Why are Azerbaijan and Armenia in a conflict?

International Oct 07, 2020
  • Over 200 people have been killed in a volatile skirmish over a decades-long territorial dispute that erupted on 27 September.
  • The renewed yet escalated tension between the nations has alerted the global community, which is now urging to assuage the situation.
  • Just like any other conflict in the world, the dispute is being exploited by other countries for their own benefit. Russia and Turkey are the key players in this one.
  • Following the killing, Armenia and Azerbaijan were engaged in a verbal spat, accusing the other of having instigated the most recent conflict.

Why are they at loggerheads?

  • The brunt of this territorial dispute is the Nagorno-Karabakh region following the breakdown of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.
  • A referendum was held in this area where people chose being liberal and independent over joining either of the two countries.
  • The situation worsened when Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, an administrative unit, voted to join Armenia, keeping in view its majority Armenian population.
  • By 1992, the violence had veritably increased and thousands of civilians being displaced compelling the foreign authorities to intervene in the matter.
  • In May 1994, Russia mediated a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but the conflict and wars have been protracted for three decades, with violence and destruction instigated from both sides.

What is the situation now?

  • The border tensions have escalated further as Azerbaijan moved troops into the area, close to its borders with Georgia.
  • In April 2016, the situation was grievous with castigated violence between the two nations known as the Four-day war.
  • Since then there have been sporadic instances of fire-ups and upheavals but was not as intense as the situation in 2016.
  • In the disputed territory, hundreds of people will have to displace if a large war break breaks out between the two countries.
  • The major concern that arises is the blockage of a network of oil and gas pipelines and strategic roads to which access might be blocked or interrupted for the region at large should any large-scale fighting ensue.
  • Both countries must take immediate action to address the problem before the situation spirals out of control, protecting the interests of the people as well as the foreign authorities.

This article has been written by Jahnavi Rathore for The Paradigm

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(Cover image credits: Medium)


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