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Azerbaijan

Conflict in Armenia and Azerbaijan

Armenia’s defence ministry said Azeri forces had launched an attack five minutes after the truce had been due to come into effect, with ethnic Armenian forces responding. Azeri forces were also bombarding a town, the defence ministry said.” SOURCE: BBC

There are many simmering conflicts around the world that are not fully resolved but that can intensify very quickly because the underlying issues remain tense even in periods of relative calm. The Armenia/Azerbaijan conflict centers around the ethnic Armenian enclave (Nargorno Karabakh) inside Azerbaijan. To make things more complicated, there is an exclave of Azerbaijan (Nakhchivan) to the west of Armenia.

There have been ethnic/political tensions is this region for generations, but the collapse of the Soviet Union changed the status quo, and there was a cease-fire called in 1994, but that has dissolved in the last few weeks. Now, Turkey and Russia are both seeking to resolve the dispute (or carry out their regional ambitions if you like to approach this more cynically). This shows how a border conflict between two countries can quickly become a broader that can polarize the international community as countries “pick sides” in the conflict. While this is a distressing bit of news for global security and peace, this is a excellent case study to explore many political geographic topics; enclaves, exclaves, borders, sovereignty, devolution, international conflict, etc..

Al Jazeera (10/14)-Updates: Turkey denies accusations, Russia calls for truce

*BBC-Reports of fresh shelling dent ceasefire hopes

*VOX-The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, explained

*The Sunday Times-Azerbaijan and Armenia accuse each other of breaking ceasefire

*The Jacobin Magazine-What’s Really Driving the Azerbaijan-Armenia Conflict

GeoEd Tags: Armenia, Azerbaijan, war, borders, political.

The fate of religious freedom in the former USSR, 25 years after its collapse

It’s been 25 years since the fall of the Soviet Union. How has religious freedom fared in this part of the world?

Source: www.deseretnews.com

The collapse of the former Soviet Union was one of the biggest political events of the 20th century with long-reaching cultural ramifications.  The generations of state-sponsored atheism followed by a variety of new political policies has meant that religious freedoms vary greatly in the regions that were once a part of the USSR.  This article gives a good breakdown of all the former SSR’s and the state of religious freedom today in each of them.    

 

Tags: religionChristianityIslam, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, AzerbaijanGeorgia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan.      

Welcome to Baku, the Fiercely Modern, Millennia-Old, Capitalist-Socialist, Filthy-Rich Capital of Azerbaijan

“Since 2006, when the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline prompted a surge in crude oil exports — up to a million barrels a day travel through neighboring Georgia and on to Turkey and the West — there’s been no shortage of cash in Baku. Now, the city is eager for the prestige that goes with it.”

Source: www.bloomberg.com

Baku is described in this article as an East-West, socialist-capitalist, Muslim-secular, ancient-modern mishmash due to the numerous cultural and political interactions that it has had.  This makes for a fascinating cultural landscape emerging in a city that has been dubbed “the Dubai of the Caucasus” but still has a rich Silk Road history.  Caspian Sea oil lies at the heart of Azerbaijan’s geopolitical importance and cultural aspirations. 


Tags: Azerbaijan, political, Central Asia.

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