The Fighting in the Caucasus

Fighting has broken out again over Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave inside Azerbaijan nominally controlled by Azerbaijan but governed by ethnic Armenians. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has been beset by low-level, intermittent skirmishes, but this round seems to be more serious, with reports from either side suggesting more than 500 Armenian servicemembers and 200 Azerbaijani troops are dead, not to mention that vehicles and other equipment have been destroyed. (click to enlarge) The unusually high body count makes this episode of fighting important, but Nagorno-Karabakh’s geographic location in the Caucasus makes it geopolitically relevant. Empires have fought over this territory for millennia – the most frequent belligerents were Russian, Turkish and Iranian – but now that the states within the Caucasus are independent, it is more of a proxy battleground over precious global real estate. This year, Turkey expressed its support for Azerbaijan, a country with which Turkey has linguistic and cultural affinities. Russia tends to play both sides but has troops based only in Armenia. Iran has a very large ethnic Azeri population, some of whom, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hold high positions of power. Azerbaijan’s government is basically secular and mistrusts Iranian intentions. Iran […]

Subscribe to Geopolitical Futures today and get:

  • Unbiased analysis of global events
  • Daily geopolitical briefing
  • Annual and long-term forecasts to help you prepare for your future
Subscription Options
George Friedman

George Friedman is an internationally recognized geopolitical forecaster and strategist on international affairs and the founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures.

Dr. Friedman is also a New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book, THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM: America’s Discord, the Coming Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph Beyond, published February 25, 2020 describes how “the United States periodically reaches a point of crisis in which it appears to be at war with itself, yet after an extended period it reinvents itself, in a form both faithful to its founding and radically different from what it had been.” The decade 2020-2030 is such a period which will bring dramatic upheaval and reshaping of American government, foreign policy, economics, and culture.

His most popular book, The Next 100 Years, is kept alive by the prescience of its predictions. Other best-selling books include Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe, The Next Decade, America’s Secret War, The Future of War and The Intelligence Edge. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Dr. Friedman has briefed numerous military and government organizations in the United States and overseas and appears regularly as an expert on international affairs, foreign policy and intelligence in major media. For almost 20 years before resigning in May 2015, Dr. Friedman was CEO and then chairman of Stratfor, a company he founded in 1996. Friedman received his bachelor’s degree from the City College of the City University of New York and holds a doctorate in government from Cornell University.