Cáucaso (Continuación)

Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh in Goris, Armenia, September 2023. Irakli Gedenidze / Reuters

The third war over Nagorno-Karabakh, the long-disputed Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan, ended almost as soon as it began. At 1 PM on September 19, Azerbaijani forces began attacking the territory with artillery and drones in what it called an “antiterror” operation. Within 24 hours, the Karabakh Armenians, a population that has been pushed to the brink of famine by a months-long economic blockade, capitulated, leaving Azerbaijan in effective control of the territory.

The next phase of the tragedy is now unfolding. In scenes reminiscent of the Balkans in the 1990s, convoys of cars are filling the mountain road from Karabakh to Armenia carrying thousands of Karabakhis leaving their homeland with as much as they can carry.…  Seguir leyendo »

Después de 35 años de luchas, la guerra entre Armenia y Azerbaiyán por Nagorno-Karabaj parece a punto de acabar con la victoria total azerbaiyana. Las tropas rusas, teóricas aliadas y garantes del bando armenio, han permanecido pasivas. Esto se explica porque en los últimos meses Armenia estaba virando claramente hacia Occidente, saliéndose de la órbita rusa. Sin embargo, eso se debe en parte a que los rusos ya les habían dejado en la estacada en septiembre de 2020, precisamente como castigo por sus veleidades pro-occidentales.

La humillación militar de 2020 obligó al Gobierno armenio a mantenerse como vasallo de Rusia, pero dieciséis meses después, Putin invadió Ucrania.…  Seguir leyendo »

Fuerzas pertenecientes al Ministerio del Interior de Azerbaiyán custodiando la carretera Fuzuli-Shusha. Foto: Aykhan Zayedzadeh (Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0).

La tercera guerra de Nagorno Karabaj ha acabado en menos de 48 horas, con la capitulación de los armenios ante la superioridad militar de Azerbaiyán y la pasividad tanto de Rusia como de la Unión Europea (UE) y Estados Unidos (EEUU). Aunque se trata de un conflicto local de larga data, desde 2020 se ha convertido en el espejo de la rivalidad entre Rusia y Turquía en la región y del declive de la influencia de Moscú en el espacio post soviéticoahora acentuado por la guerra en Ucrania y el conflicto entre Rusia y Occidente.

La guerra local y rivalidad regional entre Rusia y Turquía

Los orígenes del conflicto de Nagorno Karabaj se remontan a la decisión de la Unión Soviética de incluir una región poblada por mayoría armenia en la República de Azerbaiyán.…  Seguir leyendo »

Manifestantes se reúnen cerca del edificio del gobierno armenio en Ereván después de que Azerbaiyán lanzara una operación militar en la región de Nagorno Karabaj. Reuters

Recuperaba el filósofo italiano Giorgio Agamben en su vasta obra una figura arcaica del Derecho romano: el homo sacer, que era aquella persona marginada de la sociedad a la que se podía matar sin considerarse esto como un homicidio.

Agamben nos transporta de aquella sociedad romana a la actualidad para advertirnos que el homo sacer sigue existiendo. Existe cuando un Estado considera abiertamente como desechable a una parte de su población. Cuando un gobierno expulsa sin escrúpulos de sus hogares a una minoría étnica. Es decir, cuando la política decide quién debe vivir y quien morir.

Hoy, los armenios de Artsaj son el homo sacer.…  Seguir leyendo »

In an image from a video, a Russian guard stands near the gate into a camp near Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service/AP)

In 2021, President Biden recognized the 1915 removal of Armenians from their lands in Anatolia, in today’s Turkey, as genocide. The United States had been silent on the issue for more than a century, and its silence had grievous consequences.

Today, Armenians need global leaders, including Biden, to stop a new genocide — one that started this past winter and is now evolving into a more brutal phase.

On Tuesday, after a months-long blockade and military buildup along the border of the Armenian-majority enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan’s military launched an attack. Within a day, Azerbaijani forces quickly overwhelmed local defenses, killing more than 200 people, including civilians.…  Seguir leyendo »

Armenians rally in Yerevan on Thursday following Azerbaijani military operations against Armenian separatist forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. (Karen Minasyan/AFP via Getty Images)

It was Mao Zedong who said that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”. That harsh lesson certainly applies to the long-running battle between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the contested territory known as Nagorno-Karabakh — where Azerbaijan this week imposed its sovereignty by force of arms.

For Armenians, who live in the long shadow of the 1915 Ottoman genocide, the plight of an estimated 120,000 ethnic Armenians in Karabakh has been haunting. Lacking the military power to rival Azerbaijan — and without protection from Russia, the United States or even Armenia itself — the Karabakh Armenians were forced to surrender in two days.…  Seguir leyendo »

Azerbaijani servicemen stand guard at a checkpoint at the Lachin corridor, the Armenian-populated breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region's only land link with Armenia, as Azerbaijani environmental activists protest what they claim is illegal mining, on December 26, 2022. Tofik Babayev/AFP/Getty Images

Nothing about Luis Moreno Ocampo’s testimony to the US Congress last week was subtle. The legendary former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court told the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission that there is reasonable basis to believe that a genocide is underway in Nagorno-Karabakh, where an estimated 120,000 Armenians have been deprived of food, fuel and medical supplies for more than eight months.

Nagorno-Karabakh — known as the Republic of Artsakh by local Armenians — a mountaintop region populated by ethnic Armenians, has been officially within the borders of Azerbaijan since the days of the Soviet Union. Local Armenian authorities have vied for independence from Azerbaijan for decades, leading to an ongoing political and military conflict.…  Seguir leyendo »

Relatives and friends of those killed during the fighting for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region visit the Yerablur Military Memorial Cemetery. Photo by KAREN MINASYAN/AFP via Getty Images.

After a hiatus of several months, Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations resumed in May – and readouts from intensive meetings in Washington, Brussels, Chisinau, and Moscow suggest an agreement on normalization of relations between the two states is feasible.

There is now a critical mass of issues at the inter-state level on which eventual agreement looks possible, such as border delimitation, resolving humanitarian issues, and the much-discussed connectivity agenda. Many observers sense a historic opportunity to finally turn the page on 35 years of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

For the first time in many years, it is the stronger side – Azerbaijan – which appears to be pushing for a negotiated outcome, within a context where Armenian deterrence and its capacity to resist have broken down.…  Seguir leyendo »

The long-running conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh has created partnerships in the South Caucasus that cut across religious, ethnic, and geopolitical lines in surprising ways. Iran, which is ruled by Shiite clerics, has provided an economic lifeline to Christian-majority Armenia, whose primary backer has long been Russia. Meanwhile, Israel and Sunni-majority Turkey have formed a strategic alliance with predominantly Shiite Azerbaijan. And the two Shiite-majority countries in the mix, Iran and Azerbaijan, remain locked in a bitter, decades-long dispute over territory and identity.

For almost three decades, with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict frozen in a stalemate, this configuration was mostly seen as a case of politics making strange bedfellows: curious, but not a cause for alarm.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters in Tbilisi, Georgia, March 2023. Irakli Gedenidze / Reuters

As the United States and its NATO allies are focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, Russia’s efforts to bring another country into its orbit has gone largely unnoticed. Like many countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, Georgia has a population that is largely pro-EU and pro-NATO, an orientation that has only been strengthened in the years since Moscow’s 2008 invasion of the country, which left Russia occupying some 20 percent of its territory. Yet Georgia’s current leaders have not only failed to support Ukraine in its own struggle against Russian aggression. They have also ramped up anti-Western propaganda efforts, earned praise from Moscow for not joining Western sanctions and trade restrictions on Russia, and emulated a Russian-style crackdown on Georgia’s vibrant civil society.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters brandishing a European Union flag brace as they are sprayed by a water canon during clashes with riot police near the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi on March 7. AFP/Getty Images

When Georgian lawmakers backed a controversial Kremlin-esque bill late Tuesday night, mayhem erupted outside Parliament. As the crowd of protesters grew larger and larger, riot police gathered at their flanks. All hell broke loose.

The riot police fired tear gas canisters into the crowd. They used batons and water cannons. The images were remarkable. In one, a woman waving a European Union flag takes on a fire hose — an apt metaphor for Georgian democracy.

By Thursday morning those protests had proved a success. The ruling party retracted its “foreign influence” bill, which would have required organizations receiving 20% or more of their annual income from abroad to register as “foreign agents” or face heavy fines.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian peacekeepers deployed in the Lachin corridor, which connects the region of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, December 26, 2022. Tofik Babayev/AFP/Getty Images

There’s an old joke about a turtle being mugged by a gang of snails. When asked to describe the attackers, the turtle says he’s not sure, it all happened so fast. Blockades warp time in a similar way: the pain they inflict is both immediate and protracted.

Today is the seventy-third day of the blockade of the Lachin corridor, the only road that connects the Armenian-majority enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the rest of the world. Nagorno-Karabakh is bordered on all sides by Azerbaijan, which initiated a war against the enclave in 2020 that ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire. Now the 120,000 ethnic Armenians who live there are entirely isolated, prohibited from passing freely into or out of the region, and denied access to food, fuel, and medical supplies.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Russian peacekeeper guards the Lachin Corridor, which has been blocked by Azerbaijani protesters since December 12, 2022 -- cutting off ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh from the outside world. Tofik Babayev/AFP/Getty Images

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its devastating humanitarian fallout, it would be a leap to cast Moscow in the role of a peacemaker. But in one corner of the world that’s exactly what has happened.

In the wake of a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020, Russia was left to broker a ceasefire and keep the two sides in check. The United States and the European Union, which had once played a balancing role in the South Caucasus, effectively pulled back from active diplomacy and let Russia act as the sole mediator. Moscow deployed peacekeepers on the ground to calm and monitor the situation.…  Seguir leyendo »

El puente de Judafereín, que separa Azerbaiyán de Irán. ADP

Mientras buena parte del mundo se sentaba a celebrar el día de Navidad, miles de personas se manifestaban en la plaza del Renacimiento de Stepanekert, capital de Artsaj (Nagorno Karabaj) para exigir el fin del bloqueo planificado por parte de Azerbaiyán al que se ven sometidos sus habitantes desde el 12 de diciembre.

Ahí viven 120.000 personas de etnia armenia que ven amenaza su supervivencia por la crisis humanitaria. El corredor de Lachín/Berdzor, única carretera que conecta Stepanekert con la República de Armenia está cortado. El transporte de civiles, el traslado de enfermos a hospitales, los víveres, las medicinas y la economía de Artsaj están bloqueadas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Georgia's former president Mikheil Saakashvili appears via video link from the hospital during a hearing in Tbilisi city court, Georgia, on Dec. 22. (Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

As the world remains rightly focused on Vladimir Putin’s barbaric war in Ukraine, the Russian leader continues to advance his destabilizing, antidemocratic agenda in other places in the world. Among them is the small but strategically vital nation of Georgia, wedged between Russia and Turkey on the coast of the Black Sea.

Right now, Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili is languishing in detention there — by some accounts inching closer to death. The Biden administration and its allies can’t let that happen. It’s time for a global campaign to free Saakashvili now — precisely because of his past services to the cause of democracy in his homeland.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Azerbaijani soldier stands on the road to Shusha, a town in Nagorno-Karabakh controlled by Azerbaijani forces. On the other side of the fence, a Russian checkpoint looks over the parallel road used by Armenians. CRISIS GROUP

An Azerbaijani soldier stands on the road to Shusha, a town in Nagorno-Karabakh controlled by Azerbaijani forces. On the other side of the fence, a Russian checkpoint looks over the parallel road used by Armenians. CRISIS GROUP

If the war in Ukraine has reverberated across crises worldwide, its impact has been especially acute in the South Caucasus. Two years after their latest war over Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan appear headed toward another confrontation. Russia’s travails in Ukraine have upset calculations in the region.

A new war would be shorter but no less dramatic than the six-week conflict in 2020. That war, which killed more than 7,000 soldiers, saw Azerbaijani forces rout Armenians from parts of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave and nearby areas, all of which had been held by Armenian forces since the early 1990s.…  Seguir leyendo »

Azerbaijani protesters gather on the Lachin corridor in Nagorno-Karabakh on Dec. 13. Resul Rehimov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A woman in a crowd of protesters clutched a lifeless dove in her hand, its head flopping back and forth as she waved her arm in the air. The bird had apparently been squeezed to death while she spoke into a megaphone, delivering an impassioned speech honoring Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenia in the 2020 war for Nagorno-Karabakh.

With dark humor, the strangled dove came to embody the broken peace process in the South Caucasus. The bird and its human handler were part of a show of political force by Azerbaijan in the Lachin corridor, the sole road connecting Armenians in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh to the outside world.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Kremlin has struggled to contain the fallout of its invasion of Ukraine. It did not imagine that its war would inspire sustained unity among Western countries, nor that the Ukrainian army would resist so well, nor that it would need to partly mobilize the Russian population, a drastic measure with potentially disastrous domestic consequences. A war intended to restore Russian strength has instead left the country weaker.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sees Ukraine as part of Russia’s rightful sphere of influence, but because of his invasion, that sphere of influence is contracting. Russia is losing ground in regions where it has long held sway.…  Seguir leyendo »

A view of the settlement of Sotk, which is said was hit by Azeri shelling during recent border clashes with Azerbaijan, on September 14, 2022. (Photo by Karen MINASYAN / AFP)

On the night of September 12-13, violent clashes erupted along the eastern and southeastern border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The hostilities, which had been brewing since a ceasefire agreement signed under Russian the auspices two years before, continued until September 15. Over these 48 hours, Azerbaijani forces reportedly used heavy artillery and drones along a 200 km stretch of the border. According to the Armenian prime minister, the shelling deliberately targeted the civilian population and vital civilian infrastructures in 36 residential areas and communities.

The direct cause that re-sparked hostilities remains unclear, with Armenia and Azerbaijan blaming each other. The Armenian prime minister referred to the Azerbaijani shelling as an unprovoked and unjustified military aggression.…  Seguir leyendo »

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, left, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday in Prague. (Armenian Government/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

It’s nice to report something positive for a change. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met in Prague on Thursday — possibly opening up a path to ending one of the modern world’s most intractable conflicts.

We aren’t quite there yet, though.

Though neighbors, Turkey and Armenian have been separated for nearly a century by the Cold War and the weight of the past — the mass killing of Armenians in Anatolia in 1915 that historians view as the first genocide of the 20th century. A Western-brokered attempt at reconciliation more than a decade ago failed, and the border between the two nations has remained sealed for decades.…  Seguir leyendo »