With mutual accusations of the beginning of the climb, the strongest in years, no one assumes responsibility. There is only one clear question: Azerbaijan Y Armenia -Neighbors in the mountains of Caucasus and intimate enemies— have declared this Sunday martial law in their territories after the bombings and are very close to declare war again, after signing a armistice in 1994.
Upper Karabakh is a small mountainous territory within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, but controlled by Armenia and, de facto, an independent state. Before the war of 1991, the Karabakh was populated by Azeris and a majority of Armenians. With the dissolution of the USSR, both nationalisms awoke, and decided, pogroms and deportations through, that its citizens were incompatible.
War was declared and was won by Armenia: all Azeris in the Karabakh – and in the surrounding regions, which were previously only populated by Azeris – were expelled.
In 1994, the two countries signed the Stop the fire, but the conflict has never ended: there have been constantly skirmishes out front, the strongest in 2016, when in a few days, in April, 200 soldiers of both contenders died. This Sunday’s fighting is reminiscent of those, with the difference that both countries are more prepared militarily and the warmongering rhetoric they are much older.
“Prepared to die & rdquor;
The dead are already starting to pile up: at least two civilians have died in bombings on Sunday – in Upper Karabakh – but they could be more, because the Azeri side also claims to have dead civilians. On the military side, the numbers are growing: the MArmenian Defense Ministry has said that 16 of his soldiers have died; the Azeri, for its part, does not give figures for casualties, but for captures. According to Baku, Azerbaijan has captured seven villages formerly controlled by Upper Karabakh and Armenia. All are located in the south of the region, very close to the border with Iran.
“As commander in chief, I must say that I am prepared to die for the country. We must tell the world that we are willing to die for our homeland. We will not give an inch of it. We must win; there is no other option “, said this Sunday the Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan.
His last sentence perfectly describes how both sides perceive this conflict: for them, it is a matter of life or death. Losing it – or gaining it – is a existential risk. A devastating conflict in the 1990s and years of warmongering upbringing against the enemy, who is described as subhuman, have done their job. For this reason, in Armenia, they are organizing civilian militias who want, as in the previous war, to mobilize towards the front.
Meanwhile, the two sides sound their war drums and show images destroying enemy military equipment and vehicles. In this case, who has the military advantage -and the one who is advancing and capturing territories is Azerbaijan-. A military escalation of this type does not help Armenia at all; to Baku, with Turkey more and more involved in the conflict, it benefits her more.
The possibility that the confrontation will be diluted is plausible. It happened last month of July: For a few weeks, the tension increased on the border between the two countries due to a small skirmish. Then, at night, the Armenians killed an Azeri general.