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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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.