Armenia and Azerbaijan: Fearing the Worst

Its diplomatic boots bogged down in the Middle East, Darfur and North Korea, the international community lacks the agility to consider an obscure unresolved conflict in the Caucasus. But in the case of Nagorny Karabakh, greater effort now could save anguish later. A younger generation of Azerbaijanis is sounding aggressive and there is much to lose internationally from conflict in this key area.

The World Today Updated 12 November 2020 Published 1 December 2006 4 minute READ

Tom De Waal

Author of Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War, New York Press, 2003

Nagorny Karabakh, the territory fought over by Armenians and Azerbaijanis, is a name that flickered into the news in the late 1980s and early 1990s and is associated in most people’s minds with the torments of former President Mikhail Gorbachev as he failed to resist the nationalist pressures that tore apart the Soviet Union. Those with a more historical bent will remember it as a desperate conflict, forged by Stalinist border-drawing and a clash of impassioned national identities.

It has not gone away. Since 1994, the dispute has been quiet but unresolved, halted by a ceasefire agreement that followed a de facto Armenian victory on the ground – and the deaths of some twenty-five thousand people. But its baneful influence continues to blight the entire region between the Caspian and Black Seas.

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