Rising tensions between Azerbaijan and West

The recent escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan, has exposed the growing rift between Azerbaijan and the West, especially the European Union and the United States. While Azerbaijan has long sought to balance its relations with Russia and the West, the latest crisis has forced it to lean more towards Moscow, which brokered a ceasefire deal that favored Baku’s interests. The West, on the other hand, has been largely sidelined and criticized by Azerbaijan for its perceived lack of support and engagement.

Azerbaijan’s foreign policy dilemma

Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, has been pursuing a pragmatic and multi-vector foreign policy since its independence in 1991. It has tried to maintain good relations with both Russia and the West, while avoiding full-fledged integration with either side. It has also sought to diversify its energy exports and reduce its dependence on Russia, which still exerts significant influence in the region. Azerbaijan has cooperated with the West on energy, security and democratic reforms, but has also resisted pressure to improve its human rights record and political freedoms.

Azerbaijan also feared about inside possible uprising that has been engineered by West due to increasing human rights violations and massively attacks on press freedom.

The main driver of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy has been the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous enclave populated by ethnic Armenians but internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The conflict erupted in the late 1980s and resulted in a war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than a million. A ceasefire was signed in 1994, but sporadic clashes have continued ever since. The conflict has been mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by Russia, France and the US, but no lasting political solution has been reached.

Azerbaijan has accused the Minsk Group of being biased in favor of Armenia and failing to pressure Yerevan to withdraw its forces from the occupied territories. It has also blamed the West for not providing enough political and military support to Baku, especially after the 2020 war, when Turkey, a NATO ally, was the only country that openly backed Azerbaijan’s offensive. Azerbaijan has also resented the Western criticism of its human rights violations and crackdown on dissent, which it sees as interference in its internal affairs.

Russia’s role and interests

Russia, on the other hand, has played a more active and decisive role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, despite being formally neutral and having close ties with both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Russia has a military base in Armenia and is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a regional security alliance that includes Armenia. However, Russia has also developed a strategic partnership with Azerbaijan, which is a major buyer of Russian arms and a key transit country for Russian gas exports to Turkey and Europe.

Russia has used its leverage over both sides to broker several ceasefire agreements, most notably the one signed in November 2020, which ended the 44-day war and resulted in Azerbaijan regaining control over most of the territories it had lost in the 1990s. The deal also stipulated the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh and the opening of transport corridors between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nakhchivan, an Azerbaijani exclave bordering Turkey and Iran. The deal was seen as a diplomatic victory for Russia, which enhanced its role as the main power broker and security provider in the region while marginalizing the role of the Minsk Group and the West.

Russia’s interests in the region are not only geopolitical but also economic and cultural. Russia seeks to maintain its influence and presence in the South Caucasus, which it considers as part of its “near abroad” and a buffer zone against NATO expansion. Russia also wants to protect its energy interests and transit routes, as well as its large diaspora and Orthodox Christian community in the region. Russia has also been accused of using the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as a tool to manipulate and pressure both Armenia and Azerbaijan and to prevent them from moving closer to the West.

The West’s response and challenges

The West, particularly the EU and the US, has been largely absent and ineffective in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, despite having significant interests and stakes in the region. The West has supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan but has also called for a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the conflict, based on the principles of the Minsk Group. The West has also provided humanitarian and development aid to both sides, as well as promoting democracy, human rights and civil society in the region.

However, the West has failed to match its rhetoric with action and engagement, especially in the aftermath of the 2020 war. The West has been criticized by Azerbaijan for not condemning Armenia’s aggression and occupation, and for not recognizing Azerbaijan’s right to self-defense and territorial restoration. The West has also been accused by Azerbaijan of being indifferent and passive in the face of the humanitarian crisis and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas. The West has also been challenged by Turkey, which has asserted its role as a regional power and a protector of Azerbaijan’s interests, while clashing with the West on various issues, such as Syria, Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The West faces several challenges and dilemmas in dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its implications. On the one hand, the West wants to maintain its strategic partnership with Azerbaijan, which is a key energy supplier and a potential partner in countering Iran’s influence and extremism in the region. On the other hand, the West is concerned about Azerbaijan’s authoritarian tendencies and human rights abuses, which undermine the prospects of democratic reforms and civil society development in the country. The West also wants to preserve its cooperation with Armenia, which is undergoing a political transition and a democratic awakening, while facing economic and security challenges. The West also wants to avoid a confrontation with Russia, which has a dominant role and a vested interest in the region, while seeking to uphold the principles of international law and human rights.

Conclusion

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has exposed the growing tensions and divergences between Azerbaijan and the West, as well as the limitations and weaknesses of Western engagement and influence in the region. Azerbaijan has become more dependent and aligned with Russia, which has emerged as the main arbiter and guarantor of the status quo, while the West has been marginalized and criticized by Baku for its perceived lack of support and involvement. The West faces the difficult task of balancing its interests and values, as well as its relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan while avoiding a clash with Russia and Turkey. The West needs to adopt a more proactive and coherent strategy towards the region, based on dialogue, diplomacy and development, as well as support the efforts of the Minsk Group and the OSCE to find a lasting and comprehensive solution to the conflict.

 

Lachin Corridor crisis: How a strategic road could spark a new war in the Caucasus

 The Caucasus Center Special Report: 

The Lachin Corridor is a mountain road that links Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is de facto controlled by ethnic Armenians. The corridor is in the Lachin District of Azerbaijan but is ostensibly under the control of a Russian peacekeeping force as provided for in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh armistice agreement.

The corridor has been described as a “lifeline” for the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, as it is the only road that connects them to Armenia and allows the delivery of humanitarian aid, food, medicine and other essential goods. However, the corridor has also been a source of tension and conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, especially after the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020, which resulted in significant territorial losses for the Armenian side and the displacement of thousands of civilians.

The 2020 Ceasefire Agreement and Its Implementation

 The Second Nagorno-Karabakh War erupted on September 27, 2020, when Azerbaijan launched a large-scale offensive to reclaim control over Nagorno-Karabakh and its surrounding regions, which had been under Armenian control since the end of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994. The war lasted 44 days and claimed more than 6,000 lives on both sides.

On November 9, 2020, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed a trilateral ceasefire agreement that ended the hostilities and stipulated.

Armenia agreed to withdraw its forces from several districts adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh that were captured by Azerbaijan during the war, including Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin.

Azerbaijan agreed to halt its military operations and keep control over the territories it had regained during the war, including parts of Nagorno-Karabakh itself.

A Russian peacekeeping contingent of 1,960 troops was deployed along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor for a period of five years, renewable by mutual consent of the parties.

The Lachin corridor was to remain under Armenian control, with a width of 5 km, to ensure the connection between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. The city of Lachin and its surrounding villages were to be transferred to Azerbaijani control by December 1, 2020.

A new transport corridor was to be opened under Russian control to connect Azerbaijan’s mainland with its exclave of Nakhchivan through Armenia’s southern Syunik province.

The ceasefire agreement was met with mixed reactions from both sides. While Azerbaijan celebrated its military victory and territorial gains, Armenia denounced its humiliating defeat and political crisis. Many Armenians protested against the agreement and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who signed it under pressure from Russia.

The implementation of the agreement has also faced several challenges and delays.

The transfer of Lachin city and its surrounding villages to Azerbaijani control was postponed until August 26, 2022, due to logistical difficulties and security concerns.

A new route to bypass Lachin city was opened on August 30, 2022, passing by two villages that were renamed by Azerbaijan from Kirov (Hin Shen) and Kirovskiy (Mets Shen) to Kichik Galadarasi and Boyuk Galadarasi respectively.

The opening of the Nakhchivan corridor has been stalled by disagreements over its route, security and legal status. Armenia has insisted that it should be under international supervision and that it should not affect its sovereignty or territorial integrity. Azerbaijan has demanded that it should be under its full control and that it should have access to other regional transport projects.

The return of displaced persons and refugees has been slow and problematic. According to the UNHCR, more than 100,000 people were displaced by the war, mostly ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent districts. While some have returned to their homes with the help of Russian peacekeepers and humanitarian organizations, many others remain in Armenia or in makeshift shelters in Nagorno-Karabakh. They face insecurity, lack of basic services, and uncertainty about their future.

The 2023 Lachin Corridor Crisis

 On April 23, 2023, Azerbaijani officials set up a checkpoint in the Lachin corridor, near the Hakari Bridge, claiming that it was meant to prevent the “illegal” transport of military supplies and natural resources from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh However, the republics of Armenia and Artsakh have denied these allegations and argued that the ceasefire agreement does not explicitly limit the use of the Lachin corridor to humanitarian needs.

The checkpoint has effectively blocked the movement of vehicles and people along the corridor, creating a humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the Armenian authorities, more than 200 trucks carrying food, medicine, fuel and other goods have been stranded at the checkpoint for days, unable to reach their destination. Moreover, thousands of civilians who commute daily between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh for work, education, health or family reasons have been unable to cross the checkpoint, causing hardship and distress.

The Armenian side has condemned the checkpoint as a violation of the ceasefire agreement and a provocation aimed at destabilizing the situation and undermining the peace process. It has called on the international community, especially Russia, to intervene and pressure Azerbaijan to remove the checkpoint and restore the free movement along the corridor.

The Azerbaijani side has defended its right to control its own territory and to ensure its security and sovereignty. It has accused Armenia of violating the ceasefire agreement by smuggling weapons and exploiting natural resources in Nagorno-Karabakh without its consent. It has also demanded that Armenia fulfill its obligations under the agreement, such as providing maps of minefields and withdrawing its remaining forces from Azerbaijani territory.

The Russian side has expressed its concern over the situation and urged both parties to respect the ceasefire agreement and to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiation. It has also reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the region and to facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to Nagorno-Karabakh.

The international community has also reacted to the crisis with varying degrees of involvement and influence.

The OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia and the U.S., which has been mediating the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since 1992, has called on both sides to refrain from unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and to cooperate with the Russian peacekeepers in ensuring the security of movement along the corridor. It has also reiterated its support for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict based on the principles of non-use of force, territorial integrity, equal rights and self-determination.

The European Union, which has been providing humanitarian and development assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh and its surrounding regions since 2016, has expressed its solidarity with the people affected by the blockade and urged Azerbaijan to lift it without delay. It has also stressed its readiness to contribute to confidence-building measures and dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.

The United Nations, which has been monitoring the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh through its agencies and partners, has appealed for unhindered access to deliver aid to those in need and for respect for international humanitarian law by all parties. It has also called for a lasting political solution to the conflict that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Council of Europe, which has been promoting human rights, democracy and rule of law in Armenia and Azerbaijan since 2001, has condemned the blockade as a violation of human dignity and a threat to regional stability. It has also urged both sides to comply with their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and other relevant instruments.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has been supporting Azerbaijan’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh since 1993, has welcomed Azerbaijan’s efforts to restore its territorial integrity and sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh and its adjacent districts. It has also called on Armenia to respect the ceasefire agreement and cooperate with Azerbaijan to address the humanitarian issues arising from the conflict.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which is a military alliance of six former Soviet states including Armenia but not Azerbaijan, has expressed its solidarity with Armenia as a member state and its concern over the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. It has also stated that it is ready to provide assistance to Armenia in case of external aggression against its territory or sovereignty.

The Caucasus Center: International Conference on Peace in South Caucasus

The International Conference on Peace in South Caucasus: How to Achieve Peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh

The Caucasus Center for Strategic and International Studies (CCSIS) is pleased to announce the International Conference on Peace in South Caucasus, which will take place this year in 2023.

The South Caucasus region has been plagued by conflicts for decades, especially the unresolved dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory claimed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan. The recent war in 2020 has resulted in thousands of casualties, massive displacement, and humanitarian crises. Despite the ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia, the prospects for a lasting peace remain uncertain and fragile.

The International Conference on Peace in South Caucasus aims to bring together scholars, practitioners, policymakers, civil society actors, and media representatives from South Caucasus and other countries to discuss the challenges and opportunities for achieving peace in the region. The conference will provide a platform for dialogue, exchange of ideas, and constructive engagement on various aspects of the conflict resolution process, such as:

  • The role of regional and international actors in facilitating peace and security
  • The legal and political implications of the ceasefire agreement and its implementation
  • The humanitarian and socio-economic impact of the war and the post-war recovery
  • The promotion of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law
  • The fostering of dialogue, trust, and reconciliation among the conflicting parties and communities
  • The prevention of future violence and escalation

The conference invites submissions of abstracts for paper presentations on any of the above topics or other relevant issues. The abstracts should be no more than 300 words and should include the title, author(s) name(s), affiliation(s), and contact information. The deadline for submission is October 31, 2023. The accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings.

The conference will be held this year 2023 and the venue of the conference will be announced later.

The conference will feature:

  • Keynote speeches by prominent experts and policymakers
  • Panel discussions on various topics related to the conflict and its implications
  • Workshops on conflict resolution, dialogue, and cooperation
  • A roundtable with representatives of the parties involved in the conflict
  • A final declaration and a policy brief with recommendations for the international community and the parties involved

The conference will be held in English, with simultaneous interpretation in Armenian, Azerbaijani, Russian, and Turkish. The conference will be live-streamed on our website and social media platforms.

We are looking for partner organizations that can join hands with us in this initiative to promote peace and the recommendations of experts in this area.

If you are interested, you can send you letter of interest at this email: info AT thecaucasuscenter.org

We look forward to your participation and contribution to this important dialogue for peace in South Caucasus.

What Does Israel’s President Visit to Azerbaijan Mean for Iran and the Region?

 

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog visited Azerbaijan marking the first state visit by an Israeli head of state to the secular Shiite Muslim country that shares a 670-kilometer border with Iran.

The visit, which coincided with the 75th anniversary of Israel’s independence, aimed to deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries in various fields, including health care, cyber security and defense. Herzog met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev and praised the level of love and affection that exists between the two nations. He also invited Aliyev to visit Israel in return.

The visit came at a time when Azerbaijan and Iran are at odds over several issues, such as the status of ethnic Azeris in Iran, the opening of an Iranian consulate in Armenia, and the alleged involvement of Iran in attacks against both countries in recent months. Azerbaijan has accused Iran of supporting Armenia in the 2020 war over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that was reclaimed by Azerbaijan with the help of Israeli drones and weapons. Iran has denied the accusations and expressed concern over the presence of foreign forces near its borders.

Israel and Azerbaijan have a close defense relationship that dates back to the early 1990s, when Israel was one of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan’s independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since then, Israel has become Azerbaijan’s main supplier of arms and technology, accounting for 69% of its arms imports in 2016-2020. Azerbaijan is also one of Israel’s main sources of oil, providing about 40% of its petroleum imports.

The visit also reflected a new level of openness and cooperation between the two countries, which had been mostly discreet and low-profile in the past for fear of alienating other Muslim-majority states or provoking Iran. However, following the Abraham Accords and Israel’s rapprochement with Turkey, Azerbaijan decided to open its embassy in Israel for the first time in March 2023. The move was seen as a signal to Iran and other regional actors that Azerbaijan values its ties with Israel and is not afraid to show it.

Iran, on its part, has reacted with suspicion and paranoia to the growing Israeli-Azerbaijani alliance. On the eve of Herzog’s visit, Tehran reported that it had arrested 14 members linked to Israel who were seeking to identify and assassinate various individuals. A week earlier, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence said it had dismantled a network connected to a foreign intelligence service that monitored individuals who had access to sensitive material or were in charge of various positions in the nation’s sensitive organizations.

Iran has also accused Israel of using Azerbaijan as a base for gathering intelligence on Iran and preparing for possible future attacks. Iran views Israel as its arch-enemy and has repeatedly threatened to destroy it. Israel has also carried out covert operations and cyberattacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities and military assets.

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) thecaucasuscenter.org

 

 

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.