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  • IASbaba
  • August 17, 2022
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Geography
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Nagorno-Karabakh

In News: The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh has been at the centre of three major wars and multiple clashes for decades.

  • The recent flare-up began on August 3 after Azerbaijan claimed that it had captured the territory in Karabakh in a retaliatory campaign, after an Armenian attack killed one Azerbaijani soldier.

Nagorno-Karabakh

  • Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous and heavily forested region that under international law is recognised as part of Azerbaijan.
  • However, ethnic Armenians who constitute the vast majority of the population there reject Azeri rule (the legal system of Azerbaijan).
  • After Azerbaijan’s troops were pushed out of the region following a war in the 1990s, these ethnic Armenians have been in administrative control of Nagorno-Karabakh, with support from Armenia.

Strategic Significance:

  • The energy-rich Azerbaijan has built several gas and oil pipelines across the Caucasus (the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea) to Turkey and Europe.
  • Some of these pipelines pass close to the conflict zone (within 16 km of the border).
  • In an open war between the two countries, the pipelines could be targeted, which would impact energy supplies and may even lead to higher oil prices globally.

What is the Genesis of the Conflict?

  • 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.
  • Once Azerbaijan and Armenia became Soviet Republics in 1921, Russia 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.
  • However, Azerbaijan suppressed such calls, which led to a military conflict.
  • The self-declaration of independence by Nagorno-Karabakh in September 1991 in the backdrop of an imminent collapse of the USSR resulted in a war between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh — supported by Armenia.
  • This clash lasted till a ceasefire agreement was reached in 1994, mediated largely by Russia.
  • Since then, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group co-chaired by the USA, Russia and France have engaged Azerbaijan and Armenia extensively to resolve the conflict.
  • By that time, Armenia had taken control of Nagorno-Karabakh and handed it to Armenian rebels.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2022)

Regions in News             Country

  1. Anatolia – Turkey
  2. Amhara – Ethiopia
  3. Cabo Delgado – Spain
  4. Catalonia – Italy

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

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