The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is increasingly taking religious overtones

Azerbaijan bombed the cathedral of Sushi, the symbol of Armenia’s revival.

war map

Newsroom (October 8, 2020, 10:10 pm Gaudium Press)   For a week, more precisely from September 27th until today, Azerbaijan troops have been fighting against those of Armenia for the control of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. The territory is located within Azeri boundaries, but under the influence of Armenia, with a Christian population of Armenian origin.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the proclamation of the republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan, this enclave has been the subject of dispute between the two countries. They have repeatedly clashed over its control. In fact, the dispute has been going on since the fall of the Russian Empire in 1918. The Soviets kept the conflict under an iron-fisted control.

Today, however, a new element makes the situation still more complex: the open interference of Turkey, sending jihadist mercenaries, in a move denounced by various sources. This only highlights the religious dissents between the two countries: Armenia is Christian;  Azerbaijan is Muslim.

Declaration of the Armenian Community of Rome

Today, the Armenian Community in Rome has issued a statement condemning acts that could constitute war crimes, particularly the bombing of a cathedral. The statement has been published on Marco Tosatti’s site:

Not satisfied with bombing civilian settlements in the Republic of Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh], firing rockets at Stepanakert and other cities, forcing people to hide in basements as happened during the war of the 1990s, now the dictator Aliyev also comes to hit religious symbols.

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This morning, the cathedral of Ghazanchetsots (Holy Saviour) in the city of Shushi was hit by rockets.

For the Council of the Armenian Community of Rome, this is a very grave act and demands the attention of Italy and Europe, and the condemnation of these barbaric actions that affect the faith of the people.

Azerbaijan (perhaps to please the ruthless jihadist mercenaries fighting for it) is seeking to bring the conflict to the level of a religious war. (…)

The Shushi Cathedral is located in a rather isolated place far from any building that may have a minimum strategic interest. It was considered a symbol of the rebirth of the Armenian people after the war, thirty years ago.

International agencies report that Russian and local journalists were injured in the attack on the cathedral.

It is clear that after gestures such as the re-Islamization of the Basilica of St. Sophia in Istanbul, notwithstanding international pressure, the whole world is particularly sensitive to new moves on the Erdogan area.

If it is now confirmed that Azerbaijan – supported by Turkey – has chosen religious buildings as its chosen targets, Europe could be forced to intervene on the matter. That should be the norm. And the probable source of new and dangerous developments.

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