The Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict


Khrystal Marlha

On July 12, 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan – two former Soviet republics – saw an ethnic and territorial conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. This is one of the most recent developments in a decades-long conflict between the two countries that began in the 1990s. In 1994, a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out; Armenia’s victory granted them full control over Nagorno-Karabakh and other surrounding enclaves of Azerbaijan. On the 12th, the Azerbaijani military attacked the Armenian military on their shared border, bombing civilian areas and threatening to attack a power plant.

In 2018, the Armenian revolution raised hope that a resolution would occur in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with new leadership. While a secret agreement was discussed between the two countries, with Azerbaijan and Armenia agreeing to a territory swap, each country’s leader backed down before the deal could be finalized.

On September 27, Azerbaijan bombarded Artsakh and areas of Armenia with the aid of the Turkish Air Force, and Azerbaijan continued to target civilian areas. Armenia then declared martial law after the news of Azerbaijan’s military operation inside the state as shelling occurred on Azerbaijan’s largest city, Ganja. Ganja lies close to crucial oil and gas pipelines that run from the capital Baku to Turkey, causing a toll on the price of Azerbaijan’s oil and gas; Azerbaijan responded to their aggression by shelling Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh and Shusha.

While there was some progress towards piece, with the two countries announcing a truce and a Russian-brokered ceasefire occurring early in October, the two countries have since resumed fighting. Azerbaijan says the right thing to do would be to continue to fight to reclaim the land that rightfully belongs to the country; however, this is a threat to the majority Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh. If Armenia wanted peace, they would have to withdraw troops from the province, as Azerbaijan requests. If they do not, the foreign minister of Azerbaijan claimed their country is prepared to continue fighting with Turkey’s support.

“Azerbaijan has shown Armenia and the whole world that it has the ability and the self-confidence to reclaim its territories under occupation for nearly 30 years,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. He also claims that agreeing to the cease-fire is Armenia’s “last opportunity to withdraw from the territories it has occupied.”

Analysts say the last positive outcome was lost when the fighting started in September.  Hopefully peace can be maintained in the region, but the conflict seems to be escalating with Turkey’s support.