US criticises Russian peacekeepers' withdrawal from Karabakh
    Revealing double standards in South Caucasus policy

    ANALYTICS  19 April 2024 - 17:05

    Matanat Nasibova

    The withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping contingent from the Karabakh region, which started this week, has caused mixed reactions in Washington. Thus, US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel, commenting on the early withdrawal of the peacekeepers from Azerbaijan, allowed himself a lunge against Russia, as well as disrespect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.

    "As you know, we were not part of the trilateral negotiations that ended hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020 and stationed Russian troops in the region. We have seen nothing to indicate that the Russian military was contributing to a more peaceful and stable region of the South Caucasus, and the events in Nagorno-Karabakh over the course of this past fall are indicative of that. This is yet another example of Russia not being a reliable ally or partner," Patel said, hypocritically adding that the US strongly supports the efforts of Armenia and Azerbaijan to achieve a lasting and dignified peace and stands ready to continue to support this process.

    To begin with, there is nothing new in Patel's statements regarding the peacekeepers; the US has expressed dissatisfaction with the presence of Russian servicemen in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan before. By the way, Patel spoke about it in a negative way at a briefing last October. "The US believes that Nagorno-Karabakh needs an independent international mission, but the presence of Russian peacekeepers in the region is a cause for concern," he said when asked whether, from the US perspective, there are grounds for the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh after the full restoration of Azerbaijan's sovereignty.

    It is clear that the Americans do not like that Baku and Moscow resolved the issue regarding the early quiet and peaceful withdrawal of the peacekeepers from the territory of Azerbaijan. The US, of course, wanted Azerbaijan-Russia relations to deteriorate on this ground. This, to the great displeasure of Washington, did not happen.

    On the other hand, it is obvious that the US accusations against Russia for not intervening in the anti-terrorist measures in September 2023 show the duplicity of US policy. The paradox is that the US - as the main guardian of "world democracy" - reproaches Azerbaijan for the fact that it was able to restore its sovereignty by returning its ancestral territories under its legitimate control. All attempts by Armenia and its patrons to preserve the remnants of the fake entity in Karabakh and to move the negotiation process into the context of discussing some kind of status have finally failed. Baku's decisive actions in Karabakh dissatisfied Washington, and it was then that the Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed US’ deep concern over the military actions and called on Baku to immediately stop them.

    “The United States is deeply concerned by Azerbaijan’s military actions in Nagorno-Karabakh and calls on Azerbaijan to cease these actions immediately.  These actions are worsening an already dire humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and undermine prospects for peace.  As we have previously made clear to Azerbaijan, the use of force to resolve disputes is unacceptable and runs counter to efforts to create conditions for a just and dignified peace in the region.  We call for an immediate end to hostilities and for respectful dialogue between Baku and representatives of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh," the US Secretary of State said in his statement.

    This is a policy of double standards. A number of other facts can be cited to confirm this. Here is one of them.

    Last September, the hypocritical US policy towards Azerbaijan was demonstrated by Washington's belated reaction to the so-called "presidential elections" of the now defunct separatist regime in Karabakh. While most countries and organizations across the world promptly declared non-recognition of the illegal regime and "elections" in Karabakh, the US took a pause and only later State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told a briefing that the US would not recognize the results of the "elections", but immediately reminded of the need to immediately open the Lachin and Aghdam routes to provide humanitarian supplies to the Armenian population of Karabakh.

    The double standards of the United States and the collective West as a whole can also be seen in the fact that they have never once condemned the atrocities committed by Armenians in Karabakh, the policy of ethnic cleansing on the territory of modern Armenia, much less called for sanctions against the aggressor state.

    Washington's silence regarding the US ambassador has not yet visited Shusha and Khankandi raises questions about the US stance on Karabakh's belonging to Azerbaijan. Criticizing Russia for not intervening in anti-terrorist operations by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, the Americans, in essence, cast doubt on the outcomes of the 44-day war and counter-terrorist operations in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, thereby challenging the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It seems favorable for Washington to leave remnants of a separatist entity within Azerbaijan. Moreover, America has initiated the intensive provision of weapons and military technologies to Armenia, thus backing Yerevan's revanchist and aggressive policies. Hypocrisy? Double standards? Undoubtedly.


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