FIU panel shines light on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Promotion of the panel event | FIU School of International and Public Affairs Instagram

Anler Cabrera | Contributing Writer

On Sept. 19, 2023, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region was felt on a global scale.

The region historically comprised a 94% ethnically Armenian population, and although an Armenian territory, in 1924 The Soviet Union decided the region should be kept as an autonomous zone inside the Azerbaijan SSR region, this Soviet blunder is considered to be the origin of the conflict according to Murat Sofuoglu from TRT World.

The FIU School of International and Public Affairs hosted a panel of experts, part of the European & Eurasian Studies Program-Caucasus Security Studies Initiative, to shine a light on a devastating humanitarian crisis. 

The one-hour Webinar comprised of several speakers: Ambassador Sam Brownback, Former Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom and David L. Phillips, Former Director of the Peace-building and Human Rights Program and the Institute for the Study of Human Rights. 

Michael Rubin, PhD, Senior Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, Ambassador Alberto Miguel Fernandez, Vice President of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and Caroline Cox, Founder and President of the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust were also on the panel.

During the webinar, while many aspects of the crisis were addressed, the most pressing issue at heart being, the Artsakh blockade on the Lachin Corridor, the only viable road connecting Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, by the Azerbaijani authorities. 

The history of Nagorno-Karabakh can be summarized into two things: shifting borders and ensuing geopolitical chaos. 

The ultimate victims of this unprecedented shift: The ethnic Armenians trapped inside a perimeter of aggression, which over time Azerbaijan’s pressure gradually ensued. 

The panelist Caroline Fox reminded the panel about the fact that ethnic Armenians, not being strangers to the ethnic cleansing and genocide of their people felt history might repeat itself. 

When the Karabakh Armenians demanded the region transfer from Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia, the conflict escalated into a full-scale war. 

In 2020, Azerbaijan with Turkish backing launched yet another war. 

According to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, this war resulted in the uprooting of just short of 100,000 Armenians from their homes and caused the death of 6,500 people. 

And even today three years after the fact, the pressure from Baku is being felt on every Armenian’s home in Nagorno Karabakh, meanwhile, the international community sends humanitarian aid to these victims, the Azerbaijani blockade does not budge.

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