Armenia and Azerbaijan Conflict




Crystal Kalin

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought over disputed land for decades, but recently, this September, a devastating six-week war broke out once again in Armenia. This has resulted in the loss of hundreds of innocent Armenian people, mass destruction, lead to the signing of a peace deal that marked the end of military conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, and left Armenians defeated and eager to fight back for their country.

The most recent event in the convoluted conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan was the signing of the peace deal on November 9th by Russian President Putin. The agreement was also signed by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan who announced that the agreement was “unspeakably painful” and was a very difficult decision for him to make. However, he made his decision based on what he believed would benefit the situation and cease the fighting.
The origin of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan dates back all the way to the early 1900s and revolves around the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The mountainous landlocked region Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, but its population is made up of a majority of Armenians. In 1980, the land was voted to become part of Armenia however, no one could have known this would spark a great war on both sides. In 2016, after years of fighting and wars, the result was the death of dozens of troops on both sides and still not the slightest hope of peace or resolution between Armenia or Azerbaijan. Over the years, the conflict has gotten so massive that both sides now have allies in case of another war, with Turkey on Azerbaijan’s side and Russia with Armenia. The reason that Turkey is supporting Azerbaijan is that they are bound by cultural, ethnic, and historical ties as well as the fact that Turkey’s military has been training Azerbaijan officers for decades. As for Armenia and Russia, both are members of a military alliance and are under a treaty of friendship.

Although the Armenian president believed that the peace deal was the only way to end the conflict, protesters in Armenia say the deal does not represent the will of the Armenian people. Armenian people have been fighting against Azerbaijan for decades and many cannot accept the fact that they have been defeated. According to the local media, in the Armenian capital Yerevan, a large group of people gathered to protest against the deal. Not only were the protesters angry, but they were also persistent in expressing themselves and their clear message that they will continue fighting for their country by repeating the phrase “We will not give up.” Many protesters were saying that their government betrayed them because they believed that the fighting should have continued until they were the ones who came out victorious.

Not only is the conflict greatly affecting the Armenian people, but the cluster bombs, which were exploded the week of October 5th in Nagorno-Karabakh, resulted in an unidentified number of civilian casualties as well as also affecting the people outside of the conflict zone like Iran. According to an article by Zia Weise, Despite the fact that the prior efforts to mediate have failed, Iran–an ally of Armenia–has offered to mediate saying, “[Tehran] is ready to use all its capacities to help talks to start between the two sides.” Although it is too early for anyone to know how long the fighting will continue, all we know is that we should expect the situation to drastically change if a major power, such as Turkey or Russia, were to directly enter the conflict.