Three years ago, the latest war fought on the European soil erupted as fighting in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia, supported by Russia, escalated into open war between Tbilisi and Moscow. The theatre of this war was the Caucasus, the volatile and fragmented region situated at the juncture between Europe and Central Asia. Three years later, this region is again under the threat of an armed conflict: the thorny issue of Nagorno-Karabakh climbed up again at the top of the regional diplomatic and security agenda.
Let’s say clearly: this threat is very present in the region since the end of the Soviet Union, as the territorial dispute was never settled. However, over the past few months an intensive revival of diplomatic skirmishes as well as a recrudescence in rhetoric tones raised up tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The outcomes of the Kazan meeting, held under the Russian supervision, were very poor, above all if compared to the original expectations. A detailed account of the meeting can be found here. Over the past few months, both sides have harshened their diplomatic tones. Azerbaijan also increased its defence expenditure and the country has signed several arms deals to increase its military capabilities. The main goal is to warn Armenia – and the wider international community – about how serious Azeri intentions are to get what it wants. There efforts have been dismissed by Armenia.
The views on these developments are very different: there is who believes that war is unlikely to outbreak while others suspect that the two parts are ready to fight. This very interesting analysis published by Eurasia.Net presents the strategic picture of the overall situation. Personally, I fear that the possibilities of war right now are a bit higher than a few months ago.