Category Archives: Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Turkey’s rise and Iran’s decline in the South Caucasus

Azeri Artillery shelling Armenian positions (Photo: BBC)

Azeri Artillery shelling Armenian positions (Photo: BBC)

Following the deadliest large-scale violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region for nearly three decades, the active phase of the conflict ended in November with a signed ceasefire agreement. But while the conflict asserted Turkey’s influence in the South Caucasus region, it also contributed to increased tensions between Ankara, Moscow, and Tehran.

The Turkish-Russian confrontation in the South Caucasus can be seen as a logical continuation of the rivalry in Syria and Libya, which resulted in shifting the regional balance of power along the southern borders of Russia. The active political involvement of Ankara in the conflict caused deep outrage not only in Moscow but also in Tehran, another important regional actor.

When fighting began, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would continue to support Azerbaijan “with all its resources and heart.” During the war, Ankara provided Baku with active political and military support by exporting at least six armed Bayraktar TB2 type attack drones and supplying smart munitions (MAM-L), including precision-guided missiles. Continue reading

Turkey is the new major power in the South Caucasus

Turkish soldier greets an Azerbaijani colleague during recent military exercises between the two countries (photo TRT Istanbul)

Turkish soldier greets an Azerbaijani colleague during recent military exercises between the two countries (photo TRT Istanbul)

The bloody six-week conflict erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia on September 27 in the Nagorno-Karabakh region resulted in significant territorial gains for Azerbaijani forces. It was no secret that since the early 2000s Azerbaijan had been steadily building up its armed forces. The defeat of the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, an unrecognized Armenian populated territory within Azerbaijan’s borders, revealed serious military-technical problems on the Armenian side, which triggered mass anti-government riots in Armenia itself.   The recent Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement between Baku and Yerevan halted the ongoing bloodshed and enabled the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone. It also marked a significant shift in regional geopolitics. Continue reading

Fuad Shahbazov: Russia will not resist if Azerbaijan keeps territorial gains

– A real war between Armenians and Azerbaijanis has been going on in Nagorno-Karabakh in the last 3 weeks. Russia doesn’t yet express clear support for its ally Armenia? What caused this? May we expect Russia to be an impartial mediator between the two warring parties?

The fact that Russian has not interfered in the conflict yet indicates that the current situation suits Moscow fine. Russia has always been a key actor in the conflict but largely failed to offer a real solution plan for nearly 30 years. Though, Russia sees Armenia as an important ally while dubs Azerbaijan as a strategic partner. Moscow will not resist if Azerbaijan keeps territorial gains, but it is utterly dissatisfied with Turkey’s growing role in the region. Reportedly, Azerbaijani Armed Forces had managed to liberate several substantial settlements, which cause an outcry in Yerevan itself. Therefore, the separatist forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and official Yerevan deliberately seek for more significant Russian mediation than ever. However, the Kremlin apprehends that Azerbaijan will not be satisfied with peace within the aforementioned conditions. So, it is expected that Russia’s pressure will likely grow on both sides to halt the escalation to strengthen its ”peacemaker image.”

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L’Azerbaïdjan bouscule les défenses arméniennes

A serviceman of the Azerbaijani army holds the national Azerbaijani flag during its reconstruction at the dominant height near the village of Talysh, Azerbaijan.

La situation se dégrade pour les troupes arméniennes, qui ont été contraintes de céder du terrain dans le Haut-Karabakh après avoir subi d’importantes pertes. Après deux premières semaines de conflit sans gains territoriaux notables, les forces azerbaïdjanaises ont réalisé depuis la mi-octobre des avancées nettes sur le front sud de cette région séparatiste de l’Azerbaïdjan peuplée en majorité d’Arméniens.

Bakou a repris le contrôle d’une zone frontière de l’Iran, tenue jusqu’alors par l’Arménie. L’armée azerbaïdjanaise est également parvenue à progresser en direction du corridor de Latchin, voie d’accès principale entre le Haut-Karabakh et son allié arménien dans cette région montagneuse. « L’une des priorités de l’armée azerbaïdjanaise est de prendre le contrôle de cette route afin d’interrompre l’arrivée de soutien militaire arménien », explique Fuad Shahbazov, un analyste azerbaïdjanais, qui n’hésite pas à prédire une « défaite inévitable » des troupes du Haut-Karabakh si cette route devait tomber. Continue reading

Les drones, étendard de la puissance azerbaïdjanaise au Haut-Karabakh

This image is taken from a video released by the Armenian Defense Ministry on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, allegedly shows the shooting down of an Azerbaijani unmanned aerial vehicle

Depuis bientôt trois semaines, le vrombissement menaçant des drones militaires accompagne le quotidien des habitants du Haut-Karabakh. « On a appris à les reconnaître à l’oreille », confie par téléphone Anush Ghavalyan, une analyste politique résidant à Stepanakert, la capitale de ce territoire peuplé d’Arménien, que revendique l’Azerbaïdjan. « Les Azerbaïdjanais s’en étaient déjà servi en 2016, mais là c’est du jamais vu. »

L’Azerbaïdjan fait un emploi immodéré des drones dans le conflit qui l’oppose depuis le 27 septembre aux forces séparatistes du Haut-Karabakh soutenues par l’Arménie. Servant à espionner les positions ennemies, guider les frappes d’artillerie, ou détruire des cibles au sol, ces aéronefs sans pilote ont permis à une armée azerbaïdjanaise mieux équipée de conforter sa supériorité. Le président du Haut-Karabakh, Araïk Haroutiounian a reconnu mercredi 14 octobre que les troupes séparatistes avaient été contraintes à reculer en plusieurs endroits de la ligne de front. Continue reading

Nagorno-Karabakh: New weapons for an old conflict spell danger

The new war over Nagorno-Karabakh is a conventional one, being fought by professional armed forces.

But this time, hi-tech 21st-century weaponry has the capacity to make this decades-old conflict more destructive than ever before. If official battlefield statistics are to be believed, the death toll is staggering. Azerbaijan has yet to confirm the number of its war dead. But Armenia claimed to have killed or wounded 5,000 Azeri personnel at the time of writing. Armenia has regularly updated its military body count, which so far stands at almost 500. Azerbaijan has estimated the real number is many times higher. Claims about territorial gains and losses inflicted on each side have proven difficult to verify. Not only have media teams limited access to the front-line fighting, but an aerial bombardment of civilian areas has also made their work extremely hazardous. Continue reading

Pourquoi l’Arménie et l’Azerbaïdjan s’affrontent dans le Haut-Karabakh

Armenian Artillery Units (Reuters)

Armenian Artillery Units (Reuters)

DÉCRYPTAGE – Des combats transfrontaliers ont fait des dizaines de morts depuis le 27 septembre entre les deux pays, qui se disputent la région autonome du Haut-Karabakh. Un conflit ancestral, où Russie et Turquie ont des intérêts concurrents.

Faut-il croire les bilans annoncés ? En seulement 24 heures, pas moins de «550 soldats ennemis» auraient péri sous le feu de l’armée azerbaïdjanaise depuis le début des affrontements dimanche 27 septembre dans le Haut-Karabakh, une région indépendantiste de l’Azerbaïdjan, peuplée à majorité d’Arméniens, et soutenue par l’Arménie. Une armée azerbaïdjanaise qui aurait à son tour subi de lourdes pertes par les forces arméniennes, qui prétendent avoir éliminé, dans le même laps de temps, plus de 200 soldats de Bakou. Continue reading

Karabakh: Diplomatic Attention Needed to Address Growing Risks

A recent flare-up of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh highlights a growing risk of renewed, full-fledged warfare between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

On February 25, clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces marked the most intense fighting since early April of 2016, when several hundred soldiers on both sides were killed. According to Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, the February clashes were caused by Armenian troops, allied with the region’s separatist forces, who attempted an incursion in the Khojavand-Fizuli sector of the Karabakh frontline, known as the line of contact. Five Azerbaijani soldiers were killed, including a major and a senior lieutenant, and ongoing skirmishes made it difficult to collect their bodies from the neutral zone; it took two days for the Azerbaijani side to retrieve them. Continue reading