Is Team Biden Seeking To Use the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict as Pretext To Intervene in CSTO Countries?
Sept. 26, 2023, (EIRNS)—From the Sept. 25 press conference given in Armenia, by notorious regime-change specialist, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, with acting Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Yuri Kim in tow, the answer to that question is “yes.”
Power arrived in Yerevan in the midst of an escalating humanitarian crisis between Armenia and its neighbor Azerbaijan over the long-disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict has much history which we will not review here, other than to say that Russian President Putin had personally helped mediate peace and an understanding between the two sides, which is now disintegrating. Otherwise, two points of background are relevant to potential U.S. or NATO intervention in the region.
First: “Exploiting Armenian and Azeri tensions” was identified in the Rand Corporation’s 2019 report, “Extending Russia: Competing from Advantageous Ground,” as one of six areas ripe for United States intervention to gain geopolitical advantage against Russia. Other areas identified included “providing lethal arms to Ukraine” and “resuming support to the Syrian rebels”—both of which are now underway.
Second: Armenia had long been an ally of Russia, and has been, up until now, a member of the six-nation post-Soviet group, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), created in 2002 by Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. The current government of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has been heavily courted in recent years by the United States and European Union, and held joint military maneuvers with NATO forces earlier this September. On Sept. 24, Pashinyan gave a national television address implying that Armenia could withdraw from CSTO, leading to triumphalist headlines in U.S. media that “Russia’s security alliance is now falling apart.”
Meantime, Samantha Power told reporters in Yerevan that she had met with Prime Minister Pashinyan, and that they “discussed how the United States can support the Armenian people, both in the immediate term in Nagorno-Karabakh, and going forward as Armenia safeguards its sovereignty and territorial integrity, strengthens its democracy, and builds prosperity towards people.” She bragged that USAID had “nearly tripled” its assistance to Armenia over the last years for “democratic reform and institutional reforms.”
Her trip had not been preplanned, she emphasized. President Biden had sent her to personally “deliver a message on his behalf, to the Prime Minister, ... that the United States supports Armenia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and democracy.” How would the U.S. do so? “We have a vast array of tools at our disposal, and there are very high-level in Washington discussions underway about what the appropriate actions are,” was her arrogant answer. New York Times reporter Andrew Higgens got her to say how the U.S. would back up its threats that Azeri use of force is “not acceptable.” Power demurred, “I’m not going to preview anything here ... as these deliberations are underway quite literally as we speak.”
Other nations are going to be pressured to join in, she made clear, calling it “absolutely imperative that the world stand together now and stress the inviolability of those principles”—of “sovereignty, territorial integrity and democracy.”
An unnamed reporter, likely Armenian, raised a question which, despite the poor translation, queried if Armenia would be turned into another Ukraine: “There are some expert assessments, that in order to push Russia out of the region, Washington is ready to give up with the last Armenians —tragedy of Armenians can be the price for forcing Russia out of the region?”