November 28
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America's Armenian diaspora applauded when President Joe Biden made good on his campaign promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Two days later, without alerting the senators and congressmen most involved in the issue, Secretary of State Antony Blinken repealed Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act, writes Michael Rubirn in his article on

This law effectively prohibited military aid to Azerbaijan unless it demonstrated a commitment to resolve the current disagreement with Armenia through diplomatic means. While successive administrations have long rejected Section 907 to cultivate Azerbaijan as an ally against Iran, the April 2021 rejection - and subsequent rejection last June - surprised observers because these actions blatantly violated the law.

Blinken probably admits this, but correctly believes that Congress will not hold him accountable. He may also believe that repealing Amendment 907 will blunt the anger that Baku and Ankara may feel toward Washington for admitting history.

Blinken's problem is that he encourages extremes. After the rejection, Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev built a memorial commemorating Saddam Hussein's war propaganda. Aliyev has also repeatedly denied the legitimacy of Armenia's right to exist and has laid claims to Armenian cities. The United States has remained largely silent, while Azerbaijan has systematically erased Armenian cultural heritage. Today's Azerbaijani rhetoric and its dehumanization of Armenians is reminiscent of Rwanda just before the genocide against the Tutsis.

While the State Department views the Nagorno-Karabakh and Caucasus conflicts as a diplomatic problem whose solution would lie in creative diplomacy and compromise, it ignores the role of ideology. He ignores, for example, the fact that the invasion of Azerbaijan and Turkey into Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh in September 2020 took place on the 100th anniversary of the Ottoman invasion of Armenia against a background of genocide. It is not easy for dictators to abandon ideology if it serves as a means to divert attention from the internal divisions, economic failures, and corruption of the ruling family.

Today, the price of Blinken's penchant for both sides and his deliberate decision to ignore Aliyev's incitement has become clear. While Azerbaijanis claim that Azerbaijani forces have the right to end Armenian self-rule in Nagorno-Karbakh, Azerbaijani forces tonight attacked not that region, but Armenian towns and villages on the other side of Armenia's international border.

There are no winners in this situation. Armenians are facing ethnic cleansing and atrocities similar to what they experienced 107 years ago. Azerbaijanis suffer from further prostitution of their independence in favor of Turkey and the fact that Aliyev is using military crises to delay much-needed reforms. Russia benefits as a mediator in the absence of any serious U.S. effort. Frankly, the Azerbaijani lobby in the U.S. also helps Russia's position, given that Russia's economic partnership with Azerbaijan now trumps Armenia's.

Genocide can be quick, or it can last for years. Today, Aliyev believes that the lack of seriousness in Washington plays into his hands. He believes he can outplay and outsmart Blinken. What Azerbaijan may not accomplish in a blitzkrieg, it can accomplish in slow motion. Regardless of the speed, both rhetoric and actions show his true objective".

This text available in   Հայերեն and Русский
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