Fierce fighting and shelling erupted again between Armenia and Azerbaijan on September 27, for the second time in three months. The latest clashes, occurring in the Armenia-occupied Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh, represent the most serious bout of violence in this internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory since 2016. The three-decades-old conflict has grown more explosive in recent years due to growing frustration with the deadlocked international mediation process as well as both sides’ increasing willingness to resort to military options for breaking the status quo. At the same time, the two rivals are each bolstered by regional allies, with Turkey supporting Azerbaijan and Russia maintaining a mutual defense pact with Armenia, though frequently showing a willingness to play both sides of the conflict. Continued fighting could pull in these outside powers and further destabilize the South Caucasus, which serves as a strategic transit corridor between Europe, the energy-rich Caspian basin and eastern Asia.
To provide a clear-eyed perspective on the ongoing fighting, The Jamestown Foundation has gathered Amb. Farid Shafiyev, Chairman of the Baku-based Center of Analysis of International Relations, Caucasus expert and prolific writer Thomas Goltz, with commentary by Amb. Matthew Bryza, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia and Jamestown Board Member, and moderated by Jamestown President Glen Howard.