Armenia replicates battleground violence against Azerbaijanis living abroad

Through perpetrating another provocation against Azerbaijan on July 12 – 14 2020, the Armenia–Azerbaijan border in the direction of Tovuz district, the Republic of Armenia once again demonstrated to the world that resorting to violence is always its easy way out in the face of defeat, or its fallback when simply initiating another military provocation is less challenging than tackling the country’s pressing internal and external problems. This piece, however, is not about the recent Tovuz provocation by Armenia, which has already been extensively addressed;it is instead about the fate of hundreds of Azerbaijanis living abroad –including members of diplomatic representations– who have become the next targets for provocation by Armenian diaspora groups.

First, on July 21,when dozens of Azerbaijanis came to peacefully stand up against the demonstrations by thousands of members of local Armenian diaspora groups led by the Armenian National Community of America (ANCA) in front of the Azerbaijan Consulate in Los Angeles, CA, the Armenians, who outnumbered the Azerbaijani community members, launched violent attacks against them. The attack left ten Azerbaijanis wounded, including a young woman. It is reported that the Armenian who attacked the young woman also attacked a police officer and the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the whole incident as a hate crime.

Later, a similar scenario was enacted in Brussels where, on July 22, Armenians attacked peaceful demonstrations by representatives of the Azerbaijani community, who –standing up against the decades-long occupation policy as well as recent incidents–displayed posters and chanted slogans protesting the military provocations by the Armed Forces of Armenia since July 12 along the Armenia–Azerbaijan border in the direction of Tovuz. The demonstration by Azerbaijanis in front of the Embassy soon became another target of violence, with the peaceful protesters enduring a surge of attacks by Armenian radicals using stones, explosives and other weapons that left six members of the Azerbaijani diaspora, including one journalist, injured and in need of medical attention.The Azerbaijani diplomatic mission and the administrative building of the Embassy also experienced the destruction of property and their employees suffered injuries. Thanks to the efforts of the Belgian police the violence was stopped, and dozens of Armenians involved with organizing this attack were eventually detained.

On July 26, members of Canada’s Azerbaijani community gathered together with Turkish residents in a sanctioned protest in Vancouver, Canada,to stand up against the military provocation of July 12.Attempted provocations by Armenians against the peaceful and lawful demonstrators were averted only thorough a swift increase in the number of police officers in the area.

Such violent incidents against peaceful demonstrations then boiled over into threats and further attacks against Azerbaijani diplomatic representations in Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Poland, and Australia, among other countries. The violence on the battleground that we recently witnessed against Azerbaijan’s Tovuz district on July 12–14 is now being replicated against representatives of the Azerbaijani diaspora globally, including journalists and,particularly worryingly, against the diplomatic missions of Azerbaijan overseas –individuals who are protected by the relevant international conventions including, among others, the Vienna Convention of 1961. These provocations are all happening in the full light of day in progressive European and American cities, in blatant disregard of all existing international norms and rules. The Azerbaijani side is therefore taking vigilant measures against this surge in violence. However, this should not be a one-way street, as host countries are also responsible for the security and protection of the diplomatic community.

The world should not forget the consequences of Armenian terrorism including, among others, those committed by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation or Dashnaktsutyun;the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA);and the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG).In the context of pursuing their dream of “Great Armenia” and demanding “historical justice,” these organizations have not shied away from the instrumentalization of terror and violence across the decades. The murder of Turkish diplomats abroad as an instrument of Armenian terror has been well documented since the 1970s. In addition, the Orly Airport bombing in Paris in 1983 was committed by an Armenian militant,VaruzhanKarapetian, the head of the French branch of ASALA. Karapetian’s plan to blow up a Turkish Airlines flight went awry, however; the bomb exploded at the airport check-in counter, killing eight people. Although given a life sentence in France, he was nevertheless later released and deported to Armenia, where he was glorified and celebrated as a hero at the highest state level.

Also belonging to the dark pages of history are the terror attacks perpetrated through Armenian terrorism against Azerbaijani civilian infrastructure. For example, attacks on the Baku metropolitan area in March 1994 left hundreds killed or injured and,over the course of Armenia–Azerbaijan conflict, Armenia has repeatedly threatened to attack the Mingachevir Dam, a civilian infrastructure project that is also a vital component of Azerbaijan’s largest hydroelectric power plant.It is not difficult to imagine the magnitude of civilian causalities that would be caused if such wanton destruction were to be realized.The list could go on.

What we are witnessing today around the world – against peaceful Azerbaijanis and representatives of the country’s diplomatic service –epitomizes the very nature of Armenian terrorism and violence against civilians. Aggravated by losses and disappointment on the battlefield, and having been unable to break the defense of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in Tovuz, Armenian radicals have again resorted to what they do best: violence. However, having transferred their rage over battleground losses into the civilian domain, they have forgotten that neither Azerbaijan nor the world at large are the same as they were a few decades, or even a few years, ago. Both Azerbaijan and the world are now very well informed and prepared to face such violence and provocations, as we have already seen in the swift responses provided by local law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe. Such crimes and acts of provocation against civilians and diplomats should not go unpunished and,ideally, they should be prevented in a timely manner, nipping this anger in the bud before it ruins the lives of more innocent Azerbaijanis just because they live abroad.

Views expressed are not of The London Post