Blinken warns Democrats that 'Azerbaijan could soon invade Armenia': report

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken | ALEX BRANDON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

America’s top diplomat is reportedly warning Democratic lawmakers about the possibility of Armenia being invaded in the near future.  

Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered the warning to a “small group of lawmakers” last week, according to a Politico report, which said the State Department is “tracking the possibility that Azerbaijan could soon invade Armenia.”

Blinken is said to have made the comment while responding to the group of lawmakers — including Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Anna Eshoo of California, among others — in an Oct. 3 phone conversation where he was asked about the U.S. response to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s decision to invade the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Armenia last month.

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In response, Blinken said his department was reviewing “avenues to hold Azerbaijan accountable” as well as warning of the “possibility” of an Azerbaijan invasion “in the coming weeks.” The secretary also is said to have “expressed confidence about ongoing diplomatic talks” between the Central Asia nations.

The Biden administration has faced criticism for what some Christian advocates say was a failure by the U.S. government to stop Azerbaijan from potentially committing genocide against ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, a self-declared Armenian breakaway state recognized by Armenians as the Republic of Artsakh but internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. 

Until the September invasion, the region had a predominantly Christian population. But after Azerbaijan reclaimed control of the region via a 24-hour offensive last month, killing at least 200 ethnic Armenians, including 10 civilians, thousands of ethnic Armenians have fled to seek refuge in Armenia and elsewhere.

Last week, Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of "ethnic cleansing," warning that "in the coming days there will be no Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh."

That prospect has raised international concern from organizations across the political spectrum, including the National Council of Churches (NCC), which released a statement Friday reiterating its support for the Armenian Orthodox Church, one of the 37 member communions of the NCC.

The statement added, “While genocide typically takes place methodically over months and years, the NCC believes we may indeed be witnessing a continuation of genocide against the Armenian people, one that is borne of supremacy as in other genocides, but rather than consume the perpetrators in swift and orchestrated killing, unfolds over the long term in disparate acts of ethnic cleansing. 

“As we have noted with alarm the illegal, humanitarian blockade of the region and the destruction of critical infrastructure, and observe the steady stream of refugees flowing through a single geographic conduit to safety, can we not assume this is in fact what is happening?”

Between 1915 and 1923, an estimated 1.5 million Armenian Christians died after they were expelled from the Ottoman Empire, now known as Turkey. Turkey denied the existence of the Armenian Genocide, and it took over 100 years before the mass killing was finally acknowledged as a genocide by the U.S. government.

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