BAKU, KOMPAS.com – The military of Azerbaijan and Armenia exchanged fire in Karabakh, the border between the two countries since Sunday (07/12/2020).
At least 16 soldiers from both sides have been killed and dozens more injured as a result of the incident. The incident was referred to as the second worst incident of the country since 2016.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are fragments of the former Soviet Union in the Caucasus. The two countries have been at loggerheads over the territory for decades.
The training often ended up being quite a deadly armed battle.
Reporting from AFP, Thursday (07/16/2020), here are the main problems surrounding their conflict.
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The main dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia is the struggle over the Nagorny Karabakh region on the border of the two countries.
In 1921, the Soviet Union Government merged the territory dominated by ethnic Armenians and ethnic Azerbaijanis.
After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Armenian separatists took the territory in an incident supported by the Armenian Government.
Not accepting its territory was seized, fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted which killed 30,000 people. Hundreds of thousands of people also became victims and fled their homes.
In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia made a ceasefire mediated by Russia, the United States (US), and France.
However, fighting between the two countries still often erupts. In 2016, there were violent clashes which left around 110 people dead.
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Rebellion and Dynasty
Armenia has been rocked by political and economic instability since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union.
The leadership of the post-Soviet Union state suppressed opposition to his government. The opposition is also accused of faking the results of the vote. The accusation was mostly aimed at securing Russian interests.
In the 2018 season, demonstrations took place and led Nikol Pashinyan to become Prime Minister until now.
Azerbaijan, a Muslim-majority country in the Caspian Sea, has been under the authoritarian clutches of the family dynasty since 1993.
Heydar Aliev ruled the country with an iron fist until October 2003. The former Russian intelligence officer, the KGB, handed over power to his son, Ilham, a few weeks before his death.
Like his father, Ilham had destroyed the power of opposition to his government. In 2017, Ilham made his wife, Mehriban, Azerbaijan’s first vice president.
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Turkey has provided support behind oil-rich Azerbaijan. Turkey itself wants to be an influential country in the Caucasus region.
The second alliance was triggered by mutual suspicion towards Armenia. In fact, Turkey routinely makes strong statements in support of Azerbaijan’s ambitions to retake Nagorny Karabakh.
Armenia itself has a grudge against Turkey for slaughtering around 1.5 million Armenians under the Ottoman Sultanate during World War I.
More than 30 countries recognize the killing as genocide, although Turkey strongly denies the term.
Russia has close relations with Armenia. Russia also leads the military alliance of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which consists of six member states of the Soviet Union including Armenia.
Armenia relies on Russian support and military guarantees.
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Oil and Diaspora
Azerbaijan has recently begun to invest its oil revenues in other sectors to revamp its image in the eyes of western countries.
The country has invested in several large deals, including the Euro 2020 soccer championship, which was postponed due to the corona virus pandemic.
Baku had also previously held international soccer matches before Euro 2020 began and has been hosting the Formula 1 Grand Prix since 2016.
Azerbaijan has also tried to submit itself to European countries as an alternative energy supplier to Russia.
On the international stage, Armenia has a wide and influential diaspora. These Diasporas escaped from Armenia during the occupation of the Ottoman Sultanate.
Television celebrity Kim Kardashian, the late singer Charles Aznavour, and pop star and singer Cher have Armenian blood.
Some of them have appointed themselves as unofficial ambassadors of Armenia. An example is Kardashian who has talked about the genocide that occurred in Armenia.
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