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Armenia - Azerbaijan Conflict

In: Social Issues

Submitted By beyaamaro
Words 1725
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AMARO, Beya Marie F. Professor Ronald M. Castillo

THE TUG OF WAR: Armenia vs. Azerbaijan
The Relevance of Institutionalism and Functionalism to the Nogorno – Karabakh Conflict I. Introduction
War is one the many words that is being frequently use nowadays. People hear or see the word “war” anywhere and everywhere. There wouldn’t be a day that there is no news about the different conflict in the Middle East or a news paper headline that doesn’t have any updates about what is going on in the other side of the world. Thus, the impact and intensity of the word has been become lesser and lesser as the time past. Ironically, the word “war” has been as famous as the word “love” or “peace”.
The clash between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan is a territorial dispute about the region of Nogorno – Karabakh (BBC, 2012). It a long-ago issue that was set aside and forgotten through time. After all the years that it was buried in a pile of issues of much more prominent states, it seemed to be like a mummy that has risen from the dead. In the recent years, the conflict between the two states reopened and became more dangerous and violent. The conflict became more violent resulting to numbers of casualties (BBC, 2015).
This paper aims to provide a possible solution to the escalating conflict between the Republic of Armenia and the republic of Azerbaijan. The researcher will utilize two different theories of international relations. As for the mainstream International Relation Theory, the researcher will use the theory of Institutionalism. In addition, as for the supporting theory, the researcher will utilize the theory of Functionalism. The researcher believes that these two theories; Institutionalism and Functionalism, are the possible solution to the raging conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

II. Discussion
The Nogorno – Karabakh conflict is a territorial dispute between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The region is formerly under the rule of Soviet Union, which now an independent state and the cause of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The conflict between the states started in the year 1980s, towards the end of the Soviet Rule and still continues up to the present day (BBC, 2015). Also, it is considered that the root of the clash is the cultural difference between the Christian Armenian and the Muslim Turkic together with the Persians (Cornell, 1999 ). After the World War 1, the Soviet Union through its new leaders, declared the Nogorno – Karabakh as an Autonomous region of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan. In addition, the population in the region was mostly ethnic Armenian within the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan (Relations, 2014).
As years past, the Soviet Union control to other states weakens; therefore affecting its control to the region. Thus, mark the beginning of the clash between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The intensity of the conflict between the two states further increased due to the union of the region’s parliament to Armenia. Since then, the casualties of the conflict have risen because of the violence that is brought by the two conflicting states (Cornell, 1999 ).
In the year 1991, the dissolution of the Soviet Union happened, which also the announcement of Nogorno – Karabakh’s independence. Thus, the withdrawal of the Soviet Union forces further escalated the situation to a full – scale war (BBC, 2015). Moreover, in the year 1994, the two states: Armenia and Azerbaijan, agreed to sign a ceasefire. The agreement favoured the Armenians which allowed them to gain control in the region. On the other hand, the Azeri’s objected to this decision which resulted to a violent reaction to both partied and turning the misunderstanding in a war. Through time, peaceful agreements are initiated numbers of groups, one of which is the OSCE Minsk. The organization attempted to broker an end to the conflict between the two states but it didn’t succeed in making the peace agreement (Relations, 2014).
At the present time, the Nogorno – Karabakh conflict still continue to happen. The recent months were heavily stained by blood due to the attacks that both parties held. The mediators between the two groups have been asking both parties to settle down without using violence. Instead of settling down and making peace, the violence between the two states continues (BBC, 2015). The tensions between the forces are continuously rising as Armenia will commemorate it 100th year anniversary of the genocide against the Armenians in Turkey (Relations, 2014). Both states have raising their arms and firepower in the recent year (Nigmatulina, 2015). The conflict between the two states will not end until the Armenian’s believed that it is their land and that they have to protect it. On the other hand, the Azerbaijan’s believe that it is theirs and they have to retrieve it from the other party.
Armenia’s Claim
One the claim of Armenia in having the right to own Nogorno – Karabakh is that it is insisting that the region is part of their early Christian Kingdom. Thus, citing the different ancient churches that are evident in the region (Gonca). Furthermore, the Armenians claim that most of the population in the region are Armenian ethnic groups. The Armenians believe that tracing back in the history, the region is under their control and part of the Armenian kingdom (Cornell, 1999 ). Regarding the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR] issue, where they give the Nogorno – Karabakh region to Azerbaijan SSR. In the beginning of the dissolution of the USSR, the Armenians argue that the region is their territory because most of the inhabitants of the region are Armenians (Gonca).
Azerbaijan’s Claim
The Azerbaijan historians counter argues the claim of the Armenians. They claim that the region is supposed to be their land. For the reason, that these churches built by the Caucasian Albania which they recognize as their ancestors (Gonca). The Azerbaijan claims that the region was given to Azerbaijan SSR by the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR]. Also, the establishment of the Nogorno – Karabakh Autonomous Region is within the Azerbaijan SSR (Cornell, 1999 ).

Institutionalism perspective
The main idea of the Institutionalism theory is a set of rules, norms, practices and decision making procedures that shape expectations – can overcome the uncertainty that undermines cooperation. Moreover, Institutionalism theory believes that cooperation between states is possible as long as they both benefit the alliance or cooperation (Slaughter, 2011). Therefore, the researcher aims to utilize this theory as a main perspective in order to formulate solutions that will benefit both states.
The researcher suggests that, both states will create a legal committee that will be held responsible for the region. Thus, in relation to this, it can be the current government of the Nogorno – Karabakh Republic. Nogorno – Karabakh created its own government when it declared itself independent republic in 1991 though it is not recognized (BBC, 2012). The legal committee will be composing of representative from both Armenia and Azerbaijan and also representative from the region. This consolidation will primarily promote peace and prevent conflict between the two states. The legal committee will provide laws and agreements to maintain the stability between both states.
Functionalism perspective
As a second theory, the researcher will utilize the theory of functionalism. According to Mitrany, functional approach would “overlay political division with spreading web of international activities and agencies, in which and through which the interest and life of all the nations would be gradually integrated” (Mitrany, 1966). The theory of functionalism is about having a common ground between states, like the international organization, in which they will function as one and integrated (Deutsch, 1978).
With that being said, the researcher proposes that both states should find their common interest regarding the region, for example the economics sector. Through this common ground, they can make the region prosper which will benefit both the states. Furthermore, it will lessen or eradicate the allocated fund to arms race or military machinery of both states, because they have already figure a common ground.

III. Conclusion
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is traced back to their ancestors. It is already part of their history and present, but it is not part of their future. The problem between the two states can still be resolved, as long as they keep their minds open to peace agreement and solutions. The researcher believes that making peace with your enemy is harder that having an enemy, but it is also rewarding. – “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner” – Nelson Mandela

Armenia, M. O. (n.d.). Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Retrieved from Mnistry Of Foreign affairs of the Republic of Armenia:
BBC. (2012, January 10). Regions and territories: Nagorno-Karabakh. Retrieved from BBC:
BBC. (2015, March 15). Nagorno-Karabakh profile - Overview. Retrieved from BBC:
Cornell, S. E. (1999 ). The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict . Uupsala, Sweden.
Deutsch, K. W. (1978). The anaysis of International Relations. Prentice Hall INC. .
Herszenhorn, D. (2015, January 31). Clashes Intensify Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Over Disputed Land. Retrieved from The New York Times:
Hopmann, P. T., & Zartman, I. W. (2013). Nagorno Karabakh: Understanding Conflict 2013 . Washington, Washington, United States Of America .
Mitrany, D. (1966). A Working Peace System. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.
Nigmatulina, A. (2015, March 09). Tensions reignite in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Retrieved from Aljazeera:
Relations, C. o. (2014, January 2). Conflict Between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Retrieved from!/?marker=23
Schreck, C., & johnson, L. (2014, August 5). Explainer: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. Retrieved from Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty:
Slaughter, A.-M. (2011, September 26). International Relations, Principal Theories. Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America.…...

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