After five people were killed when a conflict broke out following the seizure of weapons in the Karabakh region, it has become blatantly clear that Azerbaijan and Armenia are in a situation that must end immediately. Azerbaijan did not occupy Karabakh. They reclaimed their lands, which rightfully belong to them according to four UN Security Council resolutions. Therefore, the world should come to terms with Azerbaijan’s presence in the region and from this position help both sides to make peace.
Everything has changed and the world should be objective when negotiating peace between both sides. Facts on the ground and not votes at the ballot boxes in Western countries should determine which policies a country pursues in order to encourage peace in the Caucuses. As it stands, the main benefiters for lack of peace in the region are Iran and Russia.
For Iran, Armenia is their life-support, which helps them to bypass sanctions. The day that Armenia makes peace with Azerbaijan will be the day when Armenia will stop being a land-locked blockaded country and thus a prospering society at peace with its neighbors. As such, it no longer would have a need to rely upon the mullahs in Tehran and will stop serving as their proxy. For this reason, the Iranians are seeking to do everything that they can in order to sabotage peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
For Russia, keeping the conflict going is the main thing maintaining their global status in the face of the Ukraine fiasco, which has brought the Kremlin under international sanctions and turned Russian President Vladimir Putin into an international pariah. Thus, the Russians, who do not have much else going for them at this point, very much want to keep their status as peacekeepers in Karabakh, which is why the Russians permitted the smuggling of weapons along the Lachin Corridor to begin with. This way, when there is no peace, there will always be a need for peacekeepers and Moscow will maintain their status.
I am doing my best to encourage peace in the Caucuses. I do not want to give any chance for Iran, Russia or any other state to influence what is happening on the ground and to do games to make conflict, which harms both Azerbaijanis and Armenians. This is something that people in both states must understand. This is why in recent times, I have become very outspoken about this issue, trying to do my best to obtain peace in Karabakh, as peace here undermines both the mullahs in Tehran and the Kremlin. However, peace is the best gift that you can give both to the Azerbaijani and Armenian people.
In the past, I was very reluctant to appear as siding with either Armenians or Azerbaijanis, for I considered myself to be a friend of both peoples and I wanted to position myself as being an impartial negotiator. But then, when I visited the Karabakh region six months after the conclusion of the Second Karabakh War, after witnessing the vast destruction that was caused following the conclusion of the First and Second Karabakh Wars, I realized then and there that the Armenian leadership transformed that area of the world into the Hiroshima of the Caucuses and that a true friend of the Armenian people cannot sugar coat what happened there.
Westerners must understand that the best thing for Armenians in Karabakh is for them to be integrated as equal Azerbaijani citizens and for there to be peace between both states. This way, people will no longer die in landmine explosions, the greenery and animals will be restored to the region, and the cities, towns and villages will be rebuilt, and the region will become a tourist destination once again. But for this to happen, we must condemn the weapons smuggling happening under the watchful eyes of Russian peacekeepers and be understanding of Azerbaijan seeking to put an end to that, as weapons smuggling is a major impediment to a successful peace being signed between both sides.
And for this reason, as a former Israeli minister, I strongly condemn the weapons smuggling going on along the Lachin Corridor and deeply regret the loss of life which occurred in recent days. I pray that pretty soon, peace will come to the Caucuses and Karabakh will be overrun with flowers, trees, farms and beautiful villages, not weapons.