Is compromise between #Azerbaijan and #Armenia possible? Very unlikely and the reason lies (partially, or mostly) in societies, not leaders. A (very) long thread:
While Armenian side is blaming current Azerbaijani regime for refusing to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence, it fails to understand the Azerbaijani vision of the history of NK conflict and the significance of Karabakh to the Azerbaijani people. +
For the Azerbaijanis Karabakh is an important element of identity which was formed long before Aliyev. The former capital of Karabakh, Shusha is considered as the "St. Petersburg of Azerbaijan" for being a homeland to dozens of Az composers, artists, poets and intellectuals. +
In this regard, Karabakh (and Shusha in particular) is as important for Azerbaijan, as it is for Armenia, if we take into account Armenian interpretation of the place Nagorno-Karabakh has in its history. +
Add the factor of 600,000 refugees from NK+the surrounding districts occupied by Armenia. The traumas of the 1988-1994 war are not still healed as the people see injustice in the violation of int. law after the ethnic cleansing from the territory. +
Note: in the 7 districts around NK Azerbaijanis historically comprised the absolute majority of population. See here: +
Importantly, for the Azerbaijanis the first domino fell in Armenia in November 1987, when ethnic Azerbaijanis and Muslim Kurds were evicted and killed, several months before Sumgait pogrom. See T. De Waal, Black Garden, (2003), Arif Yunus, Karabakh: Past and Present, (2005). +
Concessions/failures in Karabakh war always risked to develop into a political crisis. While being engaged into war in Karabakh, several Az governments were forced to resign as the situation worsened at the frontier, starting from Vezirov, to Mutalibov and Elchibey. +
Aliyev Sr. was about to agree to some real concessions in 1999 with Kocharyan (territorial wap, or the so-called "Goble Plan"), but his advisors and head of MFA resigned in protest to this decision. As the result this plan was never implemented. +
Recognizing NK’s independence without the right of Az refugees to come back is seen in Azerbaijan as deeply unfair. Note, the majority of refugees come from the adjacent to NK occupied districts, which primarily were not claimed by the Armenian side to be part of NK. +
Meanwhile, Armenia was ready for concessions in the 1990s under Levon Ter-Petrosyan, but his position of compromise that would be accepted by the Azerbaijanis was never accepted in Armenia, either. In 1998 he had to resign. +
You can read his thoughts on the necessity of compromise in his article “War or Peace: Time for Thoughtfullness" (1997), which was conceived very negatively in the Armenian society. Available in Russian here: +
Since then although both sides agreed to follow Madrid Principles of step-by-step solution of the conflict, including de-occupation of adjacent districts, return of Azerbaijani refugees and referendum on the final status of NK, no real measures were taken. +
It was dehumanization of the opposite side, lack of dialogue between societies and lack of any efforts to reassess history and mistakes of the past during these 30 years that led to the radicalization of both societies. +
Pashinyan’s actions of the last 2 years, which were perceived in Az as extremely provocative, followed the rationale of gaining more public support. That was a very short-sighted tactics as we can see today. +
My thoughts on the correlation of democratization and danger of war in Armenia here: +
And Armenia’s intransigence to compromise can be clearly seen in the statements of Armenian parties and public. See interview of Armenian opposition leaders to the Azerbaijani journalist of Feb 2019 (in Russian): +
In situation when both societies are very reluctant to any kind of concessions it is very unlikely that any side will accept compromise soon. It looks like a "chicken game” with no step back, which might have catastrophic consequences for both sides. +
Still, while Armenians call for peace (read "cease-fire") to restore status quo, neither cease-fire, nor status quo will solve the problem due to the position of Azerbaijani side facing no real attention of the world despite the UNSC resolutions adopted back in 1993. +
A real peace treaty which will protect the rights of both Azerbaijani and Armenian communities is needed to stop it once and forever. Cease-fire alone is NOT an option. +
It will require the involvement of third parties, which have to show their absolute impartiality and respect to each side, otherwise this war might have catastrophic consequences for the population and economies of both states. +
And most importantly, it will take years and decades to restore trust and heal the scars of the past and present wars in both societies. END
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