Even before the recent flare-up, tensions were running high on the Azeri-Armenian border. Reports of mutual harassment or skirmishes, mainly over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, often made the headlines in the past several years. But were last week’s surprise clashes in the Tavush area just another episode in ongoing hostilities?
The Tavush area lies on major energy, railway and trade routes that link Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and connect Europe to Central Asia and China without Russian and Iranian involvement. Given the region’s significance as well as the timing and nature of the clashes, one could hardly dismiss the flare-up as customary. Its causes and potential consequences go beyond the long-running territorial dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.