• Prajakt Karanjkar

All You Need to Know About Ongoing Azerbaijan-Armenia War


The armed forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia are fighting with each other for the last week. The ongoing tussle between the two European nations have turned the eyes of the whole world in the middle of a brutal pandemic.

This is not the first time the two nations are fighting. In 1994, Armenia and Azerbaijan fought with each other in a similar condition.

What's the Issue?

To understand the issue we need to go back to an era just after the first World War. In 1918, three new countries were formed—Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Later, the then USSR under Joseph Stalin acceded the two states Armenia and Azerbaijan into USSR.

However, the dispute erupted due to Stalin's decision of acceding a 4400 square kilometer region of Nagorno-Karabakh into Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh had the majority of the Christian population and Azerbaijan predominantly is a Muslim-populous country.

After a strong protest by Armenia, Stalin made the province of Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous but it stayed in the borders of Azerbaijan. The roots of today's problem go back to this date.

In 1988, an Oblast (area), of the province, passed a resolution in the Legislature saying that the province e wants to accede itself into Armenia. Shocked by the developments, Azerbaijan started alleging Armenia for encouraging separatist movement in the region.

This rhetoric turned into a war in 1991 as the mighty Russian empire started to disintegrate. The war ended up in a ceasefire in 1994 and Armenia took control of most the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Although the province is also known as the Republic of Artsakh, no country—including Armenia— identifies as an independent country. However, the control of the area remains with Armenia.

This is the main issue of the ongoing conflict. However, this time there's more involved in the issues than the older times.

Why both countries are fighting again?

In September 2020, the skirmishes in the border region started to occur between both the countries. Armenia blamed Azerbaijan for the military strikes near the border area whereas Azerbaijan called it a counter-attacking operation to the Armenian army's provocative actions.

In July 2020, a march took place in Azerbaijan's capital Baku where people asked the government to go for a war against Armenia. During the ongoing pandemic, thousands of people gathered on the streets and started sloganeering against Armenia.

Armenian Prime Minister, Nikole Pashinyan, who has recently taken the rein in hands thanks to the large protest that occurred against the previous government, has also called for an all-out attack.

Both countries have announced martial law in their region.

According to the experts, Armenia has a strategic advantage in the conflict due to the fact that they are on top of the Azerbaijani army. The Azerbaijani army is also going through problems like lack of modern weaponry, real enthusiasm to win, etc. No wonder, Armenia has gained some ground already in this conflict.

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What's the International Politics Behind?

However, the current conflict has the potential of turning into a full-fledged war considering the probability of nations supporting Azerbaijan and Armenia may enter into the warfield supporting each others' interests.

Iran, under President Recep Erdogan, has openly supported Azerbaijan. Iran, which predominantly is a Shia-Muslim state, has friendly relations with Azerbaijan, which has the second-largest population Shia-Muslims after Iran.

Russia, an enemy state of Iran, has been supportive of Armenia since the beginning thanks to the historic relationship. Although Russia sells its weapons to Azerbaijan as well, when it comes to the real business, Putin has made his mind.

But there's something more to it. The whole European Union is going through a large scarcity of gas. Baku, being the world's largest oil factory, has natural gas, too. Iran and Azerbaijan are building a gas pipeline through the Caspian Sea that can solve Europe's dire need for gas. Russia has been kept outside of this project and therefore Moscow is trying to settle the score.

What's the Role of India?

Historically, India has a good relationship with both Armenia and Azerbaijan. On one side, India has maintained a cordial relationship with Armenia and on the other, it has successfully included Azerbaijan into the International North-South Transport Corridor, which goes through Azerbaijan's Baku and connects Mumbai to the whole world.

The then External Affairs Minister Late Sushama Swaraj had also visited Baku in 2018 and visited a fire temple that was once worshipped by both Hindu and Zoroastrian population.

The Indian government has already called for an immediate ceasefire between both nations.

India's arch-nemesis, Pakistan, going with its friend, Iran, is supporting Azerbaijan. According to a report, Pakistan also sent its soldiers to Azerbaijan to fight against Armenia.

Who's Winning?

Is that really a question? Nobody wins in a war. We appeal that both countries should agree to a ceasefire and stop the destruction. It's also important for the other nations to not bring their interests into the conflict and work towards the ending of this violent episode.