In a world plagued by conflicts and crises, the story of Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave nestled in the South Caucasus, stands out as an ongoing tragedy. This article delves into the unfortunate events that have unfolded in the region and questions the global response, particularly from the United States, as tensions continue to escalate.
Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed democratic region, has been the epicenter of conflict between Azerbaijan and the indigenous Armenian population for years. The region's rich oil resources have been a source of envy, leading Azerbaijan to conduct a foreseeable and preventable operation that has resulted in atrocities, particularly against women and children, forcing the entire population to flee their ancestral homeland.
The Biden administration's response to these harrowing events has left many observers questioning its commitment to human rights and global peace. Despite calls from various quarters, the aggressor, Azerbaijan, has yet to be held accountable for the onslaught and ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh, which unfolded over the past year.
Over 100,000 indigenous Armenians endured Azerbaijan's medieval-style starvation siege for more than nine months, with the international community largely turning a blind eye. On September 19, Azerbaijan escalated the conflict by shelling Nagorno-Karabakh for a full 24 hours, utilizing weaponry supplied by Israel and Turkey. The result was an exodus of every surviving family, leaving behind an ancestral culture that had thrived for over two and a half millennia.
The crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh is not an isolated event but part of a broader regional power struggle. Experts believe that sovereign Armenia, a democratic nation, is the next target for Turkish and Azerbaijani aggression. Disturbing signs of an impending invasion include joint military exercises between Turkey and Azerbaijan and the presence of Turkish F-16 fighter jets in Azerbaijan.
The United States, a country that prides itself on championing democracy and human rights, has been surprisingly cautious in reprimanding Azerbaijan for its actions. The response so far has been the extension of non-renewal of a statutory sanction rather than imposing targeted financial sanctions. This approach, or lack thereof, raises questions about the commitment of the U.S. to uphold international norms and protect the vulnerable.
Armenia, an independent nation and a democracy, has emerged as a prime target for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who appears eager to assert his country's power in the region. The Armenian people now live under the ominous shadow of an impending invasion.
The United States, with its vast resources and diplomatic influence, had the tools to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh and can play a pivotal role in preventing an invasion of democratic and sovereign Armenia. President Joe Biden, who criticized his opponent in the 2020 election for not getting personally involved in stopping the conflict, now faces a situation that has worsened under his leadership.
As the crisis continues to escalate in the South Caucasus, the world watches, and the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia anxiously await an effective international response that can bring an end to the suffering they endure. Whether the Biden administration and the global community can muster the will to intervene remains a pressing and vital question.