Karabakh Political Process: U.S. policy conflicted on Karabakh

Above, the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken from@SecBlinken Twitter account. 

State Department calls on Azerbaijan to withdraw its troops from its shared border with Armenia

Conflicted U.S. policy continues in Armenia-Azerbaijan political drama

Rachel Brooks

May 17, 2021 

The United States State Department demanded that Azerbaijan remove its forces from the shared border with Armenia, the U.S. media outlet The Hill stated over the weekend. In the post-war process, Azerbaijan and Armenia have struggled to reach agreements on post-conflict issues such as the opening of an economic corridor, and the transfer of landmine maps to the Azerbaijani state. A ceasefire was reached in November, yet political issues continue to be tense. 

On Monday, AzerNews reported that 21,000 Azerbaijanis were receiving post-war aid, as the Azerbaijani republic works to ease the needs of families directly impacted by the fighting. Azerbaijan also receives aid from the United States following the Biden administration’s relaxation of a lobby effort to stall financial aid to Azerbaijan on allegations from the Armenian National Committee of America that such aid would be financing “genocide.” Political tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been high as President Biden became the first U.S. president to regard the politically-driven ethnic cleansing pogroms of the World War One era as the “Armenian genocide.” This is a politically charged issue in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan for multiple reasons. 

First, it is politically charged due to the shared ethnic background that Azerbaijan has with Turkey. The ethnic cleansing of Armenians from Anatolia in the era the late 19th and early 20th century was a direct result of regional conflict escalations under the rule of the Ottoman Turks. This is a fact that Armenia’s political party Dashnaks has never forgotten, in its rhetoric against “the genocidal Turks” which lumps Azerbaijan in with the politics of the Ottoman era. Azerbaijanis, while of a Turkic ethnic background, also shared cultural influence from a variety of ethnicities, including the nearby Persian region, the South Caucasus, and a distinguished presence of Jews, called Mountain Jews, in Karabakh. 

Secondly, the politics of that specification are politically charged in Azerbaijan due to the fact of simultaneous ethnic cleansings of Azerbaijanis, Meskhetian Turks, and Mountain Jews during the conflict between the Ottomans and Tsarist Russia. 

These tensions were inflamed further with the Biden recognition of exclusively the Armenian component of that period of history, as Azerbaijani Americans are marginalized by their Armenian counterpart in the western public setting. Azerbaijanis called for equal recognition of events in their history that have been genocidal in nature, including the 1992 massacre of Azerbaijanis by ASALA forces in Khojaly, Azerbaijan. 

The lack of equal recognition has been followed by political criticism of the post-war process. On Monday, the Biden administration’s State Department reported that it was seeking a “permanent political solution” to the crisis of the Karabakh conflict. The Azerbaijani public sounded an outcry against the OSCE Minsk Group, of which the U.S. is a member, stating that the group no longer represented an equal mediation of both sides of the conflict. Likewise, Armenia was appalled by the Biden administration’s decision to waive the sanctions on Azerbaijan that the Armenian western lobby had petitioned for. 

As the Biden administration’s unclear policies on the Karabakh conflict, and the South Caucasus region along with it, continued to on the shaky ground, former U.S. vice president Mike Pence sounded an outcry against Biden’s “radical agendas.” He noted that Americans should return to more traditional values and opposed the Biden administration’s deviation from these principles. Pence stated that the agenda of the Biden administration was so “radical” as to be confusing and that the “right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.” 

With regards to former vice president Pence’s recent statements, human rights lawyer and geopolitical analyst Irina Tsukerman spoke to Eurasia Daily regarding the U.S. conflict politics. She reiterated the incoherence of the current administration, not only in foreign policy affairs, but also domestically.

Tsukerman also noted that the Marxist theories of goverment have become institutionalized in the United States influencing current policies negatively.

“The so-called “theory of immunity” is being pushed by the cultural society and now in schools and workplaces,” said Tsukerman.

“Nothing good can come of it,” she added, refering to the consequences of Marxist theory as they have been previously observed.