At the top, the rhetoric over the disputed territory is increasingly bellicose, but among the region’s people, it hits a proud and mournful note.by Bulgarian National Television 10 October 2013
Reports of violence between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces are on the rise and the rhetoric flying back and forth between the two foes is heating up.
Locked in a frequently broken cease-fire since their war over Nagorno-Karabakh ended in 1994, both countries have beefed up their armed forces, and a resumption of fighting seems to have re-entered their calculus, the International Crisis Group noted in a late-September report. Azerbaijan entertains military options for pushing back Armenia − which not only uses its army to defend Nagorno-Karabakh but also occupies Azerbaijani regions surrounding the enclave − and forcing Yerevan to make a deal, while Armenia considers a strike to preempt any move by Baku.
Meanwhile diplomacy is going nowhere. Efforts to bring the two sides to the table are sporadic and likely undermined by Russia’s multiple roles as official mediator, ally of Armenia, and arms merchant to both sides.
In this environment, the ICG warned, the risks of a “military miscalculation” are increasing.
Many who live in Nagorno-Karabakh are proud and nationalistic, in the way that living in a defensive crouch can make a person, while the Azeris who were driven out speak longingly of abandoned homes and past lives.
The older people remember their neighbors, whether Azeris or Armenians, fondly and still seem shocked that they took up arms against one another. But they can never again live side-by-side, many say.
Here TOL presents a recent documentary from Bulgarian National Television on what many call the “frozen conflict” of Nagorno-Karabakh. It was reported in part by TOL columnist and BNT producer Boyko Vasilev.