By Alec Rasizade
In the 1988-1994 war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, populated by Armenians but located within the Azerbaijan SSR, the latter lost 20 percent of its territory. Armenians established the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) which declared its independence from Azerbaijan on January 6, 1992. The Caspian oil boom since 2005 has strengthened Azerbaijan’s hand in the conflict. However, this advantage is doomed to disappear in 2011-2019 with the dwindling of Azerbaijan’s oil reserves.
The Current Status of the Conflict
Since the death of Heydar Aliev in 2003, tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have taken a turn for the worse. His son, the new Azeri President Ilham Aliev, has threatened to resort to force to retake Nagorno-Karabakh and exchanges of fire along the frontline have increased. One explanation for this escalation is the rapid growth of Azeri defense expenditures, driven by the influx of petrodollars, which shifted the military balance in Azerbaijan’s favor. Azerbaijan’s defense budget alone, at US$3 billion, exceeds the whole state budget of cash-strapped Armenia.
On the other hand, Aliev’s threat of military buildup comes in the wake of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008, which he fears could set a dangerous precedent for mutinous secession. This fear was reinforced by Russia’s subsequent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states after the war with Georgia in August 2008.
Armenian President Sarkisian responded to Aliev’s warnings on December 2, 2010 during the OSCE summit held in Astana. Sarkisian threatened to formally recognize the NKR as an independent state if Aliev tries to use force to win back the enclave and other Armenian-controlled territories around it, saying, “If Azerbaijan resorts to military aggression, Armenia would not have any other choice but to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic de jure and to invest all its capabilities into ensuring the security of the people living there… Nagorno-Karabakh has no future within Azerbaijan.”
How real is the danger of resuming this war in Transcaucasia? The victorious Armenian side is quite content with the status quo in Karabakh where it had achieved all strategic goals prior to the 1994 armistice. (Armenian ideologues have lately started to talk about the return of Nakhichevan, the Azeri exclave within Armenia, but the Azeri status of this territory is protected by Turkey under the 1921 Treaty of Kars). The potential of the losing Nagorno-Karabakh Azeri side depends not only on its military buildup and patriotic bluster, but more on the civic morale and social welfare of its population, which is profoundly unwilling to wage a re-conquest of Nagorno-Karabakh given the present political situation and social injustice in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan’s Petrodollar Dependency
Modern Azerbaijan is a typical Middle-Eastern petrostate ruled by a classical Middle-Eastern despotia, where political (and economic) power is concentrated and inherited within the ruling family. The extended family includes, along with the kinsmen of Azeri president and his wife, the top bureaucrats who, apart from their government duties, run vast business empires in every industry and trade, and enjoy a virtual monopoly in their respective fields and import operations. The petroleum export operation belongs to the ruling family – a fact that has been clearly revealed in the series of Wikileaks of American embassy dispatches from Baku.
In 1994, Heydar Aliev gave the largest oil concession in the Azeri sector of Caspian Sea for 30 years to a Western consortium led by British Petroleum, which has persuaded Western governments to overlook the glaring violation of human rights, the poor imitation of democracy, and the egregious conflating of business and political interests in this petrostate for the sake of unhampered pumping of one million barrels of Caspian oil daily through a pipeline built in 2005. The family receives in return 15 billion to 20 billion petrodollars annually, which it mostly spends on prestigious construction projects and other grandiose displays of independence, such as the recently erected tallest flagstaff in the world, turning the city of Baku into a Dubai-style amassment of futuristic skyscrapers by demolishing European quarters built during the first Baku oil boom of 1907-1915 and brutally evicting its citizens from their privatized homes.
However, this second Baku oil boom of 2005-2013 is doomed to end in a few years without any significant economic achievement as all the petrodollar revenue is being spent in a construction frenzy on ostentatious “white elephants” without modernizing even the city’s basic infrastructure, such as the water and sewage systems, let alone creating non-petroleum industries that might become useful in the future with the end of big oil. Almost all the factories and manufacturing plants, left over from the Soviet industrial past, have been grazed down to clear the ground for economically useless hotels and convention centers, magnificent mosques and shopping malls, and opulent office and residential buildings for Azerbaijan’s new petrodollar elite. This leaves little room to live or work for the rest of population, which is emigrating in large numbers: presently 3 million of Azerbaijan’s 9 million citizens live and work abroad.
Petroleum production provides 85 percent of Azerbaijan’s state budget revenues, accounts for 78 percent of the country’s GDP and 92 percent of Azerbaijan’s export. In other words, Azerbaijan completely depends on oil revenue in its standoff against Armenia, in military expenditures, in the food import-based welfare of its populace, and in ensuing political stability. The lion’s share of oil revenue is provided by one single cluster of three offshore oil fields, Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli, discovered before Azerbaijan’s independence by Soviet geologists in the Caspian Sea. These three platforms presently supply 42 million of Azerbaijan’s 50 million tons of annual oil production. Since then, 23 exploration contracts signed with foreign oil companies have failed to find any new oil deposit in Azerbaijan and its sector of the Caspian Sea.
Therefore, any speculation about Azerbaijan’s prospects, both domestically and in Karabakh, is made simple by the country’s complete dependence on these three oil fields: with their inevitable depletion Azerbaijan’s economic strength will attenuate, which will in turn diminish its chances of resolving the Karabakh issue by force. The reserves of these fields are a state secret in Azerbaijan, but numerous foreign oil industry sources give evidence that, at the current rate of extraction, the three main fields will be depleted by 2019.
In 1992 the oil deposits of Azerbaijan were estimated at 7 billion barrels, 5 billion of which were under the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli cluster. The total Caspian Sea reserves, including Kazakhstan, which possesses 80 percent of Caspian oil, were around 25 billion barrels. Since then, nothing new has been found in the Azeri sector of the sea, while the giant Kashagan oil field was discovered in the Kazakh sector. Suppose that during the 16 years since the signing of concession, the Consortium has been pumping half a million barrels of oil per day on average, i.e. 182 million barrels per year. (In fact, since 2005 the daily output has been 1 million barrels). Multiply that number by 16 years and it is evident that from its total stock of 7 billion barrels Azerbaijan has already pumped out about 3 billion, leaving only 4 billion barrels of oil.
Now generously presume the remains of Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli to be 3 billion barrels (of the initial 5 billion) and divide that by 365 million barrels a year: the resulting estimate gives only nine more years of production at one million barrels per day (which the Consortium plans to increase up to 1.2 million per day). Thus, it is easy to calculate the end of Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli in the year 2019. Given that 2010 was the peak year of Azeri oil production, the descent begins as of 2011. (The IMF predicts the beginning of descent in 2012). Of course, the output will not stop immediately, but its reduction by 10 percent a year will be a severe blow to this petrostate.
This is only my generous calculation; the real decline may be even steeper because Azeri officials routinely inflate their oil assets, which are mysteriously increasing instead of decreasing, in spite of the one million barrels pumped out daily. According to them, Azerbaijan’s oil reserves rose last year to 923 million tons, an equivalent of 6.7 billion barrels. In other words, the stock of oil in Azerbaijan, after 18 years of extraction and no new discovery made, has declined by only 300 million barrels, which is Azerbaijan’s production in one year. Where the output in the remaining 17 years has vanished to is unknown.
This same kind of overstatement pertains to Azerbaijan’s natural gas resources, which the officials hope will replace the dwindling oil revenues. Gas reserves, however, are insignificant: Azerbaijan currently exports only 5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to Turkey, hoping that the annual production from its Shahdenis gas field will double in the future, compared to the annual export of 70 bcm of Turkmen gas, 46 bcm from Iran and 350 bcm from Russia. Even gas-thirsty Ukraine, which is entangled in a gas-import dispute with Russia, produces 20 bcm of its own gas, compared to the 15 bcm produced in Azerbaijan, of which 10 bcm is consumed domestically.
Given this negligible volume of natural gas export and the certain end of big oil, the absence of real industrial production and manufacturing base in the post-petroleum era could lead to economic plight and public frustration. Azerbaijan has not developed any alternative source of economic income comparable to the current oil-export revenue. Moreover, instead of modernizing the Soviet-era industries, it has torn down the old factories and plants to clear the ground for office buildings and shopping malls, where the petrostate citizens were supposed to spend their petrodollars. However, Baku is neither a new Kuwait nor a new Dubai: its oil boom is to end within a few years. Yet the closed political system prevents a meaningful debate on post-boom challenges and breeds a sense of apathy and complacency.
The international pressure which the Azeri government is trying to exert on great powers in resolving the Karabakh conflict by using its oil production as a foreign policy leverage is more important than the arms race. In 1994, Heydar Aliev hoped that the Western interest in energy resources would play in his favor on this issue. Composition of the Consortium, which included the European, American and even Russian companies, perfectly fitted into this strategy. However, Aliev’s hope to relate oil development to the resolution of Karabakh conflict produced little effect. The only gain on this path was the softening in 2001 of Section 907 of the 1992 Freedom Support Act, which barred Azerbaijan from receiving American humanitarian aid until it lifts the economic blockade of Armenia.
Roughly speaking, the political clout of the one-million-strong Armenian community in the United States countervails the powerful big-oil lobby in Washington that promotes Azeri interests. Thus, the strategy of defeating Armenia diplomatically at the hands of oil-thirsty great powers has failed. Neither the European Union nor the United States have increased their support for Baku in the so-called Minsk process for settling the Karabakh conflict sponsored by OSCE. This strategic failure caused a reconsideration in Baku of the diplomatic impact of Azeri oil on the West, and both Alievs turned then to Moscow, trying to manipulate the United States and NATO by the Russian card.
Russia is still the strongest military power in the region, but its capacity to control events there is far weaker than most observers assume. Both the physical barrier of the Greater Caucasus range and the insurgency in its own turbulent North Caucasus reduce Moscow’s ability to operate in the South Caucasus. To confront the growing political and economic influence of Turkey and Iran there, Russia if anything calls for the help of local Armenians, Abkhaz, Ossetians and others nations capable to maintain the Russian interests. The 2008 Georgian war and the renewal of Russia’s military alliance with Armenia in August 2010 were both evidence of this. The calm reaction in the West to both events suggests that a dose of insignificance for Western strategic interests would be very healthy for Caucasian nations since it would allow the local governments to concentrate on solving their essential problems on their own.
Transcaucasia is indeed an important transport corridor for Caspian energy exports independent of Russia and Iran. But the romantic project of a new Silk Road stretching from Central Asia to Constantinople after the collapse of the USSR was unrealistic, unduly raising the hopes of small nations along the Road of becoming essential to the West, while antagonizing Russia and Iran. Also in the 1990s, Caspian enthusiasts in the West extravagantly believed that the oil reserves of Caspian Basin (allegedly 200 billion barrels) were equal to those of Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf. Their claims later turned out to be exaggerated almost 10 times. Due to its impending economic and strategic insignificance to the West, Azerbaijan needs to become more realistic in its claim to Nagorno-Karabakh as its ability to persuade the great powers is set to wane synchronously with the depletion of oil reserves in 2011-2019.
Source: Harvard International Review
The Mujahedin in Nagorno-Karabakh: A Case Study in the Evolution of Global Jihad (WP)
WP 20/2008 – 9/5/2008
The current volume of publications dealing with Islamist militancy and terrorism defies belief in terms of its contents. This can be perceived as part of a frantic effort to catch up for the lack of attention devoted to this phenomenon during the 1980s and 1990s, when this field of research field was considerably underdeveloped. The present level of research activity is struggling to keep pace with developments. Thus, it is primarily preoccupied with attempting to describe what is actually happening in the world right now and possibly to explain future developments. This is certainly a worthwhile effort, but the topic of this paper is a modest attempt to direct more attention and interest towards the much overlooked sub-field of historical research within Jihadi studies.
The global Jihad has a long history, and everyone interested in this topic will be quite familiar with the significance of Afghanistan in fomenting ideological support for it and for bringing disparate militant groups together through its infamous training camps during the 1990s. However, many more events have been neglected by the research community to the point where most scholars and analysts are left with an incomplete picture, that is most often based on the successes of the Jihadi groups. Yet there are plenty of examples of failures which have rarely been placed in the larger context and a thorough understanding of these events would undoubtedly provide a much more nuanced picture of the Jihad. Examples such as al-Qaeda’s failure to establish itself in the Horn of Africa and its exodus from Sudan, the lack of local support for the foreign Mujahedin in Bosnia or the more general failure to unite disparate Jihadi groups all provide stimulus for further inquiry. The framework of this particular sub-field would require systematic studies on overlooked and underexploited historical events within Jihadi studies, and this would obviously include obscure militant groups and events.
Somewhat ironically, the only known effort to compile historical case studies with the aim of learning from past mistakes has been undertaking by the Jihadis themselves. The seminal work of Abu Musab al-Suri in his The Global Islamic Resistance Call is little known outside Jihadi ideological circles, yet al-Suri spent several years during a self-imposed sabbatical from the Jihad to devise a new concept of Jihadi warfare. Considering the thought put into this massive 1600-page treaty one has no option but to conclude that he succeeded. Few Western scholars have approached this important book with the respect it deserves, the exception being Brynjar Lia in his equally seminal Architect of Global Jihad.
The sub-field of historical Jihadi studies is wide open to anyone seriously interested in acquiring a deeper understanding of the development of the Jihad. There are plenty of failed militant Islamist groups, lost battles, strategic blunders and vicious ideological strife to examine. They all represent a minuscule part of a large mosaic that, when properly pieced together and understood, will eventually present a much more comprehensive picture of the development of the global Jihad over the past three decades. This is indeed an interesting historical journey and one that presents a number of surprises even for the initiated. The following case study on the Mujahedin who fought in Nagorno-Karabakh is exactly one such very small piece, yet for all its obscurity it sheds light on several subsequent events linked to the Jihad.
«Azg» (Yerevan), 2005, March 25
PEACE TO KARABAKH
(to the structure of settlement)
Ву Vladimir Kazimirov
Instead of introduction
Dear visitor of this site,
Under this heading I placed my memoirs basically on the period when I was obliged to head Russia’s intermediary mission on Karabakh settlement, be representative of the President of Russian Federation on Nagorno Karabakh issue and also participant and co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk group from Russia (1992-96).
I would like to spur a serious study of history of peaceful and political settlement of Karabakh conflict. I shall be glad for critical remarks, corrections, even for refutations on separate episodes. I am ready to survey them, first of all, not from positions of author’s insulted vanity but from natural desire to attach more reliability to the description of events of recent past, which, unfortunately, already suffers both involuntary confusion and deliberate distortions. Moreover, I am ready to make corrections to my text or include alternative versions in view of remarks. I have turned to Azerbaijani and Armenian colleagues either involved in this process or closely watching it with an offer to draw the objective picture of Karabakh settlement history in this site.
I’ll post the sketches in the site bit by bit as they are ready. I shall begin with a number of important, at least as I see them, though inconsequent episodes: my appointment to “fire brigade” on Karabakh, first restrictions of military actions, Bishkek, ceasefire since May 12, 1994. I shall try to gradually fill in the gaps that divide them. In view of some disputes on separate events or episodes, I will probably have to attach documents of this process as appendices to these memoirs.
And now let me start looking forward to your arguments or criticism. Alexander Tvardovsky put it right indicating the truth: “Let it be thicker no matter how bitter it is”.
KARABAKH AND UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS
The resolutions of UN Security Council are among the decisive documents in the modern international life. All the UN member-countries, of course, focus their attention on the complete and well-timed (and not postponed or selective) fulfillment of those documents. There are 4 resolutions on Karabakh conflict (822, 853, 874 and 884). All of them were adopted in the heat of Karabakh war, from April 30 to November 12, 1993.
In the recent years, the fulfillment of resolutions has been more frequently demanded by Baku but only concerning the part of immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of occupation forces from 7 regions of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenian-Karabakh troops and return of their refugees to those territories. Now Nagorno Karabakh itself is also more and more persistently enclosed by those demands; Heydar Aliyev was more moderate in this issue (too much formal logic hardly ever applicable in conflict situations is necessary in order to refer Nagorno Karabakh to occupied lands).
To put it differently, Azerbaijan, in essence, reduces the requirements of resolutions to the liberation of occupied territories. This country wants to draw attention to this grave consequence of an armed conflict, to the pain of the forced migrants. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan wants to push to the background, to delay the elimination of the major disputable problem and cause of the conflict, determination of Nagorno Karabakh’s status.
1. Adequate treatment of the UN Security Council resolutions is impossible without considering the hierarchy of their demands, without taking into account the fact that in the summer and in the fall of 1993 did the culmination of the war arrive. That’s why the priority and the most important demand was to cease fire, all the military and hostile activities. This demand passes through all the 4 resolutions as if it is their common pivot.
UN Security Council brought forward this demand as early as in the very first resolution N 822 adopted on April 30 1993, but a whole year and another 3 resolutions were not enough for its fulfillment.
It’s high time we specified which side violated this basic demand of all resolutions and bears special responsibility for the fact that its failure to solve this cardinal problem laid the foundation for the failure of almost all other demands, a complex non-fulfillment of the Security Council resolutions.
Of course, nobody is innocent here, but, no doubt, the “palm” belongs to the Azeri side. Even having lost the control over its territories Azerbaijan’s leaders both in the years of A. Elchibey and H. Aliyev were persistent in their attempts to achieve a sudden change on the front and solve the conflict by force as if they were unaware of their own responsibility for the occupation and its extension. In the years of Russia’s active mediation, a whole calendar of cases of cease-fire breaking by both sides, evasion from such agreements and other cases of underestimation of peace-making initiatives accumulated (resolution N 884 also speaks about this in Aesopian language). With all the four resolutions of UN Security Council, three times did Baku directly neglect (December 1993 and February 1994) the chances of putting an end to military operations.
Cease-fire was achieved with Russia’s assistance on May 12 1994 not so much on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions, rather, on the basis of April 15 1994 statement of the Council of CIS country-heads, anyway, they had a common goal. This agreement was already different as compared with the previous ones, it wasn’t a temporary one or envisaged for several days only, but it was perpetual (by definition). i.e. actually permanent, and owing to the persistence of Moscow, it was not signed by two sides only as it was done before but by all the three sides of the conflict (not only Baku and Stepanakert, but also Yerevan).
3. The demand on liberation of the occupied territories or immediate withdrawal of all the occupation forces also passes through all resolutions. Baku claims that all the resolutions demand unconditional withdrawal, but this only refers to July 29 resolution N 853. How did the word “unconditional” disappear from resolutions N874 and N884? Did it disappear by accident, because of absent-mindedness? What if it disappeared in consequence of regular non-fulfillment by one of the sides of the major requirement, i.e., to cease military operations. Who could have expected to withdraw the forces without ceasing the fights? And who didn’t want to cease them? The UN Security Council couldn’t have compensated for non-fulfillment of its resolutions. On this very background did the unconditional demand turn into a subject of negotiations between the sides. For many times this issue has been a subject of negotiations but it wasn’t solved because of the position of Armenians and because of the fact that Baku immediately insisted on the withdrawal from all the territories, even from Shushi and Lachin, without even showing any willingness to touch upon the Nagorno Karabakh status.
4. The UN Security Council resolutions contain a number of other demands and appeals that remained non-fulfilled:
a) “to restore economic, transport and energy communications in the region” (853); “to eliminate all the obstacles to communication and transport” (874). From the very start of the conflict, Azerbaijan made use of the total blockade of Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia meanwhile accusing Armenia of Nakhijevan’s blockade. To fulfill those demands he puts forward the liberation of the lands as a preliminary pre-condition.
Besides, Baku broke off its contacts in all the spheres with Armenia and the more so with Nagorno Karabakh;
b) a number of appeals were raised in the negotiation process. Since as early as on May 19 1992, Azerbaijan refused to participate in the Minsk conference unless the Armenians left Shusha and Lachin occupied by them and on April 6 1993 they left the consultations of the “Minsk Five” in Geneva, the UN Security Council resolutions proposed that “negotiations should be immediately resumed within the framework of the Minsk Group peace process” (822), persistently urged to refrain from any actions hampering the peaceful settlement of the conflict and to “continue the negotiations within the framework of the Minsk Group, as well as by means of direct contacts” (853), and to convene an urgent Minsk conference (874).
The negotiations within the framework of the Minsk Group continued in 1994, as for direct contacts with Nagorno Karabakh, Baku completely contracted them at the end of 1993 against resolutions N853, N874 and N884.
The resolutions call “the local Armenian forces” (822), “Armenians of the Nagorno Karabakh region of Azerbaijan” (853, 884) a side opposed to it. By saying direct contacts, the resolutions meant the ones between Baku and Stepanakert (also because the agreements on cease-fire reached with the assistance of Russia are mentioned there for many times and all these agreements were concluded with Stepanakert in 1993, but Yerevan was not a party).
One may sum up all this as follows:
AZERBAIJAN persistently wouldn’t fulfill the main demand of the UN Security Council resolutions, to cease the fire, military and hostile operations, which had a negative impact on the fulfillment of other demands. Azerbaijan doesn’t fulfill them at present, either as far as the following points are concerned: 1) restore the economic, transport and energy communications in the region, 2) use the direct contacts with Nagorno Karabakh, 3) convene a Minsk conference.
ARMENIA AND NAGORNO KARABAKH refuse to meet the demand of withdrawing the occupation forces from Azerbaijani regions beyond the boundaries of Nagorno Karabakh insisting on a package and all-embracing settlement.
ARMENIA didn’t completely meet the appeal to exert restraining influence on Nagorno Karabakh and at present by mistake substitutes for it in the negotiation process, which though differently but again distorts the real configuration of the conflict.
As a result, the truce that has lasted for more than 10 years now remains the main achievement. It’s impossible to consider the UN Security Council resolutions on Karabakh as fulfilled and the position of sides of the conflict as adequate to them. It’s significant that the UN Security Council didn’t adopt any other resolutions on this conflict as their non-fulfillment by the sides undermines its authority.
Of course, the resolutions adopted 11 years ago can hardly be considered free of mistakes and valid for all times. They were dictated by the realities of that time.
Now when for this or that purpose attempts to involve UN in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict are again made it’s important to sum up the activity of last 10 years. We shouldn’t shut our eyes to the past, we should learn our lesson from it.
We should demand from the leaders of all the sides, in all forms and from any tribune a rigid political will for settlement, serious efforts and energetic negotiations (instead of false gestures of maneuvering, information war and propaganda performances). So far, their efforts have proved to be obviously insufficient. They should coordinate the bases of a peaceful settlement, which would make it possible to adopt a new resolution of the UN Security Council in the future in order to support a historical reconciliation between Azeries and Armenians.
The international community should put a question before the sides, if they are able to recognize the Nagorno Karabakh status a disputable problem. It’s clear to the whole world but only not to the sides. No matter how hard it may seem, the authorities of all the sides still need to pass this test on practicability and capability of transition to a constructive search of settlement. If not, then what caused the conflict, why did we hold negotiations for so many years? If yes, then this would be the first step of deviation from the current ultimatum demands excluding any solution to the problem except the one in favor of them, the first step towards a more civilized solution to the dispute, elimination of vain but dangerous appeals to its forced solution as well as the grave consequences of the armed conflict.
Similar Russian article: Карабах и резолюции Совета Безопасности ООН
“The Karabakh Problem: The Thorny Road to Freedom and Independence”
Second, revised edition, “Zangak-97” Press, 2004
By Nikolay Hovhannisyan
In this second, revised edition the attention is focused on the reasons of forcibly attachment of Karabakh to Azerbaijan, to a state, which did not exist in history as a state until 1918, and which was a violation of self-determination right of Karabakh Armenians. The author emphasized the importance of new approaches to the resolution of Karabakh conflict taking into account new political, military and legal realities. It also underlines the lawful right of this ancient Armenian native land for union with motherland Armenia or for state independence.
In a special chapter the author reviewed and evaluated several variants of the Karabakh conflict resolution, proposed by different international organizations, policy makers or scholars, including the last suggestions made in the framework of the OSCE Minsk group.
“Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War”
New York University Press 2003
By Thomas de Waal
In his book “Black Garden” Thomas de Waal tries to recreate the events of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since 1988. De Waal mainly base his book on interviews and archival documents.
Many evaluate this book as a balanced view of the conflict. However, the book “Black Garden” is also well criticized for creating an artificial balance at the expense of correct facts and findings. So, this book is an interesting one to read, however be careful when using it as a source and double-check all references.
“The Making of Nagorno-Karabagh: From Secession to Republic”
The first major territorial struggle in the late Soviet period involved Nagorno-Karabagh, an Armenian-inhabited territory that had been assigned to the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic in the early 1920s. Armenian protests calling for reunification with Armenia in 1988 led to Azerbaijani pogroms against Armenians and later to armed conflict that claimed over 20,000 lives. The struggle remains unresolved. A distinguished group of historians and social scientists analyze the Karabagh struggle in this unique volume, which covers one of the world’s strategic, oil-rich regions.
A striking feature of the Karabagh conflict is the failure of the many OSCE, UN, and regional power mediation efforts to find a solution to the crisis. One of the major contributions of this volume is to provide a cogent analysis of these failures, which have to do with the inability to satisfy the legitimate security needs of the parties to the conflict.
The papers in this collection were delivered at a conference, “The Karabagh Movement: Ten Years After,” held in Cambridge, Massachusetts in May 1998. This conference, sponsored by the Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation and the Zoryan Institute of Canada, assembled some of the leading analysts of the region to assess the Karabagh Question in the decade since the eruption of the historic protests that saw hundreds of thousands of Armenians march in support of Karabagh.
Chapter Available Online: Chapter 1. Introduction, by Levon CHOBAJIAN ©
Survivors of the Maraghar Massacre
It was truly like a contemporary Golgotha many times over.
The ancient kingdom of Armenia was the first nation to embrace Christianity—in A.D. 301. Modern Armenia, formerly a Soviet republic, declared autonomy in September 1991 and today exists as a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. There you find many of the oldest churches in the world, and a people who have upheld the faith for nearly 1,700 years, often at great cost.
Nowhere has the cost been greater than in the little piece of ancient Armenia called Nagorno-Karabakh, cruelly cut off from the rest of Armenia by Stalin in 1921, and isolated today as a Christian enclave within Islamic Azerbaijan. Only 100 miles north to south, 50 miles east to west, there are mountains, forests, fertile valleys, and an abundance of ancient churches, monasteries, and beautifully carved stone crosses dating from the fourth century.