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After Russian negotiators help end hostilities, Israeli Ambassador prays for young boy killed in Ganja

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Azerbaijan forces recapturing Shusha after 28 years was a breaking point for Armenia, and spurred Russia to mediate an end to hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh (Photo @ekrem_imamoglu Twitter account)

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A peace agreement achieved on November 10 has been maintained in the Southern Caucasus, as Azerbaijan prepares to establish control over seven Azerbaijani districts which surround Nagorno-Karabakh as well as territory inside the separatist region. Meanwhile the Armenian government faces turmoil in the capital city Yerevan, after its ally Russia brokered a deal with Baku to end the military advances. Azerbaijan successfully liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from Armenian occupation since the end of September.

The situation was bleak for Armenia which just prior to the ceasefire admitted the strategically vital city of Shusha, first occupied by their forces on May 8, 1992, had been lost.  

Dr. Can Kasapoglu is director of the Security and Defense Research Program at the Istanbul-based Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM). He wrote that Armenian forces lacked “adequate sensors, electronic warfare cover, or counterdrone weaponry” to defend against Azerbaijan’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). “Overwhelmed by Azerbaijan’s technological superiority in the battlefield,” he said, “the international legal aspect of the Armenian missile campaign (on civilians and infrastructure) is tantamount to a textbook war crime.”

Almost 2,000 Russian armed peacekeepers have flown to Nagorno-Karabakh, except for areas of the enclave under Azerbaijani control. In the near future they will patrol a new corridor from Armenia to the regional capital, Stepanakert. Similarly, a new transit route will be patrolled between Azerbaijan and its enclave of Nakhichevan, through Armenian territory. AFP reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, allied with Azerbaijan, said his nation and Russia would jointly supervise the implementation of the ceasefire deal through a monitoring center.

A phased withdrawal will bring the Armenian military back inside its borders, with partisans leaving Nagorno-Karabakh itself, Lachin, Kelbajar and Agdam by December 1. In addition, Azeri refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) will be allowed to return to the Nagorno-Karabakh areas controlled by the Armenian-backed separatists. 

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva, who is also the country’s first vice president, conducted a triumphant visit to Fuzuli and Jabrayil regions. An assistant stated on Twitter, “Everything razed to ground. Magnitude of Armenia’s vandalism is beyond any imagination. President Ilham Aliyev emphasized that all-out reconstruction work will be conducted.” Some Armenians who were departing lost territory such as Kalbajar burned their homes, possessions and forests to deny the spoils of war to Azerbaijan and more pointedly, to the returning Azeri refugees, driven from some of those homes 28 years ago.

The President of Nagorno-Karabakh, Arayik Harutyunyan, said Armenia was “betrayed” by its soldiers, who were largely reservists, in a speech cited by Open Caucasus media. He said that the agreement was made to ward off having all of Nagorno-Karabakh fall, and Azerbaijan take total control.

The International Crisis Group said in a statement it was a “bitter pill to swallow” for Armenia. 

“Yerevan had little choice but to agree to terms under which it gave up everything it had gained from the war that followed Nagorno-Karabakh’s declaration of its desire to separate from Azerbaijan back in the late 1980s. That war ended with a ceasefire in 1994 and left Nagorno-Karabakh de facto independent, if heavily reliant on Armenia, with a self-proclaimed government based in Stepanakert. When fighting stopped, Armenian forces also held seven Azerbaijani regions adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh.  A deal that Armenians view as capitulation will not be a reliable foundation for more sustained peace,” the group said.

The anger boiled over as angry protests erupted in Yerevan immediately after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced the peace deal on Facebook and explained that Stepanakert would have fallen without a ceasefire agreement. Hundreds of protestors stormed government buildings and the speaker of Armenia’s parliament, Ararat Mirzoyan was dragged from his car and beaten, resulting in surgery. Days later 3,000 people marched on the streets, chanting “Nikol the traitor” and “Nikol, resign!”

Over the weekend, Armenian authorities said they uncovered an assassination plot against Pashinyan. Opposition politicians, along with the former director of the National Security Service, were detained. Politically Pashinyan faced an uprising when four MPs, including a top aide to the deputy prime minister, abandoned the governing coalition. Their motivation was apparently a Facebook post by Pashinyan telling the returning soldiers, “I am waiting for you in Yerevan. For the ultimate solution to the problems of the whiners (implying his parliamentary critics).”  

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said more than 4,000 people had died as a result of the six-week conflict. Of that number were 2,317 Armanian soldiers killed in the conflict. Azerbaijan has not released any official numbers of casualties or of military losses. TheJ.ca has previously reported on civilian deaths and injuries, including to children, caused by Armenian targeting of populations centres and infrastructure far from the previous Line of Contact.

One such sad story of an Azeri child who was a victim of the war was related on Twitter by Israeli ambassador George Deek:

“A couple of weeks ago, I visited the city of Ganja after it was struck by rockets. I went to view the damage in residential areas. Many locals came to speak to me, sharing devastating stories. Then a young boy, around 12 years old, approached me. He said that he heard Israel has good doctors. He asked if Israel could save his friend who was in the hospital.”

Deek continued, “His aunt showed me pictures. She had tears in her eyes. “Please, he got injured in the bombing, he’s in a coma at the hospital,” she said. “He’s a good kid, help him.” I was deeply moved. I promised to help. We took the boy’s name. It was Artur Mayakov.”

The friends of 13 year old Artur Mayakov of Ganja beseached the Israeli ambassador to arrange medical aid for the comatose boy

“Already that evening we began to see if there’s anything we could do. But I couldn’t keep my promise. Two days later, Artur died from his injuries. He was 13 years old. I was heart-broken.

“A few days ago, I went to the Russian Orthodox church in Baku. I prayed and lit a candle for Artur. I asked forgiveness for not keeping my promise. May your soul rest in peace, Artur. May the children of this region enjoy a more peaceful future.”

In response, a reader observed, “An Azerbaijani kid asking Israeli ambassador to help his Russian friend, and a Jew praying for a Christian in a church. These can only happen in Azerbaijan. Yet, some people tried to make our war about jihadists and Islamist.” (In regards to the observation about the ambassador they were mistaken, as Deek is an Arab Christian, but is often assumed to be Jewish.)

As reported by Rachel Avraham last week in her story Multicultural Azerbaijan: Why The Struggle Over Nagorno-Karabakh Is Not A Religious War, “From its very inception, Azerbaijan is a nation that prides itself on its multiculturalism, considering it to be a national value. It is also one of the few countries in the world where there is zero anti-Semitism or any other kind of religious prejudice. In fact, despite the recent conflict with Armenia, the local population in Azerbaijan still supports multiculturalism and religious tolerance as a way of life, looking forward to the day when Armenia will also share these values.” In demonstration of that, President Aliyev has committed to Putin that Armenian churches and Christian shrines will be preserved in the regained lands.

Marty Gold is the Editor-in -Chief of TheJ.ca. Known for investigative reporting, he has specialized in covering municipal and provincial politics, and a wide range of sports and entertainment, in newspapers, magazines, online, and on his first love, radio. His business and consulting experience includes live events and sales, workplace safety, documentary productions, PR, and telecommunications in Vancouver, Los Angeles and across Canada, and as a contestant on CBC-TV Dragons Den.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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