This latest round in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has brought Russia’s role in a settlement into focus and revealed the additional risks, not from Western pressure, which has become traditional, but from the growing ambitions of various regional players and non-government actors.
In addition, Moscow also faces the need to maintain the fragile balance of interests between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two states that are important to Russia but are openly hostile to each other and are reluctant to make mutually acceptable concessions or reach a compromise.
An Armenian-Azerbaijani confrontation is nothing new in international politics. It was one of the triggers for the disintegration of the USSR. Over the past three decades, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has evolved from an intercommunity/inter-republic conflict within a single country (the Soviet Union) to a procrastinated inter-state dispute, which has considerably undermined the security of the entire Caucasus.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has grown beyond a heretofore regional conflict that stems from the Soviet Union’s collapse.
Now the interests of various external players are focused on this bilateral confrontation. Their interests are based not on an affiliation with any bloc or integration association but on their individual approaches to both the conflicting parties and the prospects for a peace settlement.
It is equally important that these external players are
forming their tactical and strategic policies on Nagorno-Karabakh in relation to
developments in other areas, whether it’s the Middle East, the Mediterranean,
the Black Sea region, or their own domestic political agenda, which imparts
added political value8
to the confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In
the words of economists, “related conflicts” are likely to emerge.