International Relations

Conflict Between Armenia and Azerbaijan

As tensions between the two countries remain high, three Armenian soldiers have been killed in Azerbaijani shelling.

What exactly is the point of contention?

  • Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azerbaijani breakaway area ruled by ethnic Armenians, imposed martial law and mobilised their male populations.
  • Armenia said that Azerbaijan launched an air and artillery strike on Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region is the epicentre.

  • Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • After thousands of people were slain and many more were displaced, a ceasefire was reached in 1994.
  • Azerbaijan and Armenia routinely accuse each other of carrying out assaults in the vicinity of Nagorno-Karabakh and along the separate Azeri-Armenian border.

The economics of the confrontations

  • The riots sparked a rush of diplomacy to avert a resurgence of a decades-old war between largely Christian Armenia and predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan.
  • Pipelines transporting Caspian oil and natural gas from Azerbaijan to the rest of the world pass near Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • The battles have stoked fears of instability in the South Caucasus, a route for pipelines carrying oil and gas to global markets.
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