Let us keep in mind that Armenia has been militarily occupying some 16 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region, since 1992, and ethnically cleansing the 75 percent Azerbaijani supermajority, some 600,000 people, from those lands, thus causing the interruption of trade, diplomatic and political relations with Azerbaijan.
The Armenian government knows the only way to peace, prosperity and development. The UN Security Council, of which U.S. is a permanent member, passed four resolutions in 1993: 822, 853, 874, and 884, calling on Armenian occupying forces to withdraw from occupied territories, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, and to allow the return of Azerbaijani displaced. On March 14, 2008, the UN General Assembly reiterated that position.
However, Armenia has been anything but a good neighbor, not just against Azerbaijan, but also against Turkey. The Armenian Declaration of Independence, adopted by the Supreme Council of Armenia, and signed by its president Levon Ter-Petrossian on August 23, 1990, states in its Article 11: “The Republic of Armenia stands in support of the task of achieving international recognition of the 1915 Genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia.”
Seemingly not satisfied with the territorial claims to Azerbaijan, the Armenian government refers to Eastern Turkey, where according to centuries of Ottoman, Russian and European census data Armenians were a minority, as “Western Armenia” – as well as declares that anti-Turkish resolutions and activities in U.S. Congress and other parliaments are its state policy and government objective. Needless to say, this did not bode well with the Turkish people, who have been demanding that Armenian government changes its stance before relations could flourish.
Secondly, Armenia's relations with Iran go, unnecessarily, much deeper than the author admits. According to Wikileaks-published cable from the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, in 2003, two Bulgarian manufacturers “Vazovski Mashinostroitelnye Zavodi” and “Arsenal”, and the Armenian Ministry of Defense (MOD) completed a sale of weapons that were then resold to Iran via the Armenian government-owned company “ZAO Veber” and an Iranian arms dealer Abbas Abdi Asjerd through an Armenian bank, and later recovered by the U.S.-led Coalition forces in Iraq.
In a deal signed by then-defense-minister and now-president Serzh Sargsyan, our Armenian "allies" have delivered at least 1000 RPG-22Ms and 260 PKM machine guns to Iran, who in turn passed them on to Iranian-backed Hizbullah brigades in Iraq, killing at least one U.S. soldier and wounding several more, on January 31, 2008. This American soldier was Matthew F. Straughter, native of St Charles, Missouri and formerly of Belleville. He was declared dead in Baghdad from wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an Armenian-shipped RPG-22. He was assigned to the 1138th Engineer Company, 35th Engineer Brigade, Missouri National Guard, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He was only 27 years old, is survived by wife, Thelma, and five children.
Armenia, one of the most undemocratic countries in the region that is the second largest per capita U.S. foreign aid recipient (which, amusingly enough, includes military aid), was almost sanctioned for arms trade with Iran, by the U.S. government, but as has been the case several times before, the Armenian lobby intervened, making the U.S. government to once again overlook America's own national interests.
The only way for a stable peace and open borders is for the Armenian government to abandon its policies of military occupation and war crimes in Azerbaijan, and for it, together with the Armenian diaspora and lobby to stop their turcophobia and anti-Azerbaijanism. All USAID-sponsored polls show that Armenian population does not share the same priorities as the Armenian government and lobby, preferring higher standards of living over hate, racism, ethnic cleansing and military aggression. Future U.S. foreign aid packages should be contingent on Armenia’s compliance with international and U.S. law.
Baguirov is the co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Azeris Network (USAN), and author of academic articles, such as Nagorno-Karabakh: Competing Legal, Historic and Economic Claims in Political, Academic and Media Discourses".