Armenian and Azerbaijani forces continue to fight over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, killing and injuring each other.
Azerbaijan is a (Shia) Muslim-majority state whereas Armenia is a Christian majority State but it would be a grave error to relegate this war to Islamic-Christian dispute as the dispute is far deeper and both have strange friends. Armenia is supported by (Shia) Iran but Azerbaijan is supported by (Sunni) Turkey. Of course the Russia too intervened and brokered some kind of peace deal which may or may not work.
Azerbaijan is one of the birthplaces of the oil industry and its history is linked to the fortunes of petroleum, with pipelines used from the late 19th century. The total length of main pipeline in Azerbaijan is 4,600 kilometres (2,900 mi). Some of these pipe lines are:
- The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is a 1,768 kilometres (1,099 mi) long crude oil pipeline from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It connects Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan and Ceyhan, a port on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, via Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
- The Baku-Supsa Pipeline (also known as the Western Route Export Pipeline and Western Early Oil Pipeline) is an 833-kilometre (518 mi) long oil pipeline, which runs from the Sangachal Terminal near Baku to the Supsa terminal in Georgia. It transports oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field.
- The Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline (also known as the Northern Route Export Pipeline and Northern Early Oil Pipeline) is an 1,330-kilometre (830 mi) long oil pipeline, which runs from the Sangachal Terminal near Baku to the Novorossiysk terminal at the Black Sea coast in Russia.
- The Baku-Batumi pipeline is the name given to several pipelines and pipeline projects to transport kerosene and crude oil from the Caspian region to the Georgian Batumi oil terminal at the Black Sea. When first constructed in 1906, it was the world’s longest kerosene pipeline.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a region within Azerbaijan that has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since the end of a war in 1994. Most of the inhabitants of this region are not predominantly belonging to any of the two religions. It is mostly governed by the Republic of Artsakh (formerly named Nagorno-Karabakh Republic [NKR]), a de facto independent state with an Armenian ethnic majority even if internationally the territory is treated as part of Azerbaijan.
Ajarbaijan is an oil rich dictatorship and it has not declared itself an Islamic State even though it is 97% Muslims of Turkish origins out of which 85% are Shia. There is Christian minority as well.
The Azerbaijan army announced in September that it blew an Armenia S-300 missile system in Nagorno-Karabakh. It also claimed that about 2,700 soldiers have either been injured or lost their lives in this war. It wa also claimed that Armenia’s army had fled from the area around Tonshen village. Meanwhile, Armenia has claimed that Azerbaijan is bombing ordinary citizens.
The two countries want to occupy a part of the name Nagorno-Karabakh spread over 4400 square kilometers. The Nagorno-Karabakh region is internationally part of Azerbaijan but is occupied by ethnic factions of Armenia. In 1991, the people of this region declared themselves independent of Azerbaijan and declared part of Armenia. Azerbaijan rejected his action completely. After this, there are frequent conflicts between the two countries at certain intervals.
Allies and neighbours:
Russia is Orthodox Christian and it is Armenia’s main economic partner and has a military base. Iran neighbors both Armenia and Azerbaijan and is calling for calm.
Turkey has offered support to Azerbaijanis, ethnic brethren to Turks and fellow Muslims. and it has reportedly supplied Azerbaijan with weapons, including F-16 fighter jets, and fighters from Syrian rebel areas. Which is to say, Turkey is supplying battle-hardened Syrian mercenaries to fight for Azerbaijan. Turkey has rejected the charges and instead blamed Armenia of busing Kurdish fighters to Nagorno-Karabakh, but evidence is against it.
That pits Turkey against Russia — just like in Syria.
The UN Security Council has called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to immediately halt fighting and resume talks without preconditions. But UN is irrelevant as ever. Russia has brokered a peace deal and it may not be working very well but another development may help Armenia which has resorted to escalate the cost of Azerbaijan by attacking Tovuz which is located in a strategically significant area along the routes of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline (mentioned above).
There are substantial number of Armenians in Kolkata. St.Peter’s Armenian Church was built three centuries ago in 1796 in the Mumbai which had a thriving community of Armenians but now has no priest to perform and just one Armenian resident in Mumbai. Azerbaijan cuisine include Pulao or Pilao, the rice dish very popular in India.
Azerbaijan has twin problem of high inflation and high export income creating an imbalance in it’s economy. Spending on imported arms and ammunition comes easy for Azerbaijan and it creates the need to have a war on an emotional issue. Wars are always driven by emotion but need to be funded by real money which Azerbaijan has but it can not afford disruption to it’s oil pipe lines. That is the bottom line.