Another Regional War in the Wings


E. Wayne Merry
nationalinterest.org
February 15, 2013

In the conflict zone stretching from Syria to Afghanistan lies another war waiting to re-emerge: Nagorno-Karabakh. This dispute is likely to occupy President Obama’s new foreign-policy team whether they want it or not.

Two decades ago the newly independent states of Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bitter war over this remote area of mountains and valleys. Armenia won the war, but nobody has achieved peace. A fragile ceasefire signed in 1994 remains the only tangible achievement of diplomacy.

Since then, a mediation effort led by Washington, Moscow and Paris has sought a solution. Despite the best efforts of the three governments—including presidential initiatives by all three—the parties to the conflict do not and will not negotiate. This impasse has contributed to a dangerous evolution of the dispute in recent years from post-war to pre-war.

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