Tag Archives: Nagorno-Karabakh

Nagorno-Karabakh is Tragic but Not America’s Problem, by Doug Bandow

The search continues for the one square inch of real estate on the planet on which no Washington war monger cannot detect an American “interest.” Unfortunately, it’s not Nagorno-Karabakh. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

In Washington foreign conflicts are to policymakers what lights are to moths. The desire to take the U.S. into every political dispute, social collapse, civil war, foreign conflict, and full-scale war seems to only get stronger as America’s failures accumulate.

There may be no better example than the battle between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the latter’s claim to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, contained within Azerbaijan but largely populated by ethnic Armenians. Distant from the US and Europe, the struggle matters most to nearby Georgia, Turkey, Iran, and Russia.

The impact on Americans is minor and indirect at best. Yet there is wailing and gnashing of teeth in Washington that the US is “absent” from this fight. Send in the bombers! Or at least the diplomats! Candidate Joe Biden predictably insisted that America should be leading a peace effort “together with our European partners,” without indicating what that would mean in practice.

The roots of the conflict, like so many others, go back centuries. Control of largely Muslim Azerbaijan and Christian Armenia passed among Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and Russian Empire. After the Russian Revolution the two were independent and fought over N-K’s status, before both were absorbed by the Soviet Union. Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian population began pressing for transfer to Armenia during the U.S.S.R.’s waning days. After the latter collapsed in 1992 the two newly independent nations again fought, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees, and Armenia grabbed the disputed land as well as even larger adjacent territory filled with ethnic Azerbaijanis.

Continue reading→

Nagorno-Karabakh: The April Fool’s War, by Justin Raimondo

From Justin Raimondo at antwar.com:

Last Thursday US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Azerbaijan’s dictator Ilham Aliyev in Washington and called for “an ultimate resolution” of the decades-old conflict in the disputed province of Nagorno-Karabakh. On Friday, as the hereditary Azeri despot was on the plane back to Baku, Azeri troops were already launching an offensive against the breakaway Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. One of the first casualties was a 12-year-old Armenian boy.

Naturally, the Azeris claim they were attacked first, but this seems unlikely. The front lines in the simmering conflict have been pretty stable since the conclusion of the post-Soviet war between Armenia and Azerbbaijan, which ended in victory for the former and de facto independence for the primarily Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Already in possession of the disputed territory, the Nagorno-Karabakhians had nothing to gain by restarting the fighting — and it seems more than coincidental that fresh hostilities commenced immediately upon Kerry’s rather absurd pronouncement.

Absurd because the “crisis’ has already been resolved – today Nagorno-Karabakh is an independent state, in spite of the refusal of the United States to recognize it, and it has enjoyed this status since 1994, when the last Azeri troops were driven from the territory. That the Secretary of State would choose to intervene at this point seems, at best, highly suspicious. Did Kerry give the green light to the Azeris?

I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised. After all, the US has consistently stood with the Azeris no matter which party is in the Oval Office. Washington’s reasons are two-fold: geopolitics and money, not necessarily in that order.

The geopolitical factor involves the US policy of encircling Russia. Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, Washington has sought to extend its sphere of influence deep into the territory of the former USSR by courting the Oriential despots, like the Aliyev clan, who rule over these former communist “republics.” Which brings us to the second, albeit no less influential factor: money. The central Asian states like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, etc. are a rich source of Caspian Sea oil, where huge deposits have been discovered. The problem is how to transport the oil to European and US markets – without pumping it through Russian pipelines.

The solution: the BTC (Baku to Ceyhan, Turkey) pipeline. In 1994, Ilham Alivey’s father, Heydar, announced what he called “the Contract of the Century” in a speech to the Harriman Institute in New York City. His government had just signed an agreement with a consortium of oil companies and investment bankers, giving the biggest oil companies in the world – Amoco, Pennzoil, British Petroleum, Unocal, McDermott, Statoil, Lukoil, and the state-owned oil companies of Turkey and the Saudi Kingdom – exclusive rights to Azerbaijan’s oil and gas reserves. A few years later, Aliyev senior was at the White House with Vice President Al Gore presiding over a ceremony announcing a contract with Chevron, Exxon/Mobil and Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR).

To continue reading: Nagorno-Karabakh: The April Fool’s War