Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The South Caucasus: The Sleeper Crisis

          There is no doubt that the terrible events that happened on Friday, November 13th in Paris, France were devastating.  The crisis that has enveloped Europe and the rest of the world surrounding the attacks certainly has changed the course of how the United States, France, and other states plan to combat ISIS.  However, amidst this tragedy lies another situation that is just waiting to explode.  Enter the sleeper crisis
            It is no secret that the South Caucasus has always been riddled with historical ethnic tensions and territory disputes, but what should worry those in national security is the boiling water that Armenia and Azerbaijan have found themselves in.  Internally, the conflict deals with Nagorno-Karabakh, "an area populated and militarily controlled by Armenians but located within Azerbaijan."  In essence, the Armenians believe that they have a historical, sovereign right in the region, while Azerbaijan is more concerned with the infringement of their territorial integrity.
            All previous attempts for negotiations have not resulted in any improvement as the leaders of both Armenia and Azerbaijan have made it clear that they have no intention of sitting down to compromise.  With peace efforts frozen, the plot thickens as Moscow puts pressure on both regions to expand, all the while providing weapons to both sides.  Due to the fact that Armenia is a landlocked country in the South Caucasus, its borders of Turkey, Russia Georgia, Iran, and the Middle East, this developing crisis should worry the United States.  As developments of this crisis become more complicated, so too will the relationships between the United States and these larger players.  Therefore, "this requires the West pay more policy level attention to the South Caucasus."  This is why peacemaking in this region should be one of our top priorities, not to take away from our combat of ISIS, but to instead "reduce the risk that the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh will erupt into a hot war," plummeting some of the United States' greatest threats into more complex and untested tensions---Which we can all agree is the last thing the world needs right now.

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