There are several countries right now around the world where tensions seem to always be on simmer then for brief instances come rapidly up to a boil then cool down.
Azerbaijan is a country where that has been the status quo over the last couple of years. There are some interesting backstories to this as well. Not surprisingly they can be found in the History Books describing the turbulance that plagued the region after the withdrawal of the Russian Empire from the First World War, The Abdication of Czar Nicholas II and the subsequent rise of the Soviet Union and then its collapse.
In recent years there have been clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia over an enclave known as Nogorno-Karakbah. This is an area which has a ethnic Armenian and Orthodox Christian Population which lies within Azerbaijan.
The most recent conflict ended badly for Armenia. They actually asked for President Vladimir Putin of Russia to mediate a settlement between the two countries. There is a presence of Russian Troops ascting as a peacekeeping force to ensure no further escalation takes place between these two states.
This is one of the first reason why Azerbaijan is in the crosshairs. Azeri forces have had the region known as Artsakh under blockade since December 12th, 2022. Access to Gas Supplies, Electricity and Internet Access have been denied to the residents of the region. Several NGOs, Countries and Political Analysts have criticized this effort and even the International Court of Justice ruled in favor of Artsakh in a decision demanding Azerbaijan restore all movement along the Lachin Corridor. This decision has been ignored to this day by Azerbaijan.
The other crisis that places Azerbaijan in the crosshairs is the ongoing tensions with the Islamic Republic of Iran. This situation gets more press coverage in the west than the Artsakh crisis. Recent events show why this particular crisis is newsworthy.
Iranian Security Forces have been accused of attempting an assassination of an Azeri MP recently and the reaction to that event has been interesting. The Iranians have ordered all non essential people to leave the country and followed that move by increasing Combat Air Patrols near the border. On April 6th of this year Azerbaijan expelled four Iranian Members of the Embassy Staff as a result of the assassination attempt. This shows how fickle politics currently are in the region. Both Azerbaijan and Iran have substantial Shia Majorities and Governance. While Armenia tends to be allied with Russia and possibly Iran, Azerbaijan has close ties with Israel and just recently opened and embassy hter.
Now is War imminent? On either front? that is hard to say. If conflict does break out one does assume it will be over the tensions with Iran and not over Artsakh. That being said events and initiative can often change with little or no warning.
But Azerbaijan is a country that needs to be watched….