Armenia Needs to Sue for Peace Now: The Alternative is Even Worse

Damjan Krnjević-Mišković

From the author: In writing about tragedy, Aristotle speaks of the moment of reversal—the inflexion point of misfortune, as it were, that marks the onset of the tragic unraveling. Irrespective of whatever sympathies one may hold for Armenia, the sage advice that needs to be proffered by friends and allies alike, given the evidently unfavorable geopolitical circumstances that do not appear to be reversable, is this: your maximalist position is no longer tenable; the time to sue for a negotiated peace is now.

September 27, 2020 may mark the start of what Aristotle famously called the tragic unraveling or dénouement (lusis) of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan that began way back in 1988. In the intervening decades, the one constant has been the Armenian occupation of almost all of Azerbaijan’s autonomous territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan-proper that together form about 20 percent of the country’s total territory.

There is no serious dispute that these lands are occupied illegally and that they need to be returned: four UN Security Council resolutions and various OSCE documents directly related to the conflict make this clear, as do the formal positions of all the major powers, not to mention the rest of the world. The fact that Armenia has totally cleansed the occupied lands of its pre-war ethnic-Azerbaijani population has obviously not helped its claim of victimhood, either (neither has its present campaign to indiscriminately shell civilian targets like marketplaces or key pieces of infrastructure like hydro-power plants and dams deep in Azerbaijan-proper). So irrespective of ancient grievances, a convoluted historical record, and whatever other vagarious claims have been put forward, the situation is, at the end of the day, unambiguous: the outcome to the conflict requires the end of Yerevan’s military occupation of these lands and the return of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani civilians to their homes. 

The article's full-text is available here.

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