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Karabach is Azerbaijan

Friends, many of you reached out to me asking about the re-escalating war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Thank you so much for asking and for checking in on my family. They are safe. Thank you.
As for what’s going on, all I can say is Cardi B just apologized for spreading misinformation. Turns out all she had to do was go to Google Maps. ?

*This is Azerbaijan on Google Maps*

If you google Azerbaijan you’ll get a map that looks like this. Google Maps shows Azerbaijan’s wholesome borders that *include* Nagorno-Karabakh (in the red circle).

*Wait. Is the designer of Google Maps an Azerbaijani?*

Not really! It’s how the international community, the US, and the UN recognizes Azerbaijan’s territory. They kind of can’t get around the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is officially Azerbaijan’s territory, not Armenia’s.

*So what’s the problem?*

The problem is 27 years ago Armenians occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding Azerbaijani regions. There are no Azerbaijanis left there. Only Armenians live there now. 800,000 Azerbaijanis were chased away, hundreds were killed. Many of them died never seeing their home again. One of them my grandfather.

*Why would Armenians do that?*

Because in some parts of Nagorno-Karabakh there were Armenians who co-lived with Azerbaijanis. Just like there are a lot of Armenians living in Los Angeles right now. And as the Soviet Union was collapsing, backed by Russia, the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh started to demand that they break apart from Azerbaijan and form their own autonomous Armenian republic.

*Really? People can do that?*

Yes. Imagine if the Armenians living in Los Angeles told you that they wanted to break apart from the US and form their own little Armenia over there. And kick the US Citizens out.

Or the majority Mexican areas of California said they wanted to break apart and form an Autonomous Mexican republic. And kick the US Citizens out.

So yes, people can do that, but they probably shouldn’t.

*Okay. Kicked out. So what happened then?*

UN issued 4 sanctions in 1993 saying come on Armenia, return the lands. Armenians never did of course. The UN was like meh, we see big players who kind of need this instability in the region (the usual. Russia), so we’ll pretend like we can’t do anything about it. And the state of ceasefire requested by UN continued on for all these years.

*Really? No one did anything at all?*

Well kinda. Some ridiculous Minsk group was formed to broker multi-year conversations between the heads of state. For 27 years standstill, empty talks. Patience. Lots of patience.

*But patience is a virtue. Why lose it? And why now?*

Well because... the new president of Armenia that came to power 2 years ago became kind of aggressive. A mistake on his end to be honest. These empty talks could have gone on for 100 years!

*What kind of a mistake?*

Mistake and misstep. He started openly claiming that Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions of Azerbaijan are part of Armenia, that’s it. He went on and hung some flags. Built an illegal access bridge to the region. Danced yalli with his wife in the occupied cultural Azerbaijani centers of Nagorno-Karabakh.

*So some dance moves, what’s the big deal?*

Well, in addition to pouring salt onto the open wounds of Azerbaijanis, he also technically broke the flow of negotiations and put Azerbaijan in a position where they had to respond.

*So Azerbaijanis took on arms just like that?*

Nope. Remember? Patience. Azerbaijani president first called the Armenian president saying come on dude, wtf. And the Armenian president said nope, I decided it’s ours. And shot some fires here and there on the border in July of this year (of course blaming Azerbaijani side). So Azerbaijanis turned to the martial law.

*Wait. It’s not Armenian soil that the war is on?*

Technically, legally, truthfully, putting all the hands on all the hearts, no. Azerbaijan’s military focus is only on military targets and it fights *exclusively* on the Azerbaijani territory. Not even toes placed on Armenia itself, although they fired missiles to 4 *unoccupied* regions of Azerbaijan, just last week, to provoke the same kind of backfire. Thankfully we didn’t fire back *into* Armenia to reciprocate.

*But what about Turkey?*

We have close ties. We are like really close. But you know the feeling when your big cousin shows up at your school and emboldened, you go and get your belongings back from those bullies (that have started making even more moves recently)? He just stands there. But you go get them. That’s all there is.

*Come on. There’s more to it than that.*

Of course there is. It’s complex geopolitics. There’s probably some give and take happening, some big games we mere mortals aren’t privy to. I don’t know. But I know this. Azerbaijan’s move was made inevitable by Armenia. And Azerbaijan’s military and financial means are multiples of Armenia. Population is 10 million vs 2 million. It isn’t like the war would be impossible to win without Turkey’s moral backing. It’s just the stupid provoking president of Armenia, the timing, and the plausible regional ties - all came together to right the wrong for Azerbaijan. Russia is still on the sidelines. I’m not sure how it will evolve from here.

*But Aygun, poor Armenians, you want them out?*

Aha. That’s the difference here. Between what happened in 1993 when Armenians kicked out Azerbaijanis and now. A key promise of peace negotiations put forward by Azerbaijani government is that Armenians *continue* to live in Nagorno-Karabakh alongside Azerbaijanis who’d return back to their homes, but all of this within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

*That was a LOT. Any last words?*

I really really don’t want any war. I have nothing against Armenians and I have met many of them here. This is America. You meet, greet, and are respectful with people from everywhere. So many times I got into an Uber and the driver was an Armenian. There would be an awkward silence and then I’d say ‘eh, we are all the same people’ and with a big sigh and sometimes a giggle we’d go on with a small talk about life in America, our families back home, and the good old times. Yes, the good old times when Azerbaijanis and Armenians lived peacefully alongside each other. People still remember that.

Having said that, I have never seen my nation so uplifted and so united behind the patriotic ideals. And so ready get their homes back. I’m extremely proud of my nation’s courage and attitude. You would be too. My biggest hope is that things settle peacefully and soon.

*So what’s this game about again?*

The Armenian uprising was just a great opportunity to keep Azerbaijan destabilized and dependent. It just happens to be in a strategic position. An important piece on the chessboard. Lots of oil, between Europe and Asia, strategic corridor. The Silk Road, potential gas pipeline and so on.

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