One month after the conclusion of the Karabakh war, President Ilham Aliyev organized a bombastic military parade in Baku on December 10, with the participation of his big brother, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

The speakers at the parade did not confine themselves to the military achievements of the combined forces of Azerbaijan and Turkey, but also made clear the extent of the looming dark clouds over the region.

Aliyev’s speech was full of bravura, exhorting the “glorious victory of Azerbaijan’s army.” The exaggerated praise of that army’s performance was meant to convince Aliyev himself and presumably his audience that the Azerbaijani war machine achieved those results all by itself, “smashing the myth of the Armenian army’s invincibility.”

Even with Turkey’s full involvement in the war — in addition to their thousands of hired guns from Syria — 44 days of resistance speaks for itself about the true grit of the Armenian army.

Politicians and generals on the Armenian side recently have spoken about what transpired during the war.

Along with the blame game, some hard facts are coming to the surface. For example, Gen. Samuel Babayan, the war hero of the first Karabakh war in the 1990s, and the chairman of the Defense Committee of Karabakh, revealed in a recent interview that on September 27, the first day of the war, within the first 15 minutes, 50 percent of the air defense assets and 40 percent of the artillery on the Armenian side were knocked out. Still, the Armenian army continued to fight in the ensuing confusion, inflicting considerable damage to the enemy.

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In another news item, it was reported that Israel not only had sold the deadly drones to the Azerbaijani army, but had also provided intelligence and surveillance of the terrain and the location of the Armenian military assets.

The war has changed the entire geopolitical landscape of the region, one where Armenia has to fight to survive.

The Wall Street Journal presents a realistic view of the turn of events in an article by David Gauthier-Villars, the newspaper’s Turkey bureau chief, on December 11, under the heading “An Assertive Turkey Muscles into Russia’s Backyard.”

In that article, President Vladimir Putin is reported to have said, “What can I tell you? It’s the geopolitical fallout from the downfall of the Soviet Union.”

Although the author of the article believes that Moscow’s accommodation of Turkey in the Caucasus is a ploy to drive a wedge among the members of the NATO alliance, the broader picture reveals a different message, particularly when viewed in the context of the Russo-Turkish confrontations elsewhere, such as Syria, Libya and Crimea: All evidence points to the diminution of Russian power.

During the parade, Mr. Erdogan made some historical references, which upset the Armenian side. Above all, however, the remarks irked the Iranian regime with the talk of reuniting Azerbaijan with the Iranian province of Azerbaijan. The Iranian government was so incensed that it summoned the Turkish ambassador to Iran.

Erdogan stated during the parade that the soul of Enver Pasha was illuminated. The reference was clear — and the audience he hoped would hear that sentence — as Enver Pasha was a member of the Ittihadist triumvirate, which had planned and executed the Armenian Genocide.

The reference to Enver was also a challenge to Russia, because after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Enver had gone to Moscow to dupe the young Bolshevik regime, as did Ataturk later, receiving arms, supplies and gold from Lenin to fight the Greeks and Armenians.

Enver Pasha at first was successful in convincing Moscow that he would go to Central Asia to fight the rebellious Islamic Basmaji movement. However, once he arrived in Turkmenistan, he joined the Basmajis against the Soviet forces and declared himself the Emir of Turan.

The Soviets did not forgive Enver and chased him throughout Central Asia. He was trapped by the Red Army headed by Hagop Melkumyan, who murdered Enver on August 4, 1922. It was perhaps history’s revenge that on the day Shushi was handed to Enver’s descendants in Azerbaijan, the heroic Enver, as he was being recalled, was killed by a Shushi-born Karabaktsi Armenian.

Turkey had received from the Nazi regime Talaat’s remains to be buried in his native land. Similarly, Enver’s remains were handed over to Turkey, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Erdogan at the parade also mentioned Nuri Pasha, Enver’s half-brother, who led the massacres of Armenians in Baku.

During and after the military parade, Aliyev’s pronouncements were equally provocative.

In his speech, he reiterated the historic lie that Zangezur, Sevan and Yerevan had belonged to Azerbaijan, when no such state existed during the millennia that these regions had been part of Armenia.

He wielded his power later during a meeting with the co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group in Baku. He told them that he had not invited them and that he had agreed to meet with them only since they were already in Baku.

Only the French co-chair, Ambassador Stéphane Visconti, politely reminded him that the French government had indeed received an invitation.

Other insults remained unchallenged. For example, Aliyev chided the OSCE for advocating non-violence in solving the issue. He bragged instead that Azerbaijan had reached its goal through precisely the opposite. He further demonstrated “magnanimity” by stating that he refrained from occupying Armenia itself. It was surprising that the Russian representative did not remind Aliyev that the former’s government had guaranteed the territorial integrity of its strategic partner, Armenia. Any further attempt would have challenged that guarantee.

The silence of the OSCE delegates baffles one in the face of Aliyev’s abuses; is that diplomacy or idiocy?

Back in Armenia, the delegation faced the flip side of the coin. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan raised the issue of Karabakh’s status, which has been on the OSCE agenda throughout the negotiations over the years. The delegates were mute on the issue and promised to make a statement later about their deliberations in Baku and Yerevan.

Interestingly, the Russian Co-Chair, Ambassador Igor Popov, was not present at the Baku and Yerevan meetings. Russia was represented by the ambassadors to the two countries.

As far as Aliyev is concerned, the conflict has been settled between Turkey and Russia and no question remains about the status. The co-chairs maintain that the document signed on November 9 was only a declaration and not a peace treaty. The negotiations have to resume under the auspices of the Minsk Group to work out the details of the agreements and to come up with a final document.

As the Russian peacekeeping forces settle in and around Karabakh, Azerbaijani provocations in the villages on the periphery of Hadrut continue.

Armenian civilians are still captured and three members of the Armenian defense forces were wounded.

Azerbaijan’s authoritarian government has allowed — or rather instigated — a protest against the Russian military presence on their soil.

Turkey is certainly behind this mischief since it failed to gain a firm foothold in the peacekeeping force.

Ironically, a similar rally took place in Yerevan in front of the Foreign Ministry building, headed by the Sasna Tserer group, and the European Party headed by Tigran Khzmalyan. Both are anti-Russian groups demanding the replacement of Russian forces by those of a neutral country.

This last movement has two vectors: it defies Russia and divides the opposition, giving respite to Pashinyan, whose resignation has become a hot political issue.

Pashinyan’s response is that the citizens of Armenia brought him to power and only they are entitled to remove him in a snap election. He questions his opponents about why they don’t request snap elections rather than demand his outright resignation.

He realizes that in case of snap elections, he has the state apparatus at his disposal and can use it as did the leaders of the previous regime.

The other opposition movement, comprising 16 groups, headed by Vazgen Manoukyan, the former prime minister, continues its demonstrations, demanding Pashinyan’s resignation.

Pashinyan and his team proved their incompetence during peacetime and after this disastrous war, the stakes are even higher than one that this incompetent and ill-equipped team can handle.

Any leader, statesman and concerned Armenian can draw the right conclusion.

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