Nagorno-Karabakh Demands Intervention

Written by: Christopher Waters, Associate Editor

An area of the Southern Caucuses which most around the globe have scarcely heard of is experiencing intense civil strife and demonstrates the need for stronger global leader involvement. Indeed, the Nagorno-Karabakh region is a contested area of land between Armenia and Azerbaijan; it has experienced intense violence since late September which has claimed the lives of an estimated 300 people and displaced thousands. The region, like many in post-Soviet nations, is not ethnically representative- it is officially Azerbaijan territory but houses a large Armenian population. The conflict demonstrates the need for a stronger international response as well as more permanent peace discussions.

These points become clear when one learns that the conflict is an echo of a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the late 1980s over the same region; after it voted to become part of Armenia. This dispute only ended in a ceasefire, and although the international community mediated at a few given times there has simply never been a formal peace agreement or recognition over the region. Even more, certain members of international community have arguably worsened the countries’ relations by individual backing. For instance, Turkey is closely tied to Azerbaijan, and after a border shutdown with Armenia, has very few ties to the latter. In contrast the U.S. is slightly more pressured to cooperate with Armenia with a larger immigrant population from the Southern Caucus. This relationship is icy, however, as President Trump has consistently cooperated with Erdogan in Turkey. Today, with thousands displaced in a historical dispute, a recent ceasefire was broken, and the exchange of fire continues.

Simply, the conflict is emblematic of a globe that is at the lacking in international effort. With a global pandemic ongoing, the hegemon in political discord, and a distaste for military involvement, the conflict does not seem to be on the radar for organizations such as the United Nations Security Council or the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe. To prevent further loss of life and destruction in a decades long conflict it is clear a global leader or organization will have to broker a stronger agreement. The mechanisms are available, and their use is well overdue.

Sources:

1. BBC – Armenia-Azerbaijan: What’s behind the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – September 28, 2020, available at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54324772

2. BBC – Armenia-Azerbaijan: Reports of fresh shelling dent ceasefire hopes – October 11, 2020, available at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54488386

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