THE MILITARY-POLITICAL CONSTITUENT
THE MILITARY-POLITICAL CONSTITUENT OF THE
SETTLEMENT OF THE CONFLICT
If the legal aspect of the conflict has a tendency and real prerequisites for the resolution of the conflict in a direction that has been discussed in earlier chapters of the paper, i.e. protection of rights and freedoms of people who have suffered the most from the conflict, the military-political constituent of this conflict can be discussed only in terms of “settlement or regulation”. This can be inferred from the current developments in and outside the region, from the “weakening” and “strengthening” of factors that effect the conflict and the situation around it, mostly of a military-political character, which is less constant than the more fundamental, and for this very reason more constant, legal categories, which are reflected in the ideal comprising the values of human rights and freedoms. The mentioned difference between legal and military-political toolbox should not be interpreted as an attempt to isolate laws from politics. It simply highlights the necessity of the principle to strive for what’s due, i.e. legal resolution, through what exists, i.e. military-political settlement.
The military-political constituent of the Karabakh conflict necessitates the idea of creating and supporting security and protection of the interests of the parties involved. In this respect the territories of Lower Karabakh, which are currently under the jurisdiction of NKR, play a very significant role in the issue of security. This statement does not attempt to limit the significance of these territories only to the issues of security and stability. However, when Azerbaijan refuses to consider the humanitarian and political-legal dimensions of the Karabakh conflict as decisive, when due to actively showcasing revanchist and military propaganda the leadership of Azerbaijan does not take the political and legal initiative with due seriousness, it is at least short-sighted not to consider the territories of Lower Karabakh as one of the most important elements of security and development of NKR, as well as a guarantee for restraining from new military actions. These territories are not only the necessary pre-conditions for security of the NKR population, but also of all the people mentioned above, i.e. refugees and IDPs, former citizens of Azerbaijani SSR , who in a near future may become citizens of NKR and resettle in these territories.
This is incited first of all by the increased militarization of Azerbaijan and the readiness of its leadership to force a military solution of the conflict. The militarization of Azerbaijan is characterized with gross violations of all the international obligations it has undertaken according to various protocols and mechanisms of control over arms and military actions, which are adopted and ratified by Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE Treaty). For instance, in recent years a strange picture has developed regarding the quantity of the major types of armament, which are being annually reported to CFE Treaty Parties. In the first years after the end of military actions in Nagorno Karabakh Azerbaijan reported of a number of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACV) and artillery pieces, which considerably increased the maximum allowed quota. Whereas nowadays Baku declares exactly the number which is allowed according to the Protocol on national limits on conventional armaments and equipment set by CFE Treaty. However, it has not demonstrated any actions taken towards disarmament. Thus, it can be assumed with confidence that the level of armaments and equipments in Azerbaijan considerably increase the allowed limits of CFE Treaty . Azeri researchers also note, “Since this agreement (CFE Treaty - authors’ note) sets strict restrictions on the quantity of military personnel, armament and military equipment, Azerbaijan is compelled to hide the real numbers. ” Officially Azerbaijan explains this with the impossibility of providing information about the armament of the troops that are deployed in the territories neighboring with NKR . In addition, since according to the national limits set by CFE Treaty, the number of armored combat vehicles (ACV) in regular forces of Azerbaijan should not exceed 220, about 200 entities were transferred from the Ministry of Defense to the internal and frontier troops of the country, so that on paper the quantity of the mentioned kinds of armament formally looks within the limits set by the treaty. Thus, actually the level of militarization of modern Azerbaijan has reached the point where according to the Chief Commander of the Headquarters of the Military Forces of Armenia General – Major Michael Harutyunyan, today in Azerbaijan the number of tanks and ACVs exceeds the allowed limit by 1.5 – 2 times and the number of artillery pieces by 2 - 2.5 times. Therefore, it is only natural that in a situation where the international society cannot suggest any practical mechanisms for restricting the increasing militarization of Azerbaijan, which is against all the norms and procedures regarding arms control, NKR is compelled to make up for the existing disparity between the military potentials of the two countries in one way or other, taking into consideration the discrepancy among their socio-economic, demographic and other indicators.
In the current situation the military-political equilibrium can be characterized as a quantitative and qualitative equality between the conflicting parties, where along with the purely technical denominators an important role has been assigned to the geographical factor and the existing configuration of the NKR borders, which is conducive for defensive actions. At the same time these territories are the frontline of military actions. Certainly the quantitative excellence of Azeri forces that is expressed in more quantities of military equipment and number of military personnel is leveled with the qualitative excellence, i.e. combatant efficiency, of the Defense Army of Nagorno Karabakh, which is the major guarantee of security for the NKR population, and the armed forces of Armenia. However, it is necessary to consider the comprehensive ratio of various types and systems of armament, as well as the possibility of their effective use in case of renewing the military conflict. Azerbaijan’s superiority in attacking armament is compensated with the efficiency (of course, from a military perspective) of the current defensive positions of the armed forces of NKR. Several prominent military experts have noted that “this system of quantitative-qualitative equilibrium is rather stable against the internal and external influences: for instance, a simple increase in the quantity of armed forces and quality of military equipment of one of the parties as much as twice, will bring about an increase in the quantitative and qualitative criterion for less than twice. ” In other words, the configuration of the defensive positions of the Defense Army of NKR allows eliminating or compensating for the threat to the regional security, which is initiated by Azerbaijan’s uncontrolled and mass purchase of armament and military equipment. For the initiator of new military actions, in this case most probably Azerbaijan, the probability of possible losses turns out to be much higher, which is actually the very reason why it restrains from such actions. Thus, the significance of the territories of Lower Karabakh as a security and stability factor on the frontier of Azerbaijan – NKR conflict, becomes even higher.
Moreover, it should be noted that from the perspective of full functionality in all aspects of life and security of NKR, the territories of Lower Karabakh are also very important, since it borders with the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is even redundant to point out how important it is for the security and further normal development of the NKR population to have alternatives for overcoming the economic isolation.