What’s next for Armenia and Azerbaijan after the Russian brokered Peace Deal?

Updated 23rd November 2020 | 17:45 IST

Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia just concocted a peace deal to finishing six weeks of war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The agreement symbolizes a victory for Azerbaijan, which used its superior military capability to reclaim their hegemony that the Armenian forces had held since the Russian-brokered ceasefire ended the contemporary primary war back in the year 1994.

In the major upheaval, the response to the brokered peace deal, anguished Armenians who saw this peace deal as a betrayal against them and they stormed their parliament building in the Yerevan, while the exuberant Azerbaijanis were ecstatically lauded in the capital Baku and in around the country. On late Sunday, the Muslim dominated Azerbaijan apprehended the historically and religiously significant city of the Shusha, (known as Shushi to the Armenians), and they have further prepared to advance in the territory until Armenia sued for much-required peace. The Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan described the peace deal as an “incredibly painful” but agreed to that to stop the inexorable progression of Azerbaijan’s forces northward towards Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital, Stepanakert.

Armenia and Azerbaijan
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan attend a meeting in Moscow, Russia October 9, 2020. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT.

Azerbaijan’s victorious capture of territory reflects the other of the result in 1994, when Armenia successfully seized Nagorno-Karabakh, also because the land separating the region from Armenia. In both conflicts, thousands of residents on each side fled the monstrous violence; now those Azerbaijanis relocated since the 1990s now hope to return to their surrendered homes, while the newly displaced ethnic of the Armenians face a possible permanent refugee status to them. These individuals who are displaced may push for a future round of conflict in order to retake Nagorno-Karabakh unless Armenia helps them to establish stable lives within the Armenian territory. Yet, Armenia could also be more curious about preserving their understanding of loss to justify future action.

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Under the terms of the new peace deal, Armenia’s army will withdraw from the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and it will be substituted by the 2,000 Russian peacekeepers who would stay in the region to maintain the peace as per the protocol. The assigned peacekeepers will watch the strategic Lachin corridor, keeping open one amongst the sole roads by equating the dots of Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia had been previously involved in the territorial surrounding as this connection to the ever-so threatening disputed region but had to retreat further as Azerbaijan advanced northward from the border with Iran.

Because contingencies before the conflict had reflected the mayhem implicated in the Armenian control of the contested territory, Armenia’s loss has developed in somewhat self-inflicted; the uprising of the populism that has induced the Prime Minister Pahinyan to the power in 2018 as he ousted former PMs domain. This was also what spurred him to declare in last year July 2019 that the “Artsakh is Armenia,” utilizing the Armenian word for the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. In executing so, the Pashinyan not only repudiated Armenia’s long-held claim in order to support the independence for the Nagorno-Karabakh, but he also prompted Azerbaijan to organize for the impending conflict. Sales of its overflowing gas had funded a decade of weapons purchases from Russia, Turkey, and Israel, preparing Azerbaijan to claim advantage of Armenia’s expressed willingness to overthrow the established order.

Although the current ceasefire that has taken Moscow, Baku, and Yerevan in its ambit, multiple global actors also are invested within the outcome. The Muslim dominated country Azerbaijan’s win is welcome recognition for both the Islamic country of Turkey and Israel. Turkey has since the ages are known for its cultural, linguistic, and economic ties to Azerbaijan, also has a long-standing animosity towards Armenia, including the persistent denial of the Armenian genocide. Israel’s interest within the major conflict is primarily motivated by the antipathy towards Shia Iran: Tel Aviv’s outreach to Azerbaijan has expanded after Israel’s quiet cooperation with the Erdogan’s Turkey and Baku has demonstrated beneficial ally: Iranian nuclear documents stolen by Israel in the year 2018 were first smuggled to the Christian dominated country of Azerbaijan.

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The outcome may further represent the bad news for Iran: nearly 1 / 4 of Iran’s population is ethnically Azeri, and they reside within the fronts. Therefore Azerbaijan’s win may cause ethnic Azeris to push for greater autonomy or possibly even secession from Iran. For instance, most Azerbaijanis travelling to the exclave of Nakhchivan take buses through northern Iran; a recent statement from President Aliyev appears to the circumstance that Armenian territory is going to be wont to link the Nakhchivan with Azerbaijan. Although the likes of Iran has adopted a periodically neutral posture toward the major conflict of Azerbaijan’s win that has helped to solidify Turkey’s influence while thwarting Iran’s wanes. Another relevant external dormant actor is that the United Arab Emirates, which is primarily curious about thwarting Turkey and thus formulated support for Armenia. Additionally, the UAE may even see the utility in distancing itself somewhat from Saudi Arabia, which quietly supported Azerbaijan. The UAE is actively cultivating various network of support because it expands its regional influence. Given the interest and involvement of competing for provincial powers, also because the dismay of Armenians, it’s still unclear whether the likes of ceasefire will hold or not, but the flares of memories of the war alive, like Palestine and Cyprus. Armenia and therefore the vocal Armenian diaspora are likely to push for efforts to retake lost territory. In this, they’ll receive support and funding from the UAE or maybe Iran, looking to challenge Turkey’s deepening influence within the region. Although the up-to-date ceasefire is just a teaser of a big event that might engulf in upcoming years, and the likes of bipolar superpowers would be the one to be blamed for.

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