After a month of war, the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc continues to keep the initiative in the conflict, exploiting its advantage in air power, artillery, military equipment and manpower. The coming days are likely to show whether Ankara and Baku are able to deliver a devastating blow to Armenian forces in Karabakh in the nearest future or not. If Armenian forces repel the attack on Lachin, a vital supply route from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, they will win the opportunity to survive till the moment when the ‘international community’ finally takes some real steps to pressure Turkey and Azerbaijan enough to force them to stop the ongoing advance. If this does not happen, the outcome of the war seems to be predetermined.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani forces continue their advance in the region amid the failed US-sponsored ceasefire regime. Their main goal is Lachin. In fact, they have been already shelling the supply route with rocket launchers and artillery. The distance of 12-14km at which they were located a few days ago already allowed this. Now, reports appear that various Azerbaijani units are at a distance of about 5-8 km from the corridor. Armenian forces are trying to push Azerbaijani troops back, but with little success so far.
The advance is accompanied by numerous Azerbaijan claims that Armenian forces are regularly shelling civilian targets and that the ongoing advance is the way to deter them. Baku reported on the evening of October 27 that at least four civilians had been killed and 10 wounded in Armenian strikes on Goranboy, Tartar and Barda. On the morning of October 28, the Armenians allegedly shelled civilian targets in Tovuz, Gadabay, Dashkesan, and Gubadl.
On the morning of October 28, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that in response to these Armenian violations its forces had eliminated a large number of enemy forces, an “OSA” air-defense system, 3 BM-21 «Grad» rocket launchers, 6 D-30, 5 D-20, and 1 D-44 howitzers, 2 2A36 «Giatsint-B» artillery guns, a 120 mm mortar, a “Konkurs” anti-tank missile and 6 auto vehicles.
On October 27, Azerbaijani sources also released a video allegedly showing the assassination of Lieutenant General Jalal Harutyunyan by a drone strike. Azerbaijani sources claim that he was killed. These reports were denied by the Armenian side, which insisted that the prominent commander was only injured. Nonetheless, the Karabakh leadership appointed Mikael Arzumanyan as the new defense minister of the self-proclaimed republic.
On the evening of October 27 , the Armenian Defense Ministry released a map showing their version of the situation in the contested region. Even according to this map, Armenian forces have lost almost the entire south of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces are close to the Lachin corridor. An interesting fact is that the Armenians still claim that the town of Hadrut is in their hands. According to them, small ‘enemy units’ reach the town, take photos and then run away.
Al-Hadath TV also released a video showing Turkish-backed Syrian militants captured during the clashes. Now, there is not only visual evidence confirming the presence of members of Turkish-backed militant groups in the conflict zone, but also actual Syrian militants in the hands of Armenian forces.
Experts who monitor the internal political situation in Armenia say that in recent days the Soros-grown team of Pashinyan has changed its rhetoric towards a pro-Russian agenda. Many prominent members of the current Pashinyan government and the Prime Minister himself spent the last 10 years pushing a pro-Western agenda. After seizing power as a result of the coup in 2018, they then put much effort into damaging relations with Russia and turned Armenia into a de-facto anti-Russian state. This undermined Armenian regional security and created the conditions needed for an Azerbaijani-Turkish advance in Karabakh. Now, the Pashinyan government tries to rescue itself by employing some ‘pro-Russian rhetoric’. It even reportedly asked second President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan to participate in negotiations with Russia as a member of the Armenian delegation. It should be noted that the persecution of Kocharyan that led to his arrest in June 2019 was among the first steps taken by Pashinyan after he seized power. Kocharyan was only released from prison in late June 2020. Despite these moves in the face of a full military defeat in Karabakh, the core ideology of the Pashinyan government remains the same (anti-Russian, pro-Western and NATO-oriented). Therefore, even if Moscow rescues Armenia in Karabkah, the current Armenian leadership will continue supporting the same anti-Russian policy.
I honestly don’t know much about the politics of this smaller region, but at first appearances it might be in Russia’s best interest to let the combatants exhaust each other while they finish off the terrorists in Idlib.
If anyone can add insights into this, I’d be glad to hear them.
Once Putin failed to stop this war from starting, which let me repeat for the nth time he could have with two phone calls and one public statement, Russia’s only option now is to keep out. Anything it does will make things worse for it.
I agree. Too late to stop it, don’t get drawn in. Armenian gov. made their bed, now let them lie in it.
Let the Azeris steam roll through and take the territory and there is no need for a UN peacekeeping force. If it drags out, the greater the likelihood they will push for UN troops. But that can be vetoed anyway.
The Turks have promised to finish off the genocide they perpetrated 100 years ago. It’s essentially a campaign to annihilate the Armenians as an ethnic group. Letting combatants exhaust themselves is essentially allowing another genocide.
Just over a hundred years ago, with the First World War on the horizon, the French army was still dressed in dark blue coats and brilliant red trousers. There were demands to switch to less gaudy uniform, but the generals refused. “Give up red trousers? Jamais!” As a more intelligent French politician said at the time, “this stupid adherence to the most visible of all colours will have tragic consequences later.” By late 1914, the French were desperately attempting to change to the much less visible (by the standards of trench warfare) horizon blue.
At the same time, the cavalry was the most glamourous arm of the armies. The aristocracy sent their sons to the cavalry. The cavalry regiments got the fanciest titles. The infantry was a distant second, and as for the artillery, it was the branch shunned by ambitious officers. “Artillery is likely to be effective only against inexperienced troops,” a British general said.
And in the seas the battleship was the queen. Countries raced to build bigger and heavier armoured battleships with larger guns.
Meanwhile, right under their noses, a few things happened that wrecked their precious cavalry and their fancy uniforms and their mighty dreadnoughts all at one go.
The first of these was the truly effective machine gun. A cavalry charge against a couple of machine guns dug into the earth? A horse is a pretty big target for something firing a couple of bullets a second.
The second thing was air reconnaissance. (Newfangled) aeroplanes directing the (despised) artillery on to your horse and foot from fifteen to twenty kilometres away? Let’s see how your blue blood looks on the mud.
The third thing was the torpedo. Your battleship could be a 50 thousand ton metal monster capable of duelling another battleship at thirty kilometres. Fine! It means less than nothing when the other side deploys a slow cheap two man torpedo bomber or a primitive submarine and sends your famous battleship right to the bottom.
Now all this took time to percolate through the ossified thinking of military brass. By WWII they were still building even larger battleships, they were still using horses, they were still relegating artillery to the fringes of military thinking. And yet the military revolution had already occurred. They just had not acknowledged it, though it was happening right in front of their eyes.
A similar thing is happening now.
Self-important blowhards like Andrei Martyanov keep talking about how hypersonic missiles have made warfare fundamentally different or even impossible. That is like saying the dreadnought made warfare fundamentally different or even impossible. The only utility of hypersonic missiles is in an all out, major nation versus major nation conflict, which is now the least likely kind of conflict.
In this day and age the face of war isn’t military, it’s propaganda and economic, backed by relatively small scale conflicts in the enemy’s periphery, waged by proxy forces like jihadi headchoppers or Ukranazis. Hypersonic missiles aren’t of the slightest use in these situations, any more than a nuclear arsenal is. Will, say, Russia launch an all out hypersonic missile attack on an Amerikastani aircraft carrier group that blockades the Black Sea or the Gulf of Finland?
No, the real revolution in military affairs is the advent of drones and artificial intelligence. Sixteen or so years ago I recall that drones were at best a curiosity, mostly treated with indifference or contempt. The contempt was wholly justified by the Amerikastani Empire’s use of UAVs to murder civilians in villages in Yemen and Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, Syria and Somalia. But that missed the point that the Amerikastani Empire was not fighting, in fact did not dare to fight, people who could shoot back on equal terms. Once drones became widely available to such people it became a different matter entirely.
Look, for instance, at the way Yemen’s Houthis have used drones to strike at Saudi Barbaria. Even if a drone is shot down, it still forces the Barbarian headchopper regime to employ a wildly disproportionate asset in terms of cost and effort to destroy the drone than it costs the Houthis to use it. And if even a few drones get through, they can cause havoc, as seen in the strike on the Barbarian refinery a while ago.
This process seems to be reaching its logical culmination in the Nagorno Karabakh war. It’s the first war where drones have been employed as the first line of offence by a regular modern military at war with another. And the cost benefit ratio seems clear: a drone, even if a very sophisticated and expensive one (and most aren’t), can be sacrificed in order to take out a tank or an artillery emplacement. It costs no blood for the drone using side and the reward is out of all proportion.
I know that China is already investing very heavily in drone development, including swarm tactics. Iran is too, I’m sure. These are countries that are not blindly wedded to refighting WWII and realise that fundamental changes have taken place. So, apparently, has the Ottoman Empire, which used drones successfully in Syria and is extremely effectively using them in Nagorno Karabakh. I do not know what if anything Russia is doing about this. Russian drones except for the ultra high ticket items seem to be either nonexistent or a state secret.
Even in air combat drones are soon going to take on manned aircraft and win. They have all the advantages. Smaller size, no need for a life support system or even self preservation, greater endurance, and so on and so forth. The era of the manned combat aircraft is over.
The end of traditional war is here. Further automation and dronification is just the next step. And we’re seeing it happen right in front of us in Nagorno Karabakh.
Generally I agree that the future of the warfare belongs to the drone swarms and the small, nimble assault teams on the ground.
But I slightly disagree on the position about the hypersonic missiles. You realise that a modern hypersonic missile is just another type of suicide drone, but one flying at tremendous speed and with much, much heavier payload? Indeed it’s too expensive to be used on such small fries like a mechanized infantry company, or a MRL regiment. But an aircraft carrier is just the right target for such a drone. If the situation warrants it.