FACTS

    Hundreds of people have been wounded and dozens killed after fresh conflict broke out on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan last week. The dispute has been a decades-long issue regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh region and began after the region declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1991, around the fall of the Soviet Union. The region, still technically part of Azerbaijan, has been under Armenian control since 1994. In recent days, it was reported that there has been “unprecedented use of heavy artillery, tanks, missiles, and even kamikaze drones as the fighting has escalated.” Both the Armenian government and the Azerbaijan government have accused one another of targeting their own country’s civilian population, accusations which both sides have denied.

    RESPONSE

    “We are definitely one step away from a large-scale war in the region,” noted Olesya Vartanyan, senior analyst for the South Causasus region of the war prevention organization International Crisis Group. Vadim Mukhanov, a Caucasus expert at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, agreed, stating, “If this conflict isn’t stopped through serious outside pressure, then war will come, which would be a catastrophe.” Vartanyan argued that Russia and Turkey could soon get involved in the conflict. Russia has closer ties to Armenia, while Turkey has officially backed Azerbaijan. However, so far, Russia has condemned the fighting, and, joined by France and the US, has called for a ceasefire. Germany has called for the same. Turkey, on the other hand, has continued to express support for Azerbaijan, with Turkey’s Foreign Ministry stating Sunday, ““Armenia is the biggest barrier to peace and stability in the region.”

    “Each side focuses exclusively on their own traumas and belittles those of the other side. This conflict will go on for at least another generation unless it can be smothered by an international security operation…highly unlikely in the current international situation.”

    Thomas de Waal, author of Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War.

    RIGHT

    Award-winning author Lela Gilbert noted that the conflict is not simply about the land element but is a religious war between Orthodox Christian Armenia and Muslim-majority Azerbaijan:

    “It is noteworthy to those of us who focus on international religious freedom that whenever Turkey moves in, religious freedom moves out. There can be no lasting freedom of worship for any faith unless it conforms with Turkey’s Islamic practices.”

    Lela Gilbert, Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom at Family Research Council

    LEFT

    The Left believes President Trump has abdicated his responsibility in the region, as well as other international issues. “Under the Trump administration, the US has taken a back seat on many major international issues, compared to previous administrations,” read an article from The Guardian. Andrew Higgins, Moscow Bureau Chief with The New York Times, criticized the US, asking, “Why is nothing being done to stop a longtime United States ally, Turkey, from using American-made F-16 jets against ethnic Armenians in a disputed mountain region?”

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