Commentary by the Center for Economic Reform Analysis and Communication
The manner of terrorism includes itself eco-terrorism as well, but nobody could argue which kind of terrorism is worse than another. Originally, eco-terrorism often described as environmental warfare consists of the deliberate and illegal destruction, exploitation, or modification of the environment as a strategy of war or in times of armed conflict. Currently, eco-terrorism is what we can call actions of Armenia in legal Azerbaijani territories during the last 30 years.
Firstly, we should note the fact that for the last 30 years Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounded 7 regions of Azerbaijan were under illegal occupation of Armenia, while all those territories are officially recognized as part of Azerbaijan. As a result of occupation, nearly 30 thousand people lost their life and more than 1 million Azerbaijanis had to leave their homes. Ever since, Armenia has never stopped its anti-nature behavior, thereby, overall nature and biological diversity of those territories are seriously damaged. Environmental collapse is worsening in each and every date.
Armenian eco-terrorism also negatively affected Azerbaijan’s water management and planning system. More precisely, some transboundary potable water resources and irrigation systems are under direct invasion of Armenia and they are usually used as a “military weapon” against Azerbaijani people.
Water stress is a hot topic in today’s world and Azerbaijan, where 72,7% all surface water resources is generated outside of the country. Armenia continuously contaminates transboundary water resources with chemical and biological items. Research shows that, each year nearly 350 million cubic meters of water passing through Armenia is polluted with chemical substances. Furthermore, microflora and microfauna of the 43 km part of Araz river in the territories of Azerbaijan were completely destroyed and the amount of heavy metals in the Araz river is much higher than normal.
Furthermore, Azerbaijan’s highest reservoir according to its dam’s height (125 m) with total water capacity of 560 million cubic meters, Sarsang water storage located in Agdara region (Nagorno-Karabakh) is also under invasion. In the past, Sarsang reservoir provided 6 regions of the Republic (Tartar, Agdara, Barda, Goranbor, Yevlakh and Agjabadi) with water for irrigation. After the ceasefire starting from 1994, Armenian side blocked this reservoirs and used to open the canal during spring and autumn in order to cause damage to Azerbaijani lands by creating artificial floods. Morever, the water reservoir is more likely to fall down in case of any technical or deliberate provocation. Day after day Sarsang reservoir become the biggest threat to regional ecological and national security. As a result of this eco-terrorism, the ecological and humanitarian crisis could happen leading to disappearance of biological diversity and flood of 5 region (where 400 thousand people live) of Azerbaijan.
Getting a bird's-eye view of all the issues, it becomes unsurprising that, Azerbaijan signed “Convention on the Protection and Use of Trans-boundary Watercourses and International Lake” of UN in March 1992, but Armenia did not. While, eco-terrorism acts of Armenia was discussed with international organizations for several times, lots of articles were written and researches were conducted in this regard. Consequently, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a Resolution # 2085 dated 26 January 2016 on “Inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water” which states:
“… The Assembly considered that the deliberate creation of an artificial environmental crisis must be regarded as “environmental aggression” and seen as a hostile act by one State towards another aimed at creating environmental disaster areas and making normal life impossible for the population concerned”;
Resolution also states that, the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia and other adjacent areas of Azerbaijan created similar humanitarian and environmental problems for the citizens of Azerbaijan living in the Lower Karabakh valley and lack of regular maintenance work for over twenty years on the Sarsang reservoir, located in one of the areas of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, poses a danger to the whole border region. The Assembly emphasizes that the state of disrepair of the Sarsang dam could result in a major disaster with great loss of human life and possibly a fresh humanitarian crisis.
Taking into consideration all of those facts, the Assembly requested immediate withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the region concerned, thus allowing access by independent engineers and hydrologists to carry out a detailed on-the-spot survey, global management, throughout the catchment area, the use and upkeep of the Sarsang water resources, international supervision of the irrigation canals, the state of the Sarsang and Madagis dams, the schedule of water releases during the autumn and winter, and aquifer overexploitation. They also called Armenian authorities to cease using water resources as tools of political influence or an instrument of pressure benefiting only one of the parties to the conflict.
Despite the Resolution Armenia did not back down from its odious and inadequate actions and consistently demonstrated unconstructive behavior to the principles of international law.
The liberation of Sugovusan (formerly called Madagis) from Armenian occupation, on 3rd of October 2020, enables to restore the regional ecobalance.
The Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Foreign Policy Issues Department of the Administration Mr.Hikmat Hajiyev stated that:
“30 years long environmental terror came to an end with the de-occupation of Sugovusan village of Azerbaijan. Tartar river runs with plentiful water. On purpose Armenia always stopped flow of water. Eco balance will be provided in Tartar, Goranboy and Yevlakh regions of Azerbaijan.”
 Evrim Maden T – 2017.,5,p.27-38
- 23 October 2020