Dear readers, we welcome you to our first issue of 2014! This issue was produced in collaboration with Nina Selwan, a Ph.D. candidate at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University who serves both as a guest editor and an author who brings a gender lens to the conflicts in the region. This issue is mostly focused on gender and conflict dynamics in the region but also includes a set of proposals for confidence building in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Nina Selwan, discusses the importance of considering gender dynamics in conflict and critically examines current approaches to gender issues in the South Caucasus and their implications for conflict resolution. Sinead Walsh presents interesting analysis of the work done by women’s organizations in Azerbaijan and Armenia and achievements and challenges facing their work in peacebuilding. Building on his article from the previous issue, Laurence Broers presents us with concrete recommendations for confidence-building measures in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
We would also like to take this opportunity to announce a change on the Caucasus Edition editorial team. After four years of tireless work and commitment to Caucasus Edition’s mission and vision, Tamar Palandjian has left the editorial team to pursue other opportunities. Caucasus Edition thanks Tamar for her contributions to the journal since its inception both in her role as a writer/contributor and a Managing Editor. We are glad to announce that Margarita Tadevosyan has joined us as the new Managing Editor. Please click here to learn more about Margarita.
Analysis - Feb 18, 2014 0:03 - 0 Comments
by Sinead Walsh
I think that women should be aware of everything, they should be educated, well-educated, they should participate in every little thing that happens in their society, and of course if this society is in a conflict situation they one hundred, one million per cent - they should be in that negotiation process. (Interview, Baku, 2012)
In Armenia and Azerbaijan, momentum is growing around women’s participation in peacebuilding – part of a global trend in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. However, in spite of the developments taking place at the civil society level, there is a lack of public awareness relating to the women’s peace agenda. In addition, previous research on women’s activism in the two countries has tended to skirt the issue of peacebuilding, leaving us with little understanding of how this field has developed in the face of cultural and political differences, women’s war-time experiences and their search for post-conflict justice.
To help develop our understanding of how women’s organisations become involved in peacebuilding, I am conducting a four year doctoral study (2011 – 2015), sponsored by the Irish Research Council, on women’s peace activism in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Through correspondence, interviews, informal dialogue and participant observation, I am mapping the relationship between women’s activism and peacebuilding, and tracing the development of a women’s peace agenda based on Resolution 1325 and the international Women, Peace and Security framework. The first part of this article provides an overview of women’s peacebuilding, while in the second I raise some critical questions about th . . . Read More
Analysis - Feb 18, 2014 0:02 - 0 Comments
In an earlier article published in the Caucasus Edition in November 2013, I argued that the spectrum of initiatives in Karabakh peace process needs to be broadened. In this article I would like to flash this out by exploring a number of concrete areas about different kinds of peacebuilding initiatives that could be undertaken. I explore seven clusters of ideas in the realms of security, economic cooperation, cross-border visits, symbolic initiatives, learning initiatives, initiatives directed at ‘single’ and ‘external’ communities and pan-regional initiatives.
Discussion of peacebuilding initiatives, or confidence building measures, typically faces initial hurdles in terms of where to start, and who to include. Azerbaijan consistently advocates against initiatives that would solidify and entrench the occupation of Azerbaijani lands. Generally, it is only when such initiatives promote an irredentist reading of the conflict or position the Armenians and Azeris of Karabakh as equal communities that Azerbaijani officials encourage them.
Armenians are much more open to confidence building measures, especially in Karabakh, where they are seen as a way to legitimize and promote the de facto state in NK, and on security in the Line of Contact (LOC) area. Initiatives and formats suggesting parity between the Armenian and Azerbaijani populations of Karabakh are, however, rejected.
In thinking about the future, three recommendations may be considered. A transformation in Armenian and Azerbaijani understandings of what confidence building is and the purpose it serves would be a breakthrough in itself. The conflict parties’ attitude towards confidence building is more hostile, instrumental and zero sum than it has ever been. Determined and sustained lobbying at the diplomatic level on the meaning and benefit of confidence building is . . . Read More
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