Who won the  Battle of Karabakh?

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Who won the  Battle of Karabakh?

Who won the  Battle of Karabakh?

      HEADLINES:

Who won the war over Karabakh?

      WHY IN NEWS:

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to end fighting, in a deal brokered by Russia

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      ISSUE: 

After six weeks of fierce fighting, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to end military operations in and around Nagorno-Karabakh in a ceasefire brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

WHAT LED TO THE WAR?

  • In 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, the newly independent Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • It had been an autonomous region within Azerbaijan during the Soviet years.
  • Armenians have made historical claims over the enclave, which is largely populated by ethnic Armenians.

By the time the all-out war came to an end in 1994, Armenia had captured Nagorno-Karabakh.

  • Seven surrounding districts from Azeri forces, which amounted to some 13% of Azerbaijan’s territory.
  • In September, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev launched the offensive vowing to take back Nagorno-Karabakh and other Armenian-occupied districts.
  • In six weeks, Azeri forces, backed by Turkey-supplied armed drones and other equipment, cut through Armenian defences and retook territories.
  • This including some 40% of Nagorno-Karabakh itself.

19th Nov Current Affairs News Analysis

SOURCES : THE HINDU | Who won the  Battle of Karabakh?

ROOTS OF THE CONFLICT

  • The largely mountainous and forested Nagorno-Karabakh, home for some 150,000 people, is at the centre of the conflict.
  • Nagorno-Karabakh is located within Azerbaijan but is populated, mostly, by those of Armenian ethnicity.
  • The conflict can be traced back to the pre-Soviet era when the region was at the meeting point of Ottoman, Russian and the Persian empires.

Moscow gave Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan but offered autonomy to the contested region.

  • In the 1980s, when the Soviet power was receding, separatist currents picked up in Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • In 1988, the national assembly voted to dissolve the region’s autonomous status and join Armenia.
  • When Armenia and Azerbaijan became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the clashes led to an open war in which tens of thousands were killed.
  • The war lasted till 1994 when both sides reached a ceasefire.
  • By that time, Armenia had taken control of Nagorno-Karabakh and handed it to Armenian rebels.

The rebels have declared independence, but have not won recognition from any country.

  • The region is still treated as a part of Azerbaijan by the international community, and Baku wants to take it back.

RUSSIAN ROLE

  • Russia, which has a security agreement with Armenia, remained neutral in the early days of the war when Turkey threw its weight behind Azerbaijan.
  • Russia brokered a ceasefire two weeks into the conflict, but it didn’t hold.

When Azerbaijan defeated Armenian troops and captured territories, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sought Russian help.

  • President Vladimir Putin said the security guarantee is for Armenia, not for the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • But Russia was apparently concerned about the rapid change in the status quo and the more assertive security role Turkey was playing in its backyard.
  • By the third week of October, Russia established small military outposts along the Armenian border.
  • In the same week, Russia conducted a massive air strike in Syria’s Idlib against Turkish-backed militants, killing dozens of them, which is seen as Moscow’s warning to Turkey.

Mr. Putin accepted Azerbaijan’s victory (as the ceasefire allows Azeri troops to take control of the territories they have seized) but prevented a total defeat of Armenia.

  • Under pressure from a decisive Moscow, both sides agreed to cease the operations.

TERMS OF THE TRUCE

According to the ceasefire, Armenia agreed to withdraw its troops from much of the territories around Nagorno-Karabakh.

  • The core of the enclave with ethnic Armenians and Stepanakert as its capital would remain outside the control of Azerbaijan.
  • Baku will build a road linking the newly captured territories to Nakhchivan, an autonomous republic of Azerbaijan.
  • As the broker of the truce, Russia would send some 2,000 peacekeepers to the region.

Peacekeepers would patrol between the Azeri troops and Nagorno-Karabakh, including the Lachin corridor, which connects the enclave with Armenia.

  • In sum, Azerbaijan gained territories, but not the whole of Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Armenia lost territories it controlled since the 1990s but avoided a total defeat as much of Nagorno-Karabakh would remain independent of Azeri control.
  • And Russia gained a bigger foothold in the region with its troops being deployed within Azerbaijan.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

CHALLENGE FROM TURKEY

  • That Russia could enforce the ceasefire and keep Turkey and western countries out of the final talks shows that Moscow remains a dominant power in the South Caucasus.
  • Moscow had wanted to send peacekeepers to the region, but both Armenia and Azerbaijan were not open to the idea earlier.

The war also showed that the Russian dominance in the region could be challenged.

  • Turkey backed Azerbaijan throughout the war against Moscow’s wishes and made sure that the Azeri side prevailed.
  • On Wednesday, the Turkish Parliament approved sending troops to the region to join an observation post despite the ceasefire mandating only Russians to deploy peacekeepers.
  • Russia enjoys good ties with both Azerbaijan and Armenia and supplies weapons to both.
  • But Armenia is more dependent on Russia than the energy-rich, ambitious Azerbaijan.

If Turkey continues to play an assertive role in the region through ally Azerbaijan, a reluctant Moscow would face a new rival in its backyard.

     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | Who won the  Battle of Karabakh?

 

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