The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) accused the government on Friday of deliberately spreading talk of an impending Armenian-Azerbaijani war for domestic political purposes.
In a statement read out by its central office coordinator Levon Zurabian, the HAK claimed that the “intensive propaganda on the possibility of renewed war” is aimed at distracting Armenians from “the regime’s failings” and gaining public support for an unpopular solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“Such actions by the authorities are aimed at forming an atmosphere of panic among the populations of Armenia and Karabakh that, according to their calculations, would make concessions, which regime is preparing to make on the Karabakh issue, more acceptable to the people,” read the statement. It said another war in Karabakh will become likely only if the conflicting parties exhaust all possibilities of a peaceful settlement.
Armenia and Karabakh have in recent weeks been rife with rumors, stoked by some media, that the Armenian and Karabakh armed forces have been put on high alert in anticipation of an Azerbaijani offensive. An ongoing call-up of reservists for military exercises due to be held across Armenia later this month has only added to the speculation.
However, Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian last week downplayed the drills as a “routine” action that has always been organized by the Armenian military. He told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that another full-scare is unlikely at this juncture despite Azerbaijan’s continuing threats to take back Nagorno-Karabakh by force.
Still, Samvel Babayan, a Yerevan-based former military leader of Karabakh, claimed on Tuesday that the war could break out “at any moment.”
“Propaganda ploys used for the regime’s self-preservation can not halt the people’s fight for freedom, democracy and justice,” said the HAK. The opposition alliance urged supporters to “actively participate” in its next rally slated for Tuesday.