A lot of people have been asking me about the latest flare-up between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Here is what happened and why:
Let me start with a little background. Throughout the history, Armenians were scattered around the region in the Middle East and South Caucasus, including eastern Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and some lands in South Caucasus.
Ironically, today's Armenia, including its current capital Yerevan were predominantly populated by Muslim Turks, or Azerbaijanis. After twin Iran-Russia wars in the early 1800s, the demographic landscape in the South Caucasus had been changed significantly.
Azerbaijani population in Armenia had slowly started dwindling. The latest round of mass deportation of Azerbaijanis were in the late 1980s, when nearly 300k Azerbaijani Turks were forced to relocate (And over 150k Armenians had to leave Azerbaijan.)
In Karabakh, an island-like enclave within Azerbaijan, Armenians and Azerbaijanis had been living together for centuries. In the latest census during the Soviet Union, just before the war in the early 1990s, Armenians made up 78% of 145k people living in the Karabakh region.
During the chaotic collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenian forces staged a multi-pronged offensive against Azerbaijani territories, including Karabakh. Over 30,000 people were killed, including civilians.
In one of the darkest chapters of the war, Armenian troops ransacked a town called Khojaly in 1992, massacring civilian population, including children, in a Srebrenica-style pogroms that illustrated the barbaric nature of the conflict.
Not only did Armenian forces occupy Karabakh region, they also occupied 7 provinces around Karabakh where Azerbaijanis lived, calling them "buffer zones" and drove out nearly 1 million Azerbaijani civilians out of their homes.
OSCE Fact-Finding Mission concluded recently that Armenians started settling down in those 7 occupied provinces that are not even disputed. 30 years of diplomacy yielded no results to resolve the not-so-frozen conflict.
Azerbaijan promised to grant the "highest autonomy possible" to Karabakh and let Armenians self-rule in the region if they agree to leave 7 provinces what Armenians claimed constitute a buffer zone. Armenian refused.
UN Security Council, with the blessing of Russia, chief patron of Armenia, adopted four resolutions, calling on Armenia to withdraw from occupied Azerbaijani territories. Armenia refused.
All countries in the world recognize Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, including Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. Even Armenia has not recognized Karabakh as an independent state.
Armenians try to portray this conflict as a self-determination fight of Armenians in Karabakh, unrelated to the Republic of Armenia. This is ludicrous. Everyone knows that it is Armenia who occupied those territories and help -- financially and militarily -- Karabakh Armenians.
Sandwiched between Russia and Iran, and sitting on top of one of the world's largest oil and gas reserves, Azerbaijan is in a tough spot. How can you drive out a country out of your territory that is supported by Russia?
Every nation has a right to live in a prosperous, free country ruled by their own people. Armenians aren't an exception, of course. But when you drive out 1 million Azerbaijanis out of their homes to build "a buffer zone" in a neighboring country, it complicates the situation.
Hoping that this war will end quickly and wishing that justice will be served for everyone.

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