Armed clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh for the past two weeks has already claimed two dozen lives. Armenia and Azerbaijan, as before, stand on irreconcilable positions, accusing each other of provocations and attacks on peaceful villages. The echo of long-standing conflict between two former Soviet republics have reached Moscow and Los Angeles, where clashes occurred between representatives of the warring Nations. And in Baku, there were statements that border clashes could be a prelude to a major war. Why the decades long conflict flared up again now and the end of these skirmishes — once the negotiations or a new bloody war? Read more in the article “”.

the Again and again

The fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border erupted suddenly on July 12. The first reports of clashes came from Baku: Azerbaijani defense Ministry said that Armenian armed forces violated the ceasefire and fired at a strong point of the armed forces.

Place for clash seemed experts unexpected Tovuz district. The current front line between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh), which provides military support to Armenia, located far beyond the reference point, around which turned the fighting, about 300 kilometers. All local skirmishes happen there.

Yerevan said that the first artillery was used by the Azerbaijanis to capture a strategic point. Defense Minister David Tonoyan said that before the start of the fighting the Armenian positions drove the UAZ, which left the Azerbaijani military and headed across the border. They were asked to leave the territory. The soldiers were gone, but after that the Azerbaijani side opened fire, and the Armenians were forced to respond.

The parties immediately declared each other provocations, the shelling of civilians and covering up the real losses and said that using such “dirty” politics the enemy is trying to divert people’s attention from domestic problems.

The situation escalated on 16 July, when Azerbaijan threatened missile strike on the Metsamor nuclear power plant is 37 km from Yerevan if Armenia decides to bombard strategic targets on the territory of Azerbaijan, in particular, the Mingechevir reservoir. Yerevan considered the statement a threat of genocide. The international community reacted promptly and demanded to stop the fighting, but they continued.

Finally, on 22 July in Baku said that the Armenian military began firing on the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh, which both sides of the conflict and the world community waited since the fighting started. Indicative in this respect phrase the Ambassador of Azerbaijan in Moscow Polad Bulbuloglu — say, the question of who started the fighting this time, not matter.

“it is Time to solve this (Karabakh) conflict based on international law, and international law is on Azerbaijan”, — he added.

the Eternal and merciless

Officially the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began 28 years ago when the Republic of Artsakh declared its independence, however, ethnic clashes in the region occurred in the early XX century. The Soviet government drew the borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia so that the disputed territory in 1921, the Azerbaijan SSR withdrew with the preservation of broad autonomy.

Since in the region were sporadic local clashes on a national basis, and in the late 1970s, the confrontation between the Azerbaijani and Armenian populations became a daily reality. After signing the Belavezha accords and the withdrawal of internal troops of the USSR from the region in late 1991, Karabakh started a real war, which lasted almost two years.

All these years on the border of the unrecognized Republic and Azerbaijan there are small skirmishes. But only once they turned into a real military conflict — the so-called the four day war in April 2016, when the Azerbaijani troops began the offensive. Then, according to official data, the total losses amounted to more than 100 people, although, of course, the participants called completely different numbers. The current cross-border escalation — the territorial dispute of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which is officially confirmed by both parties. This is probably the only thing they appeared to agree.

Thus, the adviser of the President of Azerbaijan Hikmet Hajiyev in an interview with “the” said that Armenia with military adventures trying to draw in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, international organizations in which is and wants to avoid responsibility for the occupation and aggression. Supposedly, Azerbaijan 12 July saw the transfer of heavy military equipment and manpower by Armenia in the direction of the border, and it proves that Yerevan was prepared in advance of the attack.

In Armenia claim that Baku provoked the escalation of the conflict favored method which has been used for many years, the shelling of civilian infrastructure and the civilian population. As stated in conversation with “” the press Secretary of the Armenian foreign Ministry Anna Naghdalyan, the clashes on the border was preceded by the attacks of the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Minsk the OSCE format and presentation of territorial and historical claims to the neighbors. Baku returned to the aggressive and belligerent rhetoric and convinced of its population and the ability to solve Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by military means, she said.

The attacks on the OSCE Minsk group, mentioned the diplomat, said in an interview to Azerbaijani TV channels Aliyev on 6 July, nearly a week before the start of the fighting on the verge��E. Aliyev lashed out at the participants format. He said that the Minsk group did not react when the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan calls Karabakh by Armenia, “nobody recognized criminal Nagorno-Karabakh regime” holds elections, changing the historical names of Azerbaijani cities and build churches.

Today the negotiation process almost does not go, said the Azerbaijani leader. Thus, according to him, Yerevan for two years trying to force Baku to engage in dialogue with “the fictitious leaders of the” Karabakh holds in the breakaway Republic elections and a memorable celebration. And negotiating group, which should regulate the conflict in the disputed territory, not doing his job. “It is not an adequate response? No. Given some abstract words, to please both yours, and ours. But that time is gone. We demand clear,” Aliyev said and recalled the battles of April 2016.

After the start of clashes on the border Aliyev excoriated already own diplomacy, saying that she “does not coincide with the successful development of the country” and should be attacking, not “passive and defensive”. Was immediately dismissed Minister of foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov, who, when the fighting started, unable to find in the workplace.

of the Talk-talks

Negotiations really stalled many years ago. In 2007, the Minsk group proposed the Madrid principles for resolving the conflict. They suggested the following steps: Azerbaijan gets control of five of the seven districts around Nagorno-Karabakh (“zone”), then in Artsakh are part of peacekeepers, return of refugees, the area receives an intermediate status and, finally, there is a referendum.

RIA Novosti

In the words of Yerevan, and Baku supported the document, however the real action is not reached. Baku is unacceptable for the idea of giving up any piece of territory of the breakaway Republic, which he had historically considered their land. Yerevan does not want to abandon the “security zone”, in addition, in Armenia believe that the Nagorno-Karabakh land historically was inhabited exactly by the Armenians, and the Azerbaijani side will begin to survive out local people and culture as soon as you get access to lands of Artsakh.

At the end of 2018 — beginning of 2019 in mass-media there were loud statements about progress in resolving the conflict. On the border stopped shooting, changed the tone of the official statements of the parties. The foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan spoke about mutual understanding and constructive dialogue. It happened a few months later as a result of “velvet revolution” in Armenia and came to power noted.

However, the fracture did not happen. In February, et��year at the Munich security conference held a public discussion in addition to Aliyev, which turned into recriminations. The Armenian Prime Minister, in particular, accused Baku’s unwillingness to return Artsakh in the negotiation process, it is impossible to decide the fate of the people without the participation of the people. Aliyev said that the people of Artsakh are not so independent.

In most of the NKR also insist on full participation in negotiations. As explained a year ago, the foreign Minister of Artsakh Masis Mayilian, there are five key issues of peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict. This is the status of a Republic, regional security, territorial claims, problems of refugees and the issue of lifting the blockade of the region. And Armenia is directly related only to military matters, because at the international level recognized as the guarantor of Artsakh’s security.

Everything else, I believe in Nagorno Karabakh, need to discuss directly with representatives of the Republic. “We in the Armenian elections do not participate, by mandate from the citizens of Artsakh Pashinyan does not have,” said Mayilyan. In July of this year, reacting to criticism of Aliyev, Artsakh foreign Ministry said that Azerbaijan for its attempts to delay the recovery of the trilateral talks tries to delay the peace process. He Pashinyan insisted that the Constitution can only represent Armenia.

of What next?

The current aggravation on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan was the result of some freak accident, an unfortunate set of circumstances. So says political scientist, expert on CIS Arkady Dubnov. Generally accepted version of what happened on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on 12 July, is unlikely to ever appear. Positions of Armenia and Azerbaijan expressed at previous stages of the negotiations themselves to the beginning of the clashes have nothing to do, after all, official rhetoric has not changed over the years.

Another clash at the border are not a prelude to the great war, and another sluggish episode of the war, which Azerbaijan has been in recent years, trying local skirmishes and constant military tensions to harass Armenia, said chief researcher of the Institute of world economy and international relations Alexander Krylov. Arkady Dubnov also believes that the conflict escalate into a larger war, which scares everyone Baku, is practically impossible, because it is not beneficial to anyone: neither Russia nor Turkey nor other regional and world powers.

Ramil Zeynalov / AP

Both Moscow and Washington have called on the conflicting of the Republic to the ceasefire, and UN Secretary General, antónio Guterres, who held telephone talks with Pashinyan and Aliyev, said that a full-scale war m��waiting for Armenia and Azerbaijan would be a disaster. Turkey actively supported Baku and assured that the death of Azerbaijani military “will not remain unanswered”. But, according to Dubnov;, the next statement will not do.

But parochial exacerbation, in contrast to the war can bring political benefits to the authorities of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Them to a certain extent, beneficial to the current status quo around Karabakh, says Dubnov. For Yerevan, the current provision is good because the NKR continues to exist as a Republic with the Armenian population, even if unrecognized. Aliev can pump militarist and revanchist sentiments to consolidate their power, the population and put all political opponents as enemies of Azerbaijan, the expert explained.

Apparently, appropriate “enemies” in Baku has been found. The day after the start of the conflict on the border was detained a former defense Minister Rahim Gaziyev. The state security service, said he encouraged citizens to mass riots, capture of authorities and actions that could weaken the country’s defense.

In the secret service stressed that against the background of the fighting with Armenia anti-national forces tried to destabilize, discredit the army and to discredit the government. By the way, Gaziyev was Azerbaijani defence Minister in 1992-1993, during the war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Later he was accused of treason, sentenced to death, replaced the penalty to life imprisonment and pardoned in 2005 at the insistence of PACE.

On the night of 15 July, in Baku a rally was held in support of the Azerbaijani army. Some demonstrators tried to break into the Parliament building, they were dispersed with water cannons. More than 20 activists were arrested, Aliyev accused the opposition of attempting a coup. A few days after the rally, the authorities said that tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis expressed a desire to go into the army. “I said, let those who broke the glass, will enlist in the army, — said Aliyev. — Less than a week after my words, as already signed by about fifty thousand people.”

Of course, the authorities of both republics if you want to use the current conflict in domestic politics, said the chief researcher of the Institute of world economy and international relations Alexander Krylov. “It is a common practice, so do the authorities of any state. External threats unite the society, it is known,” — said the expert. But the problem is that the official Baku, Yerevan and many are held hostage to public sentiment, forced to show increasing militancy, says the source “”. Negotiations are imitation: the parties confirm that it is necessary to engage in dialogue, and high, what dogovarivalisI, on the date of the next meeting.

It is not known just how long it will tolerate these Transcaucasian games third States involved in endless discussions and are forced to maneuver between the parties for the sake of their own interests. The conflict first appeared outside of the region: first in Moscow, and later in the US began the mass brawl between living there are Armenians and Azerbaijanis — both countries have a huge Diaspora. The conflict is transferred to the territory of third States, that is absolutely unacceptable for the local authorities. Here it is necessary to react quickly and decisively. So in General, the situation in Armenia and Azerbaijan totally deadlocked, and the exit is not visible, the expert said.