By: Porter Aydelotte and Isabel Silagy
The Azerbaijani attack on Armenia’s border on Sept. 12, a direct threat towards Armenia’s independence, may have been encouraged by Russia’s unprecedented invasion of Ukraine.
In this most recent flare up, Azerbaijan is specifically targeting Armenian border towns.
The conflict stems over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has been contested between the two states for most of its existence. The region itself is located in Azerbaijan, but is predominantly occupied by ethnic Armenians. Due to this, the region is a major source of tension between the two countries.
In the past, Russia has often served as the mediator between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since Russia is engrossed in a war of its own with Ukraine, the U.S. has stepped into the role of mediator between Armenian and Azerbaijan. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a congressional delegation on Sept. 17 to visit Armenia, condemning Azerbaijan’s illegal attack. The U.S. State Department also mediated recent talks between both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Historically, Russia has supported Armenia, while Turkey has supported Azerbaijan. However, Russia’s absence from acting as mediator for the two countries could have major political ramifications, both in terms of whether or not Russia will continue to hold influence over the region, and how the U.S.’ support for Armenia will affect its relationship with Turkey.
While Russia has helped broker ceasefires between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the past, it has been notably absent from the most recent conflict due to its preoccupation with Ukraine.
Other countries do not condone Azerbaijan’s aggressive behavior. India has signaled its loyalty to Armenia, sending the latter country heavy weaponry and ammunition. Iran, who shares a border with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, has condemned the war and stressed that established borders in the region must “remain unchanged,” according to Modern Diplomacy.