Date:                    October 29, 2020





October 29, 2020

Please continue to pray with us for an end to the ongoing fighting between Muslim forces from Azerbaijan and the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, a tiny enclave largely comprised of Armenian Christians. As an ancient Christian community, it is concerning to see these Armenians attacked by regional antagonists with few international allies willing to speak up on their behalf.

Hopes for U.S.-brokered ceasefire in this tragic and ongoing conflict were dampened early Monday morning, October 26. It only took minutes for Armenia and Azerbaijan to accuse each other of being the first to violate a ceasefire on Sunday.

On Tuesday, October 27, there were further reports that Armenia and Azerbaijan had exchanged more accusations of shelling, as fighting continued in its fifth week, largely unhindered by the cease-fire. The Armenian military accused Azerbaijani forces of firing at Armenian border guard positions on the country's southern border, and they retaliated.

Today, Armenia may be known more for horrifying events that took place there in the early 20th century--the Armenian Genocide. In 1918. U.S. Ambassador Morgenthau reported, "...the Turks have massacred fully 2,000,000 men, women, and children--Greeks, Assyrians, Armenians; fully 1,500,000 Armenians."

The Armenian Genocide was carried out by the Ottoman Empire's Turkish forces and some have called it a jihad against Christians. In fact, at the time, the killings were declared so by the Turks themselves. Today's Azerbaijani invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh is also perceived by many Armenians as reflective of continuing jihadi ambitions.

The first round of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict took place from 1991-1994, bringing death and destruction to Armenian Christians during a war with Azerbaijan that cost 30,000 lives.

More than 25 years after the rather unclear resolution of that dispute, the Armenia/Artsakh vs. Azerbaijan conflict has flared up again. And this time, Turkey's Islamist President Tayyip Erdogan has entered the fray.

Blinded by his dream of a neo-Ottoman caliphate, President Erdogan recently called the small, poor country of Armenia "the biggest threat to peace in the region." His latest posturing led to Turkish-backed military action by Azeri soldiers. Those troops reportedly include thousands of radicalized Syrian mercenaries.

According to Forbes, on October 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that this recent conflict has taken some 5,000 lives. Earlier, on Friday, Armenia's Ministry of Defense reported that 6539 Azeri fighters had been killed, as well as 928 Armenian soldiers. There have been no reports, so far, from Azerbaijan's government. Trustworthy facts on the conflict are hard to come by, and the so-called "fog of war" is very dense indeed.

The U.S. State Department reported on Tuesday, October 27 that Secretary Mike Pompeo "spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev separately," and that Secretary Pompeo "pressed the leaders to abide by their commitments to cease hostilities and pursue a diplomatic solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict . . . ."

Please pray urgently for the Christians in Nagorno-Karabakh, many of whom have fled their homes, perhaps never to return. Pray that justice will be done, especially for the Armenian Orthodox believers who are being driven out, maimed and killed. They are being attacked, in large part, because of their Christian faith.

For more information, please see these additional FRC resources on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict:

In His Name,

Lela Gilbert
Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom

Arielle Del Turco
Assistant Director of the Center for Religious Liberty

"Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them..."
Hebrews 13:3