All the conflicts involve several countries that are geographically neighboring each other within their locations. The Abkhaz-Georgian conflict involves Georgia and the breakaway territory of Abkhazia, as well as a lot of influence from Russia. The South Ossetian-Georgian conflict equally involved Georgia and Russia going into war, with Ossetian declaring itself an independent country free from Georgian rule.
The Nagono-Karabakh conflict, on its part, involves the three neighboring countries of Armenia, Turkey, as well as Azerbaijan. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves nearly all the states in the Middle East, with Israel being on the one side while Palestine and the rest of the Arab states in the regions, including countries such as Lebanon and Egypt, being on the other side.
All the conflicts involve fight over control of territories or regions that the opposing forces in the conflict claim ownership. In the Abkhazia-Georgian conflict, the cause of disagreement is the Abkhazia region, which decided to declare itself independent of the Georgian rule. Similarly, the South Ossetian-Georgian conflict involves the decision by South Ossetian to declare itself independent from Georgia.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resulted from the mountainous region, which had hitherto been part of Azerbaijan, declaring itself as an independent state free from the Azerbaijani rule. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict stems from the forceful decision by the Jews to form a state in the region that had been considered to be part of the Palestinian territory.
Distinct Characteristics of the Conflicts
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that bases more on religious differences, where the Palestinians and indeed the rest of the Middle-Eastern countries are predominantly Muslim. In contrast, Israeli is predominantly a Jewish state and is seen as the only state within the entire region that follows a different religious belief to the rest of the countries.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began when secessionist movements in the region sought to achieve their independence from Azerbaijan and create their own state.
However, the region is up to date under the control of Armenia, with the latter’s forces controlling vast areas of the region. This development is mainly because the inhabitants of the Nagorno-Karabakh region are ethnic Armenians who feel more comfortable under Armenian rule than Azerbaijani rule.
The Abkhaz-Georgian conflict rests more on the ethnic composition of the region. The Abkhaz waged a war against Georgians mainly due to the discriminating treatment that they suffered in the hands of the Georgians.
As the war intensified, the Abkhaz chose to chase away all the Georgians from the region before declaring themselves independent. Georgia has maintained that Abkhazia’s formation was because of mainly ethnic cleansing, which has seen the region rid of all Georgian-speaking populations.
Another conflict involving the Georgians, the South Ossetian-Georgian conflict, on its part bases more on race. With the South Ossetians being originally Asian immigrants who settled in the region, the Georgians felt they had the right to control them. However the Ossetians stood their ground and insisted on being independent from the Georgians.
Opposing Perspectives on their Conflict: Armenia-Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan considers her neighbor, Armenia, to be illegally occupying its territories on the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Armenian troops did not only occupy the region that was being contested for, but they also pushed on with their occupation to include territories that lie outside Karabakh.
This, in essence, has seen the Armenian army create a buffer area that links both Karabakh and Armenia. To the Azerbaijanis, Armenia has not only interfered with issues in a foreign land, but it has also gone further and forcefully occupied a section of the foreign country, which is illegal by international standards.
Armenia, on its part, considers the Nagorno-Karabakh region as part of its own, especially by virtue of its ethnic composition. The majority population occupying the region under conflict happens to be ethnic Armenians rather than Azerbaijanis.
The move by Azerbaijani to quell secessionist calls by the region’s majority inhabitants confounded Armenia, seeing that the majority inhabitants are ethnic Armenians. Thus, Armenia considers it as a violation any efforts by Azerbaijani to grant the region their wishes to secede and form an independent nation.
How Opposing sides view the past, present and future of their relations
Both countries look at the past with many regrets concerning the incidents that took place. Azerbaijan still considers the atrocities that were committed by the Armenian forces to ethnic Azerbaijanis. Armenians, on their part, view the past as one of mistreatments that were mainly directed toward ethnic Armenians by the Turks.
Both Armenians and Azerbaijanis continue to consider each other as enemies despite a truce that has been ongoing since 1994. There is deep-seated resentment within both camps and none of the countries is ready to trust the other. The border between Armenia and Turkey remains closed since Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union.
This has mainly been prompted by the influence of Azerbaijan, which remains to be a close ally of Turkey. Despite concerted efforts to enhance cooperation, particularly between Turkey and Armenia, little progress has been reported as the warring parties continue to hold on to their unchanging stands.
The opposing sides, however, have a different view of the future. There have been continued efforts that are directed at improving on the relations between the countries. Efforts to open up the border between Armenia and Turkey highlight a future in which the countries will have improved relations between themselves.
The countries engage in cross-border trade to the tune of $200 million annually, albeit via Georgia. This will definitely improve in the future to a bigger scale.
Impact of Culture
Culture continues to be viewed as the main fueling agent of the conflicts between the opposing sides. Armenia, for instance, continues to have a lot of interest for the Nagorno-Karabakh region owing to the Armenian ethnic communities that inhabit the region.
Role and Importance of Civil Society Efforts toward Resolution of Conflicts
Civil societies assisted in ensuring that both Israel and Palestinian communicated and agreed on a number of issues that would resort into peace. The civil society efforts, thus, mainly focused on opening up the channel of communications involving the governments of the warring factions. The groups also worked out on achieving a diplomatic solution rather than a political one for the two countries.
Another aspect that the civil societies attempted to address, in an effort to resolve the conflict, included the observation of human rights. The societies insisted on the two countries to respect the rights of the people even as they exchanged military fire over themselves.
Civil societies played a key role in attempting to heal the bad blood that existed between Armenia and Turkey. The groups particularly organized events that marked memories of the mass deportations, as well as killings that were perpetuated by the Turks against Armenians.
This was aimed at bringing the two sides into accepting what had happened before pursuing healing. The civil bodies also enlightened the masses and persuaded the authorities to consider paying the communities that had been affected by the inhuman acts and mistreatment.
Strengths of the Civil Societies
In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most civil organizations, especially those that were formed on the Palestinian side enjoyed huge backing from the Palestinian people. This provided the groups with both the power and confidence to indulge in efforts to address the conflict. The groups also received backing from other Arab states worldwide, including having their activities funded.
In the case of the Armenian-Turkey conflict, the civil societies operating in Turkey also received overwhelming support in their efforts to compel the authorities to improve on their ties with Armenia. Most of the support emanated from the Turks of Armenian ethnic origin, who called on their governments to act speedily towards establishing ties with Armenia.
Weaknesses of the Civil Societies
Most civil organizations concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have degenerated into fighter groups involved directly in war. The groups, mostly representing the Palestine’s interests, have engaged in war acts, which have seen them attack Israeli interests. This has lowered their appeal in the international platform as they are now considered as terror groups rather than civil societies.
Civil societies pushing for peace in the Armenia-Turkey conflict suffer from lack of resources that are needed to support their activities. This situation limits the power of such groups to run their peace initiatives with the utmost success that is needed.