By Stephen Blank
July 10, 2023
On May 4 Secretary of State Blinken announced that the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan had made progress and that an agreement that would terminate the thirty-year war over Nagorno-Karabakh was “within reach.” While much more negotiation is obviously necessary and will be difficult, this announcement, if true, is an epochal one whose ramifications spread from Europe to the Middle East and Central Asia. It also reflects the fact that security in the Caucasus cannot be considered separately from a discussion of international order in those three regions. If Washington can broker or mediate an end to this war it, with the support of the EU whose prior initiative has been the basis for its approach, will become the primary foreign power and even possibly security manager in the Caucasus.
By Stephen Blank
February 7, 2023
At the end of 2022 Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, announced on television that Armenia is under strong pressure, presumably from Moscow, to join the union state of Russia and Belarus and open an “extraterritorial (trade) corridor” to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan province through its own Syunik province. While Armenia’s acute security predicament provides an opportunity for this Russian move, the question is why Moscow has chosen this particular timing and what it portends for the future of the Caucasus.
By Natalia Konarzewska
April 6, 2022
Like several other countries, Azerbaijan seeks to retain functioning relations with both Russia and Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion. Baku provides Ukraine with humanitarian aid yet avoids actions directly opposing Moscow for fear of retaliation. Baku’s position reflects its interest in maintaining Russia’s acceptance of Azerbaijan’s multi-vector foreign policy and in gaining Moscow’s support for its objectives in Nagorno-Karabakh. Moreover, the recent surge of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh suggests that Baku is taking advantage of the opportunity arising as Western and Russian attention is directed elsewhere to improve its own position vis-à-vis the separatist region.
By Emil A. Souleimanov and Huseyn Aliyev
January 23, 2019, the CACI Analyst
Recent weeks have seen an unprecedented series of high-level meetings of Armenian and Azerbaijani representatives on Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan’s breakaway territory closely linked since the early 1990s to Armenia. Whereas many analysts considered resumed peace talks unlikely after the April 2016 fighting, Armenia’s Velvet Revolution and the replacement of the country’s war-hardened Karabakh elite with a forward-looking and liberal government has provided new stimulus in this regard. As Azerbaijani officials perceive the recent power shift in Armenia as a window of opportunity to advance a peaceful solution to the long-standing conflict, optimism regarding the prospect of a deal appears higher than in many years.
By Eduard Abrahamyan
January 8, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On December 6, 2017, the Armenian Parliament unanimously ratified the Armenian-Russian US$ 100 million “state export loan.” The accord, signed on October 24, allows Yerevan to borrow funds for purchasing a wide range of sophisticated arms manufactured by Russia in order to implement the “Common Defense Sector Development Plan.” This is Moscow’s second programmed military loan to Armenia, following the US$ 200 million loan agreed in 2015 which is now in the final stage of realization. The pending loan is intended to allow Yerevan to uphold its consistent procurement of military hardware since 2011 in an effort to negate Azerbaijan’s military-technical superiority.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.