After signing the peace deal between Armenia-Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh region, Armenia has begun handing over disputed territory to Azerbaijan.
Residents of the Kalbajar district – one of the seven districts adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh which, along with the enclave, have been controlled by ethnic Armenians for decades – began a mass exodus from the mountainous area in the days leading up to the official withdrawal date of November 15.
“Azerbaijan agreed to prolong the deadline for the withdrawal from Kalbajar of Armenian armed forces and illegal Armenian settlers until November 25,” said President Ilham Aliyev’s foreign policy adviser, Hikmet Hajiyev.
He said Aliyev had granted on humanitarian grounds to allow an Armenian request for the delay following intervention by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The weather is getting worse, there is only one road in that direction … and the capacity of the road is low,” Hajiyev was quoted as saying by local media.
The highly tensed international conflict of 2020 between Armenia-Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh region reached some parity on November 10 with a peace deal mediated by the Russian Government.
The peace deal favours more provisions to Azerbaijan, and the political analyst believes it to be Turkey ‘game due to long historical friendship of Azerbaijani and Turks causing an uproar on Armenian streets of Yerevan against the peace deal. The protestors called for Armenian Prime Minister’s impeachment with remarks “Nikol, the traitor.”
Provisions in peace deal
The peace deal was signed by Russian President, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. It is to be noted that the Artsakh regional Armenian government also agreed to the provisions.
The deal included complete ceasefire and cessation of all hostilities in the region. The two sides will maintain positions in the territories they currently hold. This is a considerable gain for Azerbaijan, as it holds more 15-20 per cent than what it had due to more military aggression.
Many important Armenian ethnic regions controlled by Artsakh will be delivered to Azerbaijan.
Following graphic indicates, the primary control over the region:
According to the Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal,
▪︎The Kalbajar region will be returned to the Republic of Azerbaijan until November 15, 2020.
▪︎The Aghdam region will be returned to the Republic of Azerbaijan until November 20, 2020.
▪︎The Lachin region by December 1, 2020. pic.twitter.com/ywSAShKdSB
— Ozgur Tufekci (@OzgurTufekci) November 10, 2020
The yellow coloured areas are already under Azerbaijan’s control after the aggression.
Major Kalbajar region, Aghdam region and Lachin (slanting areas) region presently under Armenian control will be given to Azerbaijan as per the agreement over a period till December 1, 2020.
The red coloured territory is under the control of the Republic of Artsakh, indirectly in Armenian control.
Refugees and internally displaced will return to their respective nations, and both the sides will also transfer prisoners held in wars and dead bodies. The exchange of people from territories will be catered under Russian Control from a new corridor which will be opened from Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan.
Russia as a peacemaker:
Along the frontline of the Lachin Corridor, Russian troops will act as peacemakers for the next five years. The Moscow Government presently deploys two thousand soldiers. Apart from this, a peacekeeping command post is being installed to enforce the ceasefire.
Russia, even though the first country to implement a communist form of Government turns capitalist in resolving international conflicts. Its role is ambiguous as it supplies military equipment to both Azerbaijan and Armenia. Publicly, Dmitry Peskov, Spokesperson for Vladimir Putin have taken sides of both the nations.
Azerbaijan’s win with Russia’s blessing is sceptical in itself. However, with US elections and Tensions in France and the entire EU over terrorism, Moscow diplomatically wants the Caucasus for itself.
It is seen that Azerbaijan has three times more military than Armenia. They have purchased advanced weapons systems, mainly from Israel, Russia and Turkey. The Armenian military and Artsakh forces heavily rely on older Soviet-era weapon systems.
In such a situation of conflict, Azerbaijan had the upper hand and Russia having a military base in Armenia only will help Armenia in case of international threat over its recognised boundaries and Nagorno-Karabakh isn’t the one.
Impact of ceasefire agreement on Armenia
The ceasefire agreement and cession of territories was a decisive blow to Armenia and prompted protests against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. Officials arrested the leader of a small centre-right party who formerly headed the national security service on Saturday, based on suspicion of plotting to assassinate Pashinian.
The agreement also discouraged many Armenians who had hoped for Russian support in the conflict.
“Our nation has lost everything, our heritage, everything. We have nothing left. I can’t say anything. I’m only begging Russian people to help us, so that at least others can have a better life in our own land,” said Seda Gabrilyan, a weeping mourner at the Sunday burial of a Nagorno-Karabakh soldier in Stepanakert, the regional capital.
Many agitated residents preparing to evacuate set their houses ablaze to make them unusable to Azerbaijanis who would move in.
Authorities of Azerbaijan, accused civilians leaving the area for burning houses and committing what it called “ecological terror.”
“Armenians are damaging the environment and civilian objects. Environmental damage, ecological terror must be prevented,” said Hajiyev.
What is Turkey’s deal?
On November 11, Turkey and Russian signed a memorandum of understanding MOU setting up a joint Turkish-Russian alliance to monitor the peace deal.
In Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “Turkey will join the peacekeeping forces in the region to monitor the implementation of the deal with Russia.”
He further said, “As Turkey and the Turkish nation, every day for 28 years we felt the pain of the occupation in our hearts, together with our Azerbaijani brothers.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said “Armenia will pay the price if it violates Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal” on Thursday addressed to the reporters.
The triumphant Azerbaijani defence was delivered, trained, and helped by the Turkish military. However, Turkish military intervention in the conflict is denied by Anakara, but experts believe it otherwise.
Azerbaijan-Armenia live in hostility with each other since centuries over ethnic tensions and Nagorno- Karabakh Region. This area is internationally recognised as Azerbaijan’s territory, but Artsakh– Armenian separatist Government, govern it. A war broke out in September 2020 between the two nations over the region. It continued till six weeks resulting in a total causality of more than 5,000 soldiers from both sides, including Russian peacekeeping troops.
The accord is triggered by significant protests in Armenia with opposition entering into government buildings and demanding resignation whereas triumphant scenes were recorded in Baku of Azerbaijan.
Escalation Of COVID-19 Cases Across The Globe
The United States, India, and Brazil have the most confirmed cases, followed by France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. There are very few locations that have remained undisturbed.
Since the middle of last year, confirmed cases have been increasing. Although the actual scope of the first outbreaks in 2020 is unknown because testing was not generally available at the time. The 100 million COVID-19 cases were discovered at the end of January, over a year after it was first diagnosed. As of 6:30 p.m. CEST on July 30, 2021, WHO has received reports of 196,553,009 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 4,200,412 fatalities. A total of 3,839,816,037 vaccination doses has been delivered as of July 28, 2021.
After reaching a record high of over 0.9 million cases on April 28, 2021, new daily instances of the coronavirus continued to decline, reaching a low point on June 21, when over 0.3 million cases were reported. Since then yet, there has been a global increase in cases. On July 15, 0.53 million daily cases were reported, and over three million new cases were reported in the second week of the month. As of July 15, 188.9 million patients have been recorded worldwide. The transmissive Delta form accounting for most infections in 111 countries. Most instances were recorded in Brazil, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and Colombia in the last week. With the steepest increases in Zimbabwe (72%), Indonesia (44%), the United States (38%), Bangladesh (35%), and the United Kingdom (30%). Many Asian nations, including Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan, have reported many daily cases. However, the spread was under control.
The number of new cases in Indonesia has been on the rise, with each day seeing a significant increase over the previous day. Indonesia is now the new Asian epicentre, with 56,757 cases recorded on July 15; India reported 39,000 patients on the same day. COVID-19 fatalities are high, according to WHO. After decreasing for nine weeks, with the highest increases in Africa and Southeast Asia. COVID-19 fatalities worldwide surpassed four million on July 7. The last million deaths occurred in under 90 days, the lowest time interval for every one million deaths ever recorded.
High vaccination coverage has been shown in the United States and much of Europe to lower fatalities and even hospitalizations. For example, United Kingdom rises in incidence. There has been fewer hospitalizations and deaths over 87% of the adult population, as they are vaccinated with one dose and over 67% with two doses. In the United States, the increase in cases is concentrated in states with low vaccination coverage, with unvaccinated people accounting for most deaths. Over 55% of Americans have received one dosage, and 48% are completely immunized. It shifts the focus back to improving vaccination coverage and achieving global vaccine equality to avoid fatalities and the spread of dangerous strains. Some nations debate a booster dosage. Even though many African countries’ healthcare professionals have not been completely vaccinated, booster injections have begun to be given to patients with weakened immune systems in Israel.
In comparison, booster shots have been ruled out in the United States for the time being. With vaccine shortages reported in many Indian states. Even among the vaccinated, rigorous adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour is the only option to postpone and mitigate the consequences of a third wave.
This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. But the global numbers continue to grow. The Delta variety leads them to well-vaccinated regions such as Western Europe and the United States, low but rising infections. This spring, India and Latin America have seen a significant drop in new cases in the hardest-hit areas of the world. Vaccine doses have been given to over 4 billion individuals globally (52 for every 100 people), yet the discrepancy is striking. More than 80% of the population had at least one shot in some wealthy nations. In contrast, the proportion is as low as 1% in many of the poorest.
Why Taliban Could Not Control Panjshir Valley In Afghanistan Yet?
Taliban took over Afghanistan last week, and Panjshir valley in the north is the last hope for the people of Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban.
As it was 25 years ago, there is still a part of Afghanistan that tries to oppose the Taliban; it is the Panjshir valley. The villages that rebelled against the Soviets and Taliban’s, it is now that they’re fighting against the spread of the Islamic Emirate.
Valley Of the Five Lions, also known as Panjshir Valley, is in Northern Afghanistan, 150 kilometers north of Kabul, near the Hindu Kush Mountain Range. Due to its location in the Hindu Kush Mountain range, the Panjshir Valley is only accessible through the narrow Panjshir River; this makes it easy for forces defending. Panjshir is also famously known for emeralds. It has been the base of operations for the Taliban since the 1990s. Since it was never under their control, the area has become a key target for the US-led forces.
Around 150,000 people live in the valley, and the majority are Pashtuns. The valley’s ethnic majority is Tajik. The area’s history has made it the base of operations for the Taliban. Panjshir has never been captured by the Taliban during their earlier rule, nor by the soviets. The resistance, therefore, chose to base its operations in the area due to its history.
After the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, a civil war broke out in the country. Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was the most notable anti-Taliban fighter, led a group of militants to fight against the separatists. He was eventually killed by al-Qaeda terrorists in 2001, just two days before the 9/11 attacks.
Following the father’s footsteps, Ahmad Massoud, the son of legendary Ahmad Shah Massoud, declared the start of armed resistance against the Taliban forming in the Panjshir. The Northern Alliance flag has been raised in Panjshir province, confirming the legitimacy of this movement, officially back since 2001. The National Resistance Front (NRF), based out of the Panjshir Valley, led by Ahmad Massoud and the former Vice-President Amrullah Saleh, leading an anti-Taliban Movement.
The Panjshir Valley stands tall against the Taliban under the leadership of Ahmad Masood. Resistance movements have begun with the formation of the Northern Alliance. Bernard Henri Levy, the French philosopher, spoke to Ahmad Massoud on a phone call and quoted saying, “I am the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, and surrender is not part of my vocabulary.” The Resistance has just begun; this is just the beginning.
The Washington Post published an op-ed on Wednesday in which Massoud reiterated his plea for help, asking the United States to supply his military with arms and ammunition. “The United States can still be a great arsenal of democracy” by supporting his fighters, he wrote.
Since President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan, Saleh has declared himself as the interim president. The Taliban has been massing its forces near Panjshir. The Salang highway has been closed. He further tweeted that the militants are avoiding any confrontations with the enemy forces.
India Takes Rein Of UNSC For August
As per procedure, India received the Presidency of the UN Security Council for August this year. The three major points that the Indian Presidency aims to focus on are maritime security, peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism policies.
What is the UN Security Council?
The security council is a body of the United Nations responsible for international security and peacekeeping. The body settles disputes and identifies unwanted threats and aggressions against member States.
There are 15 Members as a part of the council. They are obligated to abide by the decisions made by the Security Council. Out of these, there are five permanent and ten non-permanent members, India being a part of the newly elected non-permanent contingent.
India is currently serving as President of the UNSC for August and is expected to do so again in 2022. They succeed France who previously presided in July this year. The order of Presidency succession is decided alphabetically. Each member gets a fair chance to preside over the peacekeeping body.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the first Indian PM to chair a meeting of the UNSC.
India in UNSC
India has joined the UNSC for the eighth time as a non-permanent member, serving a term of two years. The last time India was on the council as a member was in the year 2011-12, during the Middle East Crisis.
In the August meetings this year, the primary concern is said to be that of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy and mortality. India also aims to bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC and hence a high level of involvement is expected.
India plays an important role in the UNSC as it along with other members of the G-4 (Brazil, Japan, and Germany) are insisting on an expansion in permanent membership for countries. They want the permanent seats to be offered to countries other than the current five that hold the veto power, giving India a chance to display its potential at a global level.
India has previously chaired the counter-terrorism committee at the UNSC and introduced the concept of ‘zero tolerance’ for terrorism globally. They also successfully establish the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF).
This time around, India aims at improving maritime security and peacekeeping while returning to the counter-terrorism policies establish worldwide.
India’s efforts as President in August 2021
India is expected to organise three high-level meetings for the three topics that they have decided to focus on (maritime security, peacekeeping, and counterterrorism). A traditional breakfast of PRs was held by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, T S Tirumurti. Along with the normal breakfast, Tirumurti put a display of Indian grains with items exquisitely prepared with those ingredients. A treat of Alphonso mangoes was also included in the breakfast. Tirumurti also presided over all meetings of the UNSC on day one.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting of the UN Council virtually, while external affairs minister, Jaishankar will chair the meetings in person.
S Jaishankar expressed opinions on the opportunity to preside over the UNSC for August via his Tweet, saying that India looks forward to taking over the Presidency of the Global Organisation for the month.
As we take over UNSC Presidency for August, look forward to working productively with other members.
India will always be a voice of moderation, an advocate of dialogue and a proponent of international law. pic.twitter.com/kPRGnFOz87
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 1, 2021
Indian PR Tirumurti also thanked their predecessor France and announced the takeover via his Tweets while expressing his elation on the occasion.
— PR/Amb T S Tirumurti (@ambtstirumurti) August 1, 2021
India began their eighth term on January 1 this year. This non-permanent arrangement will span for two years, giving the possibility of another Presidency in late 2022. India has been grateful for its turn in chairing the UNSC and hopes to make decisions and resolutions that will be beneficial to the Indian Foreign Policy and countries around the Globe.
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