Baku, April 9, AZERTAC
The National Interest has published an article by Jack Mulcaire headlined “Face Off: The Coming War between Armenia and Azerbaijan”.
The article says: “There is a lot of attention-grabbing, armed conflict in the world these days. But to make accurate predictions about tomorrow’s conflicts, we need to look away from the preoccupations of the moment and turn our attention to the places that trouble is festering unnoticed.
To that end, let me introduce readers to my choice for 2015’s sleeper hotspot: Nagorno-Karabakh. This obscure enclave in the Southern Caucasus is heating up, and the possibility of military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is increasing. It is difficult to imagine Azerbaijan surrendering its claim to almost one-fifth of Azerbaijan’s official territory for any reason. Armenia is also unlikely to relinquish any land, because Nagorno-Karabakh effectively increases the size of Armenian territory by one-third, which is very valuable for a small, thin and landlocked nation with little strategic depth and historic enemies on almost all sides.
Secondly, the dispute is only growing more militarized and dangerous. Elaborate trenches, bunkers, revetments and artillery positions abound on both sides of the disputed line of demarcation and the forward positions of the two sides are often less than one hundred meters apart. Since the ceasefire, hundreds have died in frequent raids and exchanges of fire across the lines that always contain the possibility for escalation.
They are focused on acquiring modern mobile artillery and rocket systems that would be necessary to pound Armenian infantry out of rugged, fortified terrain and escape counter-battery fire from Armenian artillery.
With no hydrocarbon resources, Armenia cannot afford to match this level of military spending, so the leaders of Armenia and the Karabakh pseudo-state may foresee a grim military balance in the future and choose to face a conflict on more favorable terms sooner rather than later.
Armenia already controls the territory it wants, and its military options are constrained to the defensive. Even without a definite choice to start a war, both sides could escalate one of the frequent border skirmishes, either by choice or because the feel compelled.”