The Bug Pit
A new book claims to expose Nagorno-Karabakh as an international hub of drug, arms, and human smuggling. But the book’s murky origins and hard-to-support allegations suggest instead an elaborate effort to spread black PR in the international media against Karabakh and the Armenian forces who control it.
Azerbaijan and Russia are in an escalating diplomatic battle over the former’s policy of denying ethnic Armenians of any citizenship entrance to the country.
News that Armenia and Azerbaijan had made a small step toward peace was welcomed by observers as a rare sign of hope in the conflict between the two countries. But many leading voices in the region reacted negatively to the news, vividly illustrating the hardened attitudes toward the sorts of compromises that would be necessary to achieve a real peace deal.
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan have met and agreed on the need to prepare their populations for peace and to discuss possibilities to cooperate economically. The optimistic statements following the meeting were a yet another sign of a marked decrease in diplomatic tensions between the two sides over the last few months.
Russia has raised the price for the gas it sells to Armenia by 10 percent. The negotiations over the gas price were seen as a litmus test for the new government in Yerevan and its ability to deal with its often overbearing ally in Moscow.
Russia and Armenia are working out an agreement to ban the presence of “foreign soldiers” in Armenia, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Azerbaijani’s government and media have heaped scorn on the recent elections in Armenia, but some optimists in the country found reason for hope that a new leadership in Yerevan could lead to progress in resolving the two countries’ ongoing conflict.
Long-running tensions between Yerevan and Minsk have broken into the open in recent days after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko criticized Armenia for trying to bring “street politics” into international diplomacy while warmly hosting Ilham Aliyev, the president of Armenia’s foe, Azerbaijan.
Armenia is at risk of losing its position as nominal head of a post-Soviet political-military bloc as leaders of the group appear to be leaning toward appointing a non-Armenian as leader.