Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

It has been nearly a week since a violent conflict erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The two Caucasian nations have been bitter rivals over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The region lies within Azerbaijan but is under the control of Armenian forces since 1994 after a separatist war. Armenia is a small nation with a population of over two million but has deep conflicts with various neighbours. It is considered the first officially Christian state, ten years before even the Roman Empire.

Armenia also has a conflict with Turkey over the genocide denial during World War I by the Ottoman Empire. Armenia claims up to 1.5 million people were killed but Turkey had termed it a conspiracy. Such strong are the sentiments that merely mentioning the Armenian genocide is considered an insult to Turkey and attempts are made to suppress it.

Due to its strong and friendly with Turkey and Azerbaijan, Pakistan has opposed Armenia in the conflict. In fact, Pakistan is the only country in the world that has not established diplomatic relations with Armenia even though Turkey and Azerbaijan have. Pakistan has raised concerns over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and blamed Armenia for the violations.

Pakistan’s support to Azerbaijan lies not just from its friendly ties with the country but its attempts to gains support for the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan has compared Karabakh to Kashmir, terming them as occupied territories where UNSC resolutions are being violated. This stance has gained Azerbaijan’s support on Kashmir and similarly, Pakistan has vowed to support Azerbaijan.

The conflict is getting worse and could escalate further as major powers in the region Turkey and Russia are getting involved. The leaders of both Armenia and Azerbaijan have brushed aside suggestions of peace talks as the international community has called for mediation to end the decades-old conflict. Both sides have sent their fighters to the region and a long-drawn conflict is expected.

It is necessary to find a peaceful solution to the conflict as it would engulf the entire region of beyond. The conflict may be smaller but could spiral out of control as both former Soviet Republic are on the brink of an all-out war. Regional countries and global powers should make efforts to defuse the tensions and also end the conflict.

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