Nagorno-Karabakh

The story behind Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

As of 29th September 2020, the date on which I’m writing this article, 58 soldiers have been killed from both countries in the clash between Armenia and Azerbaijan, although as we move ahead in this article, we will see how the actual number of casualties is far greater than this.

Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict

How did it happen?

If we dig back enough in the past, we realise how the actual dates of the starting phase of this conflict, dates all the way back to the formation of the Soviet Union in the 1920s or particularly 1922.

Before Joseph Stalin came to power in the 1920s,  the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the main region in conflict today in 2020, was an autonomous region in the control of the Republic of Artsakh.

However, the Soviet Union formed officially in 1922, wanted to expand just like any other “big powerful nation” in history, and annexed the Nagorno-Karabakh region in Soviet Azerbaijan.

Now, things went like this for a long time and much peacefully so, until 1988 when the Karabakh Armenians demanded that the Karabakh region be transferred from Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia.

Things got heated, a full fledged war erupted between the two Soviet Oblast regions in the early 90s.

Fast forward a few years, and in 1991, the Soviet Union officially came to an end, being replaced by Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic or Russia as we know it.

Collapse of USSR and the aftermath for Armenia-Azerbaijan

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the two oblast regions of Armenia and Azerbaijan also got their much-longed wish of independence, but without any rules or orderly border creation, resulting in the ever known conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh region that still rattles both the countries till this day.

Ceasefire of 1994

After many lives were lost and the conflict seemed to be having no end, Russia officially intervened in the issue and made both the countries sign a ceasefire agreement known as the Bishkek Protocol.

This protocol divided the borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan as we know it today.

However, the problem was once again, the region of Nagorno-Karabakh which on the world map was a part of Azerbaijan but in many areas is controlled by Armenian forces and populated by Armenian population.

After the signing of the ceasefire agreement, for almost a decade it looked like both the countries have agreed on a peace, until 2010, when on February 18th 2010, both forces exchanged gunfire resulting in casualties on both fronts, on the line of contact dividing Azerbaijani and the Karabakh Armenian military forces.

Sever small scale clashes further took place again in years 2011, 2013 and 2014 between the two countries.

However, the one major clash which was almost a mini war between the two countries took place in the form of a four day war in 2016.

In that period of 2016 alone, Azerbaijan had spent $3 billion on its military, more than Armenia’s entire national budget. (of that year)

Clash of September 2020

On 27th September 2020, emerged the news of arguably the biggest clash in recent years between these two countries, and this was also the first time I came to know about this issue and did some research work and got inspired to write about it.

Several soldiers killed, tanks blown up by Turkish drones, Armenia declaring martial law and mobilization, while Azerbaijan declared a state of war against Armenia, these were the aftermath of the recent clashes in September 2020, between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

What happens further is very uncertain from here.

Foreign countries’ involvements

One would probably say that foreign nations, especially the UN have really never taken any kind of stance for both Armenia or Azerbaijan in particular, and little with maintaining peace in the region.

Most of the foreign nations, except Russia.

Now Russia, as one can notice in the world map indirectly, benefits from two of it’s neighbouring countries in dispute with each other.

Classic “Two fight, Third benefits.” example.

As one can guess, Russia plays on both sides, sells weapons and military equipment to both sides and enjoy a very, very less amount of stress on it’s border with those two neighbouring countries.

The USA

Now USA’s stance has been forever changing on this issue ever since it started back in the 90s.

In 1992, Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act was passed which banned any assistance to Azerbaijan from the USA, a pro-Armenia move in hindsight.

However, in 2002, George Bush (then president of the USA) waived off this agreement and from 2005 the USA government started providing military aid to Azerbaijan in quite a heavy amount.

Between 2005 and 2016 Azerbaijan received $8.5 million for counternarcotics assistance and $11.5 million for counterterrorism aid.

In the same period, Armenia received only $41,000 for counternarcotics assistance and none for counterterrorism aid. According to EurasiaNet.

This was further exaggerated when Trump administration came in control in 2017 with the aid to Azerbaijan increasing up to $100 million in fiscal years 2018–19 by the USA.

I think a lot of it was for the reason to keep Iran, a neighbouring country of Azerbaijan, under pressure.

India

India’s involvement in between these two countries is very fresh, as in 2020 only India and Armenia agreed on a $40 million defence trade deal to supply four indigenously-built military radars to Armenia, outbidding Russia and Poland in the process.

Turkey

Turkey for the most part, has always sided with Azerbaijan, even in the recent clashes of September 2020.

As of today, 29th September 2020, a full fledged war is definitely a real threat in between these two countries if things don’t take a peaceful turn.

My condolences to every martyr who have lost their lives in this conflict.

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