Conflict Trends Update

ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN

The deadliest fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia since the Autumn 2020 six-week war erupted in mountainous areas of their state border on Tuesday. The clashes lasted for over three hours and killed at least nine soldiers from both sides. Russia brokered a ceasefire and proposed to discuss preventive mechanisms. Crisis Group expert Olesya Vartanyan says that for the first time since the 2020 war, artillery and armoured vehicles were used in fighting. To forestall further deadly clashes, Baku and Yerevan should discuss and adopt preventive measures and agree to relaunch substantive talks on their decades-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

LIBYA

Tensions rose in Tripoli between the country’s main political factions over whether to accept the legal framework adopted unilaterally by the House of Representatives enabling presidential and parliamentary elections currently scheduled for 24 December. Crisis Group expert Claudia Gazzini says that a combination of followers of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, former regime sympathisers and a large majority of the population disaffected with the status quo is threatening to unleash a war if polls are delayed. On the other side, political and militia leaders in western Libya, who oppose Haftar and remnants of the former regime, reject both the legal framework and the presidential candidacies of Haftar and the son of Muammar Qadhafi, Saif al-Islam, which they both announced this week. They want to delay the polls and renew negotiations over the electoral law. There is a strong risk that forces loyal to either or both camps will mobilise in the run-up to the polls and resort to violence.

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