In Nagorno-Karabakh, a bloody new war with Putin on both sides

The Daily Beast reports: Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave in Azerbaijan that became breakaway republic backed by Armenia in all spheres of life, has been living in a not-quite-frozen state of war since 1994. Every schoolboy in the mountainous little republic has grown up knowing that after graduation he will put on a uniform and join the military to police the unstable cease-fire. The republic’s 150,000 people, mostly ethnic Armenians, remember rockets destroying apartment buildings in the fighting more than 20 years ago, and have long feared that their worst nightmare of full-scale war would return.

Now it looks like it has.

The war woke up on Saturday night with both sides of the front using armored vehicles, battle tanks, and aviation, launching multiple rockets, and shooting artillery at each other. Over 30 people were killed and dozens wounded in the worst combat in the last two decades.

The regional implications are hard to miss. Armenia is one of Russia’s closest allies and Turkey immediately backed up Azerbaijan at a time when relations between Moscow and Ankara are bitter and vindictive. Given the war in Syria, where Russia and Turkey back opposing sides, and Turkey shot down a Russian warplane in November, the current eruption between Armenia and Azerbaijan is even more geopolitically dangerous than two decades ago. [Continue reading…]

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