West Can Use Nagorno-Karabakh Tensions to Push Azerbaijan to Reform

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev as they attend an annual international tournament in combat sambo in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Aug. 9, 2014 (AP photo/RIA-Novosti).
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev as they attend an annual international tournament in combat sambo in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Aug. 9, 2014 (AP photo/RIA-Novosti).
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On Aug. 1, heavy clashes erupted along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, prompting worries that the unresolved conflict over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh was about to reignite into a full-fledged war. With a death toll of at least 15, the skirmish was the worst outburst of violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the cease-fire protocol came into effect in 1994. Publicly, each side has tried to blame the other for the escalation. However, a number of factors suggest that the recent escalation might have less to do with the two belligerent parties and more with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s growing geopolitical […]

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