Last Sunday an offensive was carried out in the Upper Karabakh area between the countries that today are on the brink of war.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have set off alarms in the world. Last Sunday the alarms sounded of the start of a long-standing war in this area. Although the arguments for the development of this new warlike conflict have not been clear, both countries have already mobilized their soldiers and have already had their first deaths.
How did this problem arise? Also known as the Upper Karabakh war, it began as an armed conflict in February 1988 and May 1994. This took place at an Armenian strategic point called Nagorno Karabakh where the majo rito are Armenian and Orthodox Christians.
The return of this conflict that already has balances against it has intensified since last September 27. This has prompted the international community to ask both nations to reconsider ending the violence, while others like Turkey have already committed to the cause of Azerbaijan.
Some points to understand this international conflict that was cause for concern while the whole world is dealing with a pandemic, we will present them below:
- War of 1918. With a duration of 2 years, after the dissolution of the Transcaucasus Federation, the conflict began over a question of territories and ethnicities that was taken up again about 6 years later in the dissolution of the USSR. The dilemma in question referred to the territorial boundary between the two nations, which motivated the Armenians of Karabakh to request their independence, but they could not contact Armenia. This motivated him to achieve his mission. With the Ottoman defeat during the Great War, British detachments were located in the area in 1919, meanwhile at the Paris Conference of the same year its future was decided.
- Restart of conflict. The Nagorno Karabakh region is located in the southeastern Caucasus, a former Soviet province whose minority population is Azerbaijani and a large majority Armenians. This area is clearly surrounded by the Republic of Azerbaijan. After a plebiscite as a ratifying measure by the small town’s parliament, they voted in favor of its independence. Different demands in favor of the unification of Nagorno Karabakh with Érevan were carried out through peaceful demonstrations in the 1980s.
- Black January. After the declaration of independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on January 22, 1990, under the administration of Baku, a kind of mass murder and persecution of Armenian citizens was carried out. This event, also known as Black January, led to the registration of 133 to 137 deaths and more than 800 injured. This period of Azerbaijan’s history is known as the rebirth of its Republic and was considered an event part of the Glásnost and Perestroika in which the Soviet Union used its forces against dissidents.
- Increase in violence. After the division of the Soviet Union, the demonstrations began to intensify. The problem started from territoriality to transform into ethnic cleansing that turned, over time, the conflict into an undeclared war. In addition to secessionist movements like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Upper Karabakh was a turning point in the disintegration of the USSR.
- First big offensives. After years of arms race during the Cold War and the exacerbated increase of soldiers in both armies, the first Armenian offensives were carried out. On January 2, 1992, Mutalibov assumed the presidency of Azerbaijan and as a first step decided to remove all kinds of supplies to Upper Karabakh. This involved food, fuel and other restrictions. On the other hand, Levon Ter-Petrosian, Armenian president, confirmed the support and payment of salaries to the separatists. This period known as the Xocali massacre had Turkey’s backing for Azerbaijan. During it, Armenia took advantage of the weakness of the Azeri army and the small stretch to Upper Karabakh was taken by Armenian forces. The death of hundreds of civilians who tried to flee the city was considered one of the heaviest massacres in the Baltic area. Subsequently, Armenia occupied the Shusha region, while Azerbaijan rejected Mutalibov’s force to deal with the situation. Armenia continued to advance in their task of reaching Karabakh and providing aid to them, for which they took Lachin.
- Counteroffensive. The people of Azerbaijan demanded the resignation of Mutalibov, since after the taking of Lachin, he demonstrated inability to take charge of the situation. By June 12, 1992, the counteroffensive called Operation Goranboy was carried out. This managed to force the Armenian troops to retreat south towards Stepanakert. However, Russia, in its agreed support with Armenia, bombarded the Azeri crossing so that Armenian troops had a few days’ advantage to regain their casualties. In the summer of the same year, some attempts were made to mediate peace in this area. The CSCE created the Minsk Group in Helsinki co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States. However, it was not possible to reach a good port because the post-USSR problems could not be solved, among them: the war in Yugoslavia, the Transnistrian war in Moldavia and the Chechen independence in Russia, with the disputes in Georgia that meant great importance for the Euro-Asian country. Ultimately, this led to a resumption of arms and at the end of June, Azerbaijan launched two new offensives at Mardakert and Martuni.
- Post 2000. A string of clashes until the end of the 90s did not achieve major advances in the area. In 2008, tensions flared up again and despite the ceasefire, this began with Azeri statements and actions that called for provocation. By 2016, Armenia and Azerbaijan returned to armed conflicts that led to a ceasefire shortly thereafter.