(oDR) The village of Sadakhlo sits at the intersection of borders between Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Lauded in Soviet times as the “point of friendship”, this place now seems more like a latter-day Checkpoint Charlie. On one side stand olive-skinned locals in American-style uniforms with M-16 rifles. They are Georgians. On the other stand similarly olive-skinned men in Soviet-style uniforms with AK-47s. They are Armenians; Armenia houses Russian military bases. The reason is immediately to the east where one finds Azeri soldiers, trained and equipped by their Turkish friends.
Fire is periodically exchanged between the Armenians and Azeris. The war over the disputed territory of Nagorny-Karabakh has been going on and off since 1991 — with no end in sight. The Georgians, with little sympathy for either side, stay neutral in this conflict. They face their own separatist enclaves in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are protected by Russia. In the twisted geopolitics of the South Caucasus, the Georgian soldiers stood alongside US troops in Afghanistan and earlier in Iraq, where they once even made the second largest contingent — quite a feat for such a small country.
Here at Sadakhlo, the ironies of postmodernity are all around us. How did we get into this mess? […]
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