INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP - NEW BRIEFING
Europe Briefing N°60, 8 February 2011
Escalating front-line clashes, a spiralling arms race, vitriolic rhetoric and a virtual breakdown in peace talks increase the chance Armenia and Azerbaijan will go back to war over Nagorno-Karabakh, with devastating regional consequences.
Armenia and Azerbaijan: Preventing War, the latest policy briefing from the International Crisis Group, highlights the deterioration of the situation in the past year. Increased military capabilities on both sides would make a new armed conflict in the South Caucasus far more deadly than the 1992-1994 one that ended with a shaky truce. Neither side would be likely to win easily or quickly. Even if neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan is planning an immediate all-out offensive, skirmishes could easily spiral out of control.
“Ambiguity and lack of transparency about operations along the line of contact, arms deals and other military expenditures and even the state of the peace talks all contribute to a precarious situation”, says Lawrence Sheets, Crisis Group’s Caucasus Project Director. “Monitoring mechanisms should be strengthened and confidence building steps implemented to decrease the chance of an accidental war”.
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