The Armenian-Azerbaijani Conflict and European Security
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The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, often erroneously labeled frozen, has been on a path toward escalation for several years. This is by no means a parochial squabble: the South Caucasus has grown into a significant international hotspot. Far from existing in isolation, the conflict forms the cornerstone of the geopolitics of the broader region, featuring prominently in the policies of great powers surrounding the South Caucasus, while affecting their mutual relations. While this would suggest that Western policy-makers accord the conflict a considerable degree of attention, this is not the case. This chapter sketches the background and evolution of the conflict, explains its importance in forming the foreign relations of Armenia and Azerbaijan; it also discusses the role the conflict, and other unresolved conflicts, play in European security affairs. It argues that understanding the politics of the conflict is key to understanding the nature of security politics in Eastern Europe.