The Crisis In The Middle East

Armenia, Azerbaijan agree on peace deal


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nagorno-Karabakh region

Mains level : Usual crisis in the middle east and caucasus region

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on a deal with Russia to end fierce clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh after a string of Azerbaijani victories in its fight to retake the disputed region.

Ending up the bloodshed

  • During the course of the conflict, over 1200 have lost their lives as per the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities, while thousands have been displaced.
  • Since the conflict started in September, multiple ceasefire agreements have been signed between the two sides, but none so far have been successful.
  • The deal is meant to end the conflict between the two nations.
  • Russia’s role in the conflict has been somewhat opaque since it supplies arms to both countries and is in a military alliance with Armenia called the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

What is the Nagorno-Karabakh region?

  • Straddling western Asia and Eastern Europe, Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but most of the region is controlled by Armenian separatists.
  • It has been part of Azerbaijan territory since the Soviet era.
  • When the Soviet Union began to collapse in the late 1980s, Armenia’s regional parliament voted for the region’s transfer to Armenia; the Soviet authorities turned down the demand.
  • Years of clashes followed between Azerbaijan forces and Armenian separatists.
  • The violence lasted into the 1990s, leaving tens and thousands dead and displacing hundreds of thousands.
  • In 1994, Russia brokered a ceasefire, by which time ethnic Armenians had taken control of the region.

Consider this PYQ:

Q.The area is known as ‘Golan Heights’ sometimes appears in the news in the context of the events related to: (CSP 2015)

a) Central Asia
b) Middle East
c) South-East Asia
d) Central Africa

Who controls it?

  • While the area remains in Azerbaijan, it is today governed by separatist Armenians who have declared it a republic called the “Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast”.
  • While the Armenian government does not recognise Nagorno-Karabakh as independent, it supports the region politically and militarily.

Ethnicity and the conflict

  • Ethnic tensions from decades ago have a crucial role in the dispute.
  • While the Azeris claim that the disputed region was under their control in known history, Armenians maintain that Karabakh was a part of the Armenian kingdom.
  • At present, the disputed region consists of a majority Armenian Christian population, even though it is internationally recognised as a part of Muslim-majority Azerbaijan.
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