As the global champion for human rights and peaceful conflict resolution, the United States has a direct stake in Artsakh’s security and survival.
All the more so because decades of weak and misguided U.S. policies – including endless attempts to appease Azerbaijan – contributed directly to the existential crisis currently facing Artsakh. While vast harm has been done, much of it irreparable, resolute and principled U.S. actions can still salvage this situation, avoiding worst-case scenarios for Artsakh.
In charting a sustainable path toward peace and security, U.S. leaders must reject the counsel of those – both foreign and domestic – who would have us abandon our commitments to international law and humanitarian values. We must act upon our principles not forsake them.
At this critical moment, failing to protect the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh from the hardships of blockade and imminent threat of ethnic cleansing can never be – must never be – a morally or legally acceptable option for the United States.
It is not too late for the Biden-Harris administration – utilizing the full measure of our nation’s leverage with both Azerbaijan and Turkey – to meet America’s obligations to prevent an Azerbaijani genocide against Artsakh:
1) The U.S. should set a hard deadline for Baku to lift its blockade and cease all acts of aggression against #Artsakh and #Armenia.
2) The U.S. should impose Global Magnitsky and other sanctions on senior Azerbaijani officials for failing to meet this deadline, fully enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, and block all direct and third-party sales or transfers of U.S. weapons or defense articles to Azerbaijan.
3) The U.S. should immediately undertake concrete actions to prevent genocide in Artsakh by leading international efforts for the recognition of Artsakh’s status as self-governing, requiring 1) United Nations security guarantees; 2) a sustained international peacekeeping presence; 3) robust U.S. and international humanitarian and developmental assistance, 4) secure transportation, commerce and energy links to Armenia, 5) a strategic buffer zone and 6) food, water and energy security.
The U.S. has recognized and applied the principle of self-determination based on remedial secession on numerous occasions, e.g., Kosovo, East Timor, South Sudan. There is no principled basis for denying the Armenians of Artsakh this same right, as they strive, against extreme violence and existential threats, to live in peace and dignity.