Armenia and Azerbaijan fought the worst border clashes since 1998 last week, and more than a dozen people were killed and dozens more injured, leaving much of Armenia cowering in fear of further violence.
The unrest started Nov. 13 when Azerbaijan accused Armenia of involvement in the bombing of an Armenian passenger jet in Turkey. On Nov. 16, the neighboring countries engaged in artillery, air and sea battles along the frontier, leaving five Armenian border guards dead and 11 injured. On Nov. 17, Azerbaijani air forces hit Armenia with mortar, causing some villagers to flee the area, The New York Times reported.
On Sunday, heavy fighting in the neighboring regions of Vachin and Akhtar was reported, but the two sides failed to achieve any kind of direct agreement to cease hostilities.
Despite the fact that military experts on both sides have told us that engaging in “fire and fury” would only lead to more bloodshed, both countries are continuing to play their tit-for-tat games.
Armenia is now facing the possibility of leaving its Armenian-speaking minority in Azerbaijan in the demographic limbo of becoming a non-national state. According to an analysis in Ararat, Armenia’s state newspaper, about 80 percent of the Armenian community consists of non-Armenians and to lose that population would be a painful blow to the nation. More than 1 million ethnic Armenians have resided in Azerbaijan since the early 1900s.
On the political level, Armenia is still at loggerheads with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenia does not recognize the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is an autonomous republic within Azerbaijan, as noted by Reyhan Finian of Inverse.com. According to experts, about 130,000 people live in Nagorno-Karabakh, and while there are bilateral agreements that prevent any serious fighting, other treaties that call for the release of the occupied region would be a necessary blow to the government in Baku.
The conflict has been going on for decades, and it seems that if these two countries don’t come to an agreement soon, the continuation of this recent flare up could lead to another devastating genocide.