AZERBAIJAN vs. ARMENIA – Soviet Union era fallout and 2020 conflict

It’s been a conflict brewing for four decades now. The Nagorno-Karabakh region in the South Caucasus had been greatly impacted by the ethnic conflicts and territorial disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

However, the last couple of months tensions has been escalating on and off between the two country borders, resulting in deaths and a lot of diplomatic back and forth. From verbal spats to full-on retaliations, these parts of the border seem very tense at the moment.

South Caucasus stability challenged

According to Reuters, Violent clashes erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the 27th September 2020 (Sunday) in the already uncertain Nagorno – Karabakh region. It’s worth noting that this is an important corridor for pipelines that transport gas and oil to the world markets.

Conflict zone of Nagorno-Karabakh region between Armenia and Azerbaijan
Image credit: Wikipedia

What went down

As retaliation and venting out for the confrontation few months back

→ Armenia has issued that Azerbaijan had conducted an artillery and air attacks which Baku claimed were in response to the Armenian shelling on the highly disputed regions, as per Reuters

→ Then Armenia and the authorities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region declared martial law

→ According to the Armenian Human right activists said a minimum of two civilians have been encountered and killed by the Azerbaijan shelling. The Baku officials reported six wounded and an unspecified no. of civilians’ dead. However, these data cannot be officially confirmed at the time of writing this.

Azerbaijani soldiers fighting
Image credit: Morning star

When did the Nagorno-Karabakh region conflict begin?

This conflict dawned following the messy break-down of the then Soviet Union from the late 1980s and went on for years until 1994. This is a typical territorial dispute between any two countries: in this case Armenia and Azerbaijan. And the strategic territory in dispute here was the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

As the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a conflict broke out and the Nagorno-Karabakh region broke away from Azerbaijan.

Why the conflict?

The Nagorno-Karabakh enclave held a referendum where the people of this region chose to be independent rather than joining either Armenia or Azerbaijan. But this referendum was boycotted by Azerbaijan.

However, the conflict did not subside as both the countries has instigated ethic cleaning. As the region was spread across both ethic Azerbaijanis and ethnic Armenians.

Adding fuel to the fire, the administrative unit Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast voted to join with Armenia considering the large Armenian population. This led to thousands of civilians being displaced and there was an increase in reported violence.  

This was time for a third-party to step in. In May of 1994, Russia stepped in and mediated a ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

It’s September of 2020 now and the conflicts still had not completely stopped. Both the countries are to blame with multiple ceasefire violations.

Recent years

The situation escalated again in the border in 2018, especially after Azerbaijan decided to send troops to this area which is fairly close to the border with Georgia. This was a notable event after few decades’ long calmness.

Azerbaijan army and Armenia army conflicts 2020
Image credit: Caspian news

Back in April 2016, there were tensions as there was spats and violence between these countries which we now remember as the Four-Day War. Close to 200 people were killed and multiple wounded. After that, there has been minor spats.

Will Armenia and Azerbaijan go to war?

Many experts believe that an all-out war between the two countries is not completely impossible, but very unlikely. There are a number of factors that play a major role. For starter, there are settlements with hundreds of innocent civilians. If any major conflict were to breakout there would be displacements and problems.

Then there is the corridor pipeline network of oil and gas would be blocked, which would inadvertently create challenges for both Armenia and Azerbaijan.  So, both the countries would think twice before engaging in an all-out war.

As of now, major powers in the region like Russia, Turkey, France, and even the Pope took a diplomatic approach to douse the situation.

Disclaimer: This report is based on a ton of research from official reports and reputed News sources(Reuters, Caspian news, The Guardian, and more). That being said, the data and information mentioned should not be considered as official facts as it hasn’t been officially confirmed. Also this is a neutral outsider point-of-view on the whole conflict. We do not intend to offend anyone from the partied involved in the conflicts. Also we do not own rights to any of the images and have duly credited to their owners.

Kingson S

Entrepreneur and a professional writer by passion; with experience across a wide genre of writing in both print and digital medium. I love what I write and write about what I love. A nerd for History, Geography, and Science Fiction.
I've written, composed, and published a collection of rhymes and moral short stories for children aged 4 through 8. I've headed  multiple academic project ventures; academic books, study materials, research journals and also developed software models and modules based on international pre-primer and primer level pedagogy.
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