The Washington Post: why stakes are raised in the Azeri-Armenian conflict

The Washington Post: why stakes are raised in the Azeri-Armenian conflict

The UN Security Council meeting is expected to be held tonight. At the meeting, the members of the Council will discuss the escalation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. A request for a discussion came from five countries - France, Germany, Great Britain, Estonia and Belgium. The concern of the world community is caused by three-day fighting in the conflict zone. Recall that on Sunday, the armed forces of Armenia, having carried out large-scale provocations, shelled the positions of the Azerbaijani army along the entire front line and nearby settlements from large-caliber weapons, mortars and artillery systems of various types. In response, the command of the Azerbaijani army decided to launch a counter-offensive operation along the entire front line.

The Washington Times in the article Why Stakes Are Raised in the Azeri-Armenian Conflict writes that conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has broken out repeatedly since Armenians seized control of the territory and surrounding areas from Azerbaijan, in a war that started soon after the 1991 collapse of the former Soviet Union, killing more than 30,000 people and displacing another 1 million. Despite decades of mediation by the U.S., Russia and France, no peace accord was ever signed. The latest bout of fighting that started Sept. 27 differs from many previous skirmishes since the end of the war in 1994, both in scale and in geopolitical risk. This time, Turkey has given unreserved backing to its ally Azerbaijan, raising the stakes significantly.

Turkey has a closed border and no diplomatic relations with Armenia. By contrast, Azerbaijan supplies Turkey with natural gas and crude oil via pipelines that pass within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of the Azerbaijan-Armenia border and 30 miles of the conflict zone.

Turkey's support was until recently limited to rhetoric. But in July, after a previous Armenian-Azeri clash, Turkey’s military conducted joint exercises with Azerbaijan’s. On Sept. 28, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Armenia to end its “occupation” of Azeri territory and criticized the current negotiating format.

The Washigton Times recalls that Azerbaijan’s oil and gas wealth have allowed it to substantially increase its military spending – much of which has gone to purchasing weapons.

According to the report, Russia has leverage with both sides. The U.S. used to also wield considerable influence, as host to a large, wealthy and politically active Armenian diaspora and the primary backer of new Azeri oil and gas pipeline routes.