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War Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Rages On

There has been ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, neighboring countries situated between Europe and Asia, since the 1990s. The most recent conflict, however, began in late September. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan want control of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a former Soviet region that is self-declared as its own autonomous republic but recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan. Most of the people in Nagorno-Karabakh identify ethnically as Armenians and have resisted being part of Azerbaijan.

Before the most recent fighting broke out, the Nagorno-Karabakh War waged from 1988 to 1994 and ended with a cease-fire that was intended to be temporary. That cease-fire has finally been broken, although it is unclear by who, as both Armenia and Azerbaijan blame the other for having started the war in 2020. Currently, Azerbaijan is receiving support and supposed military aid from Turkey, while Armenia is allied with Russia. The two larger and more powerful countries of Turkey and Russia seem to be using the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan to battle for power over each other, which they are also currently doing in proxy wars in Syria and Libya.

According to the New York Times, “more than 600 Armenian soldiers, scores of civilians, and an unknown number of Azerbaijanis” have been killed in the recent conflict as of October 17th. Two different cease-fire agreements have been tentatively created between Armenia and Azerbaijan on October 10th and October 17th with the help of international mediators Russia, France, and the United States, but neither agreement has appeared to have a real effect on the fighting. Both sides accused the other of breaking the cease-fire almost immediately. In the meantime, civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh suffer from repeated attacks by drones and long-range rocket artillery. Unfortunately, there is no clear end in sight for this conflict.

Key Terms:

  1. ethnic

  2. Nagorno-Karabakh

  3. autonomous

  4. cease-fire

  5. proxy wars

  6. international mediators

Key Questions:

  1. Why are Armenians and Azerbaijanis fighting over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh?

  2. How are Turkey and Russia involved in the conflict?

  3. How could Armenia and Azerbaijan achieve lasting peace?

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