Before the trading conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia occurred due to seceding of the Nagorno-Karabakh region to Armenia in 1988, the two countries were business partners transiting services and goods under the soviet rule. The breaking away of the region, which was a predominant Armenian ethnic expanse, was a major catalyst for conflicts that changed lives of many people within the two countries.
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The support for separation by Armenia caused economic strain since this compromised foreign trade especially on Armenian’s imports from the neighbouring Azerbaijan. This paper forms an analysis of the situational crisis between Azerbaijan and neighbouring countries especially Armenia. It also forms a critical investigation of association between Armenia with its neighbours in relation to Azerbaijan-Armenia conflicts.
History of the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict
The separated Nagorno-Karabakh forces also disrupted the 1993 peace talks between the two countries. Turkey considered these as Armenian forces that caused evacuation of various ethnic groups within Azerbaijan region and declared an economic embargo in protest of the attacks.
A negotiation period emerged in 1994 between the Armenia forces of Nagorno-Karabakh and an ethnic group in Azerbaijan. These negotiation talks have been maintained to date despite pressure from Azerbaijan to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh as a republic. Azerbaijan fails to recognize the self-proclaimed country but equally disproves the existence of a peace accord that would foster cooperation between the two countries.
Reports from the “Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre” quoted the government statistics reports of 2008 indicating that the ethnic related violence caused internally related displacement of people who fled the war-infected regions to settle in peaceful regions of Azerbaijan (Lancer International, 2005, 8). This is a clear indication that despite the peace negotiations to resolve conflicts, people are still refugees since the 1988 chaos.
On a positive note, the conflict between the Armenia and Azerbaijan encouraged other countries to participate in promotion and struggle for social unity as well as development. For instance, the heavy dependence of Armenia on Russian government for supplies today means that they need to maintain a strong and close relationship. Armenia also depends greatly on Russia’s services such as security provisions since collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russia therefore participated in strengthening both the Armenia and Azerbaijan in their fight against soviet related forces. Various million-dollar projects were also established to strengthen the economic growth of the two countries such as the signing of a mining project between Armenia and Russia, where the Armenia processed precious metals from Russia.
Effects on Relationship with other neighbours
Turkey formed an alliance with Azerbaijan on religious grounds and ensured heavy fortification of their eastern region, due to conflicts that related to Turkey’s national impulse of policymaking. Turkey was in support of Azerbaijan and thus opted to block the trading relations with Armenia particularly the pipeline.
The early twentieth century massacres between Armenia and Azerbaijan therefore caused a bitter relationship between Turkey and Armenia particularly for the reason that Turkey did not recognize that these conflict events were campaigns meant to destroy Armenian people as claimed by their government.
In 1915, the Armenian nationals were forcefully evicted from the northern side of Turkey towards south in the aim of reducing immigrants and approximated half million lives were lost in the exercise.
However, Turkish administration shorn of this fact since it did not consider the act as genocide, but indicated that the eviction was a civil war that began due to Armenian attacks in which both Armenians and Turkish Muslims died. The war between the two countries eventually caused a compromise for Turkey to enter the European Union, were conditions included Turkey’s recognizing the 1915 war as genocide.
The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a Turkey ally had a connection to the issue of control over the boundary of Nagorno-Karabakh region and caused blocking of the Turkey-Armenia border. A reopening condition was set as a peace negotiation deal between the two countries.
The Secretary of U.S. state, Hillary Clinton witnessed the 2009 historical even of signing work protocols between the two countries Turkey and Armenia. The prolonged negotiation for cooperation between the two countries ended with the establishment of a working, diplomatic relationship and reopening of the compromised border (Soni, 1996, 29).
Lack of enough electric power is not that only major problem that the country suffers from due to the conflict with Azerbaijan, but food is also precious. The fact that the country is landlocked means that it depends on neighbouring states for various supplies such as oil, fuel, and for a huge percentage of the food such as wheat and sugar which emerges from other countries.
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The blockade maintained by its eastern neighbour, Azerbaijan causes the country to depend on other means of transport for instance, trains with food imports from Ukraine and Russia must transverse through its northern neighbour, Georgia. This is a country rocked by widespread and long-term political instability such as lawlessness, which causes robbery of the foodstuffs or heavy taxing of the cargo.
A political instability relating to geographical differences between Armenia and Azerbaijan is a continuous ruin of the Armenia’s coordination with other neighbouring countries such as Iran. Iran is an Islamic state, and therefore has a strong connection to the neighbouring Azerbaijan, which is a strong Muslim state as well.
The strong relationship between Iran and Azerbaijan caused them to break any form of formal trade with Armenia, although currently there are some formal agreements for trade of natural gas and other scrupulous trades still occur without the consent of the authority. However, this trade remain strained.
Unrests created by the poor relations between this countries causes the private as well as international investors to shun away, for instance the stalled multistate-pipeline project that would otherwise benefit majority of this countries as it transverses through them. Civil unrests by Armenia especially against the neighbouring countries such as Turkey and Georgia causes negative impacts on strategies in particular against the two involved states: Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Effects on Resources
The conflicts affect mostly the resources such as the pipeline, rail transport and the natural sources of energy. Armenia anticipates change but continues to wreak havoc on its neighbouring Azerbaijan state. This causes more use of natural resources and non-renewable sources of its energy.
Lake Sevan, a main resource is drained since the water is used for hydroelectric generation and there are therefore some possibilities of the lake draining due to lack of alternative sources such as import supplies. According to Soni (1996, 23), the Armenian government is forced to seek alternative sources as thousands of its citizens continue to perish due to lack of food and because of excessive heat.
The options that Armenian government has had to consider to improve its status have been highly objected by other international companies such as U.S. for instance the nuclear power plant. Western governments objected the reopening of the plant on the basis that it was not up to standards and remain as one of the most hazardous resources since it is located in an area that is more prone to earthquake attacks compared to other similar projects in Slovakia, Russia and Bulgaria.
Azerbaijan financial embargo had major impact on food products and fuel, causing them to become more expensive in Armenia since majority of these products initially originated from Azerbaijan. “The Turkish government, through its prime minister, ‘Tayyib Erdogan’ soon made it clear that its national assembly would not authorize the signed protocol… unless the Armenia withdrew from the settled territories near the Nagorno-Karabakh region”(Lancer International, 2005, 8).
The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan therefore compromised the Armenian economy, since the country is a landlocked country that depends on working protocols with its neighbours.
In line with the thoughts provided by World Bank and the U.S. administration (Lancer International, 2005, 8), peace would accelerate the Armenian economic growth since it would reduce the cost of transporting export and import goods in Armenia. Their easier way of trade is through Turkey, but the conflict forces the Armenian trade to follow longer procedures through either Iran or Georgia at an estimated annual cost of approximately 100 million dollars (Lancer International, 2005, 8).
Conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as with other neighbouring countries also hinder some common sustenance activities such as conservational and environmental initiatives. Although the country receives aid from world bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), various environmentalists in the country admits that the living situation often compromise their work, considering that it is almost impossible to request starving and freezing people to spare the natural resources.
The environmentalists’ opposition to environmental degradation activities such as the nuclear plant operations is an abandoned fight since the desperation of the situation causes the Armenians to take the risk.
Today there is a great debate concerning the autonomous capital funds developed states as sovereign investment. These countries have to consider their investments and thus choose wisely since poor Investments often results towards the financial risks exposure especially due to the recent market crisis.
Failure to secure sustainable investment from developed international states often translates to decrease of Armenian’s asset values. According to Soni (1996, 22), investment in violence infected areas require sustenance measures, for a secure, practicable and prospective economical growth.
There are some devastating effects of the long and unsettled Armenian-Azerbaijan conflicts, such as the devastating populating density reduction and high migration to western countries especially to United States. The conflict has attracted many immigrants into the stable states in search for better paying jobs. This is a big challenge that Armenian faces today and in future, because major analyses show that economy growth mainly relies on labour forces mainly delivered by citizens (Soni, 1996, 20).
Lack of reliability on such is evidently a huge mistake since it is a breaking entity considering that majority of the citizens face deplorable conditions, little or no human rights and little pay, they thus seek better offers elsewhere. According to Soni (1996, 21), the potential economical growth of the country may also be under threat of degradation due to scarcity of the basics requirements such as water or the environmental degradation.
The Muslim states and have a governance system where cultural procedures govern inheritances of political and social norms. Despite these traditional characteristics, the conflict between Armenia and its neighbours particularly the Azerbaijan has led to drastic changes over cultural outlook, styles or the living criterions. Although the system faces some setbacks over improvement, alterations in appearance are quite evident far from the traditional form of governance that existed before the conflicts emerged.
The states have experienced some dreadful transformations that bring minimal efforts of achieving higher standards of living due to unavailability of resources. There is lack of advancement in the Information Communication Technology as well, thus making the countries less marketable or economically viable.
The widest sense of belonging indicates that country’s ability to acquire wealth requires good formal education for its citizens. A major effect of conflicts is migration and thus loss of people who have the ability to manage basic state resources or infrastructure and establish some well set-up and rooted healthy living codes.
Knowledge enables citizens to establish the living standards for easy adoption to moral, economical, social, ethical and political way of working. Armenia looses a lot of acquaintance to the neighbouring and developed countries through knowledge drain as people evade unavoidable circumstances such as hunger and migrate to these countries.
Education determines employment and therefore financial security. When countries are not interactive such as the case of Armenia and Azerbaijan, there is lack of adequate measures necessary for a country to face modernization or economic competition. Are citizens equipped with the requirements to combat current and future needs?
Conflicts create a situation where there is little or no demand for education; the results are a status of inactivity or encumbering anti-entrepreneurial situation that are easy to conquer. Those involved are accustomed to endurance on hard work or dependent on handouts.
Dignity has been lost and therefore there is lack of real and purposeful jobs compared to real situations in most countries where focus is often on education, work ethics and quality in the aim of achieving high outputs. There is equally lack of global competitiveness thus low productivity among citizens. The current trends of highly uneducated citizens especially youths and women lower efficiency.
There are some clear realities regarding the future of Armenia, such as need to diversify the economy and engage the private sector as a way of generating more finances and real jobs. The country lacks vision of ensuring that its citizens acquire the role of guiding the future of the nation.
This requires active practice of education to enhance economic growth of the State. Education system also ensures that citizens play the true role of democratic governance. An articulated and well-informed community shows the importance of education with the ability of promoting democratic reforms. Poor governance is a clear indication of existing challenge to ensure preparations that bring success to the global economy.
The conflict and regional war between Azerbaijan and Armenia may have triggered the emergence of various situations, for instance the June 1995’s Armenia decision to reopen the nuclear power plant built by Russia. They option is on the reason that the plan is able to cater for approximately 30% of the country’s electrical energy needs. The country is landlocked conflict with other countries such as Azerbaijan causes energy starvation
The continual cold war between the two countries cripples Armenia and leads to poor trade relations with other neighbouring countries. The conflict makes Armenia to over-look the dangers involved in reopening a nuclear plant that caused major devastation especially in Yerevan (Armenian Capital) after the 1988 earthquakes. The argument was that Armenian authority were using the option as a ploy to negotiate for better trade relations with neighbours, since they would equally be venerable in case of a future earthquake attack.
It could also be a coax to press for help from the neighbours to assist in negotiating for the trade block created by Azerbaijan. The real situation is that Armenian lacks electric energy and the situation has been that way ever since its self-governance out of the Soviet Union. Continual compromise of basic need affects the country economically.
Lancer International. (2005) Indian defence review, Volume 20. Texas, TX: Lancer International.
Soni, P. (1996) Energy and environmental challenges in Central Asia and the
Caucasus: windows for co-operation. Michigan, MI: Tata Energy Research Institute Publishers.