Document Type : Research Paper
Assistant Professor of Khatam al-Anbia Army Air Defense University, Tehran, Iran
Clarifying the influential factors for ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh (November 2020)
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the sporadic conflicts between Republic of Armenia and Republic of Azerbaijan turned into a total war which resulted in the occupation of seven other regions than Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia.
the Republic of Azerbaijan, relying on the principle of territorial integrity of the countries, emphasizes the belonging of Nagorno-Karabakh to this country; But Armenia and the Armenian separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh reject the position of the Republic of Azerbaijan and insist that 80% of the inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh are Armenians. they believe that this region should be independent. Several negotiations and mediation of some countries to resolve this crisis peacefully were not successful. The fiercest clashes began on September 27, 2020 when Azerbaijan took military action to reclaim its lost lands. The war lasted for 44 days until November 10, when the two countries accepted Russia brokered peace deal. The main question of the article is what factors caused Azerbaijan and Armenia to accept the ceasefire and agree to its implementation. The purpose of this article is to explain the factors influencing the ceasefire agreement in Nagorno-Karabakh using the theory of decision-making in international relations.
This research is a theoretical study. The methodology of research has a descriptive-analytical nature relying on political geography and geopolitical approach. According to the type of research, data collection and analysis are based on library and documentary methods and using valid and important internal and external written works (including books, articles, reports, etc.) and online resources (websites and online articles).
Results and discussion:
Using new military tactics, the Azerbaijani army made up for the weakness in dominating mountainous areas and liberating the occupied territories, and thereby changed the geography of the conflict. To prevent the concentration of Armenian forces, without entering the central part of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Republic of Azerbaijan established a large warfront from north to south with the extensive use of advanced drones made by Israel and Turkey. The southern axis of Azerbaijani army moved to the south of Karabakh and reclaimed many regions from Armenian forces. The recapture of the strategic city of Shusha by Azerbaijan forced the Armenian side to accept the Russia brokered peace deal.
One of the most important and influential factors for the military and political failures of Armenia in this war is the destruction and weakening of its strategic relations with Russia during last two years. Armenian PM's tendency towards US, and his expectation for US intervention and support in this conflict, weakened Yerevan's relations with Moscow. And finally, due to the lack of support from White House, Mr. Pashinyan was forced to sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan which had very serious consequences for him.
Political inexperience, lack of accurate environmental, intelligence and security assessment by the government of Nikol Pashinyan, as well as dismissal of experienced military commanders and heads of the National Security Service caused the government and the army to be unaware of the growing capability of the missile and drone system of Azerbaijan. As a result, the Armenian intelligence, security and military systems did not have a comprehensive and realistic assessment of the outbreak of a full-scale war in Nagorno-Karabakh and could not identify the extent and depth of such a pervasive threat. The arrest and trial of prominent political and military figures with the aim of combating economic and political corruption led to the perception in an important part of Armenian and foreign public opinion that the main goal of the anti-corruption campaign was to eliminate political opponents and it is a settlement of previous political grudges.
These disputes provided an opportunity for the Azerbaijanis to exploit and defeat the Armenians militarily in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh war. Territorial extent, social (population) and especially military and economic factors are among the most influential geopolitical factors that led to the acceptance of a ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Azerbaijan is superior to Armenia in several factors such as population and vastness, annual income, oil production, exports, military budget, professional military personnel and number of military equipment. The imbalance in the effective geopolitical factors (military, territorial and economic) in the Nagorno-Karabakh war led to superiority of Azerbaijan and induced the feeling of further defeats in Armenian if the war continued. So that the Armenian military resources and army were no longer fully efficient, and the army insisted on accepting the ceasefire. in his interpretation of the Collective Security Treaty, Putin effectively gave the green light to Baku that as long as the war in Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven occupied cities around it continues, Russia will not intervene in the war. They were the main winners of the recent dispute. The five-year ceasefire agreement means that up to the next five years, if either party acts against Moscow's interests, circumstances may change to its detriment. Russia liberated Nagorno-Karabakh from the control of Armenian as well as Azerbaijani by establishing a ceasefire and a government under Moscow's supervision. Although Russia did not support Armenia, it did not allow the whole of Nagorno-Karabakh to belong to Baku so that it would not end in favor of only Azerbaijan and Turkey. Russia waited for the Azerbaijan’s attack to reach its peak, then intervened to impose an agreement that its own special forces would guarantee. Russia is convinced that in the event of an emergency, only Moscow can guarantee Armenia’s security and bring Yerevan closer to Moscow again. This would be in Russia's long-term and strategic interests in the South Caucasus.
Results indicate that changes in the geography of conflict and military tactics, Armenia’s miscalculations, lack of geopolitical balance and Russian intervention have led to the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.
South Caucasus, Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia, Azerbaijan, November 2020 ceasefire