Not too long ago, Doug Muir wrote about why Nagorno-Karabakh may be coming soon to a front page near you. Back in the mid-1990s, I wrote something much longer on the conflict there. (PDF, ca. 500K) Money quote:
Two of the least useful questions for consideration of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh are â€œWhoâ€™s right?â€ and â€œWhen did it start?â€ Both parties have legitimate claims, and both have legitimate grievances.
The 1994 cease-fire, which was relatively new when I wrote the piece, has held up ever since, at least at the macro scale. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Minsk Group, which was also relatively new when I wrote the piece, hasn’t solved the conflict. There’s a reason the piece is titled “Intractable Problems.” Actually, there are several. (The analysis is also a bit OSCE-centric. The organization is obviously not the only lens one could choose to look at Karabakh, but I chose it because it was useful for getting at overall questions of European order and transition.) The potentially worse news is what Doug wrote about: Azerbaijan has heaps of oil money and is putting significant chunks of it into rearmament. That may or may not tip the strategic balance, but it certainly raises the chances of renewed conflict. The sequel to the piece linked here was always going to be titled “Just Add Oil and Money.” Maybe it’s time to dust off the sources.