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Lawrence Sheets: Any further escalation in Karabakh conflict zone risks spillover to neighboring states

  • by Nana Martirosyan

  • Tuesday, August 12, 11:38

  "Any further escalation risks spillover to neighboring states such as Georgia and would threaten to drag in Russia, Turkey and possibly Iran," Bloomberg writes citing Lawrence Sheets, an analyst on the Caucasus region and the author of "8 Pieces of Empire," a memoir that deals with the post-Soviet wars in the region. 

"The nature of the clashes is totally unprecedented," said Lawrence Sheets. "What has changed is that over the past weeks, we have seen the first instances of the use of high-caliber weapons, not just small arms as had previously often been the case. The verbal threats have also hit an unprecedented peak."

"With all the current violent upheavals in the world, from Ukraine to Iraq and beyond, unfortunately some are not taking the current major escalation between Azerbaijan and Armenia seriously enough," Sheets said. "This is a war, and we are now only a step away from any of the sides deciding to resort to the use of highly destructive and sophisticated missile systems they have acquired, capable of causing massive casualties and destruction."

For his part, Thomas de Waal, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, said by e-mail yesterday: "No way do they need a war in Karabakh.  "Russia has a strong incentive in preventing a new conflict, as it would cause massive instability in its southern tier. It also has treaty obligations to defend Armenia militarily and would therefore also destroy its carefully developed relationship with Azerbaijan." 

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