Topic: GS2 – International events
- Azerbaijan swiftly recaptured Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave, revealing shifting power dynamics in the Caucasus region.
Background of the conflict:
- The conflict traces back to the Soviet Union’s dissolution, with the majority Armenian-Christian population voting to break away from Shia-majority Azerbaijan.
- Armenian separatists, supported by Armenia, controlled Nagorno-Karabakh until 2020 when Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, fought Armenia (a Russian treaty ally) and reclaimed much of the territory.
- Russia brokered a ceasefire but did not provide significant assistance to Armenia, leaving Stepanakert in local hands. However, the peace did not hold.
- Azerbaijan blockaded the Lachin Corridor, worsening economic conditions in Nagorno-Karabakh and facing international criticism.
- Azerbaijan attacked Stepanakert, prompting separatists to surrender full control to Baku.
- Two key geopolitical factors benefited Azerbaijan: Turkey’s support to expand its role in the Caucasus and Russia’s focus on its Ukraine front, weakening its influence in the region.
Challenges and Concerns:
- While Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, historical mistrust and violence persist among Armenians in the region.
- Azerbaijan’s takeover has led to a refugee crisis in Armenia, and allegations of genocidal crimes have emerged.
- Azerbaijan’s success hinges on its ability to ensure equal rights and autonomy for the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh, as failure to do so could result in prolonged resistance and an unresolved conflict.