What does the future hold for Caucasus?

The whole Caucasus region seems to be the next proxy battlefield for not just regional powers but world powers to gain their regional interests and objectives, writes Asim Khan.

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The Eurasian region of Caucasus has yet seen another wave of horrendous violence after 1990’s as Azerbaijani and Armenian forces are engaged with each other in clashes over the Nagorno-Karabakh region’s unsettled fate. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia have historically been a part of the Soviet imperialism. The demography of this region has artificially been changed by Stalin multiple times. He also established a republic of Nagorno-Karabakh with an independent functioning government separate from Armenia and Azerbaijan to keep the whole region in constant unrest so that it stays under the Soviet occupation and it is easy to control.

The conflict seems to have expanded like wildfire as regional powers also seem to take interest

Read more: Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict: There’s more to it than meets the eye

Today although the Nagorno-Karabakh region is said to be an Armenian populated region, but internationally it is recognized as Azerbaijan’s territory. More than 1000 people including civilians and military personnel from both sides have been killed in these recent clashes. Both the nation’s leadership have taken oath to take revenge from the other side. Tanks, artillery guns, fighter jets and missiles have been used from both sides inflicting immense damage and lives of innocent people.

Caucasus to become a proxy battlefield?

The conflict seems to have expanded like wildfire as regional powers also seem to take interest. Turkey has been seen verbally backing their Azerbaijani allies against Armenia. Turkey has also been accused of using Syrian mercenaries in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. These reports were first published by different news agencies and media organizations like Reuters and BBC and reporters from different newspapers such as The Independent and The Guardian who have been covering the Syrian conflict. Armenian ambassador to Russia, Vardan Toganian stated that Turkey has deployed 4000 Syrian militants on the Azerbaijan border against Armenia.

Read more: ‘Neo-Ottomanism’ vs ‘Greater Armenia’: What caused the war in Nagorno-Karabakh?

In addition to that, without providing any substantial evidence the French, Russian and Iranian officials also released statements that suggest Syrian mercenaries have been fighting in Azerbaijan. In a recent interview of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad, he also accused Turkey of using Syrian militants to fight its proxy in Nagorno-Karabakh region. On 29th September, Armenian authorities accused Turkey of shooting down their F-16 fighter jet, but Turkish and Azerbaijani authorities deny any such incident taking place.

The US has not put its weight yet on any side but the Nagorno-Karabakh region or even the whole Caucasus region seem to be the next proxy battlefield for not just regional powers but world powers to gain their regional interests and objectives

There were also rumors of Pakistan army and its military advisors’ presence in Azerbaijan but there is no significant amount of evidence to support it. On 10th October, CJCSC (Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee) Gen Nadeem Raza said that Pakistan Armed Forces fully support Azerbaijan’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh, which is in line with the several unanimously adopted United Nations Security Council resolutions,” according to Pakistan army’s media wing, ISPR (Inter Service Public Relations).

Read more: Missiles hit Azerbaijan after shelling of Armenia capital

Although Russia was involved in mediating talks between the two sides who eventually agreed for a humanitarian ceasefire which was shortly violated by both, it is also important to keep in mind that Russia is an ally of Armenia and both have military and security treaties with each other such as the ‘Collective Security Treaty Organization’ signed back in 1992 which shows where Russia’s inclination would be if the conflict escalates.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is still underway and is spreading violence and terror throughout the region. The geo-political situation is getting more and more complex as the events are gradually unfolding. The US has not put its weight yet on any side but the Nagorno-Karabakh region or even the whole Caucasus region seem to be the next proxy battlefield for not just regional powers but world powers to gain their regional interests and objectives. More destruction and bloodshed seem eminent soon of Caucasus.

The author is a master’s student from the Mass Communication Department of National University of Modern Languages Islamabad campus. He often writes on international developments and has a particular focus on Af-Pak affairs.


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