Thursday, June 24, 2010

Karabakh Fighting

The front lines around Nagorno-Karabakh are suddenly hot:
"Intense skirmishes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces around the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued on June 21, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

"News reports said an Azerbaijani soldier was shot dead early today in what the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said was an Armenian attack on Azerbaijani Army positions in the Fizuli district southeast of Nagorno-Karabakh...

"Karabakh Armenian military officials insisted their forces suffered no fresh casualties on June 21, in the worst Armenian-Azerbaijani cease-fire violations in over two years...

"Four Armenian soldiers and one Azerbaijani soldier were killed in what authorities in Stepanakert and Yerevan described as an overnight Azerbaijani assault on a Karabakh Armenian army outpost in the northeastern part of the breakaway Azerbaijani region on the night of June 18-19.

"Exchanges of automatic and sniper gunfire along the main Armenian-Azerbaijani Line of Contact -- east and north of the disputed region -- appear to have intensified since then."

I don't see Armenia starting this, but perhaps Azerbaijan, which conventional wisdom holds is the ascendant power in the area due to its wealth in fossil fuels, is trying to apply pressure.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Steve S said...

It's probably not insignificant that the two presidents had just returned from another meeting in Moscow (iirc) to discuss settlement of the issue. Neither side seems to have come out happy.

I'm always sceptical of reports on how these things get started. On the Azer side, at least, conditions are fairly awful -- a few wood planks constitute a bed, food is quite scarce, heat is nearly nonexistent. Anyone who can scrounge up the money pays a bribe to not go to the border, so only the poorest of the poor show up to duty there, and training is a joke from what I've seen.

So you've got poor, underfed, cold, terrified soldiers on the line. It's really easy to imagine one of them pulling the trigger for no good reason whatsoever. Once the shooting starts, with as much bad feeling as exists on both sides, it's hard to stop.

But political motives are tremendously likely. What with the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement (even as that seems increasingly a thing of the past), the 'Baijan is feeling more sidelined, and probably needs some attention.

11:13 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home