Progress on a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan is likely, but the risk of flare-ups or the resumption of full-scale war will remain high as Azerbaijan seeks to maintain leverage over Armenia, according to 2024 forecast published by prestigious American analytical center Stratfor.
According to the center's analysts, Armenia will continue to strive for a peace agreement with Azerbaijan, but disagreements over the conditions of regional transit corridors will continue to hinder the respective negotiations.
As per Stratfor, Armenia will use its growing political ties with the West and the latter’s military support to counter Azerbaijan's stubborn ambitions. But considering that Armenia has little leverage in its hands, it is likely to accept Azerbaijan's demands in terms of transit through southern Armenia and border delimitation.
After Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s probable re-election on February 7, according to Stratfor's forecast, Azerbaijan will continue to increase its military capacity along the border with Armenia in order to prepare for a possible invasion and gain leverage in negotiations.
If significant progress is not made in the first half of the current year, the risk of Azerbaijan seizing considerable territory in southern of Armenia will increase in the summer, when conditions will be favorable for large-scale military operations.
Despite growing signals of Yerevan's desire to leave Moscow, Russia's influence in the South Caucasus will not diminish to the point where it is no longer significant, as Armenia will remain in the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the country's economy will be closely tied to the Russian economy.
At the same time, bilateral relations and trade ties between Azerbaijan and Russia will rise to a new level. The East-West transit in the South Caucasus will continue to be carried out mainly through the territory of Georgia, while Azerbaijan will contribute to the development of the North-South infrastructure connecting Russia to Iran.
If Azerbaijan invades Armenia to establish a land link with its exclave of Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan and Turkey will come under pressure from the West and threaten to change foreign policy away from the West and forge closer ties with Russia, China, and Iran, Stratfor concludes.