Conflict Flares Azerbaijan and Armenia as Russia’s Attention and Military Are Consumed by Putin’s War in Ukraine – Opinion

The threat of a bigger war between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces within the Nagorno Karabakh Separatist Enclave is real.


Nagorno Karabakh, a country within Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani Muslims and ethnic Azerbaijanis are the predominant ethnicities in Azerbaijan, while Nagorno-Karabakh’s majority is Christian Armenians. It is difficult to understand the roots of this conflict, which were only boiled down by the USSR. When Azerbaijan and Armenia were “Soviet Socialist Republics,” the Azerbaijan government was accused of attempting to eradicate Armenian identity. The Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh repeatedly asked Moscow for Armenian membership.

After six years of war, the Soviet Union was closing down. In 1994, Armenia won a decisive victory over Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh gained autonomy in 1994 as the “Republic of Artsakh.” The Lachlin Corridor corridor was created, allowing overland travel from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.

The results have not been well received since then. Nagorno-Karabakh is accused of an under-the-radar, ethnic cleansing. This allegedly involved the expulsion of several hundred thousand Azerbaijanis.

This area was also the site of the third-rate knockoff of great power complete. The Azerbaijan government is supported by Turkey probably because of pique over not solving the “Armenian problem” in 1915. Russia and Iran back Armenia. Iran is very involved in this struggle, as Azerbaijan shares an extensive border with Iran and the region is predominantly Azerbaijani. Russia, naturally, imagines it has special authority because of the “sphere of influence” bullsh** we’re supposed to nod our heads to when it is mentioned.

Azerbaijan and Armenia engaged in a 6-week-long war known as the September War. Azerbaijan’s victory was just enough to stop the Republic of Artsakh from being annihilated. You can see that yellow is an indication of the part Artsakh has given to Azerbaijan. Blue is Azerbaijani territory that Artsakh still claims. Orange is the area that remains of Artsakh. The Russians have about 2,000 troops inside Artsakh as a “peacekeeping” force.


Credit: Emreculha, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Today’s Crisis

This current conflict began on Wednesday, when Azerbaijan declared that one of its soldiers was dead. Two Armenians were killed in a drone attack by Azerbaijan. You can see below an Azerbaijani drone that is most likely a Turkish Bayraktar striking Armenian troops.

The president of Artsakh has called for “full mobilization.” Iran is sending troops to the border.

I don’t think anyone is really sure how this plays out. Azerbaijan demonstrated that it is capable of defeating the Russian-backed separatists from Artsakh. Fourteen hundred Russian “peacekeepers” is not a lot of men to stop a war. Azerbaijan doesn’t need to worry about Russian intervention. They are now so discreditable in Ukraine that no one is afraid of them. The Russian peacekeeping force will be useless if Azerbaijan continues to press this issue. Although Iran’s move to bring equipment across the border may be a boost to regime supporters, it is hardly capable of fighting ISIS. This is definitely not the same level as Armenia or Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is known for its close ties with the West over the last few years. Azerbaijan sent its delegation to Warsaw Conference 2019, and voted in favor of labeling Iran as a sponsor or terrorist organization. Azerbaijan has signed an agreement to replace Russia as a natural gas source with the EU.

The bottom line is that Armenia and Artsakh, the separatist state, will become completely isolated in case of war. Armenia is now dependent on Russia and Iran to support its cause. This pro-Armenia account shows that the EU does not take sides in this conflict.

Turkey, Israel, the US, and Turkey have bilateral military aid agreements. Armenia has 1,400 Russian peacekeepers and jacksh** otherwise. Armenia, which is aware of these facts is actively trying to open talks with Turkey to reestablish diplomatic recognizance and to open the Armenian-Turkey border. Both were cut after the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Turkey has however linked any move in this direction to face-to-face talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

As Russia becomes more and more bogged down in Ukraine, look for more of this on Russia’s periphery. As Russia recedes from world power status, its ability to control the actions of neighboring states will be reduced, and more regional actors will step up to intervene in those conflicts without regard to Moscow’s desires.


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