BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
Azerbaijan’s aggressive attacks on Artsakh are in their third week, and a shaky humanitarian ceasefire agreement is being ignored by Baku, which backed by Ankara, continues to shell civilian targets and launch attacks aimed at invading Artsakh.
The United States, as co-chairing country of the OSCE Minsk Group, has been tacit in its response to Baku’s and Ankara’s efforts to exterminate the Armenian population of Artsakh and to resolve the Karabakh conflict militarily—an approach opposed by the U.S. on paper, at least.
So it took Secretary of State Mike Pompeo four days to urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to observe the ceasefire in the area, which he referred to as a “piece of real estate” earlier this month when asked about the surge in fighting.
In a Twitter post on Tuesday, Pompeo offered the same false-parity that has been emanating from the State Department for 30 years now in reference to the Karabakh conflict.
“The United States calls on Azerbaijan and Armenia to implement their commitments to a ceasefire as agreed and cease targeting civilian areas, such as Ganja and Stepanakert. We deplore the loss of human life and remain committed to a peaceful settlement,” said Pompeo on Twitter, referring first to Azerbaijan’s second largest city, which was hit by one bomb last week and then Stepanakert, Artsakh’s capital, which has been under continuous shelling by Azerbaijan for more than week.
Azerbaijani forces are using cluster bombs to shell Stepanakert and other civilian areas, but for Pompeo one bomb that fell on Ganja last week, is equivalent to the hundreds raining down on the civilians of Artsakh. Not to mention that de-mining experts clearing Stepanakert of dangerous explosives discovered hundreds of undetonated Turkish- and Israeli-made bombs strewn all over Stepanakert.
Armenian-Americans have been calling the U.S. administration to take action to mitigate and stop the fighting in Artsakh. At the same time, our bi-partisan allies in the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have also called on Pompeo and the White House to impose sanctions on Turkey and Azerbaijan for their gruesome efforts to invade Artsakh.
The carnage unleashed by Baku and Ankara, which has been supplying loyal mercenaries to fight against Armenians at a reported $1,000 to $2,000 a person, has not affected Washington enough to take decisive action.
How else can one explain Pompeo’s labeling of the conflict zone as a “piece of real estate” only when asked and not as a co-chairing country of the OSCE Minsk Group.
“Our view is that this has been a longstanding conflict between these two countries in this particular piece of real estate,” Pompeo told Fox News earlier this month soon after the onset of attacks. “We’re discouraging internationalization of this. We think outsiders ought to stay out. We’re urging a ceasefire. We want them both to back up. We’ve spoken to the leadership in each of the two countries, asking them to do just that.”
We are seeing how his efforts are “discouraging” Turkey to stay out of the conflict. We are also seeing how the “leadership” in Azerbaijan is heeding his calls.
The loud protests of hundreds of thousands of American citizens of Armenian descent, as well as lawmakers from around the country, go unheard, or are flat out ignored, as Ankara continues to tighten its hold on Washington.
On September 27, the day Azerbaijan began attacking Artsakh, when asked by reporters about the U.S. response to the the escalation President Trump said: “We’re looking at it very strongly. It just happened. And I know about it. I learned about it today and yesterday. And we’re looking at it very strongly. We have a lot of good relationships in that area. We’ll see if we can stop it.”
A “piece of real estate” suggests that the lot in question can be sold or bartered. Is this how the Administration is going to “stop it”?