Whilst things during Soviet Union times were largely a great love fest since the fall of the good old CCCP, relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have gone south somewhat.
There’s a lot of reasons why they don’t get on so well, going all the way back to the Armenian Genocide and then there is the old Muslims vs Christians bit to throw in the mix. Nowadays, though, the big issue is Nagorno-Karabakh.
What is Nagorno-Karbakh?
This is an area of Armenians that was part of Azerbaijan before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Again during Soviet times, not a huge issue, but following the fall of the wall, it became a disputed area that eventually gained “independence” rather than integration with Armenia (although it kind of is really). The war was harsh and even left the “country” with its own version of Hiroshima, a bombed-out city of ruins where only the Mosque remains mostly intact.
To read more about Nagorno-Karabakh click here.
To read more about unrecognized countries click here.
So, what then?
A war was fought, victory was proclaimed, and you’d hope that would be the end of it, but as with most frozen conflict zones in the former USSR, they do not stay frozen all that long, and fighting tends to erupt on a fairly regular basis, although usually on a fairly small level. Alas, not so much this time…..
Azerbaijan really wants Nagorno-Karabakh back, and even having a stamp from there will mean you will be refused entry into Azerbaijan.
What is the current beef between Armenia and Azerbaijan?
Sadly it is not a new beef, but just a rather inflamed version of the old one. As of yesterday, 23 people had been killed in skirmishes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the most significant escalation of violence in the region since the initial war.
Will this lead to all out war between Azerbaijan and Armenia?
Sadly it might. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on Sunday he was confident of regaining control over the region, whilst martial law has been declared amid the violence in some parts of Azerbaijan and in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Add to this the fact that Russia has lent its support to Armenia, whilst Turkey has pledged support for Azerbaijan, and it all has a very World War 1 regional conflict element to it!
In an ideal scenario, everyone will take a step back, and war will be avoided, but as things stand, it looks very much like there could be a conventional war over Nagorno-Karabakh.