Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine DSEI 2021

Frag Out! Magazine

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Page 23 of 99

Broadly speaking, that conflict has been one of the expected ones, that would have broken out sooner, or later. Anybody that has even scarce knowledge on the historical background of the region would not be surprised. The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has been going on since the ages of the Russian empire, resulting in mass atrocities during WWI, and revolution, as well as genocide between 1915 and 1917 in particular. The Soviet rule in the Caucasus did hide the animosities, but they have still been present under the surface. The territory of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan included a district inhabited by the Ar- menians, that was separated and formed a separate administrative unit: Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. During the Perestroika, and then, during the fall of the Soviet Union, the conflict was reborn. The Armenians were demanding the Nagorno Karabakh to become a part of the Republic of Armenia. The first battles and migration took place. The Azerbai- jan citizens were leaving the territory inhabited by the Armenians, while the Armenians left the area belonging to Azerbaijan. Ultimately, however, the Nagorno Karabakh announced its independence in 1991. The irregular warfare happening in the region rapidly evolved into an open conflict. The situation that Azerbaijan found itself in was complicated by the fact that a certain portion of its territory, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, has been a landlocked exclave surrounded by Armenia and Iran, without any land-based connection with the Azeri territory. Initially the Soviet, and then Russian authorities were supporting the Azeri side, hoping that this would stop any separatist tendencies in the region. When the Soviet Union ceased to exist and was suddenly replaced by a newly ordered geopolitical space, the alliances were reworked. The Armenians were receiving the support now. This stemmed from cold-blooded scrutiny. Azerbaijan remains in possession of significant crude oil and natural gas resources. In the new reality, this could have led to a situation in which the West would gain access to those resources. This had to be stopped. The war with Nagorno Karabakh at its central point ended up with the Armenians winning it. A ceasefire agreement was signed in 1994. As a result of the fight, 20,000 people lost their lives on both sides. Secondly, the Armenian side managed to retain con- trol over the Nagorno Karabakh area, and over the Azeri territory surrounding the Oblast. However, formally Nagorno Karabakh has not become a part of Armenia. A pseudo-state was formed, typical for the proxy wars, so popular during the existence of the Soviet Union. The said state has not been acknowledged by the international community but has all of the features that a state should have, in- Drone Nagorno-Karabakh The war that broke out in the autumn of 2020, being yet another chapter of the decades-long Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, did catch the attention of the defense analysts. This is because of a surprising saturation of the battlespace with unmanned assets. The interest was also fueled by the fact that the imagery recorded by the drone cameras was utilized for propaganda purposes. Lovers of the Bond movies can make out the geopolitical context of the events, remembering the plot utilized in „The World is not Enough". 22

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