nzdeh was to persecute and annihilate thousands Jews. At the same time, the Armenian legion organized death marches at concentration camps. Here I have a question whether Armenia does not have other heroes other than the fascists who destroyed the representatives of my people?
Now I would like to give you an other example of the heroism of the Azerbaijani intelligence officer under the codename “Sadigashvili” (Hamza Sadigov). As part of the Soviet military intelligence service near Stalingrad, Hamza Sadikhov captured the closest associate of Hitler, General Roddenburg, who was called the father of the “biological bomb” of Hitler, conducted experiments on Jewish children. Thanks to his courage, dozens of Jewish families were saved from the true death. With this deed and heroism, Sadigov erected a monument of courage and immortality in the hearts of his grateful generations” – Arye Gut stressed
As an Israeli citizen, as Jew, as the grandson the Soviet Army officer whose family was murdered by German Fascists, I understand the bloody massacre and act of genocide in Khojaly. “Cruel and bloody scenes of this tragedy will forever remain in the hearts of Azerbaijani people. On February 25, 1992, the roads from Khojaly to surrounding Azerbaijan were cut off and blockaded by Armenian forces intent on the ethnic cleaning of the Azerbaijani population. On the eve of February 25, Armenian armed forces began the final takeover of the area. This massacre is a crime against humanity. This is the historical fact that the Armenian armed forces spared none of the Khojaly residents, who had not managed to leave the city and its surroundings. As a result of the atrocities of the Armenian armed forces 613 dead, 483 maimed and 1275 people who were taken hostage and subjected to torture and humiliation.
What ISIS is doing today with captives, the Armenian terrorists have done in 1992 in Khojaly. Why did the slaughter of thousands of innocent people at the end of the 20th century trigger off all collisions, including spiritual, moral, political, and other problems? The Holocaust is a the most terrible tragedy of my people. That is why for me the bloody and barbarous act of genocide in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly is my personal pain, this is my personal tragedy.
Together with the different representatives of the Israeli media, I met with the Khojaly survivors, who have captured by the Armenian armed forces. Believe me, they told terrible things about Armenian savagery that it is even shameful to write about it. They showed us signs of torture. Then I had meetings with individuals and they told what they were ashamed to tell openly to all the people and the media” – said Gut.
Speaking at the International Forum, Israeli expert emphasized that this is a sorrow for innocent Azerbaijanis, who had their own stories, families, childhood, dreams and future, which was cut short because of this bloody massacre organized by the Armenian armed forces. “The relatives of the victims have one common pain: those who had committed this terrible crime against humanity have not been prosecuted by international court and have remained unpunished. Unlike the consequences of World War II, when the majority of the Nazis faced the international court at the Nuremberg trial, ideologists and executors of the mass slaughter of peaceful Azerbaijani citizens in Khojaly live freely in the modern Republic of Armenia.
The world knows the names of the countries that not only stood behind the occupation of Azerbaijani lands, but also even today are trying morally support the Armenia’s intention to preserve the status quo in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Official Baku has long made it clear that the current status in this conflict with Armenia is unacceptable. The main goal of the Armenian political power is to prevent the resolution of the conflict. The last aggravation on the front line once again confirms that Armenia is simply not interested in peace. The events of April 2016, when the armed forces of Azerbaijan responded harshly, crushing the Armenian armed forces, once again showed that official Yerevan must understand that Azerbaijan’s patience is at the breaking point. In addition, official Baku, according to the norms of international law, has the right not only to defend itself, but also to liberate the territories occupied by Armenia.
Unfortunately, brutal realities of international relations prove that the force factor acts more effectively on the world scene. It is quite clear that the current tension in the South Caucasus region is the result of Armenia’s occupation policy, its attempts to violate the negotiation process again. In addition, this is the guilt of the Armenian leadership. I have said many times that the Armenian President, first, thinks about preserving and strengthening his personal power, about the interests of his own clan, and not about the country that is in a difficult geopolitical and economic collapse.
All these facts once again prove Armenia’s unwillingness to live in peace with neighboring states, in particular with Azerbaijan. So, there has been no real breakthrough in negotiations, which have been lasting for more than 25 years. Everyone understands that the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” is a separatist terrorist puppet formation created by Armenia with the help of its patrons. Under the current circumstances, no one will allow Armenia to make its own decisions. In case of recognizing, the “independence” of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia will provoke a conflict itself, thereby entering the warpath. This will once again prove the terrorist nature of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s current regime.
However the question is how long the world community will silently endure the childish pranks of Sargsyan, who, like Kim Jong-un, took on the whole world by breaking the rules of international law” – said Arye Gut.
Despite the passage of several centuries, we see that he was right. The supporter of peaceful relations between states was also the famous French thinker Emmerich Creuse, who viewed human society as a whole. He believed that “all nations are mutually connected by natural and indestructible bonds. Therefore, the goal of the policy should be the preservation and expansion of consent between peoples. “When your neighbor’s house is enveloped in fire or destroyed, this is the reason for fear or compassion, because human society is one body, all members of which are in harmony in such a way that one cannot be weakened without touching another organ.” If we look through the prism of this problem, the event that took place recently in Brussels is of great importance for ensuring stability and the future world order.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.