Friday (September 16th): Pashinyan’s power struggle in Nagorno-Karabakh

© Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Name? Nikol Pashinyan

Westphalian identity? Armenian

Age? 47

Why is he in the news? Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ali Asadov, have been trading blame over the renewed violence in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. With over 170 casualties since Tuesday, Pahinyan and Asadov have supposedly negotiated a ceasefire, although with no word from Azerbaijan about the deal. 

Why do we care? Similar to 2020, Armenians have reacted to both the border clashes and ceasefire agreement with mass protests demanding Pashinyan’s resignation. With Russia distracted with its own war in Ukraine, and their earlier failed ceasefire negotiations, Prime Minister’s Pashinyan’s calls for help to Putin and the Collective Security Treaty Organization have gone largely unanswered

Why should you care? The skirmishes this week in the Nagorno-Karabakh region represent the deadliest break out between the two neighbours since 2020. Aside from the human cost of a second war in the Caucuses, an all-out conflict has the potential to draw in Russia and Turkey—both key powers in the region. Not to mention that a continued clash could disrupt oil and gas transits as demand (and prices) continues to rise for both, you should care at least 6/10.

Who else cares? Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Putin’s war in Ukraine has created a window of opportunity for Asadov to advance in Nagorno-Karabakh and for Erdoğan vis-a-vis Russia and EU-NATO. As the war in Ukraine goes on, Turkey has become a central mediator in key issues, as in the Black Sea. With this, Erdoğan has the opportunity to embolden his foreign policy and still toe the line in occasional allyship with Putin. 

Any further comments? Overshadowed by fighting between Ukraine and Russia and now Armenia and Azerbaijan, border clashes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan took place Wednesday evening with little notice outside Central Asia. And if that wasn’t enough violence for the region, border clashes also took place between Afghanistan and Pakistan Tuesday evening this week.