By Vali Kaleji
February 5, 2024
Iran and Azerbaijan recently agreed to establish a transit route called the “Aras Corridor.” It is intended to pass through the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan and connect the village of Aghband in the southwestern corner of the Zangilan District to the city of Ordubad in southern Nakhchivan. Bypassing Armenia, the Aras Corridor could present an alternative to the Zangezur Corridor with the potential of reducing Iran’s concerns for its common border with Armenia. However, if Armenia and Azerbaijan sign a peace treaty and Armenia and Turkey establish diplomatic relations, the current advantages of the Aras Corridor will be reduced. These equations will change only if Nikol Pashinyan’s government falls and the nationalist and conservative movements opposing peace with Azerbaijan and normalization of relations with Turkey come to power in Armenia.
By Stephen Blank
July 10, 2023
On May 4 Secretary of State Blinken announced that the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan had made progress and that an agreement that would terminate the thirty-year war over Nagorno-Karabakh was “within reach.” While much more negotiation is obviously necessary and will be difficult, this announcement, if true, is an epochal one whose ramifications spread from Europe to the Middle East and Central Asia. It also reflects the fact that security in the Caucasus cannot be considered separately from a discussion of international order in those three regions. If Washington can broker or mediate an end to this war it, with the support of the EU whose prior initiative has been the basis for its approach, will become the primary foreign power and even possibly security manager in the Caucasus.
By Mamuka Tsereteli
February 8, 2022
Armenia’s decision to refuse hosting of the military exercises of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), announced by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on January 10, 2023, is an indicator of a trend of major geopolitical significance. Armenia is at an important junction in its recent history and needs greater Western and regional support to make a geopolitical turn away from Russian domination. A Comprehensive Peace Strategy, based on a balance of interests, and a package of security guarantees and economic incentives could bring lasting peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan and elevate the South Caucasus to the next level of development.
By Stephen Blank
May 12, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Since the occurrence of large scale fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh in April 2016, resulting in some Azerbaijani gains, there has been a widespread fear that this crisis could easily escalate out of control drawing in not only the two belligerents but also Russia and Turkey. Armenia’s response to the visible enhancement of Azerbaijan’s military capability has marked a qualitative escalation of the crisis’ military potential. Moreover, it has further unmasked the Russian policy of abetting the crisis rather than trying to resolve it, even though Moscow professes to be against renewed hostilities and to want a solution.
By Azad Garibov
April 21, 2017, the CACI Analyst
One year has passed since the “Four-Day War” – an unprecedented escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on April 1-5, 2016 that claimed the lives of over a hundred soldiers on both sides. The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has never been truly frozen, yet the increased intensity of clashes since April 2016 demonstrates that violence can flare up at any time, destabilizing the already fragile region. As no peaceful solution is visible on the horizon, the Line of Contact (LoC) between Azerbaijan’s and Armenia’s armed forces has become the most militarized area of the former Soviet Union. Azerbaijani and Armenian societies have also grown increasingly nationalistic as fighting intensifies and casualty rates grow on the frontline.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.