What is Going On? – Armenia and Azerbaijan

By Avery Dobozi

Since September 27th, there has been violent unrest in Azerbaijan and Armenia, two small eastern European countries. So far, over 300 people have died, and over 75,000 people have had to flee their homes. The conflict has stemmed from disagreements dating back to the early 90s. The fighting is over the territory Nagorno-Karabakh, land in between the two countries that Azerbaijan claims but is under Armenian rule. Although the territory declared independence in the 90s, Azerbaijan has still not officially recognized its independence, while Armenia does formally recognize it. Although the conflict has been “frozen” for decades, this past week’s fighting has already been declared the worst it has ever been. Even Russian officials have offered to help mediate peace talks between the countries, but both have declined. The conflict is even reaching other European countries like France, with a heavy Armenian population, and Turkey, with a heavy Azerbaijanian population. While there has been fighting in the countries for years now, this might be the final push towards war because of the new engagements of foreign powers. Many believe that Turkey might use an alliance with Armenia to strike up violence with Russia over airstrikes launched earlier this year. This could even affect the United States, as the oil market is at risk. There were many warning signs regarding this increased conflict, including Armenian airstrikes that killed an Azerbaijanian army and general on the border over the summer. Many also believe that the perfect time to have resolved the conflict would’ve been when there was a COVID-19 travel ban in Nagorno-Karabakh, while others feared the travel ban in the territory would be a perfect opportunity to start a civil war. Last time the fighting was this serious, American officials invited the Armenian and Azerbaijan leaders to a peace talk in Florida. This peace talk was cancelled following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but the conflict began to decrease. For now, everyone is hoping for a quick return to normalcy in the countries, before foreign armies must be brought in.

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