A ceasefire 18 years ago this month brought a halt to the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. But with the battle over the disputed territory’s fate dragging on, residents must contend with a persistent enemy in their midst – uncertainty.
There were full-page newspaper ads in New York City, films in Paris, and commemorations and marches from Argentina to Latvia. Twenty years after a massacre of ethnic Azeri residents in the Nagorno-Karabakh village of Khojaly, Azerbaijan is pressing a campaign to have the 1992 slaughter recognized as an act of genocide.
Armenia may start promoting an “Australian-style” model of development for the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Britain, of course, first colonized Australia in the late 1780s with ships loaded with prison convicts. The use of convict labor was seen by British officials as a cheaper alternative to slavery for creating the distant colony’s infrastructure.
There is a Spanish proverb that goes: Del dicho al hecho, hay mucho trecho, or, roughly translated, it’s easier said than done. This saying seems to apply to Uruguay’s reported readiness to recognize the independence of the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh territory.
In a move suggestive of a game of dare with Azerbaijan, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on March 31 declared that he will be the first passenger to board a planned flight from Yerevan to Stepanakert, capital of breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh.
Unlike its neighbors, Azerbaijan has long shied away from close partnerships with either the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the Russia-dominated Collective Security Organization. A recent military compact with Turkey, however, suggests that Baku may be preparing to change that strategic game plan.
An attempt to screen Azerbaijani short films in the Armenian capital of Yerevan has failed, blocked in large part by a blitz of opposition spread by social networking websites. But the organizers say they are undaunted and will try to go ahead with the film festival at a later date.
Azerbaijan’s parliament on October 22 approved a military budget of 2.5 billion manats, or about $3.12 billion. That figure is higher than the entire state budget of Baku’s neighbor and longtime foe, Armenia.
Some Baku residents probably did a double-take when the news broke recently: two members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutiun, a nationalist Armenian party fervently opposed to Azerbaijan’s claims to Nagorno-Karabakh, had arrived in the Azerbaijani capital on a surprise visit.