A local conflict in a remote region is in danger of turning into a new “regional war” that could absorb the three major military powers – all for reasons of distrust of each other.
All three of these people have, store, or develop nuclear weapons, and they all have one weapon, even if you take the atoms out of the equation.
There are fears about the “internationalization of a conflict,” which is insensitive.
Turkey, Russia and Iran are now somewhat involved in the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which erupted into bloody life two weeks ago.
Hundreds have died The disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area and thousands fled Avoid fighting. The BBC He said the damage in the region on Sunday was “massive”.
Angry talk about “executioners”, “chasing dogs” and “genocide” fills local air pressure.
On Saturday, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire. However, given the militant language on both sides and the polar opposites of the two countries, the risk of a resumption of war is high.
Iran, which borders Armenia and Azerbaijan, is doing everything it can to defuse the conflict. It has said it wants peace. But it has now claimed that bombs have fallen on its border – it will not stop there.
“We must be careful that the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan does not turn into a regional war,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the country’s cabinet on Wednesday.
“Iran will not allow anyone to bring terrorists who have fought for years to our borders.”
What are terrorists? President Rouhani did not elaborate, but noted that Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries, former jihadists, are said to be fighting with Azeri troops.
This is a clear signal that the controversy is in danger of spreading. But Iran should not act in the way many people think.
Related: Armenia and Azerbaijan clash in disputed territory
Impressive contact boiler
At the center of this growing conflict is the Nagorno-Karabakh region, located between the Caspian and Black Seas within the Caucasus Mountains of Central Asia.
Historically both Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks from Azerbaijan invited it home.
Officially Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan. However, after a war that killed 30,000 people in the 1990s, much of the area was managed by the population and the Armenian ethnic group, which now calls itself the Artzak Republic.
Not a single country recognizes Artzak – not even Armenia – but is supported by the Armenian government in Yerevan.
For decades, there was an uncomfortable fight. Then, late last month, the war erupted as old hostilities re-emerged.
About 75,000 people have fled Nagorno-Karabakh, half the population, accusing Armenia of shelling Stephenkurt, the largest city in the Azerbaijan region. It says a historic cathedral has also been attacked.
Tartar, a Azeri city close to Nagorno-Karabakh and generally inhabited by 100,000 people, is now said to be a “ghost town” when residents leave. Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of shelling its second largest city, Cannabis
Armenian Prime Minister Nicole Bashinian told the BBC on Wednesday that if Azerbaijan wins, “it will mark a genocide for the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
It evokes memories of the 1914 genocide, which the forerunner of modern Turkey was accused of killing more than a million Armenians.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev delivered a heated speech earlier this month, where he spoke of the “liberation” of Nagorno-Karabakh after decades of failed negotiations.
“For almost 30 years, Armenian executioners have occupied our lands and destroyed all our historical, religious and cultural sites.”
“Now, we are chasing (Armenians) like dogs,” he continued.
Many analysts say Azerbaijan is currently “overstretched” in the conflict.
That is because of the actions of Turkey.
Ankara denies it, but France accuses Turkey of being heavily involved in supplying arms and manpower to Azerbaijan Al Jazeera.
“The new feature is that Turkey’s military intervention could jeopardize the internationalization of the conflict,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the French parliament.
The Big Blue of Russia
Russia is not happy about Turkey’s intervention in an area that was once part of the Soviet Union. Moreover, the two are on opposite sides of the Libyan conflict, and memories of the shooting down of a Russian jet by Turkish forces over Syria in 2015 are still fresh in Moscow.
Of the two warring countries, Moscow is close to Armenia and has signed a mutual defense agreement with it.
However, it would have been a huge blow to Armenia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he was not going to support Armenia The fighting was within the borders of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“It is very unfortunate that the war continues, but they did not take place in Armenian territory,” he said.
Iran’s unexpected decision
Writing for the Think Tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute, International relations expert Mohammed Ayub said there was a “dangerous” possibility of a confrontation between the international powers.
“Turkey has traditionally been an ardent supporter of Azerbaijan (while at the same time) Russia considers Armenia a strategic ally, but also Azerbaijan a strategic partner.
“So if the conflict escalates it will be a big problem in the hands of Russia,” Professor Ayub said.
More than 10 million Iranians are Azeri, more so than in Azerbaijan. But the assumption that Tehran will naturally support its fellow Muslim nation of Azerbaijan is widespread.
“Iran, despite its attempts to remain neutral, has long supported Armenia,” said Professor Ayub.
“Both Iran and Azerbaijan are Shia, but Azerbaijan’s irrational claim after independence in the northern Iranian provinces of eastern and western Azerbaijan has neutralized their religious ties.
“This Caucasus bag has many outer fingers, and if this fire is not extinguished quickly it has the potential to turn into a major regional conflict.”
Baku’s close ties with Israel did not exactly win over friends in Tehran, which led to Iran moving to Christian Armenia.
It has been reported that a truck was sent to Armenia via Nordus’ Iranian border smuggling with military hardware. Al Jazeera. Iran has denied “unsubstantiated rumors” that the trucks were simply loaded with car parts.
Nevertheless, Iran is particularly buzzing with Turkey’s role. In the Syrian civil war, Tehran and Ankara supported different sides, with no love for Iran and no desire to have Turkish mercenaries anywhere near its borders.
Iran’s defense minister Amir Hatami He said shelling of its border towns would not be tolerated. It wears patience thin.
“If this problem continues, further action will be taken. It is unacceptable for Iranian citizens to be mistaken for victims.
Mr Hatami did not say what those additional “actions” would be.
Russia is a nuclear power; Turkey has US bombs in its territory and Iran is widely considered to be close to a nuclear capability.
It is unthinkable that weapons of mass destruction could even become part of a regional war. However, these three have a mountain of other weapons.
Turkey supplies almost all to Azerbaijan; There are indications that Iran will play an active role if a shell is dropped on its territory, and that Russia may be obliged to finally help Armenia as the war spreads.
Ceasefire allows some breathing space to find a solution.
But if a settlement over the past three decades is elusive, a conflicting conflict in the Caucasus Mountains is likely to turn into a more confusing battle involving three more armed enemies.