Lachin Corridor Blocked: Azerbaijan Blames Russian Peacekeepers

The latest incident in the ever-tense relations between neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan occurred on Monday, December12, when groups of Azerbaijanis blocked the Lachin Road that links the recently liberated Nagorno-Karabakh region with Armenia to protest against what they term environmental degradation in the region. A day earlier, Azerbaijan had issued a diplomatic note to Russia, whose peacekeeping forces have been patrolling the corridor since late 2020, expressing concern over the rampant exploitation of its natural resources right under the nose of Russian forces.

Even though Nagorno-Karabakh has been effectively under Azerbaijani control since 2020, the region still hosts a sizable Armenian population with connections in the neighboring country. The delicate balance has been maintained by Russian peacekeeping forces that have been stationed across this 5-km wide road since a peace deal was hammered out after months of conflict 2020.

Angered at the blockade, Armenia has blamed Azerbaijani military forces of staging the blockade, disrupting civilian traffic between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia for hours, especially during the winter season. The Azerbaijani government has rejected the accusation and has clarified that the blockade is being carried out by civilians, many of whom are Azerbaijani environmentalists, over concerns that illegal gold and copper mining is being carried out in Nagorno-Karabakh and the resources are being smuggled to Armenia through the Lachin Corridor. Additionally, Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of supplying arms to Armenian groups in Nagorno-Karabakh through this corridor.

A particular target of Azerbaijani accusations is Ruben Vardanyan, a former Russian oligarch of Armenian ethnicity who adopted Armenian citizenship in 2021, gave up Russian citizenship the following year, and was appointed state minister of Artsakh—a self-proclaimed sovereign state in the Nagorno-Karabakh region that is recognized by neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani authorities blame Vardanyan of enabling the illegal smuggling of valuable mineral resources between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.  Azerbaijani officials have stated their resolve not to allow Vardanyan to succeed in his schemes to promote smuggling and environmental damage in the region.

While both sides have a history of trading accusations and holding each other responsible for disrupting peace in the region, Azerbaijan has raised the stakes by dragging Russia into the picture. Under the peacekeeping deal signed with Russian mediation in 2020, Russian forces are responsible for maintaining peace along the corridor. However, Azerbaijan has accused Russian forces of being complicit with the Armenians and turning a blind eye to their activities in the region.

Russia’s foreign ministry has rejected the Azerbaijani accusations terming them unfortunate and counterproductive, while clearly asking for the blockade to be removed at the earliest. Russia is the chief guarantor of peace between the two nations, but it seems that this recent accusation by Azerbaijan will test Russian resolve to maintain neutrality between the two nations. While Armenia and Russia are strong allies in several regional alliances, Azerbaijan has enjoyed close relations with Russia’s Black Sea rival Turkey. Hence, this move would further strain relations between Azerbaijan and Russia at a time when Azerbaijan needs as much diplomatic support as it can get.

On the part of Russia, the challenge is nothing that it has not seen before. Owing to Soviet legacy, the country has peacekeeping forces stationed in several neighboring countries, including Moldova, Georgia, and more recently Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is confident about its ability to navigate easily through the current crisis and is likely to be unsympathetic to Azerbaijan’s concerns. In fact, the recent accusations appear to be a sign of frustration over Azerbaijan’s inability to exercise absolute sovereignty over the region that it had liberated after more than two decades of Armenian opposition. Anxiety is also rising about the intentions of the Russian forces given the close relation between Russia and Armenia.

Kyrgyz-Tajik Conflict a Call for More Dynamic Russian Diplomacy in the Region?

As the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) concluded its 22nd summit in Samarkand, fresh clashes broke out between two of its oldest and most important members—Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. According to the Russian news agency RIA, the clashes began early on Wednesday, 14th September, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon were flying to attend the SCO summit in bordering Uzbekistan, under the watchful eyes of Russian and Chinese Presidents.

Reportedly, Tajik troops entered the southern Kyrgyz province of Batken with tanks, mortar and APCs, and opened fire on Dostuk village and even attacked the airport of Batken town. Based on reports from the Kyrgyz side, nearly 24 people have died in the clashes with 121 wounded. The exact number of military fatalities and injuries have not been reported. Additionally, Kyrgyz forces have evacuated more than 136,000 people from at least two villages in the bordering areas to avoid further loss of life.

From the Tajik side, the border guard service has claimed that Kyrgyz forces have attacked a military outpost along the border and seven villages in the region. Intense firing continued alongside allegations between the two nations throughout Friday.

A Legacy of Border and Territorial Disputes

This is an unfortunate but recurring behavioral pattern between the two former Soviet states. Since independence from the USSR in 1991, the two nations have been embroiled in one border dispute after another. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Kyrgyzstan hosts two Tajik enclaves of Kayragach and Vorukh, thanks to the inefficient Soviet strategy of drawing the borders of its Central Asian republics. Even Uzbekistan has enclaves within Kyrgyzstan, but relations between them are less tense. Since 2009, more than 150 incidents have erupted along the 970-km Kyrgyz-Tajik border, the deadliest year being 2014 in which 30 such clashes occurred.

As recently as April 2021, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan had clashed over a water dispute in the fertile Ferghana Valley which cuts across both the countries and its Soviet-era canals are a critical source of water for both. The same pattern occurred—clashes, accusations, and evacuations. An estimated 50 people on both sides of the border perished over 2 days of conflict, and more than 200 were reportedly injured.

Russian Interests in Maintaining a Messy Peace

These clashes, however, have never lasted for more than a few days, with Russia being quick to intervene and bring down temperatures on both sides. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has been the chief guarantor of peace in the region. Tajikistan is host to the largest Russian military base in the capital Dushanbe, hosting an estimated 7000-strong presence. Since 2003, Russia has been operating an air base in Kant, Kyrgyzstan, which the Kyrgyz government finally leased to Russia in 2012.

Chinese influence has also increased in the region since the early 2010s, first with plans to develop the extractive industries to fuel its own economy, and then by the Belt and Road Initiative announced in 2013, in which both Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan along with Russia are partners. In 2021, China also announced plans to set up military bases in Tajikistan, mainly to watch over interests in restive Afghanistan.

Interestingly, while all of these countries are members of the SCO, which had its grand 2-day summit while the clashes were taking place, President Putin used the CSTO platform to call for peace and negotiations between the two countries. The CSTO is a relatively smaller regional grouping comprising of Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Armenia, and was perhaps Putin’s way of not disturbing the proceedings of the SCO summit.

A Familiar Pattern?

Russia is probably not bothered about the escalation of this conflict as he is quite familiar with the script. Both nations are led by autocratic, nationalist leaders, who depend on such aggressive posturing to maintain their political support base. Even though cooperation is possible through join resource-sharing and border-patrolling mechanisms, even the exchange of territories, neither nation is ready or interested in doing so. However, Putin has too much on his plate right now and he would not appreciate another fly in the room. While the Ukrainian advance in Kharkiv would require the Russian military to recalibrate moves in the 7-month-old war, Armenia and Azerbaijan became embroiled in another conflict earlier this week, where Russia had to step in to mediate.

On Saturday the 17th, the CSTO Secretariat announced that Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan had agreed to a ceasefire and to hold talks between their respective border forces. While things may have quietened momentarily, it appears that Russia will need to maintain a more visible diplomatic presence in this region.

The Caucasus Center call for Submissions


The Caucasus Center for Strategic and International Studies (CCSIS) is a leading think-tank that focuses on the Caucasus, CIS, Central Asia, and Eurasia region. We have a global audience and outreach.

The Caucasus Center accepts submissions from scholars, academics, analysts, and other veterans who are interested to contribute on any issue. Our focus is on Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East, Eurasia, and worldwide issues.

The world is passing through a very sensitive era full of controversies, fake news, and biased agendas. At this time an objective approach can something that can contribute a little ray of light for seeking the truth.

You can write on any issue, subject, or matter that is worth to be addressed in a scholarly approach, analytical way, or critical approach.

Send you pitches ideas info (AT)



Why the US Wants an Unstable and Volatile Afghanistan?


The hasty withdrawal failed to push Afghanistan into the next US-planned proxy battlefield for the accomplishment of the US regional interests. But still, the US gesturing and alarming the emergence of serious security threats like the so-called ISIS-K.

The US wants an unstable and weak Afghanistan where America can easily play its proxy games and future role. To create proxies and then to trigger massive unrest is a vital part of US foreign policy. The world had seen the role of these proxies in the Middle East and the Arab Spring. This creation of proxies had changed the whole world order and almost the entire map of the Middle East. How the US self-created dictatorships fall one after another. The world has been witnessed all these horrendous memories of Arab uprisings.

To get a hold on the nerves and minds of a war-torn country is easy and the US had vast experience in exploiting such kinds of countries’ resources and internal affairs.

The United States of America (USA) is responsible for all kinds of the current situation of Afghanistan and the miseries of Afghan people. The people of Afghanistan need justice and it could only be possible when the US should be accountable to pay the damages of this havoc.

In the recent Afghanistan talk hosted by Russia, the US absence is an attempt to flee from the scene. The US intended to get face-saving on this massive destruction and war crimes that they committed in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is facing the worst humanitarian crisis of its history. The root cause of this humanitarian crisis is the US proxies war doctrine. In the name of strengthening so-called democracy and coming to help the depressed communities, the US left a more dilapidated Afghanistan with more depressions and woes than before.

It’s time that the multipolar world should build pressure on the United States (US) and its allies that the destruction they were responsible for two decades, its time now to pay these damages and massacres at least to compensate for a little remedy to these people.



EU Blackmailing: Polish Prime Minister’s whistleblowing accusations Echoes


Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, accusations to the EU is actually the long way of frustration and anxiety that the smaller EU States have been victimized by the EU’s powerful countries over the decades.

These accusations have been echoed not only in the EU parliament but in every nook and corner around the world. The cracks in the European Union are getting wider and wider after every passing day.

The differences are much higher and the voices for more…Exits could be heard now. The EU monopoly and control of some big countries have been squeezed the small countries in the European Union.

After Brexit, the bonding forces that keep the structure of EU united and strong seem to collapse one after another.

Polish Prime Minister whistleblowing accusations are the new beginning of this sequence in the EU and more and more countries are expected to courage to speak for this injustice and inequality in the so-called European Union.

During a hot debate in the European parliament in Strasbourg, Mr. Mateusz Morawiecki, Polish Prime Minister claimed that the European court of justice (ECJ) was responsible for a “creeping revolution” undermining Poland’s sovereignty.

Europe Energy Crisis, a failure of European Leaders


As Europe is sinking into the worst Energy Crisis of recent years the western media is playing the Russian rhetoric despite highlighting the European leader’s incompetencies and the wrong policies due to Europeans are facing these days.

There have been already predicted that the Europeans have to pay a huge price to keep them warm this winter. But the media is trying to divert the attention of the European citizens towards Vladimir Putin and Russia.

Europe doesn’t waste any chance to scapegoat Russia for its failures. By admitting their own failure and incompetent energy policy it’s easy to blame Russia.

The western media is trying to move the issue towards Moscow that Russia can play the energy as a political weapon. The right to make political weapons on such commodities has only to Europe, the US, UK, and its allies? Because such kinds of slogans have been always raised from the west like power riots and regime change due to cater to the energy demands of the west.

Russian President Vladimir Putin categorically rejected all these accusations during his address at the Russian Energy Week International Forum in Moscow. He said that it’s nonsense that Russia is using energy as a political weapon. However, Putin said that Russian can provide more gas to Europe. He said that Russian even provided gas to Europe in the Cold War times.

Europe is at the crossroad as for as Energy needs are concerned. European leaders have no concrete plans but during the energy forum, Russian President Putin stressed this thing that Europe should have some plans to handle its increasing energy crisis.

The Caucasus Conflict: Why Azerbaijani Lavy Taxes from Iranian Trucks What Next?

The Caucasus Conflict: Azerbaijani Lavy Taxes from Iranian Trucks What Next?

The Caucasus Center is launching its special series of analyses on the Iran-Azerbaijan emerging border conflict. We will publish the various possible simulations in the coming weeks. We are going to closely monitor the situation and publish the objective analysis.

If you are interested to submit your Simulation, you can send us at eamil:

info AT thecaucasuscenter DOT org and we will publish it with your name and title.

Don’t forget to send your full name, email address, phone, and title.

The Caucasus Center

South Caucasus: Tension Rising between Azerbaijan and Iran borders

Iran and Azerbaijan border conflict getting international attention after the news of both countries’ military drills activities near their borders. Iran is concerned with the Azerbaijan regional emergence as a tiny oil-rich state that is heavily equipped with Israeli sophisticated weapons and Turkish drones.

Initially, Azerbaijan started its military drills with its Turkish and Pakistani counterparts. Azerbaijan also detained two Iranian drivers and blocks Trucks’ entry towards Armenia. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Thursday expressed disappointment over the inappropriate treatment toward Iranian truck drivers and the arrest of two of them by Azerbaijani border guards.

However more recently Azerbaijani national protest outside Iranian Embassy in Baku sparked serious concerns in Tehran.  Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Abbas Mousavi on Friday strongly condemned the provocative acts by some Azerbaijani nationals against the Iranian Embassy in Baku on Thursday night.

In recent weeks series of meeting from the Ambassador level to the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan and Iran took place to resolve their difference. Both the countries are trying to downplay their internal rifts.

In South Caucasus two leading power players are Russia and Iran. Azerbaijan is a former Soviet state always been under the heavy influence of Moscow. But more recently after the Nagorno-Karabakh War-II, Baku confidence surprised regional and international players. It seems that a policy shift has been deliberately trying to implement by regional players in the South-Caucasus region.

Turkish footprints in South Caucasus are not acceptable either for Russia or Iran. So, Turkey is continuously involved in Azerbaijan and emerged as a major leading supporter and arms supplier to Baku in the Nagorno-Karabakh war-II.

Turkish direct intervention in the South Caucasus region is a serious risk and posing a threat to the other countries. It’s triggering a race of arms and ammunition competition in the region. Turkey’s intentions are clear to make a Turkish-speaking countries bloc that is not acceptable to any of the neighbors near Iran and Russia.

It’s a reality that Iran is one of the leading powers in the South Caucasus. Iran has no military comparison with Azerbaijan because Iran’s combat capacity is much more than Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is a leading buyer of Israeli weapons. For Iran to accept a country that has been heavily equipped with Israeli weapons next to its border is a major concern.

Iran sending a message to Azerbaijan through these military drills that they would not accept an “Azerbaijan” that can pose a challenge to its neighbors in near future.

Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said at a meeting with Azerbaijan’s new ambassador “We do not tolerate the presence and activity against our national security of the Zionist regime next to our borders and will take any necessary action in this regard,”.

To win a war from Armenia does not mean Azerbaijan becomes a regional player. Though Azerbaijan comes in limelight after the Nagorno-Karabakh war if there is a sense of overconfidence that means it led Baku to some very unexpected and awkward situations.

So, to become a proxy of Israel and the United States (US) in the South Caucasus would not be a wise enough move for Azerbaijan.

For Azerbaijan, any miscalculation of strength about Iran’s power could cause serious repercussions.




Igniting Fire Across The Globe, US Entangles In ‘Summer Revolt’ At Home

Since decades, the United States has been sponsoring dozens of so-called “Regime Change” revolts around the world. Regime Change has been an active part of US foreign policy by setting and implementing its agenda across the globe with sole objectives for pursuit of US vested interests in the subsequent regimes, continents across the globe.

The exploitation of these revolts by igniting them into fire and fury, flashing out these riots in global media, and to show United States (US) as the biggest sympathizer of these protesters has been an integral part of the aggressive diplomacy for the past several decades. In almost all these movements across the globe, US was depicted as the biggest champion of human rights and democracy in the world taking pains for millions of people on account of subsequent rights.

To topple down the governments, the US launched series of movements in different parts of the world because it is always easy to rule and to get a hold on the resources of countries by wrecking their economies through these bloody protests, springs, and winters.

These protests have always been attributed with names of very colorful and attractive revolutions so that deprived communities could be highly exploited for the accomplishments of US vested interests.

Today these colors of upsurges are sprinkling across the US streets as US citizens have come to roads against the worst inhuman conduct of US law enforcement agencies towards racial discriminations.

The world is watching as the US President threatens many countries, but those torchbearers of human rights, democracy, and champions of freedom of expression have closed their eyes.

Nevertheless, the US has different and opposite views on these colorful protests being witnessed now in the various cities across the US. However, the world is watching more closely the protesters have been called looters, thugs, thieves, and much more but surprisingly these protesters would be called democracy heroes and activists in the other part of the world in such kinds of demonstrations.

The mob politics and the fire flashing out in the United States nowadays but no one is trying to understand this outburst of the epidemic of racism in America, rooted back centuries.

The menace of racism is not new in the United States it owns a long history since the creation of the United States of America (USA) by neglecting and grabbing the rights of the Native Americans who were pushed behind the wall forever. This reality hinted at the fact that very foundations of US based on exploitation and persecution of ‘Red Indians’, native inhabitants of America.

This hundreds of year’s frustration, deprivation, and anxiety have now turned into the massive eruption of lava cratering out from the so-called American double standards, values, and hypocrisy.

The white supremacy has badly haunted the Americans and there is no more space for the others. Since Donald Trump took the office, the US has shut down its doors for the nationals of other countries. The US has been isolating itself from the global arena; it gives a gesture that the US is no more a proactive player to be on the top among the other emerging global contemporaries racing towards internationalism.

After 9/11, the US has changed the dynamics of the entire world. Especially in the episode of Arab Spring how the US has destroyed the whole Middle East and manipulates its regime change doctrine through a hypocritical ‘Foreign Policy’.

With an excuse of Weapons of Mass Destruction WMD, the US destroyed and invaded Iraq just for the resources of oil in the region. After the Iraq war, ISIS and ISIL get control of a big part of the Middle East and they have destroyed the thousands of years old Muslim history, culture by wiping out from the earth.

Therefore, the Arab Spring has changed the face of Arab countries by pushing them towards the Stone Age. The fate of the citizens of Arab nations turned even worst and an unending humanitarian crisis engulfed Europe.

Donald Trump has a team of advisors who are experts in making every complex situation, even more, complicated to make a huge mess. The way Donald Trump mishandled the whole situation after the murder of George Floyd, he does not need any political rivals while having such kinds of advisors in the White House.

When Rome was burning, Nero was playing the flute, imagine if Nero was alive in today’s world, what he would have to do? Maybe he was tweeting on twitter?

When US President says that the US is pulling out from international agreements and cannot afford to pay, it is mean he is accepting that America is no more capable to be a key player in international politics.

The United States has been losing its hegemony due to its double standards and the emerging multipolar world. The US monopoly towards setting up an international world order badly failed due to the US invasion and regime change policies.

Subsequently, with an international tarnished image and damages while engaging the US into international conflicts, now the US has turned back with the same aggressive approach towards its people.

The existing governance system, institutions, policing in the United States need an overhauling due to the excessive control of white Supremacists, otherwise, this fire and fury summer revolt will lead towards mob politics, anarchy, and days back to 1960s.


Armenia In A State Of Doldrums: Making An End To Its International Isolation Become Uphill Task

In a bid to demonstrate a sequel of economic betterment, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian successfully show off the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting in the capital city of Yerevan amidst the mounting pressure of the public to curb the country’s worst economic crisis.

Besides Eurasia Economic member states the leaders of non- Eurasian Economic Union states’ heads, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong and Iranian President Hassan Rohani also attended this event.

Amidst the presence of keynote member states and state heads of economic like Singapore, the million-dollar question is raised, how this gathering of the heads of states will reduce the Armenian isolation in the international arena?

Mega corruption and poverty-stricken economy witnessed mass-opposition protests in Armenia, eventually forced Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan to resign on April 23, 2018. The political turmoil resulted in forming a new government. The Armenians people had given a mandate to Nikol Pashinian waiting for a miracle for the redress of all their miseries.

To streamlines, the country’s ramshackle economy is not an easy task for the new incumbent Prime Minister. Pashinian’s have mammoth challenges in the limited time under the growing pressure of the people demanding him to deliver what he promised during his election campaign.

Armenia has a long history of facing numerous challenges from a political turmoil to a newly elected government of Nikol Pashinian the path is topsy-turvy.

The country has massive economic challenges. Rather than finding economic solutions, Nikol Pashinian is trying to divert the public attention towards national security issues. It’s much easy to engage the public into hostile rhetoric against its neighboring Azerbaijan rather than delivering for what he was voted by his countrymen.

Around 11 percent of the Armenian population lives under the poverty line by earning less than $3.20 (1,530 Armenian drams) a day. The government is facing a constant budget deficit that leads towards a 16 percent unemployment rate all-time high.

The meetings like the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council are a positive gesture to improve the ruined image of Armenia but how much benefit Armenia can get from these events where mostly the big shares go in the mouths of big fishes.

The ticking clock is going against tall claims made by Nikol Pashinian during his election to improve the country’s economy and to end poverty in his country.

Armenia is in a trap between internal and external challenges. The impact of the external challenges is directly affecting the internal situation of the country.

The fast-developing situation on Nagorno-Karabakh by the international community is increasing pressure on Armenian to end this illegal occupation of the 20 percent territory of Azerbaijan. Armenian claims are not getting serious attention in the international arena.

The United Nations (UN) resolution violation by Armenia is resulting in global isolation. On another side, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalyan rejected a statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that he made on Nagorno-Karabakh recently and Armenian rhetoric can lead to a major rift between the two countries.