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DECEMBER 2021

Tensions Rising Again Between Azerbaijan And Armenia

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Tensions Rising Again Between Azerbaijan And Armenia

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Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of carrying out incursions in its territory.

Written by Lucas Leiroz, research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Even with the recent ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, border tensions seem far from over. According to recent accusations by the Armenian government, Azerbaijani forces have carried out incursions within the Armenian territory, destabilizing regional security and boosting the occurrence of new clashes. The international society remains silent about the accusations, even with the possibility of a repetition of the violent fights that reached the border last year.

A new clash between the Armenian and Azerbaijani military broke out this Tuesday, November 16, near the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian authorities informed that fifteen of its soldiers were killed in the conflict, while Azerbaijan said two Azerbaijani soldiers were wounded. In addition to differing on the numbers of deaths and injuries in the clash, the two sides give different versions of what state started the new round of hostilities: Armenia says the Azerbaijani military opened fire first, while Azerbaijan accuses the other side of provocations. On Tuesday night, local time, Russia brokered a new provisional ceasefire between the two sides, but tensions remain high and new clashes could arise at any time.

Previously, the Armenian government had already warned about the incidence of Azerbaijani incursions in the undisputed Armenian territory. This was the reason why Yerevan launched an offensive on Tuesday, which was responded to in full force by Baku – which claims it has not carried out any incursions, only responding to the Armenian offensive. In fact, regardless of which side initiated the violence, dozens of people died or were captured. There is still no concrete information on the number of civilians affected in the confrontation, but possibly some residents of that region were killed or injured accidentally.

It is impossible to try to find a “right or wrong side” in this dispute, considering that it is a historic conflict, which has already resulted in several armed clashes and diplomatic crises. The Nagorno-Karabakh region is home to around 150,000 people in a border territory, with more than 95% of this population having ethnic Armenian origin. Yerevan claims to possess sovereignty in that region based on the local Armenian population’s right to self-determination, while, on the other hand, Baku is resolute in its territorial claim, arguing that Nagorno-Karabakh is within its legal limits of jurisdiction. The biggest conflict between the two countries for the control of the region occurred just after the end of the USSR. At the time, more than 30,000 people died and the final result of the war was the regime in force in the region to this day, with Nagorno-Karabakh becoming a de facto self-governing republic while remaining de jure under Azerbaijani sovereignty. Neither side seems satisfied with the outcome (although Armenia pragmatically supports Nagorno-Karabakh autonomy) and conflicts have remained over the years, even reaching territories outside the disputed zone. In 2020, a new full-scale confrontation broke out, resulting in three months of war. Azerbaijan received strong Turkish support, while Armenia and the de facto government forces acted together and without open external support. The violence ended only with Russian diplomatic intervention, having Moscow mediated a ceasefire agreement and restored stability in the region.

The main problem of the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is the silence of the international society in face of the security crisis and of the actors involved in the issue. Turkey has acted in a destabilizing way, directly supporting Azerbaijan, and providing means of combat against Armenia. Ankara is interested in increasingly expanding its influence in the Caucasus, which is a central point of Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman geopolitical project. Armenia being a historically enemy of the Turks, supporting Azerbaijan, which is an ally of Turkey, is fundamental to Ankara’s interests.

In this sense, Russia, which has an interest in maintaining political stability throughout the post-Soviet space, could intervene in the conflict in the same way as Turkey. For Moscow, it would be interesting to directly support the Armenians and put an end to the Turkish expansion attempt in the Caucasus, but the Russian government has not acted in such an egoistic and destabilizing way. Since the beginning of the escalation of tensions, Moscow has interfered in the conflict only diplomatically, mediating negotiations and concluding the ceasefire agreements. With this week’s episodes of violence, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu spoke with his counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan, establishing a productive dialogue that resulted in a new partial ceasefire. In fact, Turkey should act in the same way and discourage instead of pushing them forward. Regardless of each country’s interests, securing peace should be every state’s priority.

It remains to be seen when the United Nations will give its opinion condemning Turkey’s actions and will try to establish a bilateral dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the same way that Russia has been doing. The influence of Western powers on UN decisions has been negative in this regard, as for the US, UK, and France it is advantageous that Turkey generates instability in the Caucasus, considering that this removes Ankara’s focus from the European Mediterranean and still serves the interest of harming Russia.

In fact, as long as Turkey and the UN do not follow the Russian example of seeking peace above the selfish interests of states, the situation will remain unstable.

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Dariussucksmyballs

Iran is butthurt, being completely sidelines by all parties also losing lever on Azerbaijan as a transit route. Since the new corridor it to be controlled by Russian forces, they will not support Iranian ambitions in the region.
Except for Armenia no one is interested in Iran to be there. And Armenia is like a drowning man, would grab any type of rope whoever throws it.

Chris Gr

Yes because they can create a lot of problems on their south border.

Chris Gr

This comment was supposed to be sent to farbat.

James

Fuck Azerbaijan

Jon

?!?

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