ICG: Nagorno-Karabakh: Risking War

The International Crises Group have published a report on Nagorno-Karabakh, where they warn Azerbaijan and Armenia to “halt their dangerous arms race and restrain their belligerent rhetoric and instead renew efforts to find a negotiated settlement for the Nagorno-Karabakh region”.
While I have serious reservations as to on what authority does this international NGO find it suitable to come in with its advice on a tangled issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, especially as from the media release referenced above one get’s the opinion, that it is a pure territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the issue of self-determination by the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians has nothing to do here, demonstrating either a deliberately anti-Armenian position by the ICG or else – a gross misunderstanding of the situation. However, there are some valid points that are made in the report:

Oil money has given Azerbaijan new self-confidence and the means to upgrade its armed forces. It seems to want to postpone any peace deal until the military balance has shifted decisively in its favour. Yerevan, which itself has done surprisingly well economically, has also become more intransigent and increased its own military expenditures. It believes that time is on its side, that Nagorno-Karabakh’s de facto independence will become a reality increasingly difficult to ignore. Playing for time is dangerous for all concerned, however. The riskiest period could be around 2012, when Azerbaijan’s oil money is likely to begin to dwindle, and a military adventure might seem a tempting way to distract citizens from economic crisis. Important oil and gas pipelines near Nagorno-Karabakh would likely be among the first casualties of a new war, something Europe and the U.S. in particular have an interest in avoiding.

At any rate, here’s a link to the full report in PDF format, as well as its executive summary.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant

1 Comment

  1. International Crises (Making?) Group is totally unprofessional. They are just another public relations group. Currently, international situation is getting increasingly tense and the year 2008 has “CRISES YEAR” written all over it. Just follow the oil prices and US financial situation. Oil revenues will mean nothing for Azerbaijan if international situation continues to develop in this direction. In this kind of geopolitical setting you don’t get arms for money, you get it for free.
    One has to be so much focused on Karabakh War … to disregard the fact that there can’t be another isolated Armenian-Azeri conflict. If is starts it will become a regional conflict in a matter of one month.
    It would be more effective to write a report called “Greater Middle East War”.

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