However, the meeting was attended mainly by Armenian lobbyists. This was not an official statement, but a report citing sources. Moreover, a clarification came later: Blinken was not warning about an “attack”, but sharing scenarios. And US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that the information in the article was “inaccurate” and “in no way reflects what Secretary Blinken said to lawmakers.”
But, first of all, there is no smoke without fire. The meeting with Blinken was attended by persons who could hardly make up such a story or act on the principle of “my brother runs a restaurant in Washington, where Blinken and important people from Congress often go, and he told me…” In recent weeks, the United States and its allies have been quite officially spreading bogeyman stories about Azerbaijan allegedly preparing an attack on long-suffering Armenia. Second, even sharing scenarios should be done properly. Thirdly, Mr. Miller forgets about the little thing called background. Blinken in general has a propensity for irresponsible statements. Suffice it to recall how the US Secretary of State, arriving in the Middle East in the midst of a new war, declared that he was approaching Israel not as a US Secretary of State, but as a Jew. There is a phrase popular on social media that Henry Kissinger allegedly said during his talks with Golda Meir: “I think it’s important that you remember that I am first an American, second, I am Secretary of State, and third, I am a Jew.” Blinken was reminded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that civil servants of such rank have no right to personal priorities: “What kind of politician is this, what kind of approach is this? And what would you say if someone told you they approached the region as Muslims?”
And we have to ask: how well does the US State Department know the subject? To begin with, Azerbaijan has repeatedly, openly, at all levels said that our country has no plans to attack Armenia and occupy Western Zangezur. Mr. Blinken may not know enough French to understand the Radio France interview with Elchin Amirbayov, the President’s Ambassador-at-Large, who said: “Armenia’s statements that Azerbaijan will wage war against its territory are completely unfounded. We respect the territorial integrity of Armenia as well as that of all other countries of the world”. But he must have listened to and understood the interview of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Euronews in English, including this part: “We don’t have territorial claims to Armenia though hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis lived in Armenia before the war were totally ethnically cleansed, and their cultural and religious heritage was totally destroyed. Nevertheless, we don’t have any territorial claims.”
The US has been informed through various channels that official Baku has no plans to “attack” Armenia and force its way through the Zangezur corridor. Finally, even Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview that he saw no particular danger of destabilization on the conditional border. Is the US capital unaware of this? Or has Washington decided to go for an aggravation and stir up a new conflict in the region?
More seriously, in recent weeks and months, Azerbaijan has too often faced clear evidence of the “game” being played against our country by the US-France tandem and the European Union. These are the forces behind the deliberately anti-Azerbaijani statements adopted in the European Parliament, PACE and some UN agencies.
Moreover, the same forces are working to aggravate the situation in many other regions of the world. It is not customary to ask to what extent the United States and its allies are responsible for the war in Ukraine, for the fact that the population of this country has shrunk to 20 million, and if things do not change, the fate of the Ukrainian people will be uncertain. But the fact remains that in 2014, the United States and its allies read the text of the Budapest Memorandum very “selectively”. Then they conducted negotiations within the Normandy format for several years. As a result, they did not use the tools that could have prevented the first war in Donbas and prevented the beginning of the second. And even today, the provision of military aid to Ukraine is going too slowly. The United States was the main moderator in the Middle East, and war broke out there as well.
Today, Washington is sending troops and aircraft carrier groups to the region. But is this a solution that can bring peace, both in the short and long term?
But let us leave aside other regions of the world and return to the South Caucasus. Back in 1992, Western countries, including the United States, did not deem it necessary to respond properly to Armenia’s territorial grabs, even though there were four UN Security Council resolutions. There were no sanctions against Yerevan and no pressure measures. Washington was in no hurry to recognize Azerbaijan’s right to self-defense throughout the 30 years of conflict and Armenian occupation. And now it is making very dangerous political maneuvers in a situation when a “window of opportunity” for achieving a truly lasting peace has actually opened in the South Caucasus. In the last two weeks, for the first time in the recent history of our region, there has been a real “military-political quiet”. The main trigger of tension, the puppet junta in Khankendi, has been removed from the foreground. But it is precisely in this situation that the United States and France are not leaving the region alone, pursuing a policy of militarization, trying to re-arm Armenia: in short, they intend to turn the South Caucasus into a military training ground once again.
Of course, we could advise Mr. Blinken and his team to brush up on their geography as well as study the news. And to ask at least themselves through whose territory, if things get “hot”, they are going to transfer military aid to Armenia, if, of course, they are going to do it at all. Türkiye? Azerbaijan’s main military-political ally? Unrealistic. Georgia? With the current relations and level of cooperation between Tbilisi and Baku and Ankara? Through the territory of Iran? Are Washington’s relations with Tehran good enough to do that?
But there is no doubt that the current provocative hints of Paris and Washington may well push Yerevan to attempt a forceful revision of the conventional border. And in this case the responsibility will lie not only with Yerevan, but also with those who are pulling the strings of Armenian politicians.