Situation Escalates in the Southern Caucasus as Azerbaijan and Armenia Clash

The heavily disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is once again in turmoil, as the Armenian and the Azerbaijani forces clashed over the weekend, with tanks and heavy artillery.

The conflict which originated in 1988 and which had peace settlement signed in 1994, flares up periodically and is a potential hot-spot in the region. The breakup of the Soviet Union brought upon ethnic conflicts in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. Very much like the Abkhazian and South Ossetian wars, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is to this day unresolved. Although, the Russian presence in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute is less intense, while in the prior example of Georgia, Russia plays an active belligerent militaristic role against Tbilisi.   

Tensions last spread into battle in 2016, with the two countries jarring over the disputed territory for four days. It is a well-known circumstance that Armenia hopes for the assistance and patronage of Russia, as Azerbaijan has Turkish support. The latter’s motto can be easily deciphered, as both the Turkish and the Azeris claim that they are “one people, two nations.” Despite these supportive attitudes towards one another, in this conflict, the international community recognizes that the Nagorno-Karabakh region is Azerbaijan territory, while heavily populated with ethnic Armenians. 

As the recent conflict escalates, both sides blame each other for bombarding civilian areas on the border near the Tavuz district in Azerbaijan. A minimum of 11 Azeri soldiers and one Azeri civilian were killed, according to Azerbaijan. Armenia has informed that four of its soldiers have died, including two officers, although their claims are questionable, and the numbers might be higher.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has for decades been trying to facilitate a resolution of the conflict, with diplomats from France, Russia and the US, which make up the OSCE Minsk Group, are trying to settle on a ceasefire.

The International powerhouses are calling for peace, as the officials from the US and Russia are urging both sides to stay calm. Turkish President Erdogan stated that his country ‘would not hesitate to defend Azerbaijan.’

Protests have also flared up in Baku, as the Azerbaijani population demands that the government must mobilize troops and retake its territories. Some analysts estimate that this was the largest public assembly in the country for years, as media reports that up to 30,000 people were taking part.



15 July 2020 20:17