The November 9, 2020 declaration did not end the second Karabakh war, also known as the 44-Day War; the war continues for Azerbaijan. Indeed, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s rhetoric remains so incendiary that it may spark a new war at any moment. As a result, Armenia remains on edge, anticipating the next salvo from Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan’s increasingly bellicose language needs to be observed and analyzed within the context of unfolding regional and global developments.
Certainly the war in Ukraine is a factor to be considered. It was presumed that because of the standoff between Russia and the West, many conflicts in different regions would be placed on the backburner. As it turns out, that presumption is no longer true, as major powers seem to have a tacit understanding to micromanage other regional issues, despite the overarching war in Ukraine. And that can work to Armenia’s advantage if the leadership can find loopholes in the big picture and capitalize on them.
Armenia and Turkey have been negotiating to restore diplomatic relations without any preconditions. While Amenia is proceeding with good faith and abiding by that principle, the Turkish side has been coordinating its steps with Azerbaijan, which throws in its demands, namely signing a peace treaty sealing its five-point proposal, which calls for mutual recognition of territorial integrity, forgoing the status issue of Karabakh and opening the Zangezur Corridor, thus encroaching on Armenia’s sovereignty.
Armenia is facing winds that blow hot and cold as stakeholders make contradictory statements. Russia, for one, has changed its interpretation many times, driven by its interests and conflicts with Azerbaijan.
Last week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov flew in from Baku to attend the annual meeting of the foreign ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) countries, held in Yerevan. On the sidelines of that meeting, Mr. Lavrov gave a press conference, clarifying Russia’s position on the issue of the corridor. He indicated that “the roads and communication lines will be unblocked and transportation between the countries will move without compromising the sovereignty of the country through which those roads pass.”