In an interview with BBC World News, Carnegie’s Thomas de Waal described the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as a “smoldering conflict which may one day re-erupt.” Although a ceasefire was declared in 1994, the latest clashes on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan add to the worry that “one day the fuses will blow” and war will once again break out in what is a “very sensitive region,” he noted.

While the three mediators in the peace process—Russia, the United States, and France—are certainly “heavyweight great powers,” they cannot facilitate a settlement as long as both sides are determined to emerge victorious. As a result, “Russia, the United States, and Europe are scratching their heads a bit at the moment as to how to stabilize the situation,” de Waal concluded.