Armenia’s latest missile attacks kill 26 civilians, wound over 70

Scene from Barda, Azerbaijan that was hit by dozens of Armenian missiles on October 28, 2020 killing and wounding many civilians. First responders carrying the body of one of the victims.

It was the first time I ever used my smartphone to record an interview. I play the interview in my head now and then because I was stunned when the young woman I was interviewing, a recent university graduate, told me this:

“All children of our village slept with our shoes on so we could run to a bomb shelter when the Armenians started shooting. One night, the shooting started and we ran as fast as we could. When we arrived at the shelter, our men told us to keep running; Armenians and Russians were shooting their way into the village.”

That was 1992. The Armenians are still in her village. They are still shooting Russian-made and supplied cannons at civilians just as they did in 1992.

On October 28, Armenian missiles containing internationally-banned cluster bombs smashed into Barda, a town in Azerbaijan. Amnesty International confirmed Armenia’s use of cluster munitions. 21 civilians were killed, 70 injured in what turned out to be the deadliest attack on civilians since the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict escalated on September 27, 2020. Another attack a day earlier on the same town killed 5 civilians and wounded 6. One of the victims was a 7-year-old girl, who was playing, when a missile with cluster bomblets landed in her backyard.

A New York Times journalist reports: “Children had been playing on their bikes, and their parents sitting in the shade of their gardens, when the missile exploded, scattering cluster bomblets over the houses of several neighbors.”

These attacks resemble several night-time missile strikes at Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second largest city (300,000 pop.), which resulted in the killing and wounding of scores of civilians, with their houses and neighborhoods wiped out.

A residential neighborhood in Ganja, Azerbaijan obliterated by Armenian SCUD missiles

Overall, since September 27, Armenia’s attacks have killed 92 Azerbaijani civilians, including 11 infants (the youngest was 10 months old) and children, and wounded up to 400.

Some of the Azerbaijani children killed by Armenian missiles.

Being discussed are the reasons for the major escalation of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict that was avoided with a flare up in April, 2016, and had been avoided since a cease-fire was negotiated in 1994.

One of the most commented on is why did Armenia cause this to happen in September. Those regional observers and experts blame Armenia for its stridency and for its obvious attempt to lure its military ally — Russia — into the conflict. Why, one asks. Because Armenia has tripped over its tongue by its new leader, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who declared as obstreperously as possible that the Nagorno-Karabakh region Armenia invaded, conquered and ethnically cleansed of Azerbaijanis, land the entire world recognizes as Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory, “is Armenia. Period.”

He didn’t whisper it in private, he declared it in a nationalistic speech to the chants of a large crowd: “Nagorno-Karabakh is Armenia. Period.”

That didn’t sit well with Azerbaijan. Neither has the continual artillery shelling from occupied Nagorno-Karabakh that this writer has personally observed. It has been going on for years. Again, of course, Armenia claims that Azerbaijan started the combat on September 27th; Armenians did the regular shelling into Azerbaijan. In the instance I witnessed, Azerbaijan didn’t respond in kind; and, in fact, Armenia doesn’t charge it did.

One important factor this writer has observed during this flare-up is that the press worldwide is conceding something they haven’t done before; i.e. Nagorno-Karabakh, though occupied by Armenian forces, is Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory recognized as such by every government in the world, every country and the United Nations Security Council itself.

Statue to Monte Melkonian in Yerevan, Armenia. California-born Melkonian was an international terrorist and was trained in PLO camps in Lebanon

Now, we are seeing better reporting of the problem with both sides being covered. In the aforementioned article, New York Times gave a lengthy analysis that doesn’t read like propaganda from the Armenian lobby in the U.S., the Armenian National Committee of America — ANCA. ANCA sponsors rallies and demonstrations of Armenian Americans, including some with violence as in July in Los Angeles and soft-pedals Armenian terrorism and idolizes International Armenian terrorists like Monte Melkonian, the California-born professional assassin, who was trained in PLO camps in Lebanon in the 1980s and committed terror attacks against Turkish diplomats and other targets. In Nagorno-Karabakh, this U.S. citizen violated American laws in fighting, being an international terrorist with French prison on his resume and lots of bodies he created. He is today an Armenian national hero and his name adorns the Armenian National Military Academy.

All this and Armenia is economically broke. It cannot support this war.

That is why it’s trying to rope Russia into coming to its aid militarily, to implement the six-nation Russian version of NATO. Russia isn’t buying it. Armenia alleged from the beginning that Turkey is involved in the fighting. Turkey denies it and there is no proof it is.

Turkey’s leader — President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Turkish Intelligence — that is respected by a NATO ally of Turkey, the United States — has reported that 2000 Kurdish PKK terrorists have been hired in Iraq and paid $600 dollars a month to fight for Armenia against Azerbaijan in Karabakh.

Where is that money coming from? Is the U.S. taxpayer money Armenian lobby shop — ANCA — begs for every year for Armenia? Is it Armenian Diaspora money from Massachusetts, Michigan and California? The Armenia Fund that also received a million dollar from Kim Kardashian? Or Paris? Or Moscow, Russia? There are more Armenians in those places than in Armenia, a dying country that is losing population every day.

Armenia is so stuck in national poverty that it is making war with Armenian women volunteers sewing uniforms for 60-year-old “soldiers” because Armenia’s armed forces do not have money to buy uniforms.

And, to think that American President Donald J. Trump bragged about how he and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo organized a ceasefire that was supposed to commence at 8:00 a.m. local time on Monday, the 27th, one month after hostilities began. President Trump labeled Armenians on television to be “great people.”

The shooting never ended. Within few hours of the U.S.-brokered humanitarian ceasefire, Armenia sent missiles into Barda.

Question: Must Azerbaijani children still wear their shoes to bed so they can run to bomb shelters at night when Armenian big guns shoot at them?

Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of 15 books and over 1300 articles. He formerly wrote for the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.