Since ancient times, there are three popular reasons for why nations fight wars with one another; Zaan, Zaar and Zaamin, which means for the sake of human beings, for wealth and for land. If you look at the world’s history and the conflicts within the history, the one common factor in all conflicts will be one of these three reasons. But, this will not stop at any point, people will continue to fight over these three things. The problem becomes more serious when allies of the conflicting parties join with their friends, and a short scale skirmish becomes a war like situation. The same thing is going on in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The region of Nagorno-Karabakh is situated in between Armenia and Azerbaijan. With total area of 4400km squares, it has a population of almost 1 lac and 50 thousand. Interestingly, the territory of Azerbaijan with more than 90% Armenian ethnic population.
This region has been a source of conflicts between different states, but the contemporary conflict has its origin in 90s. After the disintegration of Soviet Union, this territory was returned to Azerbaijan. As it was populated by ethnic Armenians, the people of this region demanded freedom from Azerbaijan which was rejected. The rebel forces stood against Azerbaijan and proclaimed its separate and independent state. Armenia-being its neighbor and ethnic shareholder- supported the rebels and skirmishes began between these two countries, i.e. Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since then, the region is under the control of Armenia, but is a part of Azerbaijan in the international arena.
Russia is also supporting Armenia because of their shared religion and values, as Russia has been in the forefront of securing Orthodox Christians since centuries.
The conflict resolution is entrusted to Minsk group, which was formed in 1992. It is co-chaired by US, Russia and France and has the objective to peacefully resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue between Armenia and Azerbaijan. So far, the Minsk group is considered as a failed institution because of its inability to solve the problem.
There is an urgent need to solve this conflict. By now, it is an issue between two states, but the world community should not forget that it can become a regional conflict- bringing in Russia and Turkey to the battlefield.
Russia and Armenia
Russia supports Armenia but it cannot fully neglect the importance of Azerbaijan on the other hand. Russia has historical relations with the region of modern-day Armenia, supporting this region against the Persian kings, Uzbek khanats and against Ottoman empire. It is claimed that in 1994, Russia backed Armenia which made them won the war against Azerbaijan.
Along with that, they have deep military relations with each other as both are members of CSOT known as Collective Security Organization Treaty. It binds its member states to have military exercises with each other and arms sale is extended to the members. Russia has a military base in Armenia, and in 2013, Russian chief commander of 102sn base said that it could support Yerevan in case Baku attacked Armenia. They have also deep economic ties with each other, and Moscow has heavily invested in the economy of Armenia. Russia is also supporting Armenia because of their shared religion and values, as Russia has been in the forefront of securing Orthodox Christians since centuries.
Turkey and Azerbaijan
The case is much more similar or deeper between Turkey and Azerbaijan as well. Turkey shares a 11km border with Azerbaijan, and has strong ethnic, religious and economic ties. It is one of the top destinations of Turkey weapon exports and has openly supported Baku in the conflict. Turkey was the first country to recognize Azerbaijan in 1991 after its separation from the former Soviet Union. Turkey is heavily dependent on the natural gas of Azerbaijan and its volume of exports has recently increased and has replaced the Russian imported gas.
Turkey and Russia must act responsibly. It is true that they both are working for their own interests, but they should not forget that humanity is far superior than interests
Countries must be mindful of the dangers
The current scenario of the conflict is reflects its seriousness. Many countries around the world are skeptical about the role of Turkey it plays in realpolitik. It has its hands in Syria, Libya, Iraq and now in Azerbaijan. Its relationship with EU is at the lowest tide and the recent conflict between France and Turkey may have worsened the situation. Pakistan has vowed its support to Baku, and the conflict can become larger in scale.
There is a need to punish rogue states around the world. The USSC must take bold decisions and ask Armenia to withdraw its forces from the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan. If there is no respect for international law, then there is no use of global institutions and a global order.
Turkey and Russia must act responsibly. It is true that they both are working for their own interests, but they should not forget that humanity is far superior than political vested interests. Half of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh has been displaced so far due to the shelling, and there is a need on both sides to have negotiations to find a solution. The world must keep in mind the butterfly effect, that if flipping of butterfly wings can cause a tsunami, then a small conflict can cause a regional as well a global war.
The author has done his masters in English literature and linguistics from Numl university, Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.