The war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region: some keys to a better understanding

That information does not make headlines. But this is a war between two countries. A conflict little aired, little explained. So little was understood. Why are these two neighboring countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan, still at war? What are the problems? What support for both parties? Why didn’t this conflict get as much attention as others? Here are some answers…

This is the oldest but most complex history of the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh or Nagorno-Karabakh. Home to approximately 145,000 people, 95% of whom are Armenian, this part of the Caucasus, roughly the size of the province of Luxembourg, is the subject of interminable disputes between the two former Soviet republics. More than 30,000 people died in the first war in 1991. As of fall 2020, 6,500 people have been killed in the last major phase of the conflict as of this week.

What is the origin of conflict?

We must go back a century, to the time of Stalin. After the Soviet Union’s invasion of the Caucasus, the question of administrative division of these new territories arose. ” Under Stalin “, explains Michel Liégeois, Professor of International Relations at UCLouvain. “IThere was no doubt about doing this in a democratic way, but there were discussions and opinions. The division of this area was complicated because Stalin preferred administrative institutions that were relatively homogeneous from an ethnic point of view to maintain control of the regions. The expert insists.

“At first, the Karabakh region was annexed to the Republic of Armenia, but it did not go well, there were protests, and for other reasons, a dispute arose between Moscow and the Republic of Armenia. A few months later, the Soviets reconsidered their decision and chose to annex Karabakh to the Republic of Azerbaijan, whose population is mainly Shiite. Muslims and not in Armenia, whose population is Christian, however, a part of Karabakh, called Nagorno-Karabakh. It is populated entirely by Armenians, 95%. The annexation of the whole of Karabakh to Azerbaijan has obviously created a problem, as the principle of relative ethnic unity applied elsewhere in the Soviet Union has, for other reasons, Not used in this case.“, explains Michel Liégeois

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