Azerbaijani Press: US Congress pushing Baku into Kremlin’s hands?

Trend, Azerbaijan
Sept 28 2017
13:06 (UTC+04:00)             
  • Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 28

    By Elmira Tariverdiyeva – Trend:

    The US experts are concerned about Washington’s lack of attention to the strategic region of South Caucasus, which can lead to undesirable consequences for the US, and urge the government of Donald Trump to pay attention to Azerbaijan.

    In its zeal to make foreign policy, a power entrusted by the Constitution to the executive branch, the Congress may be making a serious mistake regarding US interests in the Caucasus, say the experts.

    Recently, the Congress threatened to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan and authorized a small expenditure for demining in Nagorno-Karabakh, wrote Stephen Blank, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and a former MacArthur Fellow at the U.S. Army War College, in his article published by the Washington Times.

    These moves have, in turn, prompted several Azerbaijani officials to warn that they would then cut off ties to NATO if sanctions are imposed, says the article.

    According to the expert, while sanctions can serve useful purposes in US foreign policy, e.g., Iran and Russia, they are not necessarily the answer to Azerbaijan’s policies at home. And funding Armenia, even if rhetorically and with minimal amounts of money, only exacerbates the situation, said the author.

    Indeed, it is clear that the Congress has not thought through the nuances of the Caucasus in its haste to adopt this legislation, noted Blank.

    The authorization for demining in Nagorno-Karabakh calls the region Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, when it is in fact occupied by Armenia, and the decision in connection with the financing of demining is largely due to the domestic policy and the influence of the Armenian lobby, says the article.

    “This kind of heavy-handed policy making under conditions of insufficient or inadequate knowledge also does not advance U.S. interests either regarding human rights or in fostering peace in the Caucasus,” noted the author. “By essentially disregarding the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh remains an occupied territory, the Congress, perhaps unintentionally or unwittingly, sends Baku a message that the US is not interested in its agenda or problems.”

    Thus, these sanctions damage US interests, for it is clear that a pro-Russian Azerbaijan will be unresponsive to cooperation with the US and that peace in the Caucasus will be surrendered as an issue to Moscow’s discretion, said Blank.