Azerbaijan and Armenia: More ex-Soviet border tension

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Azeri soldiers killed in Nagorno-Karabakh war

WASHINGTON, September 3, 2014 — President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan met with residents of the Beylagan region last week and announced, “The Azerbaijan public is aware that at the beginning of this month Armenia tried to stage a provocation on the frontline. But the Azerbaijan army gave a fitting rebuff to the enemy.”

There have been enormous tensions on the frontline between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and these erupted into open conflict at the beginning of August; they have since died down. This led Aliyev to tweet in the middle of August, “the situation of neither peace nor war cannot last any longer.” That is, the ceasefire signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1994 must come to some conclusion.

The two countries are contesting a significant territory known as Nagorno–Karabakh. Armenia has demanded the independence of this region, calling it the Nagorno–Karabakh Republic. Armenia took control of the territory of 146 000 people in 1994, but only after chasing away the resident Azeris. Azerbaijan rightly insists that there can be no real meaningful negotiations over the territory without the return of these refugees to their homes.

The ex-Soviet states are riven by numerous territorial disputes, largely ignored by the media unless Russia is involved, as in Georgia and Ukraine. Territorial disputes are emotional because everybody needs a home and because they usually create refugees. The international community has found it difficult to solve the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Russia’s President Putin managed to stop the recent flare up, but no real solution was at hand at the Sochi meeting Putin chaired between Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.


Armenia will not easily abandon its desire for the territory to be an independent state with a predominantly Armenian population. Azerbaijan will continue insisting that the Azeri refugees must be allowed to return. There is a deadlock.

Each party should consider the other’s proposals before real negotiations can take place for a lasting peace deal. Armenia must accept the return of the refugees, and Azerbaijan must allow the territory some independence; negotiations presuppose compromise, and that means accepting things each side would not normally accept. In this case that means that the territory will be shared by people of both sides.

On that basis, real negotiations can take place to protect the interests of both states, and the peoples in the disputed territory. Rigid social structures are for societies at war; the chain of command and hierarchy must be clear to deal with threats from enemies. But for a society to be at peace, rigid social structures have to done away with. A negotiated peace for Nagorno–Karabakh must consider that.

To put to rest the fears of Armenians, who believe they will be outnumbered by Azeris, the territory will need a government with a limited role. For the different peoples to get along within the territory, liberties must be increased, property rights strengthened, and government involvement in the economy limited. If a government gets involved, it will always favor somebody over somebody. Government involvement means people will rightly claim unfairness Armenians are favored over Azeris or the other way round.

The alternative is to waste time and risk war. Time — lost time that could have been used to build the region — is part of the cost to rebuild after a war. Armenia has been threatening to target Azeri cities with missiles.

The territory must have a no-visa, no-tariff arrangement with both Azerbaijan and Armenia. The money must be determined by the people, not the government. A 200 year deal on the territory will allow both Armenia and Azerbaijan to observe the benefits of freedom as he territory changes over time.

Everybody knows the benefits of freedom; elites hate freedom because they want to pretend they bring benefits to mankind. Both Aliyev and Sargsyan understand freedom, that is why both states demanded freedom from the USSR. Why not attempt this peace, what is there to lose, otherwise the territory will remain disputed and unproductive.

The free market will neutralize rule by oligarchs; the territory will prosper. Those who use governments are either greedy or envious, and desire the land to have a culture of greed and envy. Having access to government means you have money, how does a poor person influence government except as a rebel? Markets are a better check on would-be oligarchs and rebellion than war.

But who knows what grand schemes the trio of Washington, Paris, and Moscow — “the Minsk group” — have in mind, or what they are negotiating. The political systems in these countries are dominated by the greed and cronyism, and with the crisis in Ukraine dominating their attention, the Minsk group representatives are unlikely to focus on accommodation between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Hopefully both Armenia and Azerbaijan desire the benefits of peace, liberty and freedom. All leaders want to be seen as the peace seekers. A tweet by Aliyev said, “today, stability in the region is provided only thanks to the policy of the Azerbaijani state. Azerbaijan is a stabilizing country.” Will he pick up the phone and tell Sargsyan he accepts Armenia’s core demand for the territory, and will Armenia accept return of the refugees, for the sake of peace?

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  • Kevork

    Another silly pro-Azeri article. Try harder. “Territorial disputes are emotional because everybody needs a home and because they usually create refugees” – So what is stopping the so-called “Azeris” who are “refugees” from going back to where they came from in Central Asia and south Iran, to their real homes, instead of constantly trying to take the homes of Armenians through massacres and genocides? WWI was the biggest blow of these foreign Turkic invaders who perpetrated the Armenian Genocide in order to take all the Armenian lands, and 20 years ago, the neo-Ottoman wannabes now going by the name of “Azeri” tried to do the same thing. It may have worked the first time, but that was the last time. You people should get it through your heads, you will not take another inch of Armenian historic lands, but instead will be giving it going forward. And you have lots more to give back, we are not through with you.

    • Bhekuzulu Khumalo

      But then you will fight for ever, 20th century was bad for everyone, time we try to move forward, free market is best way

  • HistorianInMyOwnRite

    Considering the 3rd Reich was completely defeated and remains a ghost in time leaving the German Nation a non threat to the world. The Turks however are in fact a continuity of the same threat of existence to the unfortunate native inhabitants of those lands that were cursed with the presence of a barbaric subhuman species known as Turks.
    Why is it we are constantly burdened with the Hitler boogey man which no longer exists yet the world turns a blind eye to this bloodlusting race of inferior savages that are joining these terrorist groups and the Governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan are dumping tons of money into recruitment support training and assistance to all these new Terrorist groups that are popping up like flowers in the spring time.
    The list of massacres genocides pogroms and general ethnic cleansing campaigns committed by these 2 Turkic groups since they invaded and squatted are a list as long as my arm. Where are the assassinations embargo’s blockades and all out bombing and invasion campaigns on these blood thirsty dictatorial racist regimes of occupiers. Historically the Turks are a criminal race who’s entire tribal foundation is based on the universally accepted crimes (by sophisticated Nations) of murder torture theft rape and lying.

    Get rid of the Turks and you get rid of this blossoming terrorist empire that is on the rise as it is an organic outgrowth of turkishness

    • coach

      It appears you have some personal beef against Turks. I’m not Turkish but find it extremely in poor taste for you to be hurling insults at an entire race. Its natural that with time people will migrate where they see opportunities. Heck you have tons of Armenians throughout the Middle East.

      • HistorianInMyOwnRite

        Sorry that your soft feminine altruistic pov really has no effect on myself or any like minded people that are consciously aware of what a Turk is and just what a Turk does historically, unto this day fomenting Terrorism against civilian non Turkish populations in the lands they occupy.
        You seem to believe the Turk is a race which is curious considering they are a bastardized bunch of mongrels that started off in eastern Asia whom pillaged plundered and raped their way as far as the balkans so they are technically a mismatched conglomeration of multiple racial genetics but that just goes to show what kind of nonsenses a soft feminine altruistic state of mind can produce

        • Guest

          I am not Turkish. But are you metally sound? You are consumed with hatred towards anything Azerbaijani and Turkish. Did your parents “teach” you to hate or did you “learn” it afterwards? Just curious.

      • HistorianInMyOwnRite

        “Heck you have tons of Armenians throughout the Middle East.”

        This I had to address separately since it is astronomically astonishing this is part of your politically correct argument. Again this is absolute proof that you sir/mam/thing are ignorant to the history of the human rights violation known as the Turk let alone the history of the Armenian nor the western Armenian which is the bulk of Armenians you are referring to let alone all the other ethnic class of peoples the predatory Turk has driven into extinction.

        Since you have neglected to even understand as to why a small homogenous christian group no longer has their homeland(Western Armenia), the answer my shallow minded friend is found within the studies of the christian genocides committed by the wicked Turk during WW1 this of course does not include the very large list of Massacres pogroms and over all ethnic cleansing campaigns against not just Armenians and not just christians but all non Turks under the yolk of the Imperialistic Parasitic Turkocractic Rule of Law

        I whole heartily suggest you get educated on a topic before chiming in with nonsensical ridiculousness that equates to a rumor based judgment against myself good luck in life

  • VTigers

    Khumalo you better stick to maths instead of getting into muddied waters by those who are bribing you.Quote:“The Azerbaijan public is aware that at the beginning of this month Armenia tried to stage a provocation on the frontline. But the Azerbaijan army gave a fitting rebuff to the enemy.”Unquote
    Really?Were you there to verify & see?It’s exactly the opposite & the common Azeris know it very well as they keep on receiving the bodies of their sons as your above photo verifies.’Theory of Knowledge’?My foot!

  • Arthur

    Clearly the author did not do his homework. He presented his (or someone else’s) point of views as facts, without citing any source. Proposing Karabakh to become a quasi country for 200 years is an absurd idea.

    The Karabakh problem, as well as many other problems in other regions, was inherited from Soviet Union’s shortsightedness. Karabakh should not have been part of Azrbaijan in a first place.
    The land was distributed with consideration of easy administration and access. The same way Crimea was given to Ukraine, its easy to manage Crimea from Ukraine than from Russia. The land distribution did not take into consideration population’s ethnicities.
    It is logical and pretty predictable, that people will revolt and demand autonomy. I do not see how Azerbaijan will get Karabakh back under its control. The same way I do not see how Ukraine will get Crimea back, the same way I do not see how Georgia will get Osetia back…..