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The Dynamics of "Unfreezing" Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Exploring Escalation Patterns and their Policy Implications

Type: Text

Title: The Dynamics of "Unfreezing" Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Subtitle: Exploring Escalation Patterns and their Policy Implications

Creator: David Sarkisyan

DOI: 10.15457/cp_1_17-31

Date of Publication: 19.02.2018

License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Language: English

Availability: Download

Description: This article investigates the micro-dynamics of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by examining variation in the intensity of fighting on the line of contact in the period from 2010 to 2017. Cycles of escalation and de-escalation are presented along with the patterns identified by an approximation function. These patterns are interpreted regarding long-term trends and short-term spikes, each correlated with the intensity of the negotiation process. The discontinuous case of the April “4-day war”, which falls outside of the statistical pattern, was studied through the application of a game-theoretic lens. The payoff function for initiator was derived from diversionary war theory, as well as rational choice calculations based on the dynamics of the military balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The model was tested against the empirical evidence and was sustained. Based on the findings of this study, several recommendations were proposed to mitigate the risks of new escalation around Nagorno-Karabakh.

Geographical Area: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh

Keywords: Nagorno-Karabakh, conflict, micro-dynamics, line of contact, cycles of escalation

Structured recordings: Relitz, Sebastian (ed.): Obstacles and Opportunities for Dialogue and Cooperation in Protracted Conflicts. Regensburg: Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS), 2018. ISBN: 978-3-945232-01-9. http://doi.org/10.15457/cp_1.

Citation: Sarkisyan, David (2018): The Dynamics of "Unfreezing" Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Exploring Escalation Patterns and their Policy Implications. Version: 1. Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS). Text. http://doi.org/10.15457/cp_1_17-31.