Cease-fire Can’t Contain Continuing Caucasus Conflict
To no one’s real surprise, the fragile truce between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the battle over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh lasted barely several hours, as reports of renewed shelling surfaced late Saturday evening. The cease-fire, agreed upon on Friday in Moscow, was intended to allow both sides to retrieve their dead and exchange prisoners. Over 300 soldiers and civilians have died and thousands have been displaced over the past two weeks, in what has been the deadliest fighting in the war-torn Caucasus area since the war of the early 1990s. Each side accused the other of violating the shaky truce on Saturday. Nagorno-Karabakh, which contains a large ethnic Armenian majority, unilaterally declared its independence from Azerbaijan in 1992 after years of conflict and heavy fighting with the Baku authorities. In 1994, a cease-fire was reached between the Armenian-backed fighters and the Azerbaijan military, leaving the region with de facto independence.