One year on from a major outbreak of violence, the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process is again in peril. The international community can either hang back and wait for war, or opt for diplomatic shock therapy, Laurence Broers writes in his article published on the website of Chatham House.
In his words, last year demonstrated the resilience of the Armenian-Azerbaijani deadlock. “No substantive progress has been achieved on the commitments made in Vienna, it is business as usual with violent incidents resuming along the Line of Contact (LoC), and the peace process is suspended in a perilous void,” the analyst writes.
But, according to him, the current situation differs from that of last year. “First, today’s situation is more dangerous than it was a year ago. If we accept, which most analysts do, that Azerbaijan was behind last April’s escalation, Baku now risks demonstrating that what it sees as its primary source of leverage over the peace process is ineffective,” Broers said.
In his words, strategies of conflict are clearly visible across the divide. The agreements reached in Vienna show that when international attention is focused and coordinated, the parties can cooperate. “But the rapid relapse in international attention, combined with domestic pressures of the national leaderships’ own making, has led to a familiar collective default by belligerents and mediators alike,” he added.
“Unless the OSCE is ready to see and manage a second major international conflict in its area, a significant international effort is urgently required to envision and articulate a peace strategy as an alternative. Significant momentum would be needed to focus the necessary international attention and resources on a conflict with which all have become comfortable. That momentum could come from a major new war. Or it could come from a major new multilateral initiative, preventing rather than rewarding violence,” the analyst concluded.