The surprising Armenia-Azerbaijan peace deal over Nagorno-Karabakh, explained

“That leaves ethnic Armenians in control of the capital Stepanakert and areas mostly to the north, but experts say none of what the Armenians will keep is strategically significant. In effect, Armenia will maintain nominal political control over the capital and its rump of the region (the yellow part in the maps above), but that’s about it. The power Armenia has had in the territory for decades is basically gone.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan won the war, so it gained the most.

As of December 1, it will control the three withdrawn-from areas of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding seven territories, while also remaining in Shusha (or Shushi). That means Azerbaijan will control the most important areas in Nagorno-Karabakh (the green area in maps above) with its military forces.”

“the deal means Azerbaijan is the clear victor in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; Armenia is left reeling and in political turmoil; and Russia and Turkey both enhanced their presence and influence in the region. It’s a dramatic shift from what the situation looked like six weeks ago.

The question now is if the deal will hold. Three previous ceasefire attempts failed in this latest conflict, and political opposition to the deal in Armenia may force the current prime minister — or someone else who usurps his power — to withdraw from the pact.”

Armenia, Azerbaijan agree to end fight in Nagorno-Karabakh

“Armenia and Azerbaijan announced an agreement early Tuesday to halt fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan under a pact signed with Russia that calls for deployment of nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers and territorial concessions.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a 1994 truce ended a separatist war in which an estimated 30,000 people died. Sporadic clashes occurred since then, and full-scale fighting began on Sept. 27.”

“The agreement calls for Armenian forces to turn over control of some areas it held outside the borders of Nagorno-Karabakh, including the eastern district of Agdam.”

“Armenians will also turn over the Lachin region, which holds the main road leading from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. The agreement calls for the road, the so-called Lachin Corridor, to remain open and be protected by Russian peacekeepers.

In all, 1,960 Russian peacekeepers are to be deployed in the region under a five-year mandate.

The agreement also calls for transport links to be established through Armenia linking Azerbaijan and its western exclave of Nakhcivan, which is surrounded by Armenia, Iran and Turkey.”

“The seizure of Shushi, which Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev claimed Sunday and was confirmed by Nagorno-Karabakh’s presidential spokesman Monday, gave Azerbaijan a significant strategic advantage. The city is positioned on heights overlooking the regional capital of Stepanakert, 10 kilometers (six miles) to the north.”

China and India are in a dangerous standoff over a hotly contested border

“For about 80 years, India and China have quarreled over a roughly 2,200-mile frontier spanning the Himalayas, occasionally going to war over their competing claims. Despite 20-plus rounds of negotiations, the world’s two most populous countries haven’t come close to agreeing on most of the boundaries, providing a continuous source of tension between Beijing and New Delhi.

It’s unclear what, exactly, started this latest flare-up. India’s government says that earlier this month, unprovoked Chinese troops threw rocks at Indian soldiers in the western Himalayas. Beijing counters that claim, instead blaming Indian forces for illegally walking into Chinese territory. Whatever the reason, a combined 100-plus soldiers from both sides sustained injuries during two skirmishes on May 5 and May 9.

No shots were fired and no one was killed, but that hasn’t stopped both nuclear-armed nations from escalating the standoff since the initial squabbles.

Thousands of troops are now camped on either side of the Galwan Valley, a contentious territory in the high-altitude Ladakh region. Chinese and Indian soldiers have dug new defenses and shipped more military equipment to their outposts.”

“Experts note there’s still a long way to go before a shooting war begins. They point to ongoing diplomatic efforts to solve the scuffle and say neither side actually wants a war with the coronavirus raging.

The problem is that it could be a long time before either China or India decides to settle the matter peacefully — which means an already bad situation might get much worse.”