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Armenia Azerbaijan Conflict Management Essay

1685 words - 7 pages

Conflict between the states of Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) has not stopped since the ceasefire between them in May of 1994. The history of the conflict can date back even further to the end of WWI, or culturally even further than that with the history between cultures in the context of the Russian Czarist Empire (Crisis Group, 2007). For Armenia, the issue is one of self-determination for the ethnic majority Armenians living in the region. For Azerbaijan, it is an issue of territorial integrity (Crisis Group, 2007) because while the region is de facto independent, it is internationally recognized as being part of Azerbaijan. Russia and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) have been the main third parties involved in trying to broker a peace settlement between the two, but have been largely unsuccessful (Herzig, 1999). Any effective solution to managing this conflict would have to take careful consideration of many things including the historical nature of the conflict, the ever increasingly complex relationships between not only the parties involved in the conflict but third party states and NGOs, and the hostile atmosphere between Armenia and Azerbaijan which has only increased in recent years due to vitriol rhetoric, border clashes and arms races.
According to Croissant (1998) origins of the animosity between Armenia and Azerbaijan developed under czarist Russian control, but also had much to do with the relationships with the Ottoman Empire. Pan-Turkism, a nationalist movement at the end of the nineteenth century, became popular ideology amongst Azeris, and it increased hostility against Armenians. It did this in two ways, the first was the racist nature of the national movement that put a separation between the two peoples, and the second was that Armenia geographically separated Azeris from the rest of the Turkic world. Armenians also had increasing hostility towards Azeris at this time as they began to equate Azerbaijani Turks with the anti-Armenian policies of the Ottoman Empire (including the genocide of 1915-1916) (Croissant, 1998, pp. 8-9). 1918 brought the independence of both Armenia and Azerbaijan and a new opportunity for the hostilities to break out into violence. Which they did when “the pan-Turkic ‘Army of Islam’ invaded eastern Armenia” and demanded that the majority Armenian populace submit to Azerbaijani rule (Croissant, 1998). The year that follows is one of back and forth violence over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the entrance of a pro-Azerbaijani Britain was crucial to shifting the balance of power in Azerbaijan’s favor. In the summer of 1919, negotiations produced a partially autonomous Nagorno-Karabakh under Azerbaijani control. The Karabakh-Armenians only entered negotiations as the situation looked increasingly bleak, and Azerbaijan kept the threat of force as leverage which is something they try to do even now almost a hundred years later...

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