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Tensions in the Southern Caucasus
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Tensions in the Southern Caucasus:

 1 FF Shinra, Wed, 5th Sep '12 11:40:46 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
The situation:

In 2004, an Azeri officer who had gone to a NATO school in Hungary to learn english, which also happen to have Armenian officers, buys an ax and beheads one of the Armenian officers, ostensibly because the Armenians kept dissing Azerbaijan. He is arrested and jailed for a life term of 25 years. Since then, Azerbaijan has begged Hungary to extradite him. Hungary finally relented a week ago, with the caveat that the convict finish out his 25 year sentence.

Instead, as soon as he arrives, the Azeri president pardons him, gives him 8 years of back pay, promotes him, and gives him an apartment.

Neighboring Armenia has become furious, and has now cut off relations with Hungary and is now threatening war.

Background: Why all the war talk and bad blood between Azeris and Armenians? It started back when both were under Ottoman rule and the (traditionally) Armenian territory of Nagorno Karabakh was granted to the Azeris during the later middle ages. When the Empire collaped after WWI, Russia (as the nacent Soviet Union) got control of the entire region and through Stalin's doctrine of creating ethnically-bound states (no matter the logic), Karabakh was granted the status of "Autonomous Oblast" which in practice meant Azerbaijan, which surrounds it, had no control over it. In 1988, when it became clear the Soviet Union wasn't going to last, the then-Soviet states of Armenia and Azerbaijan started a shooting war over the territory (Azerbaijan had tried to annex the NKAO and Armenia sent troops to assist local Armenian militias to fight to keep it seperate from Baku. This war continued right through the dissintegration of the USSR til 1994, when the Bishkek Protocol establishing a ceasefire and promise of a negotiated solution to the problem was signed.

Unfortunately, since then, the situation has changed in that the negotiations, which initially seemed to make progress, has had diminishing returns in the last decade. Also, due to their position at the cross roads of several major powers, all of whom are in different positions than they were 20 years ago, any conflict between the two will draw in damn near everyone else. Coupled with Azerbaijan's new oil wealth (and, on the other hand, the near collapse of Armenia's economy) thats now being pumped into their military and indigenous arms industry, and one sees the problem.

So my question is, does anyone think they can be brought back to the table or will the major powers involved in arbitration (Russia, France, US) have to make some tough decisions on one or both?
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 2 Mrs Ratched, Thu, 6th Sep '12 6:06:08 AM from Dorne Relationship Status: Crazy Cat Lady
The guy nobody likes
See what hapen when a drunken dictator traces borders randomly?
I want Kat's glasses!
What was Hungary's reaction to Azerbaijan betraying their word?
They Called Me Mad!! I decided to show them all; but when I looked on my works, oh mighty, I despaired: for it made me realize they were right.
 4 FF Shinra, Thu, 6th Sep '12 1:36:58 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
Embarrasment seems to be the overall mood from Hungary. A civil society group (Milla I think is the name) is even protesting in Hungary begging forgiveness from Armenia.

Both the US and Russia are condemning Baku for their intransience. The EU ain't too happy either, but is keeping relatively mum due to the involvement of one of the member states in this affair.
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
They'd be wise not to start a war over this; the undesirability of war in general aside, given that Russia's already got tacit control of two Georgian provinces (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) I wouldn't necessarily put it past Putin to send the Russian military into both countries in the event of a war, under the guise of peacekeeping.

 6 Deviant Braeburn, Thu, 6th Sep '12 7:21:06 PM from Dysfunctional California
Wandering Jew
[up]

That would just cause war to break out faster. Poor Turkey, with its growing number of Syrian refuges would be flooded with Armenian and Azeri refugees.
Everything is Possible.

But some things are more Probable than others.
JEBAGEDDON 2016

 7 FF Shinra, Thu, 6th Sep '12 9:33:09 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
[up][up]

Uh.....no. Russia, in this case, has been relatively neutral in the conflict (I'd even argue thats part of the problem, since they're the premier power in the region and thus the only ones who could force either side to accept an agreement, which it hasn't in order to not seem like its backing one or the other), and its one of the few areas of foreign policy where Moscow and Washington have been in agreement. And in anycase, Russia already has troops in both countries, as peacekeepers.

Of course, part of the reason the peace process is failing is because Azerbaijan is growing in political and military stature, including having influence in Europe thanks to its oil and gas, so Russia may end up backing Yerevan in case of conflict.

[up] Thats another reason why I think conflict might break out. With Turkey having to deal with Kurds on its own soil AND in Iraq, on top of the mess in Syria, they won't want to involve themselves physically in a new war between the two, even if they've always had a pan-Turkic love for Azerbaijan.

edited 6th Sep '12 9:34:43 PM by FFShinra

Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 8 Deviant Braeburn, Thu, 6th Sep '12 10:19:55 PM from Dysfunctional California
Wandering Jew
Who is Georgia backing?
Everything is Possible.

But some things are more Probable than others.
JEBAGEDDON 2016

 9 Deviant Braeburn, Thu, 6th Sep '12 10:31:22 PM from Dysfunctional California
Wandering Jew
Oh wait the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has stated that "whoever opposes Azerbaijan" is Georgia's "enemy" back in 2011.

Goddammit, Armenia would it kill you to make some allies?

edited 6th Sep '12 10:31:42 PM by DeviantBraeburn

Everything is Possible.

But some things are more Probable than others.
JEBAGEDDON 2016

 10 FF Shinra, Thu, 6th Sep '12 10:55:03 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
If he did, he's an idiot. That does surprise me though. Georgia and Armenia have historically been very close, with the former allowing the latter to use its ports on the Black Sea.

Well if its true, then that just gives Iran more of an opportunity to piss off Baku, since the Azeris are not on their Christmas (er, Eid) list these days, while Armenia has been nice to them so as to get access to Iran's ports and resources.
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 11 Marquis Dev, Sun, 9th Sep '12 11:49:01 PM from somewhere in the West
MONKEY MAGIC
The Armenians seem to have responded to Azerbaijan. But I have to say that I am not sure about the article's validity, for the other articles I found on it are from Azerbaijan. There's also this.

edited 9th Sep '12 11:49:49 PM by MarquisDev

I am Hope - Dream
 12 FF Shinra, Tue, 11th Sep '12 12:09:37 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
[1] A good analysis of what will happen, should they go to war.
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
You mentioned Russia and peacekeeping but I don't know the extent to which the local people would appreciate them doing so. I doubt Russia wants to pick a side for now but I also am doubting the locals want Russia to peacekeep. That seems to be a contentious issue out in the Caucasus region. Also, would it actually stop war? Georgia was crazy enough to kill Russian peacekeepers in their attempt to violently take over South Ossetia which resulted in their country getting bombed heavily.

 14 Barkey, Wed, 12th Sep '12 10:45:53 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
I can totally see being pissed off about this, but war?

Kind of overkill.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
War over territory is hardly new, plus it's the Caucasus.

 16 FF Shinra, Thu, 13th Sep '12 9:56:42 AM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
@breadloaf - The Armenians, from all accounts I have read, don't mind Russia (their only other recourse is Iran, since Georgia is too chummy with Baku to do more than allow open borders, and that gives them problems with the West that Armenia doesn't need), while the Azeris are more divided on the issue. Some are for it, some are more Western/Israeli oriented, and some are jingoists who want to use only their own arsenal and at best would only take help from their fellow Turkic peoples. Thats another thing thats changed since the ceasefire since back in 1994, the Russian Army was still stationed at their Soviet-era positions and Moscow had more political influence in Baku besides.

That all said, Russia's involvement in this dispute is probably the least contentious thing (as surprising as that may seem). The West is more worried about Iran in this case.

[up][up] The ceasefire has been slowly failing more and more for the last couple of years. Shootings across the Line of Contact are weekly now, so while a purposeful war would indeed be overkill (Armenia is almost completely isolated from its allies and potential allies physically, while Azerbaijan would loath losing the oil output that funds their economy), there is not only the possibility, but precedent (2008 Martakert skirmish) for a border shooting to spiral out of control, particularly when the tensions are so high.

edited 13th Sep '12 9:59:11 AM by FFShinra

Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
Armenia should just recognize Artsakh's independence already, because lets face it, Azerbaijan's not going to need an excuse to restart the war the minute they feel like they could win. Artsakh can never be a part of a country that idolizes any psychopath that hacks an Armenian to death in his sleep. If Azerbaijan ever did reclaim Artsakh, it'd be (another) genocide.
Oh brother, not that!
 18 FF Shinra, Wed, 19th Sep '12 10:04:30 AM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
It's not Azerbaijan they fear, I think. As mentioned before, Armenia is physically isolated from allies other than Iran.
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 19 Bokhura Burnes, Wed, 19th Sep '12 7:28:06 PM from Inside the Bug Pit
Radical Moderate
Armenia's relations with Georgia aren't all that bad, either. Not that Georgia would be able to get involved, or even want to, in an Armenian-Azeri conflict — it has problems of its own, and wants to make nice with any country that isn't Russia.
You're a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.
 20 Tam H 70, Wed, 19th Sep '12 7:34:13 PM from 合計虐殺 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War ALWAYS changes. Man does not.
So, how long until the inevitable sound of tank tracks echoing down whatever the name of the capital city of Azerbaijan is? Seeing as how they seem to be inevitably getting involved in this mess.
 21 Surenity, Wed, 19th Sep '12 8:54:19 PM from California
From what I gather Georgia would really rather stay out of it. But, Armenia should really use this whole 'treating an axe murder as a hero' thing to its advantage, since Azerbaijan really can't pretend it would treat the Armenians nicely if it was given Artsakh back anymore. Even Turkey was quick to pull a Not Me This Time when word got out that Hungary had been bribed, I don't see anyone really condoning the decision.
Oh brother, not that!
 22 FF Shinra, Thu, 20th Sep '12 6:09:39 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
They aren't condoning it, but Armenia better be careful not to go from making hay (which I agree, it has alot of room to do now, politically) to fighting Azerbaijan. The West needs Baku for oil and for spying on Iran after all...
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
 23 Game Chainsaw, Fri, 21st Sep '12 4:25:50 PM from sunshine and rainbows!
The Shadows Devour You.
Stupid, stupid post, made late at night, as most of my stupid posts are.

edited 21st Sep '12 4:50:40 PM by GameChainsaw

 24 Surenity, Fri, 21st Sep '12 8:08:22 PM from California
Hopefully the conflict can somehow be settled through negotiations rather than war. But, both sides are stubborn, sadly. I think Azerbaijan would be more likely to start a new war, given that Armenia already has what it wants, it's just not internationally recognized as a country.
Oh brother, not that!
 25 FF Shinra, Fri, 21st Sep '12 9:47:15 PM from Ivalice, apparently Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Beware the Crazy Man.
Along with legitimately Azeri territory.

Neither side really has the moral or military highground here. Thats part of the problem with this case in that it provides one to Armenia, which may just upset the balance enough to create a problem if one or both make stupid moves.

Anyone with news BTW?
Final Fantasy, Foreign Policy, and Bollywood. Helluva combo, that...
Total posts: 31
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