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Abstract: The Portfolio of Mine Action Projects is a resource tool and reference document for donors, policy-makers, advocates, and national and international mine action implementers. The country and territory-specific proposals in the portfolio reflect strategic responses developed in the field to address all aspects of the problem of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). This country and territory-based approach aims to present as comprehensive a picture as possible of the full range of mine action needs in particular countries and thematic issues related to mine action. The portfolio ideally reflects projects developed by mine- and ERW-affected countries and territories based on their priorities and strategies; the approaches are endorsed by national authorities. The portfolio does not automatically entail full-scale direct mine action assistance by the United Nations, but is in essence a tool for collaborative resource mobilization, coordination and planning of mine action activities involving partners and stakeholders. A country portfolio coordinator (CPC) leads each country portfolio team and coordinates the submission of proposals to the portfolio’s headquarters team. While the majority of the CPCs are UN officials, this role is increasingly being assumed by national authorities. The country portfolio teams include representatives from national and local authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the United Nations and the private sector. Locally based donor representatives are invited to attend preparation meetings. Each portfolio chapter contains a synopsis of the scope of the landmine and ERW problem, a description of how mine action is coordinated, and a snapshot of local mine action strategies. Many of the strategies complement or are integrated into broader development and humanitarian frameworks such as national development plans, the UN development assistance frameworks and national poverty reduction plans. This 14th edition of the annual Portfolio of Mine Action Projects features overviews and project outlines for 29 countries, territories or missions affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war. There are 238 projects in the 2011 portfolio. Africa accounts for the largest number: 92.
Abstract: Poor conflict-affected countries tend to have large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and, in at least some cases, large numbers of refugees. But the figures should be treated with caution; in some cases, such as Angola and Sierra Leone, governments simply decided that there are no longer IDPs, even if in fact many of those displaced by the conflicts have yet to find durable solutions. It is important to note that displacement is not confined to poor conflict affected states, but it is also a characteristic of some middle income countries, some of which have stable governments, such as Georgia, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Syria and Turkey.
This report was prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2011. It explores patterns of displacement and the linkages between armed conflict and education. Some recommendations include:
• That UN agencies and civil society organizations provide necessary technical support to governments to adopt the necessary laws and policies to ensure that IDPs and refugees have access to education.
• That UN agencies, NGOs and bilateral donors ensure that programs developed to provide education to IDPs and refugees take into consideration the broader context of DACs, for example in ensuring that host and return communities are supported in their efforts to provide educational opportunities to the displaced or returnees.
• That GMR highlight the importance of humanitarian and development actors working together to develop ways to re-establish educational systems in post-conflict settings.
Abstract: An arms race, escalating front-line clashes, vitriolic war
rhetoric and a virtual breakdown in peace talks are increasing
the chance Armenia and Azerbaijan will go back
to war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Preventing this is urgent.
Increased military capabilities on both sides would make
a new armed conflict in the South Caucasus far more
deadly than the 1992-1994 one that ended with a shaky
truce. Neither side would be likely to win easily or quickly.
Regional alliances could pull in Russia, Turkey and Iran.
Vital oil and gas pipelines near the front lines would be
threatened, as would the cooperation between Russia and
Turkey that is central to regional stability. Another refugee
crisis would be likely. To start reversing this dangerous
downward trend, the opposing sides should sign a
document on basic principles for resolving the conflict
peacefully and undertake confidence-building steps to
reduce tensions and avert a resumption of fighting.
There has been significant deterioration over the past year.
Neither government is planning an all-out offensive in the
near term, but skirmishes that already kill 30 people a
year could easily spiral out of control. It is unclear if the
leaders in Yerevan and Baku thoroughly calculate the potential
consequences of a new round of tit-for-tat attacks.
Ambiguity and lack of transparency about operations
along the line of contact, arms deals and other military
expenditures and even the state of the peace talks all contribute
to a precarious situation. Monitoring mechanisms
should be strengthened and confidence-building steps
implemented to decrease the chance of an accidental war.
Abstract: Over 586,000 people remain internally displaced in Azerbaijan after the Nagorno-Karabakh war
ended with a ceasefire in 1994. The figure includes approximately 230,000 children born to internally
displaced people (IDPs) since they fled their homes. Insecurity near the line of contact with
Armenia continues to disrupt the livelihoods of IDPs and others who live nearby.
IDPs’ main concern, however, is their inadequate living conditions. Many still live in dilapidated
public buildings and makeshift accommodation, some with poor security of tenure. The government
has resettled some IDPs into new, purpose-built settlements, but while these offer better
conditions, they are often far from neighbouring towns and offer insufficient access to services,
jobs or livelihoods. Most IDPs have yet to benefit from this scheme and there is increasing disparity
in the living conditions of IDPs.
IDPs are more often unemployed than their non-displaced neighbours and the majority continue
to depend on government benefits as their main source of income. Limited finances prevent
some from accessing health care services and education despite provisions ensuring their free
access. IDPs continue to suffer mental health issues relating to their displacement and experiences
during the war, and there is a lack of appropriate and affordable support. Specific and expanded
measures are required to improve their self-reliance and decrease the pattern of dependency.
Return remains the preferred settlement option for many IDPs and for the government. Some
younger IDPs, however, say they would prefer to stay in their current places of residence even if
return were a viable option. While the government has allocated significant attention and resources
to improving the lives of IDPs, a better national response would entail efforts to engage
IDPs on issues that affect them and to amend regulations and practices that prevent IDPs from
enjoying a normal life at their current residence.
Abstract: Health care in post-war situations, where the system's human and fixed capital are depleted, is challenging. The addition of a frozen conflict situation, where international recognition of boundaries and authorities are lacking, introduces further complexities.
Case description: Nagorno Karabagh (NK) is an ethnically Armenian territory locked within post-Soviet Azerbaijan and one such frozen conflict situation. This article highlights the use of evidence-based practice and community engagement to determine priority areas for health care training in NK. Drawing on the precepts of APEXPH (Assessment Protocol for Excellence in Public Health) and MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships), this first-of-its-kind assessment in NK relied on in-depth interviews and focus group discussions supplemented with expert assessments and field observations. Training options were evaluated against a series of ethical and pragmatic principles.
Discussion and Evaluation: A unique factor among the ethical and pragmatic considerations when prioritizing among alternatives was NK's ambiguous political status and consequent sponsor constraints. Training priorities differed across the region and by type of provider, but consensus prioritization emerged for first aid, clinical Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses, and Adult Disease Management. These priorities were then incorporated into the training programs funded by the sponsor.
Abstract: This issue includes the following articles:
- AQAP’s Soft Power Strategy in Yemen
- Developing Policy Options for the
AQAP Threat in Yemen
- The Role of Non-Violent Islamists
- The Evolution of Iran’s Special
Groups in Iraq
- Fragmentation in the North Caucasus
- Assessing the Success of Leadership
- Revolution Muslim:
Downfall or Respite?
Abstract: The Azerbaijani government is using criminal laws and violent attacks to silence dissenting journalists, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Dozens of journalists have been prosecuted on criminal and civil defamation and other criminal charges. Police have carried out physical attacks on journalists, deliberately interfering with their efforts to investigate issues of public interest.
The government should free imprisoned journalists and repeal criminal libel laws that allow public officials and others to bring criminal charges against journalists and activists, Human Rights Watch said. It also should prosecute violence or threats against reporters, which now go unpunished. The attacks on free speech threaten to undermine the legitimacy of parliamentary elections scheduled for November 7, 2010, Human Rights Watch said.
"A vibrant public debate is crucial to free and fair elections," said Giorgi Gogia, South Caucasus researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. "But you can't have a free and fair vote when the people who report the news are in jail or have been harassed into silence."
At least nine journalists have fled Azerbaijan in the last three years seeking political asylum abroad.
Human Rights Watch has documented restrictions on freedom of expression in Azerbaijan for many years. For this report, Human Rights Watch interviewed over 37 print and radio journalists and editors in June 2010.
Azerbaijan abolished official state censorship in 1998. However, the government has used other, less obvious means to restrict freedom of expression and the media. In addition to prosecutions and police violence, legislative amendments in 2009 restricted journalists' ability to use video, photo or sound recording without explicit consent of the individual being recorded or filmed, even at public events. The government also banned all foreign radio broadcasting on FM frequencies. Unnecessary restrictions should be removed, and the foreign broadcasts should be allowed to resume, Human Rights Watch said.
In the past several years, state officials have brought dozens of defamation charges against journalists, and in some cases, against human rights defenders who criticize the government or who otherwise work to secure accountability for human rights violations in Azerbaijan.
Abstract: This issue of the Caucasus Analytical Digest examines the importance of religion in the South Caucasus. First, Robia Charles examines the nature of religiosity in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Second, Harutyun Harutyunyan analyzes the role of the Armenian church during military conflicts, arguing that the Armenian church legitimized the use of violence, especially during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (1988–1994). Third, Kimitaka Matsuzato assesses the strategies for survival of the Orthodox communities in Transnistria, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia. Finally, Ruslan Baramidze examines the differences among Muslim communities in highland and lowland areas of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.
Abstract: The North Caucasus experienced another deadly summer (May 1 – August 31, 2010). Although Chechnya and Ingushetia saw comparatively less violence than they did in Summer 2009, we observed a troubling rise in the level of violence in Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria. Dagestan proved the most deadly republic in the region, while Kabardio-Balkaria, normally a relatively quiet republic, incurred levels of violence surpassing Chechnya.
Since 2008, CSIS staff has tracked, on a daily basis, incidents of violence occurring in the North Caucasus. We have released seven previous reports, the last of whichillustrated the dramatic rise in violence in Spring 2010.
In this report, we present our data for Summer 2010 (May 1–August 31), paying particular attention to the geographic spread of the violence across the North Caucasus, most notably into Kabardino-Balkaria.
Abstract: Black Sea region countries have diverse political systems, ranging from developed democracies
to authoritarian regimes. Communist pasts and a lack of democratic experience have stalled or
reversed democratisation processes in many cases. Flawed legal systems and a public distrust
in institutions have been paired with growing executive power in many countries. Increasing
inequality and unresolved conflicts undermine pro-democratic reforms as well. The region’s West and South, including Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Turkey, contain relatively
stable democracies. Reforms in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova have met with only limited
success, hampered by conflicts with neighbours or separatist regions. Russia has shown substantial
re-centralisation of power with authoritarian traits. The Ukraine’s post-Orange Revolution momentum
has been lost, but democratic procedures and the culture of an open society have taken root. Elections in Greece, Turkey, Romania and the Ukraine are generally free and fair, but show serious
flaws elsewhere in the region. Outside of Greece, political parties are weak. Parliaments in the West
and South hold some power, but often show functional weaknesses, while elsewhere executives –
often with authoritarian leanings – are little restrained by legislatures or opposition parties. With
the exception of Turkey and Greece, judicial corruption or lack of independence is common. Bribery and corruption is a problem across the region. In the post-communist states, this has
undermined state legitimacy. Increasing inequality is a pressing problem throughout, also
threatening regime credibility. The economic crisis may further undermine the attraction of
Western democratic values, contributing to poverty and social unrest. Civil society is hampered by a lack of democratic tradition. Outside of Turkey and Greece, domestic
NGOs are scarce or face substantial state resistance. Ethnic minority issues and a persistent brain
drain remain problematic, but a new technocratic generation offers the promise of change.
The EU has made numerous bilateral and multilateral overtures to Black Sea countries, but has
not shown a clear regional policy. It risks appearing to prioritise a stable energy supply over
true transformation. US interest has been focused on democratisation as well as regional energy
In seeking to enhance democratic transformation, civil society groups should be given broad
practical support. Aid to states should be linked to democratic reforms, and combined with
substantial assistance for institutional and administrative capacity building. Judicial reforms and a
stronger rule of law will be critical in stabilising the region’s political and economic systems. The
EU in particular needs to develop a coherent regional policy, which must include cooperation with
Russia and Turkey.
Abstract: A key event in early March, was the death of one of the chief ideologues of the armed resistance in the North Caucasus, Said Buryatsky (Aleksandr Tikhomirov) (www.1tv.ru, March 5). He was killed in the village of Ekazhevo in Ingushetia’s Nazran district during a major Russian joint siloviki operation that involved units of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the interior ministry (MVD) and defense ministry, targeting militants discovered in the home of the Kartoyev family. The operation itself, which lasted two days, spoke volumes about the significance of the situation. Usually, such government endeavors lasting days are a sign that top leaders of the militant underground are among those targeted, which explains their fierce resistance. The militants involved in the resistance have no chance of being given a fair and democratic trial. In accordance with the traditions of Russian jurisprudence, the captured militant is blamed for all possible actions undertaken against the authorities in recent years. The authorities have their own reasons for doing this, since it allows the police to write off multiple attacks and shootings that remain unsolved. Therefore, it is not surprising that the besieged militant is taken into FSB custody alive. The militant has no choice, and he chooses death. Multiple MVD, FSB, and defense ministry units were involved in the Ekazhevo village operation. Over the course of the two-day operation, four Kartoyev brothers were killed: Tukhan, Nazir, Akhmed and Magomed. Several more brothers –Tarkhana, Tatarkhana and Beslan– were detained. Additionally, two other village residents were killed, presumably the Dobryev’s. According to eyewitnesses, all three houses of the Kartoyev brothers were destroyed. Two residents of the village were detained –Yakub Aushev and his son. Eyewitnesses report that gunfire was returned only from the Dobryev house, where a firefight broke out between the occupants and members of the security services (www.ingushetia.org, March 3).
Abstract: The mandate, established in 2004 by the Commission on Human Rights and extended in 2007 by the Human Rights Council in resolution 6/32, has provided a good basis for the Representative to build on the excellent work of his predecessor, Francis Deng. The nature of his mandate has allowed the Representative to benefit from privileged access, broad support and partnerships with United Nations institutions, member States, civil society and other stakeholders. It has been critical that the Representative has succeeded in linking the mandate to a broader international context inclusive of peace processes, humanitarian assistance and development, natural disasters and climate change. After discussing the achievements and activities of the mandate during the tenure of the present Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the report identifies progress made as well as major challenges remaining, which relate to the human rights of internally displaced persons.
Abstract: At least 71 journalists were killed across the globe in 2009, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced Tuesday, the largest annual toll in the 30 years the group has been keeping track.
Twenty-nine of those deaths came in a single, politically motivated massacre of reporters and others in the Philippines last November, the worst known episode for journalists, the committee said.
But there were other worrisome trends. The two nations with the highest number of journalists incarcerated — China had 24 journalists imprisoned at the end of 2009 and Iran had 23 — were particularly harsh in taking aim at bloggers and others using the Internet. The number jailed in Iran has since jumped to 47, the committee said. Of the 71 confirmed deaths, 51 were murders, the committee said. The report noted that 24 additional deaths of journalists remained under investigation to determine if they were related to the journalists’ work. Previously, the highest number of journalists killed in a single year was 67, in 2007, when violence in Iraq was raging.
Abstract: The development of new northern supply routes into Afghanistan, termed the Northern
Distribution Network (NDN) by the U.S. government, and the expanded U.S. presence in
Afghanistan has had considerable impact on regional geopolitics in Eurasia. For those states now
involved in the NDN (Latvia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and
Uzbekistan), this cooperation has added a new dimension to their relations that increases their
stakes in bilateral ties with the United States and vice versa. Washington is engaging these
partners on an issue of utmost priority to U.S. security interests. Together and individually these
states can play a constructive role in Afghan stabilization efforts. But persistent tensions, mistrust,
paranoia, authoritarianism, and a near-exclusive focus on “regime preservation” make some of
them unwieldy and volatile partners. Suspicion of U.S. intentions and commitment further
complicate this calculation. Understanding the dimensions of and knowing how to manage the
geopolitical challenges and opportunities associated with NDN transit states and other key players
is critical for the United States.
Abstract: A preliminary breakthrough in the two-decades-old Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – a framework agreement on basic principles – may be within reach. Armenia and Azerbaijan are in substantial accord on principles first outlined by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group in 2005. A basic principles agreement, while only a foundation to build on, is crucial to maintain momentum for a peace deal. Important differences remain on specifics of a subsequent final deal. Movement toward Armenia-Turkey rapprochement after a century of hostility has brought opportunity also for ending the Nagorno-Karabakh stalemate. Sustainable regional peace requires compromises on all the quarrels, but there is backlash danger, especially in Armenia, where public discontent could derail the Nagorno-Karabakh framework agreement. Presidents Sarkisian (Armenia) and Aliyev (Azerbaijan) need to do more to prepare their publics. The U.S., Russia and France, Minsk Group co-chairs, have stepped up collective efforts, but more is needed to emphasise dangers in clinging to an untenable status quo.
Although a deliberate military offensive from either side is unlikely in the near future, the ceasefire that ended active hostilities fifteen years ago is increasingly fragile. There has been a steady increase in the frequency and intensity of armed skirmishes that could unintentionally spark a wider conflict. Though the ceasefire has helped prevent return to full-scale hostilities, it has not prevented some 3,000 deaths along the front line – military and civilian alike – since 1994.
The official negotiations have also not significantly tempered the great scepticism and cynicism among both Armenians and Azerbaijanis about a possible end to the conflict. There is deep distrust of the mediating process, and many on both sides are suspicious that the talks are little more than window-dressing. Many also complain about what they perceive as the secretive nature of the talks. This gives rise to suspicions that a peace deal equates to surrender and that leaders who would take such action would be guilty of treason. These fears have been fuelled by years of official and unofficial propaganda on both sides, and particularly in Armenia, there is a growing sentiment that a change in the status quo could create new security threats. Notably, there is concern even among some government officials that Armenia is being pressured to give up something tangible – the occupied territories – in exchange for mere promises of security. These feelings are especially acute in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Abstract: Nations in Transit 2009 is the 13th edition of Freedom House’s comprehensive,
comparative study of democratic development from Central Europe
to Eurasia. It examines 29 countries, including the newest independent
state in the region, Kosovo. The overarching conclusion is that 2008 was a very
difficult year for democracy: scores declined for 18 of the 29 countries, and a record
8 countries are now in the “consolidated authoritarian regimes” category. Worrying
trends highlighted in the previous three editions of Nations in Transit became even
more pronounced in 2008, while positive trends lost momentum.
A number of events illustrate the intensification of these negative trends. In
2008, for the first time in the 21st century, a war erupted between two states covered
in Nations in Transit. The so-called “August War” between Georgia and Russia served
as a wake-up call for those who believed that the democratic decline observed in
the region over the last few years would not have a detrimental effect on security
and stability. Highly problematic elections accentuated the region’s troubles. Two
petro-states, Azerbaijan (which recorded the largest democratic decline in this
edition of Nations in Transit) and the Russian Federation, held uncompetitive
presidential elections in which the result was predetermined. Armenia’s presidential
poll was marred by lethal postelection violence. And the government in Georgia
used administrative resources to seriously influence that country’s hotly contested
presidential and parliamentary elections. Nations in Transit 2009 documents
how journalists were once again at risk throughout the region, from Croatia to
Uzbekistan, and national governments were challenged by corruption scandals, as
was the case in Bulgaria; by divisive ethnic politics, as in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
by parliamentary boycotts, as in Montenegro; or by infighting and outright
irresponsibility among political leaders, as in Ukraine.
Abstract: Russia's military intervention in Georgia in August 2008 sent a shock wave across the post-Soviet space, particularly the republics to the west and south of Russia. In December 2008, the European Union formalized the Eastern Partnership initiative, directed at Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In order to understand the impact of this war both of Russia's bilateral relations with these countries and on the Eastern Partnership area as a whole, this article analyzes the reactions of these former Soviet republics to the Russian offensive. Three types of response are observed: keeping distance from Russia; maintaining a balance between Moscow and the West; and finally, changing course (from rapprochment to keeping distance and vice versa) vis-a-vis the former center of the Soviet Empire.
Abstract: A trial of six people accused of terrorism and other serious crimes began on June 24 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Two Lebanese citizens, Karaki Ali Muhammad and Najmaddin Ali Hussein, were charged with treason, revealing secret information abroad, espionage, preparation of acts of terrorism, drug trafficking and arms smuggling. Four Azerbaijani citizens, Javid Mamadov, Vidadi Rasulov, Mushfig Amanov and Afgan Balashev all face similar charges. The alleged terrorist cell planned to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Baku as well as blow up the Russian-operated Qabala radar station. According to investigation records, the group was receiving orders from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Both Lebanese “had been trained and sent to Azerbaijan by terrorist organizations Hezbollah and al-Qaeda.”. The suspects allegedly planned to attract local people to cooperate with them in carrying out terrorist attacks in densely populated areas. After getting their instructions from Hezbollah, the two Lebanese arrived in Iran, where agents of the Revolutionary Guards helped them to cross the border into Azerbaijan. Once there, they are alleged to have established a group consisting of local citizens, convincing them to bomb the Qabala radar station.
Abstract: This fourth edition of the Yearbook on Peace Processes analyses the conflicts in which
negotiations are being held to reach a peace agreement, regardless of whether these negotiations
are formalised, are in the exploratory phases, are bearing fruit or, to the contrary, are stalled or
enmeshed in crisis. It also analyses certain cases in which the negotiations or explorations are
partial, that is, they do not encompass all the armed groups present in the country (as is the case
of Afghanistan and Iraq, for example). The majority of the negotiations are linked to armed
conflicts, but other situations are also analysed in which despite the fact that there are currently
no armed clashes taking place, the parties have yet to reach a permanent agreement to put an end
to the hostilities and disputes still pending. Thus, the negotiations are relevant for preventing the
beginning or resurgence of new armed confrontations.
The way of organising the analysis of almost every case follows a standard pattern, namely: 1) a
brief synopsis of the background of the conflict, with a short description of the armed groups and
the main players participating in the conflict; 2) the lead-up to the peace process; 3) the events
that took place throughout 2007; 4) a table displaying the most noteworthy events in the year in
summarised form; and 5) a list of websites where the conflict can be monitored. At the start of
each country there is a small insert with basic information on the conflict in question; in the
section entitled “Armed Actors” in this insert, the governmental armed forces are not included.
Abstract: Some 15 years have passed since a ceasefire was signed in the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, yet the people forced out of their homes by the fighting have still not found peace. They still suffer from homesickness, poverty, discomfort and legal difficulties.
Refugees in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Karabakh – a majority-Armenian territory that broke free of Azeri control with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and unilaterally declared independence – have told IWPR how they feel abandoned in the student hostels, old hotels, schools and offices they now call home.
“Refugees today would like to forget that they are refugees, but this does not happen. What we lived through is unforgettable,” Sarasar Sarian, an Armenian from Baku now living in Karabakh, told IWPR.
Ethnic tensions between Armenians and Azeris boiled over in the late 1980s, when the Karabakh Armenians petitioned Moscow to detach their region from Azerbaijan and cede it to Armenia. Reciprocal demonstrations in Baku turned violent, leading to violence in Karabakh and Armenia. Riots between the two communities forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee each others’ countries, although at that time they were all citizens of the Soviet Union.
With independence in 1991 came war. At the ceasefire in May 1994, Armenian forces were occupying 14 per cent of Azerbaijan proper. At least 800,000 Azeris had fled to Azerbaijan from Armenia and parts of their own country seeking safety.
Since the war is not technically over, these people are still desperately hoping one day they can return to their homes.
Abstract: In a time of shooting wars, it is easy to lose sight of wars waiting to happen. This is dangerous, especially for a new US administration with an ample international agenda. Serious attention is required on Nagorno Karabakh, the simmering dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The danger of another open war in the Caucasus - one much worse than the August conflict between Russia and Georgia - is all too real. Frustration in Azerbaijan with a seemingly endless multilateral mediation effort has led opposition factions and, more recently, even the government to speak openly of a military option to restore Karabakh to Azeri sovereignty. The country's oil and gas earnings have reequipped its military, although with untested results. Russia recently sent a massive arms shipment to Armenia, while the Karabakh Armenians reportedly interpret the failure of Georgia's military last August as proof that Azerbaijan's army would fare no better in an assault on Karabakh or in a preventive war launched by the Armenian side. These views are dangerous and are riddled with error. The prevention needed is diplomatic, from Washington and Moscow working in tandem.
The apparent reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey announced on April 23, while very positive in itself, has largely ground to a halt. Ankara is unwilling, and politically unable, to move substantively in its ties with Yerevan without at least the appearance of movement on Karabakh. Unfortunately, the positive atmospherics of the meeting of the Armenian and Azeri presidents in Prague May 7 quickly dissipated in mutual accusations of bad faith. Experienced observers have seen this on-again, off-again process many times. Without progress on Karabakh, progress between Turkey and Armenia will be limited to symbolism at best.
Abstract: Violence in Russia’s North Caucasus is on the rise. Since January 2004, CSIS has tracked, almost daily, violent incidents occurring in the North Caucasus. This new report, assembled by our staff, draws on our database. In particular, the report illustrates the rise in incidents during Winter/Spring 2009. As a new feature, this report is available in video format with audio commentary.
Abstract: On May 12, 2009, the UN General Assembly will elect 18 new Human Rights Council members. Twenty countries are candidates. However, each is not competing against all of the others, but rather only against the ones from the same UN regional group. In this year’s election, all but two regional groups have submitted the same amount of candidates as available seats. The Asian Group has 5 countries vying for 5 available seats, the Latin American and Caribbean Group (―GRULAC‖) has 3 countries vying for 3 available seats, and the Western European and Others Group (―WEOG‖) has 3 countries vying for 3 available seats. This does not mean that the candidate countries for these groups will automatically be elected; in order to become a Council member, a country must receive the votes of at least 97 of the 192 General Assembly member states (an absolute majority). Competition between the candidates exists only in the African Group, where 6 countries are vying for 5 available seats, and in the Eastern European Group, where 3 countries are vying for 2 available seats.
Abstract: The conflict between Armenians and Azeris over Nagorny Karabakh (NK) continues to pose serious dangers to the future of the South Caucasus but is still low on the international agenda. There is a misconception that it is ’frozen’, yet the conflict is gradually thawing and there is a danger that fighting could resume.
Although a peace agreement is in everyone’s long-term interests, the parties involved are driven by short-term motives and are more comfortable with the status quo. They are caught in a ’Karabakh trap‘, where societies have been encouraged to have unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved and where compromise is fraught with risk.
This analytical paper is being published following extensive discussions of a draft version in Baku, Yerevan and Stepanakert with officials, experts and non-governmental activists. (An earlier draft paper was published on two websites without permission).
It argues for more strategic and long-term thinking in debates on how to move the peace process forward. It also examines:
* the current state of the negotiation process mediated by the Minsk Group co-chairs; the ‘Madrid document’ under discussion; and the constraints on international actors
* the ceasefire regime along the ‘line of contact’ and its weaknesses
* the evolving situation in the region
* the changing ‘military balance’ and the significance of new military spending
* five ‘bad scenarios’ in which the situation around NK could potentially deteriorate.
Abstract: The South Caucasus region has been the most unstable in the former Soviet Union in terms of the
number, intensity, and length of ethnic and civil conflicts. Other emerging or full-blown security
problems include crime, corruption, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
and narcotics trafficking. The regional governments have worked to bolster their security by
combating terrorism, limiting political dissent they view as threatening, revamping their armed
forces, and seeking outside assistance and allies.
The roles of neighbors Iran, Russia, and Turkey have been of deep security concern to one or
more of the states of the region. These and other major powers, primarily the United States and
European Union (EU) members, have pursued differing interests and policies toward the three
states. Some officials in Russia view the region as a traditional sphere of influence, while Turkish
officials tend to stress common ethnic ties with Azerbaijan and most of Central Asia. EU
members are increasingly addressing instability in what they view as a far corner of Europe.
Armenia has pursued close ties with Russia and Iran in part to counter Azerbaijan’s ties with
Turkey, and Georgia and Azerbaijan have stressed ties with the United States in part to bolster
their independence vis-a-vis Russia.
The United States has supported democratization, the creation of free markets, conflict resolution,
regional cooperation, and the integration of the South Caucasian states into the larger world
community. The Administration has backed regional energy and pipeline development that does
not give Iran and Russia undue political or economic influence. U.S. aid has been provided to
bolster the security and independence of the states, including substantial rebuilding aid after the
August 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict. In January 2009, the United States and Georgia signed a
partnership agreement to underline such U.S. support for Georgia. All three regional states have
supported the global war on terrorism and sent troops to assist the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.
Congress has been at the forefront in supporting U.S. assistance to bolster independence and
reforms in the South Caucasus, but debate has continued over the scope, emphasis, and
effectiveness of U.S. involvement. Congressional support for the security of Armenia and
Nagorno Karabakh (NK; a breakaway region of Azerbaijan mostly populated by ethnic
Armenians) led in 1992 to a ban on most U.S. government-to-government aid to Azerbaijan.
Congress authorized a presidential waiver to the ban after the terrorist attacks on the United
States on September 11, 2001, to facilitate U.S.-Azerbaijan anti-terrorism cooperation.
Congressional support for U.S. engagement with the region also was reflected in “Silk Road
Strategy” legislation in FY2000 (P.L. 106-113) authorizing greater policy attention and aid for
conflict amelioration, humanitarian needs, economic development, transport and
communications, border control, democracy, and the creation of civil societies in the South
Caucasus and Central Asia. Congressional concerns about rising Russian military and economic
coercion against Georgia were reflected in legislation criticizing Russian actions and supporting
Georgia’s NATO aspirations. In the wake of the August 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict, Congress
condemned Russia’s invasion and provided boosted aid for Georgia’s rebuilding. Congress
regularly has earmarked foreign aid to Armenia and upheld a South Caucasus funding category to
encourage conflict resolution, provide for reconstruction assistance, and facilitate regional