Without access to food, medicine and fuel, thousands of ethnic Armenians are now living a life of destitution and despair in the South Caucasus territory|| CREDIT: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP
The Nagorno Karaback conflict has been going on since the existence of the Russian Empire and subsequently going on during the Soviet Union and after the collapse of the Soviet Union. After the Russian Revolution, Nagorno Karabakh was at the center of conflict between the two newly independent states of Armenia and Azerbaijan, during the Soviet Union, Nagorno Karabakh was given to Azerbaijan with an autonomous status in 1923. In the 1980 as the Soviet Union was beginning to falter and show some serious Cracks tensions were increasing with Armenia and Azerbaijan, in 1988 the people of Nagorno Karabakh Oblast voted to secede from Azerbaijan and join Armenia, as Armenia is a Christian majority state and Azerbaijan was a Muslim majority state in the Soviet Union but due to the religious differences and the fact that most people of Nagorno Karabakh are ethnic Armenian Christians hence being a part of a Muslim majority state they were deprived of their religious rights and discriminated against, the decision to grant Nagorno Karabakh to Azerbaijan was purely administrative in purpose and had no religious precedent. Soon after the Voting in 1988 the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and Nagaorno Karabakh became the center of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan this led to a full-scale war between 1992 to 1994 which saw the ethnic Armenians take control of Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts. A ceasefire agreement was agreed upon but the issue largely remained unsolved. The conflict was most smoldering with small clashes between the soldiers of the two countries but in 2020 the Azerbaijani forces launched a major offensive and retook control over Nagorno Karabakh it lasted for 6 weeks and the Armenian side suffered heavy casualties and Azerbaijan was on the winning side, it is important to note that under the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) Armenia is supported by Russia and Azerbaijan is supported by Turkey. The Azerbaijani forces had a major advantage as Turkey had supplied them with cheap and reliable unmanned drones which helped to turn the tide of the conflict in favor of Azerbaijan. In December of 2022, Azerbaijani soldiers started blockading the Lachin corridor which is the only link between Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh and is used to transport essential medical supplies and goods, this severe shortage of essential supplies has led to the mass migration of the people from Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia.
Real Cause of the Conflict
The real cause of the conflict can be ascertained from the fact that the Soviet-Azerbaijani Authorities worked to suppress Armenian culture and Identity to force them out of the region and allow Azerbaijani settlers to settle in the region which would make administration much more simple and efficient, but the real reason why the conflict exists is due to geography, as conflicts in the region or its vicinity devoids the region from all forms of development, it can be assumed that in the recent year, the reason for the conflict has changed since Azerbaijan was excluded from the INSTC (India North-South Trade Corridor) and instead Armenia was included hence, Azerbaijan used an existing centuries-old conflict to prevent its neighboring rival to get an upper hand in terms of economy as Azerbaijan has huge reserves of oil and gas but apart from that their economy is not very diversified. But the root cause of conflict may still be religious.
Implications of the ongoing conflict
The conflict raging in Nagorno-Karabakh has had a devastating impact on the people of the region and the region itself due to the blockade set by Azerbaijan in the Lachin Corridor. the only connecting link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh for the transport of food and essential supplies, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have to, now depend on humanitarian aid from Azerbaijan which is a far-fetched idea and various other international organizations such as the UN and the World Food Programme (WFP). The conflict also has an impact on regional security as the South Caucasus is a strategically important region located at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
The future of the conflict is very uncertain as more and more international players enter the scene for example India in the recent past has concluded a deal and agreed to supply Armenia with Pinaka MBLRS and other defense equipment, as the world powers start taking sides in the conflict it is going to grow larger and bigger before finally being resolved.