U.S. views Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as geopolitical danger

By: Mushvig Mehdiyev

The protracted Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been included in the list of geopolitical risks by the U.S-based Council on Foreign Relations.

The Global Conflict Tracker report issued by the council knocked together the most dangerous regional and global conflicts that may likely have an impact on the U.S.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is the result of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, was also included in the report as one of the serious problems that the U.S and its interests will face in 2015.

The report said that the Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The conflict over the territory officially ended in a ceasefire in 1993, following a six-year war but it flared up again once again. Since August 2014, minor skirmishes between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops claimed dozens of lives and led to the downing of an Armenian helicopter by Azerbaijani forces in November 2014.

Many international organizations, including the UN, recognized the Nagorno-Karabakh territory’s belonging to Azerbaijan as a historical and legal part of its territories. The UN even issued four resolutions to call on Armenia to end the illegal existence of its army in Azerbaijani lands and unconditionally withdraw from the Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. Nonetheless, Armenia avoids implementing the resolutions to end the conflict in peace, ignoring to follow the principles of peace talks. So, the Nagorno-Karabakh was once more shown among the threatening regional conflicts in the world.

The Global Conflict Tracker claims that the increased tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan could also disrupt oil and gas exports from the region, since Azerbaijan is a significant oil and gas exporter to Europe and Central Asia, producing 881,000 barrels of oil per day. The report believes that the unresolved conflict could harm the economic interests of the U.S. and create a spike in the global oil market.

As a leading country in the South Caucasus region, Azerbaijan initiates and realizes huge projects with the neighboring countries including Turkey, Georgia, and Russia. Azerbaijan is seen as a reliable political and economic partner by the western forces, as the U.S. and Europe accept the country as a major player in energy security issues both in the region and world. As Azerbaijan is playing an active role in the region, Armenia hampers the peace process by its continuous aggression against Azerbaijan. The Armenian authorities opt for provocative activities rather than working for peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

According to the Global Conflict Tracker report, the negotiation and mediation, primarily led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, have failed to produce a permanent solution to the conflict. Without successful mediation efforts, cease-fire violations and renewed tensions threaten to renew a military conflict between the countries and destabilize the South Caucasus region.

The Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, as well as displaced over one million Azerbaijanis as a result of its baseless claims to Azerbaijani lands that ended in war in the early 1990s.

Meanwhile, the report highlighted the unrest in the U.S., military confrontations in the South China sea, the crisis in North Korea, ethnic unrest in China and India-Pakistan conflict etc. among the most serious problems that Washington will face in 2015.

The Council on Foreign Relations annually issues the Global Conflict Tracker report in an effort to predict the global events that affect the U.S. and its interests. The council surveyed over 2,200 government officials, experts, scientists on foreign relations to precisely understand the developments which pose a risk to the U.S in 2015.