The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, rooted in historical tensions, continues to be a significant issue in the South Caucasus region. The conflict began in the early 20th century when both nations were under Soviet rule. The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) was established in 1923, causing tensions over territorial disputes, ethnic differences, and historical claims. After the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991, Armenia and Azerbaijan became independent states, but the status of Nagorno-Karabakh remained unresolved.
This led to a full-scale war from 1988 to 1994, resulting in thousands of casualties and displacements. A ceasefire brokered by Russia in 1994 ended the fighting but did not resolve the underlying issues. The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict has been a contentious issue in the South Caucasus for decades, with Russia and Turkey playing significant roles in the conflict. Diplomatic efforts have been ongoing, with the Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States, acting as the primary mediator.
Despite numerous negotiations and peace plans, a comprehensive resolution has remained elusive. Recent attempts to restart negotiations have produced ceasefires and a framework agreement, but significant hurdles remain, including the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, the return of displaced persons, and security guarantees. The prospects for lasting peace in the conflict remain uncertain due to deep-seated mistrust, territorial disputes, geopolitical interests, and humanitarian concerns.
The conflict has caused immense human suffering, and addressing the humanitarian fallout, such as the return of displaced persons, is crucial for lasting peace. Achieving a comprehensive resolution requires sustained commitment from all parties involved, as well as a willingness to compromise and address the root causes of the dispute. Until then, the South Caucasus region will remain vulnerable to periodic violence, jeopardizing the stability and prosperity of both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The South Caucasus region has seen a historic week as Azerbaijan and Armenia end a long and often deadly conflict. Armenia occupied Azerbaijan, including the Karabakh region, for almost three decades, leading to the establishment of a separatist government called the “Republic of Artsakh.” During the 2020 Karabakh War, Azerbaijan regained control of most of its territory, leaving a small section under Russian peacekeeping supervision. On September 19, Azerbaijan launched a military operation to retake the remaining parts of Karabakh, but Russian peacekeepers remained silent. In less than 24 hours, a ceasefire was agreed, and Armenian forces and Armenian-backed separatists laid down their weapons.
International observers in the South Caucasus have identified several factors contributing to recent events in Karabakh, including the perception of Russia’s weakness in the region due to its quagmire in Ukraine, and Azerbaijan’s dissatisfaction with Russian troops’ presence after the 2020 Karabakh War, seeking the right time to make a move that might lead to their departure.
Azerbaijan considered the “presidential elections” for the “Republic of Artsakh” in Karabakh as illegal and needlessly provocative. The Council of Europe, the EU, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Organization of Turkic States have also condemned these elections.
The recent conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has led to a series of diplomatic failures, with the former pledging to guarantee the security of transport connections between the two countries. This has been a significant challenge for both sides, as it has been a year earlier than the 2020 ceasefire agreement. The recent events in Karabakh have also highlighted the need for a long-lasting peace between the two nations. Despite four UN Security Council resolutions calling for the cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of occupying forces from Azerbaijan since the early 1990s, none have been enforced.
As Azerbaijan restores control over its territory, the challenge begins for hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis who were forced out of their homes in the 1990s to return and tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians, who will likely distrust the Baku government, to be integrated into Azerbaijani society. While there have been claims of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Karabakh, there is no evidence of such actions.
Azerbaijan must ensure that ethnic Armenians who choose to stay receive the same protections as minority groups worldwide, including freedom of religion and the preservation of their Armenian language and culture. Despite the diversity in modern-day Azerbaijan, it will take years for trust to be restored.
The recent conflict between Azerbaijan and Turkey has resulted in a loss of influence for Russia and Iran. Moscow’s influence in the South Caucasus is diminishing due to its ongoing issues in Ukraine, while Tehran has maintained a close relationship with Armenia to undermine its influence. The long-term outcome for Armenia is complex, as its armed forces have been devastated and there is a sense of betrayal from Moscow. However, the normalization process and peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan could create new economic opportunities in the region, potentially attracting international investors and allowing Armenia to move closer to the Euro-Atlantic community.
As the Armenians find peace with their neighbors, their reliance on Russia might diminish, creating an opportunity for Yerevan to move closer to the Euro-Atlantic community. However, this will likely require a generational change in Armenian society. On October 5, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet at the European Political Community summit in Granada. The international community should redouble its efforts to find lasting peace in the South Caucasus.
Tensions Escalate: Armenia and Azerbaijan at a Crossroads
The South Caucasus conflict, involving Armenia and Azerbaijan, has been a source of tension for nearly three decades. A ceasefire brokered by Russia in 1994 ended the fighting, but the underlying issues remain. Nagorno-Karabakh, despite being internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, has been under Armenian control. A significant escalation occurred in September 2020, leading to a ceasefire agreement mediated by Russia in November 2020.
However, tensions have continued to simmer, with skirmishes resuming in Nagorno-Karabakh, with both sides accusing each other of violating the ceasefire. Another issue looms large, with Armenia expressing its intention to hold a referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh, a move vehemently opposed by Azerbaijan.
Both countries have mobilized their military forces along the border, sparking fears of a return to full-scale conflict. The international community has expressed growing concern over the escalating tensions, with world leaders calling for restraint and a peaceful resolution. Russia has offered to mediate talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan to defuse the situation. The United States and European Union have also voiced their concerns and urged both parties to avoid military escalation.
A Deep Dive into the Historical Conflict Between Azerbaijan and Armenia
The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, established by the Soviet Union in 1923, was an ethnically Armenian region within Azerbaijan. This decision sparked future conflict due to the lack of addressing underlying ethnic tensions.
The conflict re-ignited in the late 1980s with the collapse of the Soviet Union, leading to the Armenian population demanding reunification with Armenia. The first Nagorno-Karabakh war erupted in 1988 and lasted until 1994, resulting in thousands of deaths and displacements.
The war ended with a ceasefire brokered by Russia, but a lasting solution remained elusive, and the region remained heavily militarized. Since the ceasefire, the region has seen sporadic clashes and skirmishes, making compromise difficult. As of today, tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia continue to simmer, with a ceasefire in place but no comprehensive peace agreement.
Armenia and Azerbaijan Clash Over Nagorno-Karabakh: A Decades-Old Conflict Reignites
Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have escalated again due to the Nagorno-Karabakh region conflict. The conflict began in the early 20th century when both countries were part of the Soviet Union. Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian enclave, became a flashpoint for ethnic tensions, leading to a protracted struggle for control. The conflict escalated into a full-blown war in 1988, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.
A ceasefire agreement brokered by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was reached in 1994, but it never led to a comprehensive resolution. In September 2020, the conflict escalated into open warfare, with both sides accusing each other of initiating the hostilities. International actors, including the OSCE Minsk Group, have been attempting to mediate a peaceful solution, but their efforts have been in vain as both Armenia and Azerbaijan have been unable to agree on core issues.
The recent escalation has had dire humanitarian consequences, with thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire and many forced to flee their homes. The conflict has broader geopolitical implications, with regional powers like Russia and Turkey closely monitoring the situation. The international community has called for an immediate ceasefire and return to negotiations, but the deep-seated mistrust between Armenia and Azerbaijan and unresolved core issues make finding a lasting peace incredibly challenging.
Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: The Nagorno-Karabakh Regional Dispute
The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, particularly over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, has been a long-standing issue in the South Caucasus region. The conflict is rooted in territorial disputes, with Armenia asserting its right to self-determination and Azerbaijan claiming it as part of its territory. The ethnic and cultural divide between the two regions has exacerbated tensions. The conflict has displaced thousands of people and human rights abuses reported by both sides.
A lasting solution to the conflict remains a challenging task, with the ceasefire agreement providing hope. Confidence-building measures, humanitarian assistance, and the return of displaced persons are crucial components of any potential resolution. The international community must continue to play a constructive role, encouraging dialogue and diplomacy while discouraging further military confrontations. The voices of the people living in the affected regions should be heard and their needs addressed in peace negotiations.