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.