Baku, Azerbaijan, May 7
Politicians like the pro-Armenian senator Mark Kirk are responsible for fanning the flames of injustice and human suffering in regions such as the South Caucasus, Denis Jaffe, a US military analyst, wrote in his article posted on The Hill.
There, on one side of the geostrategic spectrum there is a pro-Western US ally Azerbaijan, which has its legally recognized territories occupied by neighboring Armenia, which is on the opposite side of the geostrategic and ideological spectrum, wrote Jaffe.
Despite similarities that these nations have due to centuries of friendship and living side by side, there are also key ideological and cultural differences, said the article.
Azerbaijanis made a philosophical choice of a strategy of peaceful development and modernization with no territorial ambitions based on selective historical claims, whilst Armenia chose the path of territorial aggrandizement and claims (against nearly all of its neighbors), ethnic cleansing (99 percent of the population is now Armenian) and embracing terrorism as a way of achieving their goals (members of such terrorist organizations as ASALA are celebrated as national heroes to this day), the author wrote.
Armenia is an extremely poor country from which Armenians are running away in droves, said the article.
Military occupation is expensive for the country in terms of both financial and human cost, according to the author.
According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Armenia is spending 4.2 percent of its GDP on military, said the article.
No wonder that in the opinion of the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Armenia's shift away from a war footing would also help Armenia's economic development and improved standards of living, said the author.
But Armenian government is not hearing this advice, in major part because of prominent politicians like Sen. Mark Kirk, who was the co-chairman of the Congressional Armenian Caucus and received the top score of A+ from an Armenian lobby's annual ranking of members of Congress, Jaffe wrote.
Instead of heeding the advice of so many independent and authoritative analysts and instead of at least refraining from rhetoric that is directed against a US and Israel ally nation of Azerbaijan, Sen. Kirk like the other members of Congress he cites support the illegal Armenian military occupation of Azerbaijan's territory and disregard Azerbaijan's right of self-defense, and blatantly ignore four UN Security Council resolutions - for which the US voted - that call for unconditional withdrawal of all occupying forces of Armenia from Azerbaijan, said the article.
"Perhaps he has forgotten that Azerbaijan was among the first to support the US and NATO mission to Kosovo, and sent its peacekeepers battalion to serve there (it did the same for Afghanistan and Iraq as well)," Jaffe wrote.
The author believes that Sen. Kirk is not the most credible person to dispense any advice or threaten "consequences" to US allies that pursue their inherent right to self-defense.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.