Conflicts Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Could Lead to a Large-Scale War
By: Nina Zevgolis
A conflict decades long over disputed land has erupted into reopened violence. The defence minister of both Armenia and Azerbaijan have released footage of attacks that have been fired in Nagorno-Karabakh. This conflict has the potential to increase tensions between Russia and Turkey, leading to a huge war.
The region of Nagorno-Karabakh has been a part of Azerbaijan's country since 1923, when Stalin assigned the land to them. For the past three decades, the population has been almost only made up of Armenians, leaving it under Armenia’s power. Arguments between the two countries as to who owns the land have been undergoing for a century now but remained under control since 1994- when the two ceased fire. It wasn’t until last week where tensions reached an alarming level.
Early last Sunday morning, Azerbaijan launched heavy force attacks, including missile attacks along the line of contact of Armenia in Nagorno Karabakh targeting civilians and their infrastructures. Azerbaijan claimed to have fired a counter-offensive after coming under attack from Armenian forces.
Though it’s unclear who launched the launch first, as of September 29, there have been 80 deaths of civilians and soldiers from both sides. Spain, Turkey, Iran, France and Russia have all requested the countries to cease fire and discuss with the UN a settlement that requires no more disputes. UN chief Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate stop to the fighting and resumption without the precondition of meaningful negotiations, without delay.
If the attacks continue, it could mount to a large-scale war, resulting in mass destruction and deaths across Europe and threatening international security and stability. It is common in this decades-long conflict for both sides to accuse the other of firing the first shots, and what we are seeing is not just military action but also an information war. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia have declared martial law and mobilization of troops. The Armenian Prime Minister called for citizens to “Get ready to defend the sacred homeland.”
Citizens in the Nagorno-Karabakh region’s capital, Stepanakert (Khankendi), have been shelled and urged to get to safety. Countless houses and infrastructure in the villages of Nagorno-Karabakh have been destroyed, with upsetting numbers of reported injuries. The disputed region has declared a state of war, and told all able residents aged 18 and older to prepare for action.
Armenia’s defence ministry informed their citizens that the responsibility of the destruction and attacks lay with the military leadership of Azerbaijan. Since last week, they have shot down helicopters and combat drones and have hit three Azerbaijani tanks. Azerbaijan has continued to deny any provocation they did to escalate the fight. Their response was that it was instead a counteroffensive on the front line following an Armenian provocation.
Russia, France and Turkey share a mutual defence pact with Armenia as well as Iran being their strategic partner. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan is an ally of Turkey and Germany holds a defence pact with the country. If this war rises to something bigger, it will be out on the control of Armenia and Azerbaijan. It will become an intercontinental war larger than most can handle. The UN awaits one of the two countries to remove themselves from the crisis and open to negotiation over the territory. Until then Europe and South Asia’s tension remains at an all-time high.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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