Armenia’s snap election was extraordinary in many ways. A record number of parties and blocs contested the ballot – including all of Armenia’s former presidents dating back to 1991. After a bitter campaign, the scale of Nikol Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party’s win came as a surprise, with Civil Contract securing an outright 54 per cent of the vote – a majority obviating the need for tense coalition negotiations or a second round of voting.
Although the presence of old faces seemed to preserve the polarity between new and old elites, which was key to 2018’s Velvet Revolution that brought Pashinyan to power, the grand coalition that made the revolution possible had begun to fray.… Seguir leyendo »
Despite the elapse of six months since the ceasefire which brought the second Karabakh war to a close, there has been little respite in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
Relations have remained sharply polarized by issues such as the continued imprisonment of up to 200 Armenians with reports of torture and death in custody, post-war casualties among Azerbaijanis due to mines in areas transferred to Azerbaijani control in 2020, and the destruction or alteration of Armenian cultural heritage in those areas.
Now a new crisis is unfolding with reports of a number of territorial encroachments by Azerbaijani troops across the international Armenia-Azerbaijani border.… Seguir leyendo »
Despite a nudge from a senior State Department official, Azerbaijan has so far refused to return more than four dozen Armenian prisoners who were captured after a bloody war for control of the disputed enclave known as Nagorno-Karabakh.
The prisoner issue is a bitter legacy of the battle last fall in which Azerbaijan’s forces, backed by Turkish-made drones, regained control of much of the mountainous region that is officially part of Azerbaijan but had been governed by its majority-Armenian population since a 1994 war for independence. Armenia says it lost more than 4,000 soldiers — a huge number for the small, embattled nation.… Seguir leyendo »
On Feb. 25, Armenia’s top military leadership called on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to resign. This threat came in the form of a letter signed by “several dozen” army officers, who cited “attacks” on the armed forces by the government. On Monday, pro-Pashinyan supporters demonstrated in one part of the capital while protesters demanding his resignation rallied at a separate site.
It isn’t clear what the next moves might be — and whether the army will attempt to forcibly remove the civilian government. But military coups are extremely rare in the countries that once made up the Soviet Union, so analysts are keeping a close eye on the situation and the potential effect on regional politics.… Seguir leyendo »
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to cease fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory in the South Caucasus. Over a six-week period, the worst fighting in decades left thousands dead.
A Moscow-facilitated cease-fire last month has brought Russian peacekeeping forces — and increased Russian influence. Azerbaijan took back territory Armenia had held since the 1990s, leaving Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan politically vulnerable after discontent with how he handled the war and the cease-fire.
Social media played a significant role in the way that Armenians and Azerbaijanis experienced this year’s brief war. Globally, people could follow military movements, drone footage, respond to statements by authorities and discuss the events.… Seguir leyendo »
Since its origins in the ninth century, Dadivank Monastery has withstood Seljuk and Mongol invasions, Persian domination, Soviet rule and, this fall, a second brutal war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Now the majestic stone complex — which includes two frescoed churches, a bell tower and numerous medieval inscriptions — faces something that could be even worse: a dangerous peace.
Perched on a rugged slope west of Nagorno-Karabakh, Dadivank is one of the hundreds of Armenian churches, monuments and carved memorial stones in a disputed region that will come under the control of predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan according to a cease-fire agreement reached this month.… Seguir leyendo »
Cuando hace cinco años tuvo lugar el centenario del genocidio armenio, intenté convencer a mis amigos turcos del absurdo que suponía mantener la posición negacionista. El argumento que yo siempre exhibía era que la denuncia rotunda de la matanza había sido pronunciada nada menos que por Mustafá Kemal en 1919, con una condena explícita del crimen cometido en 1915, causante de 800.000 muertes. ¿Por qué encerrarse en una negación, absolviendo al arquitecto de esa masacre, el ministro del Interior otomano Talaat Pachá, quien además había tenido la amabilidad de explicar su lógica de exterminio al embajador norteamericano? No tuve éxito. Mi interlocutor se levantó de la mesa para traerme una fotografía y añadir: “Mi abuelo fue colaborador de Talaat Pachá”.… Seguir leyendo »
À l’issue de 44 jours de guerre sanglante dans le Haut-Karabakh (Artsakh, en arménien), les Russes ont été les instigateurs d’un accord obligeant les Arméniens à céder d’importantes étendues territoriales à l’Azerbaïdjan. Dès le 10 novembre, un cessez-le-feu est observé et environ les trois quarts d’Artsakh seront graduellement vidés de leurs habitants millénaires pour laisser la place aux Azéris. C’est une situation crève-cœur qui suscite la colère et l’indignation.
Depuis le 27 septembre, les Arméniens de la diaspora ont manifesté, participé à des collectes de fonds, pris d’assaut les médias sociaux, milité auprès de divers gouvernements pour la reconnaissance du droit à l’autodétermination du peuple d’Artsakh et la fin des hostilités dans le Haut-Karabakh.… Seguir leyendo »
For the first time in history, a war has been won almost entirely by unmanned aircraft — by what are technically called “armed drones” or Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, guided autonomously).
On Nov. 10, Armenia surrendered to Azerbaijan, ceding control of the disputed enclave Nagorno-Karabakh located within Azeri territory. Nagorno-Karabakh borders Armenia, has a predominantly ethnic Armenian-Christian population that, together with Armenia, has fought to resist domination by predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan.
The Nagorno-Karabakh War has flared on and off for some 30 years, a long stalemate little noted in the Western press.
But now the decisive defeat of Armenia by futuristic RPVs portends a revolution in military technology akin to the invention of gunpowder or the use of manned aircraft in World Wars I and II that changed the dimensions and nature of warfare.… Seguir leyendo »
The ceasefire brokered last week between Azerbaijan and Armenia has largely been cast as a means to end a decades-long territorial dispute. But, of course, reality might not be as smooth. In a region every bit as geopolitically fraught as the Balkans, the Caucasus has always been a patchwork of peoples pulled and shoved between greater powers, suffering successive waves of conquest and “ethnic cleansing”.
Zoom in more closely right now, though, and while Azerbaijanis can rightly celebrate a return to homes they were driven from 30 years ago, for the Armenian people at large, the risks could not be greater.… Seguir leyendo »
The guns are finally silent in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory in the South Caucasus between Azerbaijan and Armenia. In late September, the longstanding conflict in the territory re-erupted into a six-week war that left thousands dead.
With local Armenian forces collapsing after a relentless Azerbaijani assault from the air and ground, the warring parties signed a nine-point ceasefire last week. Facilitated by Moscow, the agreement authorized the deployment of Russian peacekeeping forces to the region to establish new borders within the territory.
The implications of these new borders, however, extend well beyond Nagorno-Karabakh. As both sides bury their dead, here are five significant ways the 2020 Karabakh war will change the map of the South Caucasus — and the crucial questions that remain unanswered.… Seguir leyendo »
After six weeks of bloody armed conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, Russia has brokered a full ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, signed by the presidents of Azerbaijan and Russia and Armenia’s prime minister. In contrast to three prior failed humanitarian ceasefires successively negotiated with the aid of Russia, France and the United States, this one appears to be holding. Its success reflects battlefield realities: Azerbaijan was winning militarily and Armenia faced a crushing defeat. But humiliation cannot be a strong basis for sustained peace. The parties and foreign stakeholders must ensure that the ceasefire holds; they also should take steps to ensure that the new regional order has benefits for all involved.… Seguir leyendo »
As I write this column, the 2020 presidential elections are unfolding in the U.S. By the time you read it you may (or quite possibly may still not) know the results. Regardless of their outcome, they will have outsized implications. On the future of America’s economic and healthcare systems, its environment and immigration policies and its race relations among others. On public faith in its electoral process, the solidity of its institutions and the polarisation of its politics, as Crisis Group analysed in a recent report. But also on the rest of the world, whose denizens will be forgiven for lamenting that an event with such profound potential to affect their lives rests on a process over which they have no say, that is governed by a nearly inscrutable patchwork of rules, and that can deliver a Barack Obama one day, a Donald Trump the next.… Seguir leyendo »
During a visit four years ago to the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian population that dominates the enclave seemed as solid and immovable as the rocky hills that surround the region. “We are our mountains,” proclaimed a massive stone statue on the road to the capital’s airport.
The Armenians made that confident claim before drone warfare arrived in the rugged terrain of Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s use of Turkish- and Israeli-made drones has altered the balance of this conflict, putting the tough, battle-hardened Armenians on the defensive. Nearly 800 Armenians have died since the war began Sept. 27, according to official reports; the Azerbaijani side hasn’t announced casualties, but they’re also believed to be heavy.… Seguir leyendo »
While the world is preoccupied with the Covid-19 pandemic, the regional conflict in the remote separatist enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh is threatening to escalate into a wider war on the doorsteps of Europe and Asia. Saturday's Russia-brokered ceasefire has already crumbled, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov acknowledging Monday that hostilities were continuing.
The violence, which broke out two weeks ago, has killed more than 300 people and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) president Peter Maurer told me that fighting is so intense even staff working close to the contact line had to take shelter frequently.
Nagorno-Karabakh is controlled by ethnic Armenians located in Azerbaijan and both Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics, have accused each other of violating the terms of the ceasefire.… Seguir leyendo »
A procession of cars filled with men waving the flag of Azerbaijan, honking and whistling drove through the Kumkapi area in Istanbul, which is home to the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul and many Armenian families. The car rally, on Sept. 28, was a provocation, a threat that filled my community, the tiny Armenian community — 60,000 out of 83 million — in Turkey with fear.
After a decades-long fitful truce, the conflict over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh — a breakaway Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan — between Azerbaijan and Armenia resumed last month, leading to a large military deployment, destruction of civilian centers and thousands of casualties.… Seguir leyendo »
Los combates entre Armenia y Azerbaiyán por la disputa sobre Nagorno Karabaj han despertado las alarmas sobre sus implicaciones para la seguridad energética europea.
La dimensión energética del conflicto de Nagorno Karabaj, un territorio controlado por Armenia, pero perteneciente a Azerbaiyán, se hizo evidente el pasado 6 de octubre, cuando el Gobierno azerí acusó al Ejército armenio de atacar el corredor energético que conforman el oleoducto Bakú-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) y el gasoducto SCP (acrónimo inglés del Southern Caucasus Pipeline). Según Azerbaiyán, sus sistemas de defensa aérea interceptaron y destruyeron un misil en las cercanías de ambas infraestructuras, que transportan el grueso del petróleo y el gas extraídos en aguas azeríes del mar Caspio.… Seguir leyendo »
Two weeks into a renewed war between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces over the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and its environs, fighting appears poised to escalate. On 10 October, a Russian-brokered humanitarian ceasefire intended to enable combatants to retrieve the bodies of the dead and exchange prisoners appeared to fall apart as its ink was drying. Both sides have since struck towns and villages, with enormous damage to lives and livelihoods. While it may take time for the parties to return to peace talks, they and international actors must act to stem the mounting human toll. Whatever an eventual settlement entails, it will be closer to hand and more sustainable if the parties stop killing civilians and adding fresh grievances to an already intractable conflict.… Seguir leyendo »
A tragedy is unfolding on the edge of Europe in and around the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus. A mostly forgotten war has restarted between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Outsiders are struggling to respond. As someone who has reported on and studied this conflict for more than 25 years on both sides, let me try to lead you through the labyrinth.
It is worth emphasising first of all the human cost. Hundreds of people have died since 27 September, when the fighting broke out, almost certainly because Azerbaijan decided to launch a surprise offensive. Each side is now using fearsome long-range weapons that it has acquired over the last decade.… Seguir leyendo »
Taking shelter in a hospital basement, 19-year-old George Alexanian can hear the suicide drones buzzing overhead in the city of Stepanakert.
A few days ago, he said, one of them headed toward the hospital but was struck down before it could explode. Yet being there, he told me, is better than staying home, where every strike felt like an earthquake. His sister is a doctor, working upstairs and sleeping in the hallway because the beds are all full.
“We get used to it,” he said. “But it’s hard to live not knowing if you’re safe.”
Workers hurry out of other basements for a few hours, then rush back down to shelter.… Seguir leyendo »