By Stephen Blank
February 8, 2021, the CACI Analyst
The advent of the Biden Administration provides an opportunity to give the South Caucasus the importance it deserves in U.S. foreign policy. The recent war over Nagorno-Karabakh has underlined the region’s geostrategic importance, whereas the institutionalization of a Russo-Turkish rivalry/condominium raises the real possibility that another clash could trigger a confrontation between these two powers, one of whom is a NATO ally, as well as their proxies. Simultaneously, Georgia suffers from a drawn-out political conflict among the leading political parties. In this context, the new Administration and its allies in Europe should act to improve the West’s position in the South Caucasus.
By Robert M. Cutler
December 7, 2020, the CACI Analyst
After over 25 years of diplomatic stalemate, notwithstanding the efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and declarations on all sides that “there is no military solution” to the Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan has successfully implemented a military solution and taken territorial control of almost all of its lands occupied by Armenian forces in the early 1990s. The event not only inaugurates a new era of international security in the South Caucasus. It actually opens the door to improved relations between the two countries, if realistic approaches based on their inevitable cohabitation of the neighborhood can be found.
By Nurlan Aliyev
November 10, 2020, the CACI Analyst
From early November, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin conducted telephone conversations with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, thoroughly discussing the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and reaching a truce on November 9. Both countries have criticized Moscow’s position on the current war. Russia has been a security guarantor for Armenia since the 1990s and has more recently become a strategic partner of Azerbaijan. Moscow’s position has raised the question of whether Russia struggles to balance its relations with a strategic ally and a strategic partner, or if the Kremlin’s reluctance to become involved signals a change in policy regarding the former Soviet republics.
By Emil A. Souleimanov and Huseyn Aliyev
October 22, 2020, the CACI Analyst
The ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh saw a number of dramatic developments over the past couple of weeks. Most notably, Azerbaijani forces proved able to breach through Armenian defenses in the south, resulting in Azerbaijan’s rapid advance into both the Nagorno-Karabakh region and adjacent Armenian-controlled territories in the “buffer zone.” This battlefield transformation will likely affect the balance of power on the ground and influence Baku’s willingness and Yerevan’s capacity to negotiate a peaceful settlement. Recent developments on the frontlines will also affect Russia’s and Turkey’s positions and roles in the conflict and the South Caucasus.
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.
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.