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Ax murderer's pardon stirs fears of war

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posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:27 AM

I know a very similar thread was posted already (ATS:Armenia suspends relations and all official contacts with Hungary) but thought it warranted another thread about how this scandal could spark a regional (or possibly global) conflict.

For anyone who hasn't heard of this already - a quick intro.

The ax killing happened in 2004 at a NATO center in Hungary, where troops from Armenia and Azerbaijan were getting training. Ramil Safarov, a soldier from Azerbaijan, killed Armenian officer Gurgen Margarian. Both men were studying English.

Safarov was sentenced to life in prison in Hungary, but that country recently extradited him to Azerbaijan with the understanding that he would serve at least 25 years of the sentence.

When Hungary recently extradited him back to Azerbaijan, they were told he would continue to serve out his full sentence but instead he was fully pardoned and celebrated as a national hero. This situation understandably is causing much tension between the two countries which already have quite a violent history.

The tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh reflect strong cultural attachments for both peoples, what Sergey Markedonov, visiting fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, likens to a "Jerusalem for both societies."

Animosities over the disputed territory have simmered since the end of World War I. The Soviet Union's collapse in the 1990s triggered a war from 1992 to 1994 that killed 22,000 to 25,000 people and uprooted more than a million others.

The war ended "with a shaky truce," the International Crisis Group said.

This situation has elevated fears of more violence in the already disputed Caucasus region near Turkey, Russia and Iran. So why exactly should anyone outside the region care? I mean after all not much is done in parts of war torn Africa? The answer is kind of obvious.

A return to warfare could suck in world powers, analysts warned Wednesday. Thomas de Waal, an expert on the Caucasus with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told CNN world energy markets would be disrupted in a conflict since an oil and a gas pipeline carrying Caspian oil curves around the conflict zone in Azerbaijan.

We all know that energy demand is growing around the world and everyone is looking to secure reserves for as long as possible. One single pipeline explosion cutting off oil flow from the area would automatically cause a spike in oil prices around the world. Of course we will all just roll over once again and take the increased price at the pumps. That is probably the best case scenario, let's speculate on the worse case.

Sabine Freizer, director of the International Crisis Group's Europe program, said world powers have taken note.

"There is an awareness among government officials, both in the United States, Russia, and among European officials, that this conflict is getting worse. There should be something done to stop it," Freizer said.

Over the years, violence has flared. Both countries occasionally talk tough about each other. And Azerbaijan's oil and gas wealth is making its way into the budget for a military preparing for war, Freizer said.

Turkey has been mired down in fighting with Kurdish rebels. Russia fought a brief war with Georgia four years ago and has battled Islamic insurgents in its northern Caucasus region in recent years. Iran supports Syria's government in its civil war.

Nice how CNN just has to squeeze Iranian support for Syria even though it really doesn't have much to do about this particular situation.

"Russia is a military ally of Armenia. Azerbaijan has strong military links with Turkey and they (Armenia and Azerbaijan) are both on the border with Iran," de Waal said.

Also, he said, the Armenian-American community "will beat the drum" and push for U.S. action.

Markedonov said a deteriorating conflict could spawn an arms race.

This is a large mix of all sorts of issues including, racial/ethnic cleansing, disputed land, oil supplies all on the doorstep of Iran and Syria which I'm sure you already hear plenty about in the MSM. Could a serious regional conflict be a precursor (or excuse) for NATO/Western forces to be on the ground near the Syria and/or Iranian borders? Time will tell.

Admittedly I have only just become aware of the situation and do not know much about the history in the region. If any ATS'ers have more info that may help me better understand how things got to this point, I would love to learn more.

posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:41 AM
I remember reading a few months ago that Azerbaijan was considering cooperating with the NATO forces in a war with Iran in return for Iranian territory.

Lines are being drawn. Kind of reminds me of the prelude to WWI. All of those alliances didn't reduce the chance of war; they increased the likelihood of a smaller conflict igniting a world war.

posted on Sep, 6 2012 @ 09:50 AM
reply to post by Mkoll

I agree. I believe it is very possible that a smaller conflict will ignite any future world war, that is why I think this situation is one to keep an eye on. Everyone is preoccupied with Israel, Iran and Syria at the moment. I'll look for the story you mentioned about their possible cooperation with NATO but if you have a link please do post it.


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