Foreign Policy

Will a deal brokered by Russia finish the Nagorno-Karabakh battle?

Here is today's foreign policy mandate: Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to a deal brokered by Russia to end that Nagorno-Karabakh The NLD claims a great victory in conflict Myanmar Choice and PeruPresident is charged.

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Under pressure, Armenia gives up the fight in Nagorno-Karabakh

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced early Tuesday morning that he had signed a treaty with Azerbaijan and Russia to end the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In a social media post, Pashinyan said he made the decision based on an "in-depth analysis of the military situation" and that it was "indescribably painful for me personally and for our people." Pashinyan's incomplete surrender was insufficient to appease the thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets of the Armenian capital, Yerevan, in shock at his surrender. Disgruntled citizens stormed government buildings, some looking for Pashinyan themselves, when his nameplate was torn from his office door.

The move comes after Azerbaijani troops captured the strategic city of Shusha, also known as Shushi, over the weekend, making the de facto capital, Nagorno-Karabka, Stepanakert, extremely vulnerable. Nagorno Karabka region leader Arayik Harutyunyan said he accepted Pashinyan's decision to "end the war as soon as possible".

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev confirmed the news while meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Aliyev, who has scaled back peace efforts in recent weeks, said the deal was due to Baku's "iron fist".

What's happening? As part of the trilateral agreement, both sides agree to halt their progress, which, given Azerbaijan's gains in recent weeks, gives back much of the land that was lost in the conflict with Armenia over two decades ago. The Armenian military has been ordered to withdraw from the region, with Russian peacekeepers taking their place for a period of five years. The United Nations will monitor the return of Azerbaijanis displaced in the 1990s to the region, and Armenia must open a route within the country to allow Azerbaijan access to its enclave in Nakhchivan.

Although Turkey – a firm supporter of Azerbaijan – is not a party to the deal, it is due today to agree to run a joint surveillance center alongside Russia to monitor the ceasefire, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

Open wounds. While this round of conflict lasted only six weeks, the wounds are permanent. On November 2, the United States Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet voiced concerns about war crimes and other crimes against humanity. She cited videos and reports of military attacks on civilians posted on social media. With neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan being parties to the International Criminal Court, crimes committed in this short war are unlikely to be punished. In the FP, Joshua Kucera from Yerevan reports on renewed fears of ethnic cleansing in the region.

What we are following today

Esper out. The US Department of Defense has a new leader today after US President Donald Trump tweeted Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Monday. There were rumors of Esper's sacking last week when news broke that he had been preparing a resignation letter before the presidential election. Esper's successor is Christopher Miller, who is the sixth man to lead the Pentagon under Trump and the fourth to do so as an actor. FP's Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer report that Esper may not be the last high profile name on the chopping block. CIA director Gina Haspel could be next.

NLD takes great victory in Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has announced a resounding victory in the parliamentary elections in Myanmar. The party is well on its way to surpass the 390 upper and lower house seats it won in 2015. The NLD's claims come from internal party figures as the country's electoral commission has not yet released official results. The European Union has congratulated Myanmar on its election, while also criticizing the disenfranchisement of up to a million voters, including the Rohingya and Rakhine minorities.

Vizcarra indicted in Peru. Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra will resign after the country's Congress successfully indicts him of corruption. Vizcarra has been accused of taking bribes on public works contracts while serving as governor. Although he denies the allegations, he said on Monday that he would "leave the presidential palace today". Manuel Merino, the leader of the People's Party of the Minority Party, will take over the presidency until a new one is elected in April 2021.

No to Joe. Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election is already being felt in Eastern Europe, where Estonian Home Secretary Mart Helme was forced to resign after criticizing Biden and his son Hunter. In a radio interview on Sunday, Helme said that Biden and his son were corrupt. Helmes son Martin is a member of parliament and has also come under fire for criticizing Biden and claiming that last Tuesday's elections were rigged. The younger Helmets survived a vote of no confidence in parliament on Monday. Amy Mackinnon and Augusta Saraiva write in FP and top the list of world leaders who have not yet recognized a Biden victory.

Macron wants a tougher line for migrants. A draft declaration by the European Union would call on migrants to learn the national language and to support the "integration of their own children" in their home countries. The declaration was drawn up by France, Austria and Germany and is expected to be delivered at a meeting of EU interior ministers on Friday. The declaration also calls for EU funding to be made available for religious education in Muslim communities. Other EU governments have expressed concern about the proposed declaration.

Yutaka Umeda, the mayor of Yamato, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, rose to prominence in Japan overnight after it was suggested that the characters in his name can be pronounced to sound like “Jo Baiden”. Umeda's name contains the Chinese Kanji characters referring to "plum" and "rice field", which are usually pronounced as "ume" and "da", but can also be pronounced as "bai" and "den". The single character for Yutaka is commonly pronounced as "jo".

"It feels like I won the election too," Umeda said on Sunday. Umeda's newfound fame is similar to the notoriety of the city of Obama in Fukui Prefecture, which received a surge in interest following the election of its namesake in 2008.

That's it for today.

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Photo credit: Karen Minasyan / AFP

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