Nagorno-Karabakh: Unpacking the Complex History and Current Conflict

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Origin of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict- A story with key facts: This was the period of the end of the First World War and Armenia declared independence. Changes were taking place in other places too, for example, the Bolshevik Revolution had taken place in Russia. Vladimir Lenin’s Red Army had attacked the power establishments.

Lenin led the Bolshevik Revolution. In 1922, Armenia became a part of the Soviet Union which was formed under the leadership of Lenin. Then let’s come to the year of 1991. In 1991, the Soviet Union disintegrated, after which Armenia also became independent. This is the history of Armenia. Now let us know about the second warring region, whose name is Azerbaijan.  Its eastern border meets the Caspian Sea.

The land border is with Armenia, Russia, Georgia, Iran and Turkey. The population is about 10 million. It is approximately 96 percent of the people also follow Islam. Some follow Christianity and some follow Islam. What does history say? There has been a long conflict between Persia, Russia, and the Ottomans over the occupation of Azerbaijan. In 1828, Persia and Russia, The area were divided among themselves.

The First World War ended in 1918, then Azerbaijan also declared independence, but Lenin’s Red Army reached there too and Azerbaijan also became a part of the Soviet Union like Armenia in 1922. The union broke in 1991, and Azerbaijan also became independent.

If you want to know more comprehensively about the enmity between Armenia and Azerbaijan:

The Soviet Union disintegrated and at that time there was a civil war-like situation, there was no permanent government, the bloodshed was in full swing and warlords were in many places. But the Armenians were ruling in a managed way, It became democratic in time and systematically, and it had a lot of army with strong weapons, the Soviet soldiers who were returning with the weapons, gave them to the soldiers of Armenia, so they became very powerful and internationally recognized.

They captured many parts of the territory which are adjacent to Nagorno. By that time there was not any unit named Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia as a unit of state, and the word Azeri itself appeared in it in 1870 and 1880.

Current Story and Origin of Conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh:

Now we will know the current story about Nagorno-Karabakh, Nagorno-Karabakh means dark garden fallen from the hills This area is within the border of Azerbaijan Population is 150 thousand but 90 percent of people are of Armenian origin which does not admit the rule of Azerbaijan.

In the 1980s, the Parliament of Nagorno-Karabakh said that we would go with Armenia. Azerbaijan did not accept this proposal and sent his army. Armenia comes from the other side. There was a fierce fight. More than 30,000 people were killed. Armenia was in the lead and took control over Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas.

In 1994, with the help of Russia conflict was sorted out.  Through this deal, Nagorno-Karabakh became a part of Azerbaijan but a government supported by Armenia started running there and they also deployed their Army. Azerbaijan had control only of names and documents.

The people of Nagorno-Karabakh did not want to be part of Azerbaijan Country, the Main reason was a religious factor because 1.5 Armenia Christians live there, and a self-styled government rules in Nagorno-Karabakh with the support of the Armenia government.  They have been fighting for a long time and at that time it was captured by Armenia.

But now that Azerbaijan has become a powerful country, its military has become very strong, In fact its military budget is about 6 billion dollars, which is too much for a small country like Azerbaijan. They also made their economy strong by establishing a gas and oil business.   On the other side, Armenia is just landlocked and doesn’t have huge service sectors and well-established industries. So he is fully dependable on other countries.

But now, recently there was a fight again, and this time Azerbaijan had the upper hand, it won the areas occupied by Armenia, the violence was very fierce, a ceasefire was achieved with the help of Russia, and under the new deal, and all the soldiers of Armenia had to leave the Nagorno-Karabakh.

Most of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh were dependent on Armenia for everything from food and drink to religious faith, for the supply line lachin corridor was built, and the responsibility of the lachin corridor was given to the Peacekeeping Force of Russia. This Russian military force had to ensure that there wouldn’t be further violence. The arrangement lasted till November 2022 but the matter worsened in December.

Azerbaijan alleged that Armenia was sending army and weapons through the Lachin Corridor, this is a threat to their safety, So the corridor was closed. Russia did not protest then, On September 19 this year, Azerbaijan sent Army of Nagorno-Karabakh. According to media reports, 32 people were killed in this attack. 200 people were injured and the government supported by Armenia surrendered within 24 hours. On the morning of September 21, talks have started between the local government of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan said the service of the Karabakh Army will be disrupted. And their special rights will be taken back. According to experts, the native people of Armenia may be in danger. There is a history of racial riots in this area. If the Muslim-dominant governments have control over Nagorno-Karabakh.  Then they won’t hesitate to the revenge.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has said that nothing will happen to civilians, they will be given full security, but he knows that they are not ready to be trusted. They also took shelter in the airport and peacekeeping force camp. Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan..? The statement came that we have nothing to do with the recent conflict and it is the responsibility of Russia to protect the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Amidst all this, a huge protest has also started in Armenia. People are demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister. Nikol Pashinyan was sitting on the chair after the movement in 2018 but he could not change the power regarding Nagorno-Karabakh. During his tenure, Armenia had to face hardships and now the entire area seems to have been taken over.

Let’s talk about Russia’s role in this dispute. It supports Armenia’s claim. Russia has a military base in Armenia. Armenia is also a member of the Central Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).  Apart from Russia and Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan is a member. It was constituted in 1992. Arrangements were made on the lines of the NATO.

If one country is attacked, it will be considered an attack on the entire organization. This is like Article 5 of the NATO. Both countries have also supported each other on international forums. Although there has been a lot of bitterness in their relations in the last few years, Russia did not take Armenia’s side in the 2020 war, it remained neutral.

The arms deal that was made was also not completed, but even in the corridor crisis, Russia watched everything silently. After this, the friendship between Putin and Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev increased, this shocked Armenia, so it started looking for new friends, he also conducted war exercises with America, in September 2023 i.e. in the same month, the Prime Minister of Armenia told the Italian newspaper la Repubblica.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that the security of Armenia was completely dependent on Russia, but today Russia itself needs weapons, it cannot fulfill our needs even if it wanted to. Russia has distanced itself from the matter by calling it an international matter. According to experts, Putin is taking revenge. Armenia is being punished for getting closer to the Western countries. Many people in Armenia see it as a betrayal.

Russia has cleared its stand on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue saying that Nagorno-Karabakh is the territory of Azerbaijan, You have captured it. If Azerbaijan intrudes in your internationally recognized territory, in that case, we will defend you. So Russia was very active there earlier. It is still active but it has the same defense and is not able to do so especially during times of war with Ukraine because it has to increase its friendship with Turkey too. They consider themselves like brothers, so this is a big limitation of their diplomacy at this time.

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Russia has also had very good relations with Azerbaijan. He has been selling arms to Azerbaijan. Then Armenia lost it in the war. You should pay attention that in that drone warfare had come into the discourse again and people started talking. So basically because of the Turkish drone, Armenia complained that even though we were the enemy, it was their duty to support us, which lasted for 44 days and went back to Nagorno-Karabakh.

But what is the solution to this problem, we hear from the experts that it becomes politicized and internationalized. Azerbaijan and Armenia, this conflict or war cable is not between these two regions of the country, it is not between ethnicities or religions. There is no middle ground because Azerbaijan is identified as Muslim and Armenia is largely Christian. This is not the only reason, there is also a reason behind Azerbaijan, you see an emerging nexus of Turkey and Pakistan, and Armenia itself is isolated. We know, despite being a CSTO member, Armenia does not get that support from Russia.

Because Ukraine war, Russia has been diverted from attention there, so in such a situation, Armenia knows itself as isolated after what happened to Armenia, there is a reason why a lasting solution to this war has not been found and somewhere there is a collective failure of the whole of Europe

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