Preventing the coming U.S. disaster in the Caucasus

January 10th, 2013

Published on Intrepid Report, by David Boyajian, January 7, 2013.

The United States is risking a disastrous renewal of war in the Caucasus between Armenians and Azeris over the breakaway Armenian-populated Republic of Mountainous Karabagh RMK (or Artsakh in ancient Armenian) … //

… Azeri violence:

The conflict in Mountainous Karabagh broke out in the late 1980s just after its Armenian majority, long abused by Azerbaijan, peacefully declared its desire for union with Armenia.

Azerbaijan replied with murderous attacks against Karabagh civilians. Mobs hunted down and killed Armenians in the Azeri cities of Sumgait and Ganja. After the USSR dissolved in 1991, RMK held a referendum boycotted by Azeris. It voted for independence. Azerbaijan’s response was full-scale war.

Even with help from Turkish military officers and paramilitaries, and Afghan Mujahedin, Azerbaijan lost the war. A ceasefire was declared in 1994. Yet almost daily Azerbaijan threatens a new war and snipes across the contact line.

Pumped up with billions in oil and gas revenue, Azerbaijan’s $3 billion military budget dwarfs Armenia’s entire national budget. But Armenian troops are universally acknowledged to be better trained and to possess much greater esprit de corps because they are defending their ancient lands.

But the U.S., Europe, and Russia might be coming to their senses. A few years ago, they proposed that RMK’s 100,000 mostly Armenian citizens decide its formal status in a referendum. In return, Armenians would hand over vast tracts of territory to Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan rejected this compromise. It insisted, unreasonably, that its entire population of nearly 10,000,000 must participate in such a referendum so as to outvote RMK’s 100,000 people.

How solid is RMK’s case for independence? Very.

RMK’s best case: … //

… Nakhichevan emptied:

Under Azeri rule over the past decades, Nakhichevan has been totally emptied of its Armenians.

One Azeri official has actually declared that “Armenians have never lived in Nakhichevan.” Since the existence of Armenian buildings, churches, and monuments disprove such absurd claims, Azeris have undertaken to deface or level them in Nakhichevan and elsewhere.

In 2005, for example, Azerbaijani servicemen used sledgehammers and machinery to completely destroy thousands of ancient Armenian Khachkars (intricately carved stone crosses) in a cemetery in the city of Julfa. The Azeris were caught in the act from across the border. The astonishing video is on the Web.

The destruction has been compared to the Taliban’s dynamiting of ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. Azerbaijan has banned foreign observers and ambassadors from the site.

Due to their falsifying others’ history and culture, we are compelled, sadly, to examine Azeris’ own roots.

The invention of Azerbaijan: … //

… The sordid U.S. State Department:

The U.S. State Department’s policies toward Azerbaijan have a particularly sordid aspect involving personal gain and undue influence.

In 2010, for example, President Obama appointed Matt Bryza as interim American ambassador to Azerbaijan, despite Bryza’s questionable ties to Azeri officials.

Not surprisingly, after a year in Baku, Bryza joined the Istanbul-based Turcas Petrol Corporation, a partner of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR).

The United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) has always been crammed with former U.S. officials such as Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretaries of State James A. Baker and Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Perle, and Brent Scowcroft. They rub elbows with USACC fat cats from corporations that invest in Azerbaijan’s energy industry.

Israel, known for its influence on U.S. policy, and some Jewish American organizations, have allied themselves with Azerbaijan. 30% of Israel’s oil imports come from Azerbaijan. Israel is selling $1.6 billion dollars’ worth of advanced weapons, including drones, to Azerbaijan, which is threatening to use them against RMK.

The RMK conflict is not unsolvable. The facts are clear. Azerbaijan has no valid claim to RMK. Yet U.S. support of Azerbaijan may drag it into war.

America must take the lead and formally recognize RMK’s independence. Europe and Russia will follow. The alternative may be another U.S. war whose cost in blood and money we Americans cannot afford.
(full text with many hyperlinks and a map).

(The author is a freelance journalist. Many of his articles are archived at armeniapedia.org).

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