07/16/2020, 09.52
ARMENIA-AZERBAIJIAN
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Conflict reignites between Armenians and Azeris. Perhaps also between Russia and Turkey?

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Dead at the borders for no apparent reason, but the tension in the two countries is very high. In Baku demonstrations and invasion of parliament. Azerbaijani defense minister Ragim Gaziev, arrested for "treason". Armenia tries to involve Russia; Azerbaijian Turkey in an attempt to give a "confessional" color to the war. Russia and Hagia Sophia.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The eternal conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijian has reignited. After attempts to establish peace during the pandemic months, on July 12th, the two sides accused each other of having opened fire in the province of Tovuz, on the border between the two countries.

Since then the tension has been building in the region exploding with the first deaths. On the morning of July 14, the Azerbaijian Ministry of Defense reported the death of a major general and a colonel following an Armenian shooting; agencies report five more victims, including two officers. Armenian armed forces have also admitted the loss of two border soldiers, Major Garush Ambartsumyan and Captain Sosa Elbakyan.

The cause of the new escalation of the conflict is unclear, beyond the historical enmity between Azeris and Armenians: there are no particular provocative events to have detonated an armed confrontation. The border clash does not appear to be connected to the long-standing struggle for the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Apparently, the clashes were generated by the violation of some border line.

But some observers point out military or geo-political causes and believe they see a reflection of the conflict between Russia and Turkey in these clashes.

These hypotheses are generated by the tendency of Armenia to involve Russia in the opposition to Azerbaijian; the latter in turn tries in various ways to involve Turkey in a "religious" war between Christians and Muslims.

In reality, Russia has not even reacted to Erdogan's provocative decision to transform the basilica of Aghia Sofia into a mosque again, declaring itself satisfied with the freedom of access granted to Christians. The Russians also intend to claim ownership of some Orthodox churches in Turkey, which in various ways date back to the initiative of the Russian Orthodox.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijian, in any case, is not easily resolved despite the apparent superiority of the Azerbaijani forces, whose population is several times that of the Armenian state. Azeris are particularly frustrated by the number of victims: Defense Minister Ragim Gaziev had declared 12, but in fact the victims are slightly less. Yet he was arrested on charges of betraying the interests of the country.

Russia is not indifferent to the conflict in such a strategic ex-Soviet region, on the borders between Europe and Asia; Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, has already stated that Russia is ready to organize a mediation between the two contenders. The fear is that the clashes could lead to an escalation according to the "eye for an eye" law.

There were mass demonstrations in defense of the armed forces in the center of Baku, the Azeri capital, on 14 July (see photo). At the cry of "Karabakh is ours!", And "Soldiers, come on!", The crowd tried to invade the parliament building, and the police carried out dozens of arrests. Similar actions have taken place in several cities in Azerbaijian.

According to statements by the Azerbaijian ambassador to Moscow, Aleksandr Aleshkin, the Armenians intend to pose obstacles to his country's foreign policy, which seeks to overcome international isolation, trying to involve the Organization of the collective security treaty between the ex-Soviets countries (ODKB), of which Azerbaijian - unlike Armenia - is not part.

In turn, the Armenians, according to the words of former defense minister Seyran Oganyan, accuse the Azeris of wanting to force peace talks to gain international benefits. Confusion reigns not only at the borders, but also on the information front.

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