"Azerbaijan is arming to the teeth. Armenia is growing increasingly disillusioned with Russia, its main protector. And the potential for armed conflict in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region appears higher than it has been in years."
The increased tensions surrounding the Armenian-controlled separatist enclave inside Azerbaijan -- where there have been a series of incidents near the cease-fire line in recent months -- is indicative of how the volatile South Caucasus region has remained dangerously tense even five years after Russia's brief war with Georgia in August 2008.
The five-day war, which was fought over Georgia's pro-Moscow separatist region of South Ossetia, was won decisively by Russia. But it also undermined Moscow's role as a powerbroker in a region fraught with ethnic tension.