The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a protracted conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The conflict started in the late 1980s and took a dramatic turn in the 1990s when both parties battled each other for the disputed region.1 So far, the war has evolved into an armed conflict characterized by ethnic cleansing, territorial breaches, and human rights violations (as was seen from the high proportions of human displacements and killings). Recent reports show that more than 1,000,000 Azerbaijanis and close to 400,000 Armenians have been displaced from their homes.2 Furthermore, more than 50,000 people are reported to have been killed from the conflict as Azerbaijan lost claim over Nagorno-Karabakh and seven undisputed territories. The war has since been frozen through a ceasefire agreement but its protracted nature is because there has been no political settlement to the conflict so far.
The territorial disputes and the lack of a political solution to the conflict have since birthed negative rhetoric between the two countries and the real threat of war (especially from Azerbaijan). These hostilities are the primary cause of poor diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia but most importantly, they are the sole reason there is a blockade of communication and transport along the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Currently, Armenia and Azerbaijan live under a constant threat of renewed fighting but the failure of the international community to find a peaceful political solution to the conflict has increased more doubt regarding the future prospects of finding a lasting solution to the conflict.
This paper recognizes the lack of a political solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as an impediment to the realization of peace in the South Caucasus region and acknowledges its protracted nature as an indication that several political dynamics impede the realization of a political solution. First, this paper seeks to evaluate the impediments to the realization of a political solution by highlighting the history of the conflict and the events that led to the signing of the ceasefire agreement in 1994. Secondly, this paper seeks to analyze the negotiation process and the models and principles, which have been proposed by the mediators and international players as possible structures to finding a peaceful agreement between all the parties involved. Lastly, this paper investigates the roles played by third party players in the conflict and the unhealthy competition that exists among them as an impediment to the realization of a political solution to the conflict. Comprehensively, this paper highlights the impediments hindering the realization of a complete and peaceful agreement between the warring factions.
Secondary literatures covering the reasons for the failure to reach a political settlement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are limited. Except for researchers who specialize in the dynamics of South Caucasus conflict, few researchers have bothered to investigate the underlying causes of the conflict and the underlying reasons that have led to a stalemate in the political process leading to the realization of a peaceful solution to the conflict. An unclear understanding regarding the underlying dynamics surrounding the conflict has further compounded this neglect. Several literatures have been used in this chapter to explain existing ideas and philosophies surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Most of the literatures consulted have been written by peace organisations like the U.N and individual scholars such as Cornell Svante who have specialized in conflict resolution as a specialized discipline in South Caucasus conflicts. This chapter also includes excerpts from authors such as Aslanli Araz and Margarita Tadevosyan who have studied the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and highlighted possible solutions and hurdles surrounding the conflict. Their insights have been comparatively included alongside the analysis of other authors such as Frederik Coene, Mark Kramer, Michael Croissant, Cristoph Zucher, Arif Yunus and Hratch Tchilingirian who have also contributed to the understanding of this paper through their contribution and understanding of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Most of these contributors are published authors who have had their works included in peer reviewed journals and other published texts. Their insights are heavily biased on explaining the causes and implications of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the South Caucasus region. Indeed, because the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has degenerated into an intractable dispute pitting two big ethnicities in the South Caucasus region, the conflict bears strong geopolitical significance to the political stability of the region. Notably, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has had a huge role to play in the realignment of states within the South Caucasus region – based on religious, economic and ethnic interests. The main works in this paper is complemented by auxiliary studies advanced by scholars such as De Wall Thomas and Miller Nicholas who have also researched on international intervention and peace studies (with a special bias on South Caucasus conflicts). Other studies that have been included in this chapter highlight the circumstances surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the crucial data characterizing the conflict (such as the human displacement, disputed regions, interested parties and partly, the reasons for the lack of a political settlement among the warring factions). Most of the excerpts used in this paper are therefore sourced from authors who major in international studies and conflict resolution but who have enough knowledge about the underlying dynamics of the South Caucasus conflict.
The Escalation of the Conflict in the First World War
The First World War heralded a period of renewed conflict between the Azeri people and the Armenians because the defeat of the Russian empire brought a new tilt of power between the warring factions.3 Concisely, the defeat of the Russian empire in the war sparked a new period of secessions where many territories demanded independence from the Russian government. Nonetheless, the Russian strategy of imposing Armenians in the newly independent Azerbaijan republic worked because Armenian’s undermined Azerbaijan’s quest to secede from the Russians. The Armenians wanted to take control of Karabakh, Nakichivan and Zangezur but British forces who promised all parties that they would find a remedy to their grievances in the 1919 Paris Peace Conference stopped their quest for dominance. However, this peace concession was illusionary because the British forces failed to convince the two nations (Azerbaijan and Armenia) to stop fighting.4 In 1920, tens of thousands of people lost their lives in violent confrontations between the Azerbaijan and Armenian forces.5 The human death toll that occurred between the two fighting nations has remained a thorn in the flesh for both nations and subsequently, it has impeded the realization of complete peace and understanding between the two nations (to date).
The occupation of South Caucasus by the “red army’ however marked a brief end to the conflict as Bolsheviks took the role of an arbitrator for the disputing parties after the British failed in this regard. After considering the strong economic ties that Karabakh and Azerbaijan held (plus the role of Turkey in influencing the decision to keep Karabakh under Azerbaijan control), an agreement was declared in 1921 that Karabakh should stay under Azerbaijan.6 This ruling was not well received by the Armenians because they felt a loss of pride especially after losing Karabakh, Nakchivan, Kars and eastern Anatolia in the same conflict. Consequently, authorities in Armenia decided not to honour the treaty after declaring that it was imposed on the Armenians without their consent. Their grievances were fuelled by the failure to consider the bloodshed that characterized their quest to secure the conflict. In addition, the fact that Bolsheviks from Moscow (who failed to take into account the interests of Armenians) mediated the conflict also angered the Armenians. However, the position of the Bolsheviks in the conflict was primarily informed by the need to impose peace in the region, crash all nationalistic movements in the region and entrench their power.7 Therefore, the overall input of Bolsheviks in the conflict was perceived to be shallow and albeit it brought relative peace to the region, it failed to secure the support of all the parties involved. By the onset of the 20th century, the desire to restore national pride and reclaim all lost territories grew stronger among Armenians.
Under Communist Regime (The Strengthening of Nationalism and the Explosion of Violence)
When the soviet rule was dominant in the South Caucasus, Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh wanted the region to be annexed to Armenian SSR. The main reason for the annexation was the worsening humanitarian and living conditions in the region, which was attributed to discrimination of the Armenians by the Azerbaijanis. However, the main reason for the poor living conditions and poor economic stability of Nagorno-Karabakh was the overall poor economic environment in the USSR.8 The worsening economic environment in the country was strongly felt in the rural areas. The Armenian quest to annex Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan was also informed by growing fears that they would lose dominance in the region. These concerns were strengthened with the fact that many Armenians moved into large cities such as Baku, Yerevan and Moscow while considerable number of Azerbaijanis moved into the disputed regions of Nagorno-Karabakh because the country’s immigration policies allowed them to do so. It is reported that the Armenian population in the Nagorno-Karabakh region declined from more than 90% to about 70% between 1923 and 1979.9
The Armenians did not only express concern over the Nagorno-Karabakh region because the Azeri people were also displeased by the territorial policies practiced by the Bolsheviks. This displeasure was especially informed by the fact that the Bolsheviks allowed the secession of the Azeri-dominated Zangezur into Armenian territories, while it gave autonomy to Nagorno-Karabakh. The secession of Zangezur angered the Azerbaijan because it compounded their fear of losing Nagorno-Karabakh.10 The shortsighted policy of Politburo on territorial issues in South Caucasus had only strengthened the nationalistic sentiments among the Armenians and Azerbaijanis during the Soviet rule.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is believed to have erupted in 1988 but researchers like Thomas de Waal believe that the Armenian plan to annex the region was developed in 1986.11 A new national movement in Armenia, which was headed by Murad Muradyan, accused the Azerbaijan government of evicting Armenians from their land and settling their people there.12 Such accusations were popular among the Armenians because the general understanding was that, Armenians moved to the cities in search of a better life but many people were not made to understand so. Therefore, Muradyan’s accusations were widely believed throughout Armenia. Many Armenians did not bother with the truth because all they wanted was to gain control over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. By the onset of 1988, many Armenians (living in and outside the Nagorno-Karabakh region) were mobilized to demonstrate for the annexation of the Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenian SSR.13 Several institutions opposed this demand, including the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan SSR, Supreme Council of USSR, and the Central Committee of the Communist party.14
Article 78 of the Soviet Constitution was widely referred as the baseline for undermining the quest to annex Nagorno-Karabakh. According to this constitutional piece, it was improper to annex the region unless there was widespread consent among all the parties involved. Nonetheless, the Regional Council of Nagorno-Karabakh (which enjoyed Armenian support) ignored Article 78 of the Soviet Constitution and started annexing the region to Armenian SSR.15 Naturally, the decision to ignore Article 78 of the Soviet Constitution eroded the ties between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Signs of war were nigh when the Azeri people started to leave Armenian SSR in anticipation of war. As was predicted, on February 22 1988, the deputy attorney General of USSR declared (on the radio) that two killings of Azerbaijanis occurred in the disputed territory. These innocent killings angered many Azeri refugees in Sumgait.16 The anger spilled into the cities and consequently, the deaths of 26 Armenians and six Azerbaijanis were reported. There were many theories floating around regarding what caused the skirmished but the theory that KGB (the state security organ) had conspired to bring down Gorbachev’s administration received the most attention.17
The skirmishes in Sumgait are believed to have started the Armenian hatred for Azerbaijanis because it led to widespread demonstrations in Yerevan and Karabakh.18 At the same time, nationalistic sentiments among Armenians reached an all-time high, especially after the skirmishes brought back bad memories about the 1915 massacre of Armenians by the Turks. Widespread killings eventually started throughout the Nagorno-Karabakh region (with both parties accusing each other of encouraging the conflict).19
Moscow’s failure to intervene in the conflict saw the start and development of the Armenian National Movement, which gained widespread support among the Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh region (and later into Armenian SSR). This movement quickly rejected the intervention of Moscow’s Special Administration Committee in the conflict and continued to perpetrate calls for annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh. This movement later conducted illegal elections in 1989 against the wishes of Moscow. This election saw Armenians from Karabakh vote to secede from Nagorno-Karabakh and join Armenian SSR.20 The Azeri population (which lived in the disputed land and accounted for about 23% of the population) was evicted from their lands during the election period. They also decided to boycott the elections. During these displacements, killings and violence were very rampant in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.21
After the fall of the Soviet
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia exploded. The conflict saw Armenian forces occupy Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories of Azerbaijan where few or no Armenians lived.22 From the occupation, the number of internally displaced people in Azerbaijan increased. These displaced people had to find accommodation in other parts of Azerbaijan because of the evictions from the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories. Overall, these displacements caused much political and economic unrest in the wider Azerbaijan region and other affected zones.23 The success of the Armenian forces was directly linked to the military support that Moscow gave the Armenian forces. The development of popular support for the Azerbaijani Popular Front and its refusal to join the Commonwealth Independent of States is attributed to be part of the reasons that informed Moscow’s change of support for Azerbaijan.24
The support for Armenian forces was seen in the equipping of Armenian military forces with all necessary weapons, military equipment and intelligence on the movement of Azeri forces.25 In September 1992, Azerbaijani troops captured six Russian soldiers who participated in Armenian assault.26 In August 1993, more assault was witnessed from Armenian forces who were aided by 40 Russian tanks, which attacked Azerbaijan.27 Apart from the military support that the Russians gave the Armenians, they helped to cause political chaos in Azerbaijan. This political instability was caused by the rise of the Popular Front to power and its failure to join the CIS. Due to this change of political environment, Moscow withdrew its military equipment from Azerbaijan and left them in the hands of a pro-Russian warlord who later moved them to Baku, forcing the democratically elected government to resign. The political instability and the lack of a visionary leader also contributed to the defeat of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh war.28
The loss of the Nagorno-Karabakh battle was a huge setback for Azerbaijan forces and their frustrations were compounded by the fact that Armenian forces did not stop at gaining control of the disputed lands but went on to occupy seven other undisputed territories.29 Many refugees from Azerbaijan originated from the newly captured territories.30 Their resentment towards Armenians was further fuelled by this occupation. Through the occupation of the seven undisputed territories, Yerevan intended to exchange these territories for the recognition of Baku as the unification point for Karabakh and Armenia. This plan did not work. The failure of this plan was directly attributed to the deep resentment that Azeri people already had for Armenians.31 This hatred was also witnessed almost at every level of the Azeri society. The forceful occupation of Azerbaijan by the Armenians also failed to garner support from the international community that Armenia was truly the victim of Azerbaijan’s aggression. If Armenia failed to pursue the Azeri forces into their territory (or failed to invade the Nagorno-Karabakh region), Azerbaijan would have conceded some of its territory to them.32 Nonetheless, the encroachment of Azerbaijan land greatly led to the loss of Azeri pride and the development of deep hatred for Armenia.
In May 1994, the Russians brokered a ceasefire agreement and both nations stopped their assault on each another. The United Nations (U.N) and other international organisations tried to influence the peace talks (they contributed in a small way) but they were unable to challenge Russian dominance in the negotiations.33 The role of the U.N in the peace negotiations was however limited by the numerous Security Council resolutions, which condemned any form of violence or war in the disputed regions34. Albeit the resolutions failed to point out an aggressor, they worked towards returning the seven undisputed territories back to Azerbaijan. The ceasefire agreement however saw the disputed territories between Armenia and Azerbaijan remain firmly under Armenian control.
Current Accusations and Counter-Accusations
From the onset of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, ethnic cleansing and violence characterized the battle. Both parties in the conflict accused the other of fuelling the violence by having their own chronologies regarding the conflict.35 On one hand, the Armenians believed that the skirmishes of Sumgait heralded the start of the war and therefore, they had to protect their people from Azeri aggression. By referring to the ethnic cleansing that occurred in the past, politicians from Yerevan declared that Baku would be another genocide region that harbours strong anti-Armenian sentiments. Several citations were made to show that before the Nagorno-Karabakh war, Azerbaijanis intended to cleanse (ethnically) their regions like Nagorno-Karabakh.36 The Armenians referred to the Sumgait crisis and the anti-Armenian philosophies that were perpetrated throughout Azerbaijan in the 80s as some evidences of the malicious intentions Azeris held towards Armenians. The Baku massacre of 1990 and operation ring, which occurred between 1991 and 1992, were also cited as other examples of Azeri aggression on Armenians.37
The Armenians therefore claimed that all pre-war Armenians witnessed massive inhuman actions by the Azeri people such as the loss of land (about 30,000 Armenians were displaced in the Nagorno-Karabakh region).38 From the numerous atrocities committed by the Azeris, Armenians believed that their dignity and pride had to be restored through compensation from the Azerbaijan government. These accusations were fuelled by counter-accusations by the Armenian people who claim that the intentional infliction of harm on Armenian people (who were part of the Azerbaijan population) snatched the Azeri’s moral authority to rule over the Armenians. The Azerbaijan SSR was also accused of economic and social injustices, which made the lives of the Armenians living in Karabakh a living hell.39 The Azerbaijan authorities, thereby adding to the list of accusations that Armenian authorities held against the Azerbaijan government, also forcefully crashed the quest for Armenians to achieve self-determination in the Karabakh demonstrations.
However, Azerbaijanis argue that the first victims of ethnic cleansings were not Armenians, but Azeri people, who were forced out of Megri and Kafan in November 1987.40 Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of aggressive foreign policy and aspirations to create Great Armenia by forcing Azerbaijanis out of their ancient lands.41 After 18 years of signing the cease-fire agreement, the rights of more than 700,000 Azerbaijanis are still violated by Armenians. These people were forced to live for years in refugee camps, which had poor living conditions and no social infrastructure. Tens of thousands of Azeri kids had no access to health care system and were deprived of proper education. Armenia not only forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts, occupying 11,722 km2 of the territory, but also violated fundamental rights of Azeri people to property and housing, to movement within their country and participation in economic, social and political life of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent districts.42 Azerbaijan accuses the Armenian armed forces of the brutal violence during the offensive operations and destruction of Azeri property to complicate the process of returning refugees to their original lands. Therefore, Azerbaijani government regularly makes clear to international community that it has the moral right to use force to return the occupied lands and restore justice for Azerbaijani IDPs who for years faced deprivations.43
To understand some of the impediments of a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it is crucial to understand the history of the conflict.
The methodology for this study is mainly based on the qualitative research design. The qualitative research design will be used as a precursor to quantitative research design, which may form the basis for future studies on the research topic. The usefulness of the qualitative research design will therefore be limited to getting a comprehensive view of the research problem (based on the backdrop of existing literature). The simplicity of undertaking the qualitative research design is a huge attraction for this research because it minimizes the cost of undertaking the research. Therefore, research costs associated with travelling, seeking appointments, developing questionnaires (and the likes) are minimized in this regard. This advantage is not only mirrored as a cost advantage but also as a functional advantage.
The data collection process was guided by the aim of having a comprehensive understanding of the research problem. From this understanding, this paper uses secondary data as the main data collection strategy. Secondary data was collected through the inclusion of published data, which is easily accessible and relatively cheap. For purposes of this study, the secondary data information collected was used to identify the primary areas of deficiencies in understanding why it has proven so difficult to reach a political settlement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Furthermore, the secondary research data was also beneficial to the understanding of this paper because it improved the understanding of the research problem by making it simpler (through highlighting important areas of knowledge).
The main disadvantage associated with secondary research is its limitation to the objectives and wishes of the researchers who formulated them. Therefore, it may be difficult to identify the right framework to fit a previously formulated research design to a new and unrelated research framework. This paper also recognizes another disadvantage of the secondary research information, which centres on its high probability to contain out-dated information, which may not be directly related to the context of the current research. This weakness is especially relevant to this paper because the nature and accuracy of our research outcome relies on the accuracy and ‘up-to-date’ nature of the research sources. More so, the research topic centres on an ongoing issue because circumstances surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict changes yearly. Therefore, the research sources need to reflect the current nature of the research topic. Secondary research data may fail to provide the correct research sources in this regard but this paper recognizes these weaknesses and incorporates online research sources as a form of published text to supplement the input of books and journals as other sources of secondary research data. However, emphasis will be made to include only credible online research data (such as government publications and the likes). These types of online material contain minimal bias
The quality of the secondary research sourced is guaranteed by the quality of sources obtained (books, journals and credible online sources). Some of the journals obtained were peer-reviewed while all the books used were subjected to a through publishing process. Comprehensively, the information contained from books and journals was assumed to be error-free and reliable. Indeed, peer-review journals contain dynamic pieces of information and unbiased data, which may be developed from including pre-conceived ideas in the research process. This justification informs the high reliance on books and journals as the main sources of secondary data.
The data analysis process will mainly be centred on providing a critical analysis of the research findings. The importance of undertaking this critical analysis is to improve the comprehension of the findings and to eliminate any unnecessary information from the huge volumes of literature obtained. The critical analysis method will also improve the clarity of the findings obtained. This analysis method mainly incorporates five steps. The first step includes identifying the problem (elementary clarification) so that different elements of the problem can be analyzed and any linkages observed. The second step involves an in-depth clarification of the problem to identify the philosophies, beliefs and assumptions underlying the problem. The third step is the inference stage where ideas and insights regarding self and group learning will be identified to link ideas with propositions. The fourth stage involved the analysis of ideas and the relevant propositions within the social context (excellent judgment skills were important in this stage). The last stage was the strategy formation stage. This stage involves the identification of unique actions that will eventually provide a solution to the research problem.
History of the Conflict & Negotiations
The popular opinion among most international observer’s centres on the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict started after the collapse of the former Soviet Union in the late 80s. However, some analysts use the deeply divided nature of Azerbaijan and Armenia societies to demonstrate that the seeds of the conflict stretch deeper than the collapse of the Soviet Union.44 In the early 19th century, Azerbaijan (as we know it today) was divided into small territories (independent Khanates) which often waged war against each other, with the intention to unify the country under one tribe.45 These internal wars are known to have significantly depleted the human and financial resources of Azerbaijan, thereby making it vulnerable to external aggression from neighbouring states. In fact, history shows that in 1804, Azerbaijan faced the threat of a double invasion from Russia in the North and Iran in the South. A nine year war saw the signing of the Gulistan treaty which divides Azerbaijan into two groups – North and South.46 As the nature of the war would dictate, Northern Azerbaijan became part of the Russian empire, while the South seceded to Iran. Karabakh khanate for example, became a Russian province with its own administration and military governance.47
The Russian Persian war, which lasted from 1826 to1828 also, had a significant bearing on the Nagorno-Karabakh war because it created a new realization among Russians that it would be difficult to control new territories without popular support from the locals. Indeed, through this realization, the Russians agreed that it would be difficult to govern Azerbaijan (which was mainly comprised of Shi’a Muslims) because there was a possibility that the Azeri people would not change their hostile attitude toward Russians and would wait for an opportunity to gain independence or support of any ethnically or religiously close to them nation which wages war against Russians. To neutralize this threat, the Russians opted to impose Pro-Russian dwellers in the South Caucasus to neutralize the influence of the Shi’a Muslims.48 This strategy led to the migration of Armenians to South Caucasus because they were already victims of discrimination in the Ottoman Empire and Iran. Affirmatively, the Turkmenchay Treaty (Article 15) refers to the willingness of Iran to release Armenians into the Russian empire.49 More than 200,000 Armenians were settled in the South Caucasus in this manner.50 Consequently, many Armenians migrated into the Karabakh region and their population was boosted from 8.4% to 34.8%.51 Some sources say that the population of Armenians living in Karabakh was nearly half by the 19th century.52
The Russian government facilitated the proliferation of Armenian settlements by allowing the construction of remote villages and exempting Armenians from state taxes.53 The migration of Armenia population (from Iran) into the South Caucasus was only the first among other migrations in the 19th century. The second migration occurred during the Crimean war, which occurred from 1853 to 1856).54 The Russian Turkish war, which occurred from 1876 to1878, also saw a large population of Armenians move into Karabakh.55 Within the 1890s period, a large population of Armenians also moved into the Karabakh region after a conflict erupted when Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire tried to secede from it.56 However, because the Armenians lacked military and financial muscle, their quest to secede was crashed and most of them fled. There is no clear report showing the exact number of Armenians who fled during this conflict but Azerbaijan and Armenian figures report similar numbers (of between 500,000 to 900,000 refugees) who fled into the South Caucasus region.57
Naturally, the large influx of migrant populations into the South Caucasus region precipitated many conflicts between the indigenous population (Azeri people) and the new inhabitants (Armenians). The conflict between the Azerbaijan population and the Armenians was further exacerbated by the preferential treatment that the Armenians received from the Russian government. The Armenians never hesitated to take advantage of their advantage to gain ownership of native land (which was previously under the ownership of the indigenous people). Enmity started to grow between the Azeri people and the Armenians because the former thought they were being denied basic rights.58 This conflict led to the Shusha conflict of the late 19th century where hundreds of people lost their lives in the skirmishes.59 The Shusha skirmishes heralded a long period of distrust and enmity between the Azeri people and the Armenians. This distrust and enmity are referred in later sections of this study as part of the reason why there has been no political solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
The negotiation process for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has mainly been a slow and tedious process with pushes and pulls from both parties. However, the input of the international community in the conflict set forth the negotiation process before the cease-fire agreement of 1994. Notably, the Conference on Security and Cooperation of Europe (CSCE) became the Ad hoc wing of the U.N, which directly mediated the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This body was given this responsibility in 1992 when it was named as the official body to mediate the dispute.60 The Minsk Group, which consisted of 11 OSCE member countries, was given the mandate to organize a peace conference.61 By the time the Minsk group started its work, it was very optimistic that it was going to end the conflict. However, this was not the case. Observers say that the lack of proper tools to tone down the rhetoric between Armenia, and Azerbaijan was the main weakness of the Minsk group.62 In fact, the group has never organized the peace conference and the problem remained unresolved.
From the failure of the Minsk group to solve the conflict, it became clear to the negotiators that they had to include Russians into the group (if they were to reach out to the two opposing sides).63 The Budapest Summit was thereafter launched in 1992 to make changes to the Minsk group. Among the changes discussed was the introduction of co-chairmanship which would bring an end to competitive mediation which was undermining the credibility of the negotiation group.64 Representatives from Russia and Sweden were introduced into the group as co-chairmen.
Regardless of the optimism in introducing Russia to the Budapest summit, it failed to chart a peaceful strategy to the conflict because it focused on bringing competing parties in the mediation table together as opposed to bringing the warring factions together. This was a huge weakness of the summit. In fact, it was surprising to see that the mandate of the summit did not even include the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.65 The later inclusion of Russian mediators in the Summit was regarded a political failure by some observers because the Russian input was earlier disregarded.66 The main belief of the OSCE negotiators was premised on the fact that, if they brought neutral parties to the conflict, they would resolve the conflict in no time. As fate would have it, this strategy proved to be a complete failure. The main workable strategy was therefore to include the input of global centres of power which had the ability and resources to influence Armenia and Azerbaijan opinions.
From the realization that the input of global centres of power would be beneficial in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict, many global entities started to develop interest in the conflict. For example, after the expiration of Finland’s tenure in the Minsk group, France took the mantle (amidst widespread disapproval by Azerbaijan because they believed that France had strong political ties to Armenia). From this leadership crisis, United States (U.S) expressed interest to become a member of the Minsk governance panel (alongside France and Russia). This idea was not opposed by any of the warring parties and since then, the structure of the Minsk group was changed to include three members into Minsk’s leadership structure (France, Russia and the U.S).67 The leadership did not have any rotational structure. Based on the new Minsk structure, a series of recommendations were formulated in 1996 to find lasting peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The 1996 resolution were premised on three main pillars: the recognition of Armenian and Azerbaijan territorial integrities, the determination of Nagorno-Karabakh legal status and the safeguard of peace and security for all the people that lived in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.68
All parties in the negotiation process (excluding Armenia, which vetoed the adoption of the resolutions) supported the above resolutions. The Armenian veto of the resolutions was a blow to the negotiation process because it demonstrated that in Yerevan’s view the principle of self-determination was greater than the principle of territorial integrity. However, all other members of OSCE acknowledged the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and wanted Armenia to respect it. They also believed that the principle of territorial integrity would provide a correct framework to the realization of peace between the warring factions.69 Armenia criticized the entire negotiation process by stating that the OSCE was impeding the realization of a peaceful solution to the conflict.
After the negotiation process failed (because of the failure to appease the Armenian side) the negotiators decided to embark on a step-by-step approach of the conflict.70 Among the recommendations formulated was the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the Azerbaijan districts (according to a 5+1 principle, which encompassed the regions of Agdam, Fizuli, Jebrail, Zangilan, Gubadli, and later Kelbedjar). Azerbaijan was also required to create a five-kilometre buffer zone between its border and Nagorno-Karabakh. This buffer zone was merged with the Lachin corridor and it was to be put under the watch of international peacekeeping forces. The status of Nagorno-Karabakh was to be revisited later.71 Azerbaijan was willing to abide by this regulation and was equally willing to grant Nagorno-Karabakh self-independence with its unique national anthem and an accompanying police unit. Among the recommendations for the peace agreement included the lifting of economic embargo by Azerbaijan and the restoration of diplomatic relations with Armenia. This recommendation was largely welcomed by the Armenians because it had been significantly affected by economic embargoes imposed on it by Azeri allies such as Turkey (which had closed its borders with Armenia in protest of Armenia’s forceful occupation of Azerbaijan’s seven districts).72
Furthermore, Armenia had lost oil deals and concessions, which bypassed it because of its continued occupation of Azerbaijan lands. The missed oil deals and the continued economic opportunities that Armenia suffered was a huge concern for the Armenians because it set them at a disadvantage to Azerbaijan.73 Indeed, Azerbaijan used their oil revenues to equip their military (and this empowerment posed a threat to Armenian security).74 The main belief among analysts was that, if the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict persisted; the Armenians would lose their negotiating power (with time) because they would eventually lose to an empowered Azerbaijan military.75 The Armenians welcomed the recommendations and believed that the secession of Nagorno-Karabakh territory from Azerbaijan would be a ‘plus’ on its side. They also saw that the demand to hold on to Azerbaijan’s seven undisputed districts was slim. However, the willingness of Armenia to strike a deal with Azerbaijan was regarded as an act of treason by Armenians living in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. They later forced their leadership to resign. This was a huge setback to the negotiation process.76
The continual failure of previous peace agreements to foster lasting peace in Nagorno-Karabakh attracted U.S to the conflict.77 In the late 90s, the US engaged the two leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia in a Shuttle diplomacy to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict. By the start of the negotiations, all parties expressed optimism regarding the American involvement in the talks. For instance, the Armenian president expressed a lot of optimism about the negotiation process, while the Azerbaijan president expressed a lot of willingness to make concessions to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
According to the American peace agreement, Armenia would cede six undisputed districts and part of the Megi area (Armenian sovereign territory) to Azerbaijan. The secession of the Megri area was a strategic move for Azerbaijan because it would link Azerbaijan to Turkey and eliminate Armenia’s border with Iran. In return, Azerbaijan expressed the willingness to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh and stop claiming ownership of the Lachin corridor, which would ultimately provide a channel for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh to trade.78 The American peace agreement was termed by many observers as peaceful because it avoided the complexities of returning refugees to the disputed territories or determining the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.79 The American deal offered a peaceful solution to the decade-old conflict and provided the warring factions with a new lease of life. This opportunity failed to suffice.
The U.S peace deal was characterized by many challenges. Criticisms started to emerge because the negotiations were characterized with absolute secrecy and neither the opposition leaders nor the public was informed about it. Notably, the Azerbaijan foreign minister did not know the full details of the negotiations and consequently, there started to be widespread speculations (within the media and the public) about the details of the negotiations.80 The uncertainty regarding the details of the negotiations started to pile pressure on the two presidents to reveal the details of the negotiations. In 1999, the Azerbaijan foreign minister and one presidential advisor resigned from their posts to protest the deal that was going to be sealed by their president in the Istanbul Summit.81 Despite the piling public pressure to reveal the details of the deal and the protests from within his inner circle, the Azerbaijan president did not reveal the details of the negotiations. Instead, he continued to support the deal.
However, tragic events leading to the signing of the Istanbul deal made it impossible to entrench (legally) the American peace deal because in the same year (1999), armed thugs broke into the Armenian parliament and assassinated its prime minister among other parliamentarians who were part of the peace negotiation process. The assassinations dented a huge blow to Armenia and eventually, it changed the political climate in the country with widespread accusations levelled against the president for failing to take precaution. This development led to the weakening of Armenian position in the peace deal. Some people saw the involvement of Russian intelligence in the killings.82 According to a KGB colonel Alexandre Litvinenko, the Armenian assassinations were a desperate attempt by Russians to stop the U.S peace process.83 The peace deal was considered unfavourable to Russians who considered the Southern Caucasus to be their backyard (the involvement of the American negotiators was therefore not openly welcomed by Moscow). Indeed, if the American peace deal was signed, Russia would have lost its leverage on Armenia and Azerbaijan and soon, there would be a foreign policy orientation towards the west. The failure of the American deal led to a new deadlock on the negotiation process.
The breakdown of the American peace deal heralded a period of lull where Armenia and Azerbaijan continued to focus on their domestic issues instead of concentration on the negotiation process. In 2003, the Azerbaijan leadership changed because Ilham Aliyev won the presidential election and succeeded his father in the process. This change of regime strengthened Azerbaijan’s position on the negotiation table.84 By 2004, the negotiation process commenced in Prague (hence the Prague process) where high-level meetings were held between foreign ministers and presidents from the two countries with the aim of finding a political solution to the conflict.85 These negotiations proceeded for three years and ultimately, both sides agreed on how to solve the contentious issues by involving international peacekeepers and recognizing the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. Other contentious issues such as the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, resettlement of refuges and similar issues were also agreed on. In detail, the peace agreement stated that, Azerbaijan would recognize the interim status of Nagorno-Karabakh and a referendum would be held within the disputed land to determine the future status of the region
Azeri refuges were also to be allowed back into Nagorno-Karabakh. In return, Armenia would withdraw its troops from the seven undisputed regions of Azerbaijan, and it would allow for the resettlement of Azeri refugees back into these districts.86 However, like all the previous peace negotiations, the two parties had several disagreements especially regarding the timing of the referendum.
Armenia demanded that the referendum be held with five years but the Azerbaijani administration wanted the referendum to be held within 15 years so that all the refugees can be resettled back into the disputed lands. Armenia’s intention to hold on to Kelbajar and Lachin for an indefinite period (as insurance of the election results) was also regarded as another impediment to the peace process because the Azeri government thought they had conceded enough ground (especially by agreeing to a referendum, which seemed to be in the favour of the Armenians).87 Moreover, through the referendum process, Azerbaijan had to accept the results, regardless of the outcome. The above disagreement brought a new deadlock to the negotiation process because both presidents refused to make any more concessions. This deadlock was witnessed in 2006. Indeed, it marked the failure of the Prague process and true to their fashion; Azerbaijan and Armenia started blaming each other for the failure of the peace talks. The failure of the peace talks started a new wave of speculations in Azerbaijan where most people believed that Armenia was not interested in peace talks because the status-quo was beneficial to them. Since then, the Azerbaijan president changed his language and started to hint that a military option was possible because Azerbaijan would not tolerate another decade of Armenian invasion.
Russian Peace Initiative
In 2008, Russia was engaged in a war with Georgia where Georgia was forced to sign a cease-fire agreement after it lost two of its break-away territories to Russia.88 This war increased the attention of the international community towards South Caucasus. More countries were therefore willing to facilitate the realization of peace within the region. Notable entrants into the politics of the South Caucasus region were Iran and the E.U. Another notable entrant was Turkey, which started to engage Armenia with talks regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.89 Turkey’s position was that, it would resume diplomatic and economic relations with Armenia if it chose to make more concessions regarding the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and the districts of Kelbajar and Lachin. Motivated by the fear of losing initiative in the peace efforts and a poor international image, Moscow decided to involve its administration in the peace efforts again.90 Moscow’s contribution to the peace process can only be understood within its push of encourage both leaders (Azerbaijani and Armenian) to undertake the peace process within the confines of the Minsk negotiation framework. Notably, Moscow failed to impose its economic or political power over the two warring factions to find a lasting solution to the conflict. The failure to apply pressure on the issue saw the Russian peace process end without any substantial outcome.
Discussions and Conclusion
The peace process characterizing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been marred with selfish interest and opposing opinions which have (over the years) stalled the peace process. Albeit the atrocities between the Armenians and the Azeri people were widespread, there was a time both communities helped each other, regardless of their nationalities. However, this neighbourliness quickly died after skirmishes broke out between the two countries and after the cease-fire agreement was signed, both sides of the divide have never taken any responsibility for the crimes committed. In fact, after the cease-fire agreement, no serious efforts have been made to reconcile the two parties. All the war commanders who led the assaults were also never brought to justice for the crimes they committed. Instead, these commanders have been regarded as heroes of their countries and they have been rewarded with political positions.91
Since then, both sides have developed deep resentments towards each other. Both parties have also held on to memories of war (like the Armenian attack in the town of Khojali, which left more than 600 people killed, and the resignation of the Baku government). The Khojali massacre is only one such example, because there were other indiscriminate aerial bombings in Xankhedi which occurred in 1992, thereby leading to more division between Armenian and Azerbaijan. The wars brought a lot of propaganda in state media. For example, Azerbaijan media dehumanized Armenians, thereby entrenching the hatred that the Azeri people had on Armenians. The same hatred was reported in Armenia because after the Xankhedi bombings (which led to the loss of more than 1000 lives), Armenians held deep resentments towards the Azeri people.92
By the end of the war, the number of victims increased considerably especially after the skirmishes turned into an all-out war where all the parties used weapons to fight each other. From 1992 to 1993, the Armenian forces were responsible for most of the atrocities committed because they staged a strong assault against their enemies (which saw them occupy the seven undisputed territories of Azerbaijan). By the start of the conflict, about 400 Armenians fled from Baku but by the end of the war, about 1,000,000 Azeris were displaced from their lands.93 It is correct to say that the human death toll and displacement within both groups have created a culture of victimization for both aggrieved parties. Clearly, Nagorno-Karabakh is a source of pride for both countries and even after the cease-fire agreement, both Armenians and Azeris still see the region as part of their territory, although it does not have any economic or geo-political importance.
Different principles and models have been proposed by international peace negotiators as possible frameworks for the realization of peace but none of these frameworks have been adopted. The existence of insurmountable hurdles to the peace process has created deadlocks, which have hampered peace efforts to end the conflict. Through the analysis of the peace process, it is correct to say that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts of Lachin and Keljabar have greatly impeded the peace talks. This chapter steps closer to our understanding of the research question, which is to identify what impedes the process of finding a lasting solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Indeed, after analyzing all the evidences gathered in this study, this paper proposes that legal obstacles, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, the refugee question, the delayed peace deals and the influence of external players informs the main impediments of the peace process.
The legal concepts of self-determination and territorial integrity have surfaced as important legal problems for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.94 These legal jargons have complicated the realization of lasting peace for the two countries because Azerbaijan holds on to the principle of territorial integrity, while Armenia stands by the principle of self-determination. In detail, Armenia believes that the Armenian majority which lives in Nagorno-Karabakh should be given the main ‘say’ regarding the future status of the region. Divergent opinions in the international community regarding the principles of self-determination and territorial integrity have further worsened the conflict. Azerbaijanis believe that the principle of self-determination does not necessarily imply the right to secede. According to Azerbaijan, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be honoured within the context of respecting the country’s territorial integrity. In Azerbaijan’s view, Armenians want to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh with the aim of creating a wider Armenian territory in South Caucasus.
Referring to the Soviet law of secession, Azerbaijan demands that Armenia should follow the same laws that allowed for its secession from the Soviet Union. Comparatively, Armenia has repeatedly quoted article three of USSR law, which stated that Nagorno-Karabakh had the right to secede through a referendum.95 However, Azerbaijanis have greatly contested this law and asserted that the law was specifically formulated to guide only secession claims of Soviet Republics from the former Soviet Union. They also claim that this law does not guide any secession demands for territories to secede from the Soviet Republics (like Azerbaijan).96 Azerbaijan has also referred to Soviet law 1977 which states that Soviet territories should not be changed without their consent.97 Azerbaijan has also not hesitated to refer to the Supreme council of USSR decision of 1988 which declared that Nagorno-Karabakh should remain within Azerbaijan territory.98 Similarly, Baku has not hesitated to refer to Article two of the U.N charter which claims that, countries should not infringe on the territorial integrity of other states.99 Staging of an illegal referendum in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh is therefore regarded as an encroachment of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and according to the Azerbaijan administration, Armenian forces are wrong in this regard. Currently, Azerbaijan considers itself to be under Armenian aggression and it has consistently quoted Article 51 of the U.N which allows for the use of force to safeguard its territorial integrity.100
Armenian scholars also claim that Nagorno-Karabakh had never been under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan in the first place. They have quoted excerpts from articles in the League of Nations which never recognized Azerbaijan’s jurisdiction over Nagorno-Karabakh. In their view, it is correct for Armenians living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region to demand independence from Azerbaijan because the region was never in their jurisdiction in the first place.101
The Karabakh Armenian’s right to independence is motivated by its ability to establish diplomatic ties with other countries, the presence of a permanent population and the presence of a clearly defined territory. Azerbaijanis have heavily contested the way Armenians want to impose self rule because they have pointed out that violence is an unacceptable way of demanding for secession. They also claim that, although Armenians constitute the majority population in Nagorno-Karabakh; this numerical dominance does not essentially constitute the principle of self-determination. Legal citations have also been made to support Azerbaijan’s position. For example, Azerbaijan scholars have referred to James Crawford assertion that partial (or full) secession should not be done as a privilege of those demanding independence but rather, by the discretion of the state concerned.102 The U.N argues that calls for secession should not infringe on national unity or the territorial integrity of the affected nations.103 These legal arguments have prevented the two nations from cutting a compromise over Nagorno-Karabakh.
For a long time, the status of Nagorno-Karabakh has been a stumbling block for the peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. As observed in earlier sections of this study, Armenia and Azerbaijan have staked different interests on the disputed regions. It is therefore the belief of many scholars and analysts that the Nagorno-Karabakh status will be the solution to the entire conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan (because it set-off the conflict in the first place).104 However, Azerbaijan does not agree with these sentiments and claims that the solution to the conflict will only be realized when Armenian forces withdraw from the seven undisputed territories and allow Azeri refugees to settle back into Nagorno-Karabakh. Furthermore, Azerbaijan does not condone any status over Nagorno-Karabakh which would ultimately undermine its territorial integrity.105
Over the years, several options have been advanced by Minsk group to solve the conflict but as was seen from the analysis of previous negotiations; none of the options have been completely accepted by the warring factions. The public opinion among the Azeri people has also been firmly opposed against the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh and the entrenchment of a new constitution which would favour Armenians living in the disputed land.106 The Azerbaijan public also believes that Nagorno-Karabakh is a puppet state which is protected by Armenian forces so that they can increase their dominance in the region. Despite these claims, the Azerbaijan leadership has still expressed willingness to grant Nagorno-Karabakh the highest possible autonomy.107
Armenians believe that the reunification of Karabakh with Azerbaijan is not an option because they have had a long history of discrimination and neglect by the Azerbaijan forces. They are therefore unwilling to (once again) live under Azerbaijan leadership (despite the continuous guarantees of security and equality). The Karabakh-Armenians therefore believe that if they develop an affiliation to Armenia, they would avoid the constitutional complications that may arise if they are under Azerbaijan leadership. International developments which have seen Kosovo and South Sudanese secede in recent years have increased the pursuit for Nagorno-Karabakh secession and therefore the Armenians see no other alternative to the conflict but to secede. It is however crucial to highlight the contribution of mediators in the conflict because they have been able to break the deadlock regarding the status of Nagorno-Karabakh especially by proposing the introduction of a referendum which determines the future of the region. As seen from the negotiation process, both warring factions have been able to agree to this resolution.108
The current “no-win, no-loss” situation is not very beneficial to the negotiation process because the lull in negotiations potentially poses a threat of either (or both) parties widening their stance on the issue. Moreover, there is a possibility of a generational hate progress which is strongly harboured by young Armenians living in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and who have no interaction with Azerbaijanis at all. There is a wide sense of acknowledgement among politicians that every passing year complicates the realization of a peace deal between the warring factions.109 Therefore, there is a strong need to ensure that a peaceful solution is found soon. However, there is still a big gap in the realization of a lasting solution because even if we narrow on the modalities of how to undertake a referendum, its success still lies on ironing the differences (modalities) on how the process should be undertaken. The absence of a consensus on how to undertake the referendum dents the prospect of having a referendum in the new future and ultimately, the prospects of finding a peaceful solution to the conflict soon.
The seven occupied districts of Azerbaijan have been a great obstacle to the realization of lasting peace for Armenia and Azerbaijan. The continued occupation of the seven undisputed districts by Armenia has been justified by the Armenian forces as a ‘necessary evil’ to protect Nagorno-Karabakh because they consider it a buffer zone between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh.110 Armenia accepts that the seven districts are part of Azerbaijan. As observed in earlier sections of this report, Azerbaijan has demanded the liberation of the seven districts and Armenia has expressed the willingness to liberate five of these districts in exchange for the independence, political stability and military empowerment of Nagorno-Karabakh. Therefore, Armenia continues to use the seven occupied districts as a bargaining chip in the negotiation process.
The future of Kelbajar and Lachin also remain uncertain because Armenia continues to hold on to these territories because of their strategic importance in connecting Nagorno-Karabakh and Yerevan. The control of Lachin district is of special strategic importance to Armenia because it facilitates the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh as it ensures that it does not depend on Azerbaijan for contact with the outside world. Indeed, in the 1991/1992 war (when Lachin was under the control of Azerbaijan), Armenia had no physical border with Karabakh and therefore, it had to use warplanes to provide military support to Karabakh Armenians. Politicians in Armenia perceive the control of Lachin to be a critical bargaining tool because if they allow it to slide back into the control of Azerbaijan, it would mark the start to the loss of all military gains made in the Nagorno-Karabakh war111.
Like Lachin, Kelbajara district is another contentious territory that Armenia refuses to let go. The region is of strategic geographic importance to Armenia because it provides an ideal location for launching military attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh and Lachin. If Armenia loses control of this region and withdraws its 5,000 strong army from the region, it will become increasingly vulnerable to Azerbaijan attacks and it may require an additional 20,000 soldiers to protect itself in this regard.112 The Keljabara district is also of high importance to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh because it is the major source of water. It is estimated that 85% of the total water used in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh originates from Keljabara district.113
The continued occupation of Lachin and Keljabara district by Armenians has become a constant headache for Azerbaijan negotiators because they perceive these regions to be firmly tucked within Azerbaijan territory. Their greatest outrage is that, Armenians have never lived in these regions and therefore, they do not understand why Armenia still occupies them. In exchange for Armenian withdrawal of its troops from the disputed regions, Azerbaijan has assured Armenia that it will provide security to all Armenians who settled in the region after the war. In 2006, Armenia resolved to withdraw its troops from Keljabara in exchange for the recognition that Nagorno-Karabakh is an independent state but Azerbaijan rejected this deal after protesting that it would mean the acknowledgement of Nagorno-Karabakh independence and the loss of Lachin district.114
The failure to arrive at a consensus for the occupied districts has therefore been a thorn in the flesh of both sides of the negotiating table. Notably, Armenia continues to use the seven occupied districts of Azerbaijan as bargain chips to guarantee the security of Nagorno-Karabakh and its independence. Comparatively, Azerbaijan continues to refer to UN Security Council resolutions to demand the immediate withdrawal of Armenian troops from its territories because in its wisdom, the territories that Armenia continues to occupy are rightfully belongs to it.
The Refugee Question
Similar to many other ethnic conflicts, the war between the Azeri people and Armenians led to the forceful migration of thousands of people. Throughout the negotiation process, Azerbaijan has always demanded the resettlement of refugees and interestingly, Armenia has never opposed this demand. Armenia and Azerbaijan have both acknowledged that the resettlement of refugees is a key step towards realizing a lasting peace in the conflict and both parties have always expressed their willingness to compromise in this regard. Ironically, both countries have never agreed to any peace deal formulated by Minsk regarding the resettlement of refugees. The main stumbling block to solving the refugee issue has been Armenian’s refusal to allow for the resettlement of Azeri refugees into Nagorno-Karabakh or the seven undisputed territories. Instead, Armenia proposes that the refugees should only be returned to five undisputed territories (but after the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and the districts of Lachin and Keljabara have been determined).115
Armenia holds on to this demand because it believes that the security of Nagorno-Karabakh could eventually be compromised by the accommodation of Azeri refugees in the disputed lands (especially considering there is a lot of mistrust between the two communities). In the same breadth, Armenia fears that ethnic violence in Nagorno-Karabakh region could be used by Azerbaijan forces as an excuse to intervene (militarily) in the region. Still, Azerbaijan refers to the UN Security Council resolutions (853 and 874) to demand the reinstatement of Azeri refugees to their original lands, failure to which, Armenia would be deemed to be contravening international law.116 Moreover, Azerbaijan considers the construction of settlement structures over the disputed territories as illegal because it was excluded from the political makeup of Nagorno-Karabakh (an issue it considers of great misgiving). The disagreement over the refugee question therefore stands as a strong stumbling block for the realization of peace within the wider Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Delaying Peace Deal
One strategy used by Armenia and Azerbaijan to get what they want is to delay the peace deal for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Notably, both presidents (or Armenia and Azerbaijan) have failed to make peace concession which would compromise their candidacy, popularity or even lead to their resignation. Interestingly, Armenia and Azerbaijan both believe that by delaying the peace process, they stand to benefit from delayed time.117 Armenia believes that by doing so, they improve their negotiating position by strengthening the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. For example, Nagorno-Karabakh is slowly building state institutions of governance and therefore, when the peace negotiations start again, it will be in a better position to argue its structural strength for self-governance. It is therefore Armenia’s strong belief that the longer Nagorno-Karabakh remains independent, the harder it will be for Azerbaijan to stake claim over it (or even institute a military intervention in the region).118
Based on the incoming flow of oil and gas money, Azerbaijan also believes that delaying the peace agreement is a step towards improving its military capabilities and economic positions in anticipation of a confrontation with Armenia.119 Indeed, after signing the 1994 peace deal, Azerbaijan has continued to grow its Gross Domestic product (GDP) geometrically and consequently empowered its military through more budget allocations aimed at procuring powerful military equipment. The increase in military budget allocation can be witnessed from the dramatic increase in military budget allocation from only $133 million (in 1999) to more than four billion dollars in 2012.120 Comparatively, the state budget for Armenia is only slightly higher than two billion dollars. Apart from the military budget increase (which threatens Armenia’s military position), Azerbaijan has been able to foster geo-political partnerships with other countries such as Georgia and Turkey through oil concessions. Armenia has been increasingly isolated in this regard. The Baku leadership believes that from its growing economic dominance in the region, it will be able to attract western interest and later, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be solved in its favour.
The political elites in Armenia and Azerbaijan however hold the view that, with every passing year, there is a missed opportunity for both nations to realize peace (because the political and economic environment is changing in both countries). For example, the hateful propaganda which has entrenched itself in the school and education systems of both countries have further divided new generations of Armenians and Azerbaijani, thereby created deep intolerance of each other.121 Ironically, the disputed regions are not of any economic or geo-political importance for any of the opposing sides, yet both countries see the region as a “life and death issue” (therefore, they are not willing to compromise on it). These deeply entrenched negative sentiments (which continue to grow by the years) have further dampened the spirit of negotiators who are becoming more sceptical about the prospects of finding a peaceful solution to the conflict.
External Players in the Conflict
The role of external players in the Nagorno-Karabakh war has been very profound. For example, before the fall of the Soviet Union, the influence of Moscow in the dispute was unrivalled. However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan and Armenia have both adopted different foreign policies which suit them. Indeed, the withdrawal of Russian influence in the South Caucasus region after the dissolution of the USSR has created a power vacuum which has attracted other regional players like the U.S. More so, the strategic geo-political location of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus region has attracted the influence of Iran, Turkey, E.U and China to the ongoing conflict. The influence of China in the ongoing conflict emanates from the strategic geographical position that Armenia and Azerbaijan offer as transport routes into central Asia.122 E.U’s input in the conflict emanates from its perception of Armenia and Azerbaijan as strategic routes for transport into Europe.123 Apart from the strategic location of Azerbaijan, the South Caucasus country enjoys vast resources of oil and gas and the infrastructural capability to facilitate the transportation of Central Asian oil into Europe. The influence and increased involvement of diplomatic centres of power in the Nagorno-Karabakh war can therefore be directly attributed to the above factors.
The increased involvement of international players in the conflict is however incomparable to the influence that Turkey, Russia and the U.S wield in the conflict. However, these three players have tilted the negotiation balance to suit their political interest in the region. In other words, the input of Turkey, Russia and the U.S has been aimed at influencing the existing foreign policies of Armenia and Azerbaijan to their favour. Unfortunately, part of the involvement of these dominant powers has proved to be an obstacle to the realization of a peaceful solution to the conflict as opposed to a facilitator of the same objective. To understand the influence of these international powers in the conflict, it is important to understand the influence and interest of every country in detail
Russia’s influence in the Nagorno-Karabakh war is not only perceived by Armenia and Azerbaijan to be limited to the settlement of the conflict but also in igniting the violence between the different ethnicities involved. Politicians in Moscow have consistently denied these accusations but evidence shows that the conflict started with the fall of the Soviet Union and therefore it was almost inevitable for Russian forces to be involved in the conflict.124 When the conflict started, experts pointed out that Russia played a huge role in arming the countries to fight each another. This support was especially witnessed from Rogue Russian forces who sold weapons to both countries. Besides the rogue military personnel, Moscow also used its military power to maintain dominance over the South Caucasus. Many historians believe that Russia’s intention to amour the two groups were to weaken each another.125 The final strategy would thereafter be to recoup both regions back into Russian territory.
The Russian influence in the conflict was however initially skewed towards supporting Azerbaijan which had a pro-Russian president. Russia’s intention (with Azerbaijan) was therefore to maintain the status quo. Russia did so to maintain strong political, social and economic ties with Azerbaijan so that it would ultimately join the Commonwealth of Independent States (an entity developed by Moscow to unite countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union).126 However, Azerbaijan’s pro-Russian president A. Mutalibov was weakened and failed to maintain power (or even stand up for the policies he believed). Consequently, in the early 90s, Azerbaijan held strong resentments against Russia and people wanted absolute independence from it. The economic and political ties that Azerbaijan’s president tried to establish with Moscow were therefore met with strong opposition and demonstrations. The continued reluctance of Azerbaijan’s president to heed to the wishes of his people led to the strengthening of the opposition which ultimately toppled his regime.127 The rise to power of Abulfez Elchibey who did not support Russian influence in Azerbaijan quickly changed Russia’s inclination to Azerbaijan.
Almost vengefully, Russia switched its allegiance to Armenia and as if to teach Azerbaijan a lesson, it started to empower Armenia militarily. Initially, Armenia’s acceptance of Russian support was not smooth because nationalist sentiments were strong in the country at that time. In fact, Armenia was among the first countries to demand independence from Russia. In addition, Armenia wanted to maintain close relations with Turkey and therefore it did not shy away from criticizing Russia’s century-long occupation of Armenia. Nonetheless, Turkey failed to grab the opportunity to warm up to Armenia’s advances and soon Yerevan changed its allegiance to Russia.128 Armenia’s realization that without Russia’s support, it would lose the Nagorno-Karabakh war prompted it to join the CIS voluntarily. In 1992, Russian 366th motorized infantry regiment entirely fought on the side of Armenians and played key role in occupying Khojali city where hundreds of innocent people were massacred.129 Similarly, In August 1993, about 40 tanks driven by Russian soldiers participated in Armenian attack against Azerbaijanis.130 Moscow did not admit to this involvement (in the Nagorno-Karabakh war) because it claimed that it had lost control over the unit that participated in the battle.
Russia’s support to Armenia stretched far beyond the conflict to the post-treaty period. Investigations by the Russian Defence committee of the State claimed that Russia had given Armenia about one billion dollars worth of military equipment without demanding any compensation.131 Recent reports showed that Russia continues to support Armenia. Estimates revealed in 2008 showed that Russia gave Armenia close to $800 million worth of military equipment.132 Russian military bases are also in Armenia and most telecommunication, banking and energy sectors in Armenia are controlled by the Russians.133 Besides strong military and economic ties, Moscow has continually supported Yerevan on diplomatic level and has had zero tolerance towards any independent initiative of Armenian leadership. According to Alexandre Litvinenko, Russian intelligence forces organized terrorist attack against Armenian parliament in 1999 where the speaker of the parliament, prime minister and six MPs were killed. The killing of the key Armenian politicians two weeks before the signing of the American peace deal on Nagorno-Karabakh at the OSCE summit stalled the peace process.134
Albeit Moscow’s “willingness” to help the Azerbaijan and Armenia find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh war, Russia has failed to mid-wife a peaceful solution to the entire conflict. From this failure, there is a growing international understanding that Russia does not intend to see a peaceful solution to the conflict.135 Indeed, Russia gains from the Nagorno-Karabakh war because it provides an opportunity to perpetrate its foreign policies in the region and prevent the influence of other players in the South Caucasus region. For example, recent attempts aimed at unifying the two warring factions (in 2008) was seen as an effort by Russians to save face after the Georgian war. The realization of peace in Nagorno-Karabakh would therefore weaken Russia’s dominance in the conflict and render the military alliance it shares with Armenia completely useless. Russia does not intend to allow this outcome and therefore it has strived to establish disorder to maintain its dominance in South Caucasus.
Historically, the U.S has considered the North and South Caucasus region as a Russian dominated region and therefore it has always kept away from its politics. The main concern for the U.S after the collapse of the Soviet Union was non-proliferation of nuclear weapons rather than the regional conflicts.136 Based on the Russian dominance in the South Caucasus region, Washington has since left most of the conflicts in the region to Moscow’s intervention.
However, as a result of activity of the strong Armenian lobby, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict drew the US attention. In the early 90s the US Congress adopted section 907(a) of Freedom Support Act which barred Azerbaijan from receiving direct US aid.137 According to section 907(a), unless Azerbaijan ends the blockade of Armenia, the US government was not allowed to provide any kind of support to it. Armenia, which had occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and seven undisputed territories of Azerbaijan and had open borders with Georgia and Iran which makes the term “embargo” irrelevant, was clearly defined by the US Congress as a victim.138 According to MacFarlane, the section 907(a) did not meet the USA national interests and only served the objectives of Armenian lobby groups.139 The adoption of the section 907(a) and American biased policy proved its indifference towards Nagorno-Karabakh problem.
However, since the mid of 1990s the American policy in South Caucasus has dramatically changed: from the policy of indifference to the active involvement. There are several factors which led to changes in the US foreign policy and convinced the American administration to step up its engagement in south Caucasus. First, after the retake of Grozny in 1996 by Chechen fighters it became clear in Washington that Russia was incapable of restoring order in its own territory, let alone the sphere of its influence, and good relations with decaying “empire” was no more vital foreign policy objective.140 Secondly, American oil lobby convinced the Congress and the Administration to make decisive steps to take a leading role in the region. American oil companies had 40% stake in Azerbaijani “Contract of Century” and planned to invest billions of dollars into oil industry of the Caspian Sea which believed to have 200 billion barrels of oil reserves.141 The region was perceived as an additional source of energy which would decrease the dependence of Western countries on the Gulf States and as an alternative transport route for the bringing of Central Asian oil and gas products into European markets bypassing Russia and Iran. Hence, it became clear that any instability in the region could have put American private investments into jeopardy and impeded the further expansion of American companies in the region. Thirdly, after the 9/11 attacks the US government needed help in its war against terrorists, which was provided by Azerbaijan and Georgia. Both these countries send their troops to Afghanistan and Iraq and exchanged intelligence with the US secret services. Such cooperation has moved the relations among the countries into new level and strengthened the US interest in the region.142
Thus, the USA has become an active player in the South Caucasus and has stepped up its involvement in the peaceful resolution of the conflict. In Strobe Talbott’s words (deputy secretary of the State Department) the South Caucasus has become strategically vital region and any developments there, profoundly matters to the US.143 In an attempt to make breakthrough in negotiation process, the USA became the permanent co-chair of Minsk Group in 1997 and organized high level talks between the leaders of conflicting parties. However, none of the American initiatives succeeded to bring longstanding peace in the region. US’s swap deal, which was agreed to be signed at OSCE Istanbul Summit in 1999, failed as the result of terrorist attack in Armenian parliament. Further American attempts to bring conflicting parties together did not have desired outcome as neither of the sides were ready to make compromises on the Nagorno-Karabakh’s status.144
The failure of American initiatives has only convinced the State Department that the ultimate peace in the region could be achieved through cooperation among regional and global players. The 2008 war in Georgia has only strengthened this belief and made it clear that the interests of regional players could not be ignored in settling post-Soviet conflicts. However, Russian zero-sum mentality has continually rejected the Western win-win theory145 and has created the atmosphere of distrust and suspicion which has only impeded the peace process.
Since the start of the Nagorno-Karabakh war, Turkey’s involvement has largely been supportive of Azerbaijan and unlike the U.S, Turkey perceives Azerbaijan to be the victim of Armenian aggression.146 After Armenia occupied the seven undisputed districts of Azerbaijan, Turkey changed its diplomatic relations with Armenia and closed its borders to protest the move.147 However, the Nagorno-Karabakh war was not the start of strained relationships between Armenia and Turkey. Soon after independence, Armenia demanded that Turkey recognizes the 1915 genocide and return the Armenian territories which seceded to Turkey according to the Treaty of Kars.148 These demands were the first strokes that severed Turkey-Armenian relationships. In fact, the relationship between Armenia and Turkey were so bad that both countries almost went to war in 1993.
Based on the history of Turkey and Armenia, it can therefore be said that the normalization of their relationship has been directly tied to the recognition of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, the recognition of the 1915 genocide, the return of the seven undisputed Azerbaijan districts and the recognition of Kars treaty (which determined the border between Armenia and Turkey). The diplomatic relations between Yerevan and Turkey have been strained as the above issues have remained unresolved. Since Turkey has never changed its support for Azerbaijan, Armenia rejected its involvement in the negations of Nagorno-Karabakh because it considered Turkey a partisan entity.
After the 2008 Georgia war, Turkey changed its foreign policy towards Armenia by seeking to make amends with its former foe. There are several developments that led to this change of policy. First, the Georgian war threatened Turkey’s economic well-being in the South Caucasus region. Notably, as the result of the war the operation of three main regional pipelines Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC), Baku-Tbilis-Erzurum (BTE) and Baku-Supsa were suspended which left Turkey with the shortage of oil.149 Moreover, the war scared off the vital investments into new prospective regional projects such as TGI, Nabucco, Transcaspian pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway which was unacceptable for Turkey and its Western allies. Such economic fears gave Turkey the realization that instability in the South Caucasus region could significantly be problematic for its economic wellbeing. A comparison of the 2008 Georgian was therefore drawn with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Turkey started to believe that an escalation of the conflict could bring more economic instability than the Georgian war. It was therefore necessary to engage Armenia in this regard and prevent an escalation of conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Secondly, the western influence in the Nagorno-Karabakh war prompted Turkey to warm up to Armenia because Turkey’s western allies believe that if Turkey restores its diplomatic ties with Armenia, the latter would seize to depend economically on Russia.150 The weakening of Russian influence in Armenia’s public life would therefore provide an opportunity for Turkey and its western allies to find a peaceful solution to the conflict (considering their view of Russia as an impediment to the peace process). Consequently, western allies and Turkey can start the process of integrating Armenia and Azerbaijan into western institutions and completely weaken the Russian clout in the region.
Thirdly, Turkey’s initiative to warm up to Armenia relations was initiated by the Turkish Prime Minister R. Erdogan who aspired to increase Turkey’s dominance in the South Caucasus region and the wider Middle East. It was therefore in Turkish interest to engage Armenia in finding a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh war so that it would increase its dominance as a peacemaker in the wider South Caucasus region and the Middle East. Turkey’s relation with Armenia has since been warm (as was seen from the 2008 attendance of Turkish president, A. Gul, to Yerevan). This visit was among the highest level of diplomatic relations that Turkey initiated with Armenia since its long international diplomatic strain with Yerevan.151 This visit precipitated another visit where ministers from the two countries met and signed the “The Protocol on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Armenia” and “The Protocol on Development of Bilateral Relation” where both countries agreed that they will not interfere with each other’s internal affairs, territorial integrity or sovereignty.152
Naturally, the cosy relations that Turkey initiated with Armenia strained Azerbaijan’s relationship with Turkey. Azerbaijan felt specially betrayed because Turkey decided not to peg the issue of opening its border with Armenia on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In its defence, Turkey claimed that it warmed up to Armenia because it wanted to develop strong political and economic ties with Armenia as a tool to influence Armenia to sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.153 However, this claim was quickly dismissed by Azerbaijan. This rejection reverberated in Turkey where opposition groups and Azerbaijan lobby groups protested Turkey’s move to warm up to Armenia by condemning the policies of Turkey’s president and his party.154 As an act of protest, Azerbaijan decided to renegotiate oil prices with Turkey and freeze all negotiations regarding the development of energy projects in Turkey. Under heavy public criticism, the Turkish governments decided to review its protocols with Armenia.
This review was a setback to the process of finding a lasting solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict. Turkey is in a dilemma because it is torn between the prospects of having a new regional ally and losing the support of another regional partner. Turkey’s choice in the dilemma is perceived by analysts to be natural because it would automatically tilt its allegiance to Baku because of its strategic relations. The “hard bargain” approach practiced by Azerbaijan has frozen Turkey’s intervention in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This is another missed opportunity in the process of finding a lasting solution to the conflict.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains an unstable dispute because of the “no-war, no peace” status and the yearly change of the economic and political environment in the two countries. This paper shows that Azerbaijan continues to strengthen its military through its continuous flow of oil money and increasingly, people are developing an attitude implying the desire for revenge over Armenia. Armenia remains under the illusion that will be no war in the region because Azerbaijan would not threaten it so long as it enjoys Russian support. However, the refusal by both parties to cede ground in the negotiation process increases the fear that military intervention maybe sought as the last recourse for both parties.
The failure of both parties to come to a peaceful resolution to the conflict has been the main centre of discussion for this paper and based on the analysis of recent reports and political developments, this paper suggests that the impediment to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh war lies in three factors. These factors are characterized by the input of external players, the changing economic and political environment in both countries and continued distrust and hatred among both parties involved.
Nonetheless, this paper proposes that the strongest impediment to the realization of a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh war is the involvement of global power centres in the conflict and the desire for Russia to prevent the realization of a peaceful solution to the conflict. Indeed, this paper shows that a peaceful solution was almost realized through the U.S intervention but because of the fear to lose its regional dominance, Russia jeopardized the entire peace process. Equally, Russia’s continued bi-partisan support of the conflict has made the status-quo bearable for Armenia as it perceives its position to be strong even as Azerbaijan continues to empower itself militarily. Armenia therefore considers Azerbaijan’s strengthened economic and military might as no threat because it enjoys the support of key regional power. The status quo has therefore been bearable for Armenia and it has failed to compromise with Azerbaijan in this regard. Azerbaijan also believes that its continued economic empowerment will work to its advantage because it will tilt the allegiance of global powers towards it.
Whether this belief will come to suffice is a matter of public debate but this paper demonstrates that the changing economic and political environments in both nations are equally an impediment to the realization of peace because both warring factions hope to gain from the continuation of the conflict. The influence of global powers in the conflict is therefore the main bait for both countries because their hard-line stands are directly based on the support (or lack of it) from the global powers. The hatred and mistrust that the Azeri people share towards Armenians (and the hatred that Armenia harbours towards the Azeri people) only exacerbates the hard-line positions because both groups are more unwilling to strike a compromise now than ever before. It is therefore harder to find public support from either of the two nationalities even if their leaders come to some form of agreement (because at the grass-root level, both groups are unwilling to accommodate one another). This paper therefore suggests that the growing distrust and hatred among both groups only compounds the existing impediments to the realization of peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Finally, this paper proposes that Armenia and Azerbaijan are unlikely to accommodate one another without the application of external pressure from any of the global powers involved. Therefore, a peaceful solution to the conflict lies in the understanding and unity of global powers in the conflict because as things stand, Russia, U.S and Turkey inform the unwillingness of the two countries to compromise.
Aslanli, Araz, Karabakh Problem: History, Essence and Solution Process, (Baku: Nurlar, 2009).
Altstadt, Audrey L., The Azerbaijani Turks: Power and Identity Under Russian Rule (Stanford: Hoover Press, 1992).
Abbasov ,Ali, The Karabakh conflict Variants of settlement: Concepts and reality (Yerevan: Noyan Tapan, 2005).
Avshar, Ferhat, Schwarzer Garten im Land des ewigen Feuers: Entstehungsgeschichte und Genese des Karabach-Konflikts, (Darmstadt: Manzara Verlag, 2006).
Auch, Eva-Maria, “Ewiges Feuer” in Aserbaidschan ein Land zwischen Perestrojka, Bürgerkrieg und Unabhängigkeit (Köln: Bundesinstitut für Ostwissenschaftliche und Internationale Studien, 1992).
Blank, Stephen,’Instability in the Caucasus: Old trends, New Traits’, Jane’s Intelligence Review, (1998).
Cornell, Svante E, ‘The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict’, Report No. 46, (Department of East European Studies, Uppsala University, 1999).
Cornell, Svante E., Azerbaijan Since Independence, (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2010).
Croissant, Michael, The Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: Causes and Implications (London: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998).
Coene, Frederik, The Caucasus – An Introduction (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2009).
De Wall Thomas, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War, (New York: New York University, 2003).
Feldbrugge, Ferdinand J., Russian Law: The End of the Soviet System and the Role of Law (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1993).
Goltz, Thomas, Azerbaijan Diary: A Rogue Reporter’s Adventures in an Oil-Rich, War-Torn, Post-Soviet Republic (New-York: M.E. Sharpe, 1998).
Goldenberg, Suzanne, Pride of Small Nations: The Caucasus and Post-Soviet Disorder (London: Zed Books, 1994).
Hale, William M., Turkish Foreign Policy, 1774-2000 (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2002).
Krüger, Heiko, The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: A Legal Analysis (New York: Springer, 2010).
Kramer, Mark, “The Collapse of East European Communism and the Repercussions within the Soviet Union (Part 1).” Journal of Cold War Studies, 5:4 (2003).
Libaridian, Gerard J., The Karabagh file: documents and facts on the region of Mountainous Karabagh, 1918-1988 (Lansing: Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research & Documentation, 1988).
Leeuw, Charles van der, Azerbaijan: A Quest for Identity (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000).
Mammadov, Ilgar & Musayev, Tofig, Armyano-Azerbaycanskiy konflikt (Baku: Grif & K, 2006).
Miller, Nocholas W., ‘Nagorno Karabakh: A War without Peace’, in Stopping Wars and Making Peace: Studies in International Intervention, ed. by Kristen Eichensehr (Leiden: Koniklijke Brill, 2009).
MacFarlane, Neil, Humanitarian Action and Politics: The Case of Nagorno-Karabakh, Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies, Occasional Paper no. 25 (1997).
Nanay, Julia, ‘The US in the Caspian: The Divergence of Political and Commercial Interests’, Middle East Policy, 6.2 (1998).
Portier, Tim, Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, A legal appraisal, (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 2001).
Phillips, David L., Diplomatic History: The Turkey-Armenian protocols (New-York: Columbia University Press, 2012).
Rau, Johannes, Der Berg-Karabach-Konflikt zwischen Armenien und Aserbaidschan, (Berlin: Koster, 2007).
Shavrov, Nikolay, Novaya Ugroza Russkomu Delu v Zakavkazye, (Moscow: Kniga po Trebovaniyu, 2011).
Tchilingirian, Hratch, “Nagorno-Karabagh: Transition and the Elite”, Central Asian Survey, 18.4 (1999).
Wheatley, Steven, Democracy, Minorities and International Law (Cambridge: University Press, 2005).
Yunus, Arif, Karabakh: Past and Present (Baku: Turan Information Agency, 2005).
Yazdani, Omid, Geteiltes Aserbaidschan: Blick auf ein bedrohtes Volk, (Berlin: Das Arabische Buch, 1993).
Zurcher, Christoph, The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict, and Nationhood in the Caucasus (New York: NYU Press, 2007).
Zourabian, Levon, ‘The Nagorno-Karabakh settlement revisited: is peace achievable?’, Demokratizatsiya, 14.2 (2006).
Ziyadov, Taleh, ‘Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations: through the prism of a multi-issue bargaining model’, International Negotiations, 15.1 (2010).
Nagorno-Karabakh: A Plan for Peace – International Crisis Group, Europe Report N°167 (2005).
Online Resources and Databases
Turkmenchay Treaty. Web.
Margarita Tadevosyan, ‘Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: War, Humanitarian Challenge and Peacekeeping’. Web.
Genocide and Deportation of Azerbaijanis, Web.
Rexane Dehdashti-Rasmussen, The Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh: Causes, the Status of Negotiations, and Prospects, Web.
1996 Lisbon Summit, Web.
Grigor Hayrapetyan, ‘Regional and International Trade of Armenia’. Web.
Nagorno-Karabakh: The Humanitarian Tragedy that the World Forgot, Web.
Ermina Van Hoye, The OSCE in the Caucasus: Long-Standing Mediation for Long-Term Resolutions. Web.
Shooting of the Armenian Parliament Was Organized By Russian Special Services, Web.
Elxan Mehtiyev, ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan Prague Process: Road Map to Peace or Stalemate for Uncertainty?’ Web.
Andrew Kramer, Peace Plan Offers Russia a Rationale to Advance. Web.
Gulshan Pashayeva, The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Aftermath of the Russian-Georgian War. Web.
Charter of The UN. Web.
Charter of the UN, Chapter VII. Web.
Charter of the UN, Chapter I. Web.
Elmar Mammadyarov, Towards peace in the Nagorny Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Web.
Jamil Islamov, Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in Azerbaijan’s Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, and Opinion-Policy Linkage on the Conflict, Web.
Ilham Aliyev gave an interview to “Euronews” TV Channel in Brussels. Web.
Thomas de Waal, The Karabakh trap: Dangers and dilemmas of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, Web.
Artak Ayunts, Return and its alternatives: perspectives from Armenia. Web.
Tim Potier Nagorno-Karabakh: Ever Closer to a Settlement, Step-by-Step, Web.
Elmar Mammadyarov’s speech at 66th Session of the General Assembly, Web.
Zulfugar Agayev, Azerbaijan Amassing Arms For Possible Karabakh War. Web.
Stuart J. Kaufman, Ethnic Fears and Ethnic War In Karabagh. Web.
David Pipinashvili, Sino-Russian Geopolitical Interests in Central Asia and South Caucasus. Web.
Leila Aliyeva, EU and South Caucasus. Web.
Rasim Musabayov, The Karabakh conflict and democratization in Azerbaijan. Web.
Fariz Ismailzade, The Geopolitics of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. Web.
Russia donates $800m arms to Armenia. Web.
Fariz Ismailzade, The Geopolitics of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. Web.
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, U.S. Policy and the Caucasus. Web.
Thomas Goltz, A Montana Perspective on International Aid and Ethnic Politics in Azerbaijan. Web.
Svetlana Skarbo, ‘The Pipeline War: Russian bear goes for West’s jugular’. Web.
‘Turkish Opposition Against Business Relations With Armenia’. Web.
- Nocholas W. Miller, ‘Nagorno Karabakh: A War without Peace’, in Stopping Wars and Making Peace: Studies in International Intervention, ed. by Kristen Eichensehr (Leiden: Koniklijke Brill, 2009), pp 48-50.
- Svante E Cornell, ‘The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict’, Report No. 46, (Department of East European Studies, Uppsala University, 1999), p 1.
- Cornell, pp. 6-7.
- Aslanli, pp. 14-15.
- De Wall, p. 130.
- Cornell, pp. 8-9.
- Avshar, p. 126.
- Eva-Maria Auch, “Ewiges Feuer” in Aserbaidschan ein Land zwischen Perestrojka, Bürgerkrieg und Unabhängigkeit (Köln: Bundesinstitut für Ostwissenschaftliche und Internationale Studien, 1992), p. 29.
- Aslanli, p. 15.
- De Waal, p. 15.
- Ibid., p.136.
- Ibid., p.20.
- Portier, p. 6.
- De Waal, p. 290.
- Der Leeuw, p. 155.
- De Waal, p. 41.
- Der Leeuw, p. 155.
- Miller, p. 51.
- Christoph Zurcher, The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict, and Nationhood in the Caucasus (New York: NYU Press, 2007), pp. 165-166.
- Mark Kramer, “The Collapse of East European Communism and the Repercussions within the Soviet Union (Part 1).” Journal of Cold War Studies, 5:4 (2003), pp. 178
- Svante E. Cornell, Azerbaijan Since Independence, (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2010), pp. 128-129.
- Rau, p. 41.
- De Waal, p. 200.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, pp. 54-55.
- Michael Croissant, The Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict: Causes and Implications (London: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998), p. 90.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 130.
- Zurcher, p. 180.
- Cornell,’Azerbaijan’, p. 130.
- Ibid., p. 131.
- Aslanli, pp. 51-52.
- Four Security Council Resolutions included Resolution 822, 853, 874 and 884. For further information go to Web.
- Frederik Coene, The Caucasus – An Introduction (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2009), pp. 145-148.
- Hratch Tchilingirian, “Nagorno-Karabagh: Transition and the Elite”, Central Asian Survey, 18.4 (1999), pp. 441-445.
- De Waal, pp. 113-124.
- Margarita Tadevosyan, ‘Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: War, Humanitarian Challenge and Peacekeeping’ Web.
- Gerard J. Libaridian, The Karabagh file: documents and facts on the region of Mountainous Karabagh, 1918-1988 (Lansing: Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research & Documentation, 1988), pp. 160-165.
- Genocide and Deportation of Azerbaijanis, Web.
- Arif Yunus, Karabakh: Past and Present (Baku: Turan Information Agency, 2005), pp. 70-72.
- De Waal, p. 286.
- Karabakh, Web.
- Thomas de Wall, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War, (New York: New York University, 2003), pp. 125-137.
- Araz Aslanli, Karabakh Problem: History, Essence and Solution Process, (Baku: Nurlar, 2009), pp. 6-8.
- Johannes Rau, Der Berg-Karabach-Konflikt zwischen Armenien und Aserbaidschan, (Berlin: Koster, 2007), p. 19.
- Cornell, pp. 5-6.
- Turkmenchay Treaty Web.
- Nikolay Shavrov, Novaya Ugroza Russkomu Delu v Zakavkazye, (Moscow: Kniga po Trebovaniyu, 2011), p. 59.
- Omid Yazdani, Geteiltes Aserbaidschan: Blick auf ein bedrohtes Volk, (Berlin: Das Arabische Buch, 1993), p. 89.
- Ferhat Avshar, Schwarzer Garten im Land des ewigen Feuers: Entstehungsgeschichte und Genese des Karabach-Konflikts, (Darmstadt: Manzara Verlag, 2006), p. 63.
- Shavrov, p. 59.
- Tim Portier, Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, A legal appraisal, (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 2001), p. 2.
- Avshar, p. 79.
- Charles van der Leeuw, Azerbaijan: A Quest for Identity (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), p. 143.
- Audrey L. Altstadt, The Azerbaijani Turks: Power and Identity Under Russian Rule (Stanford: Hoover Press, 1992), p. 41.
- Avshar, p. 84.
- Rexane Dehdashti-Rasmussen, The Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh: Causes, the Status of Negotiations, and Prospects, Web.
- The Mandate of the Minsk Group Web.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 137.
- Nicholas, pp.60-62.
- Ibid., pp. 65-67.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 138.
- Aslanli, p. 60.
- 1996 Lisbon Summit, Web.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, pp. 140-141.
- Dehdashti-Rasmussen, pp. 195-196.
- William M. Hale, Turkish Foreign Policy, 1774-2000 (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2002), p. 273.
- Grigor Hayrapetyan, ‘Regional and International Trade of Armenia’ Web.
- Nagorno-Karabakh: The Humanitarian Tragedy that the World Forgot, Web.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 141.
- Ermina Van Hoye, The OSCE in the Caucasus: Long-Standing Mediation for Long-Term Resolutions Web.
- Thomas Ambrosio, Unfreezing the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict? Evaluating Peacemaking Efforts under the Obama Administration Web.
- Levon Zourabian, ‘The Nagorno-Karabakh settlement revisited: is peace achievable?’, Demokratizatsiya, 14.2 (2006), pp. 260– 261.
- Cornell. ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 145.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 144.
- De Waal, p. 264.
- Taleh Ziyadov, ‘Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations: through the prism of a multi-issue bargaining model’, International Negotiations, 15.1 (2010), p. 118.
- Shooting of the Armenian Parliament Was Organized By Russian Special Services, Web.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 149.
- Ziyadov, pp. 119-120.
- Elxan Mehtiyev, ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan Prague Process: Road Map to Peace or Stalemate for Uncertainty?’ Web.
- Aslanli, pp. 76-77.
- Andrew Kramer, Peace Plan Offers Russia a Rationale to Advance Web.
- David L. Phillips, Diplomatic History: The Turkey-Armenian protocols (New-York: Columbia University Press, 2012), pp. 11-12.
- Gulshan Pashayeva, The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Aftermath of the Russian-Georgian War Web.
- Nagorno-Karabakh: A Plan for Peace – International Crisis Group, Europe Report N°167 (2005), p. 7.
- Thomas Goltz, Azerbaijan Diary: A Rogue Reporter’s Adventures in an Oil-Rich, War-Torn, Post-Soviet Republic (New-York: M.E. Sharpe, 1998), pp. 122-123.
- Suzanne Goldenberg, Pride of Small Nations: The Caucasus and Post-Soviet Disorder (London: Zed Books, 1994), p. 155.
- Heiko Krüger, The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: A Legal Analysis (New York: Springer, 2010), p. 22.
- Kruger, p. 35.
- Ferdinand J. Feldbrugge, Russian Law: The End of the Soviet System and the Role of Law (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1993), p. 123.
- Ilgar Mammadov, Tofig Musayev, Armyano-Azerbaycanskiy konflikt (Baku: Grif & K, 2006), p. 55.
- Mammadov/Musayev, p. 57.
- Charter of The UN Web.
- Charter of the UN, Chapter VII Web.
- Kruger, pp. 45-46.
- Steven Wheatley, Democracy, Minorities and International Law (Cambridge: University Press, 2005), p. 91.
- Charter of the UN, Chapter I Web.
- De Waal, p. 267.
- Elmar Mammadyarov, Towards peace in the Nagorny Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan Web.
- Jamil Islamov, Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in Azerbaijan’s Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, and Opinion-Policy Linkage on the Conflict, Web.
- Ilham Aliyev gave an interview to “Euronews” TV Channel in Brussels Web.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 149.
- Thomas de Waal, The Karabakh trap: Dangers and dilemmas of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, Web.
- Artak Ayunts, Return and its alternatives: perspectives from Armenia Web.
- Tim Potier Nagorno-Karabakh: Ever Closer to a Settlement, Step-by-Step, Web.
- Plan for Peace, p. 23.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaija’, p. 150.
- Tchilingirian, p. 446.
- Elmar Mammadyarov’s speech at 66th Session of the General Assembly, Web.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 153.
- Tchilingirian, p. 457.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 153.
- Zulfugar Agayev, Azerbaijan Amassing Arms For Possible Karabakh War Web.
- Stuart J. Kaufman, Ethnic Fears and Ethnic War In Karabagh Web.
- David Pipinashvili, Sino-Russian Geopolitical Interests in Central Asia and South Caucasus Web.
- Leila Aliyeva, EU and South Caucasus Web.
- Cornell, ‘Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict’, pp. 52-53.
- Ibid., p53-54.
- Rasim Musabayov, The Karabakh conflict and democratization in Azerbaijan Web.
- Cornell, ‘Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict’, p. 53.
- Goltz, p. 124.
- Cornell, ‘Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict’, p. 55.
- Fariz Ismailzade, The Geopolitics of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Web.
- Russia donates $800m arms to Armenia Web.
- Fariz Ismailzade, The Geopolitics of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Web.
- Cornell, ‘Azerbaijan’, p. 147.
- Ibid., p. 157.
- Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, U.S. Policy and the Caucasus Web.
- U.S. Congress Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act Web.
- Thomas Goltz, A Montana Perspective on International Aid and Ethnic Politics in Azerbaijan Web.
- Neil MacFarlane, Humanitarian Action and Politics: The Case of Nagorno-Karabakh, Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies, Occasional Paper no. 25 (1997), p. 99.
- Stephen Blank,’Instability in the Caucasus: Old trends, New Traits’, Jane’s Intelligence Review, April 1 (1998), p. 16.
- Julia Nanay , ‘The US in the Caspian: The Divergence of Political and Commercial Interests’, Middle East Policy, 6.2 (1998), pp. 150-7.
- Fariz Ismailzade, The Geopolitics of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Web.
- Cornell, The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, p. 106.
- Ambrosio, p. 99.
- Cornell, p. 109.
- Ali Abbasov, The Karabakh conflict Variants of settlement: Concepts and reality (Yerevan: Noyan Tapan, 2005), p. 22.
- Hale, p. 273.
- Cornell, p. 77.
- Svetlana Skarbo, ‘The Pipeline War: Russian bear goes for West’s jugular’ Web.
- Philips, p. 75.
- ibid., p. 42.
- Ibid., p. 56.
- Chatham House, ‘Turkish-Armenian Diplomacy: Bilateral and Regional Implications of Efforts to Normalize Relations’ Web.
- ‘Turkish Opposition Against Business Relations With Armenia’ Web.