By Peter Tase
Since the establishment of its independence in October 1991, the Republic of Azerbaijan has rushed forward embracing the democratic values of the European Union and uniquely emerged as a stable, developing and secular Muslim-majority nation when Heydar Aliyev became its first President in 1993.
Over the years, Baku has harnessed a close cooperation with the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, especially in the fields of security, war against terrorism, and strengthening its democratic institutions. It must be emphasized that Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces have served alongside with U. S. and NATO Forces for many years; their unwavering commitment has significantly delivered concrete results within the International Security Assistance Force operations in Afghanistan.
Furthermore, Azerbaijan is characterized for being the only Muslim country serving together with western allies and has become an important logistics hub for NATO troops as their supplies make their way to Afghanistan and Iraq. Currently the Azerbaijani Armed Forces remain active despite of the overall troop drawdown.
Moreover the EU on its 2016 report entitled “A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy” states: “… We will act globally to address the root causes of conflict and poverty, and to promote human rights. … The EU will engage in a practical and principled way in peace building, concentrating our efforts in surrounding regions to the east and south, while considering engagement further afield on a case by case basis. The EU will foster human security through an integrated approach.”
While the Republic of Azerbaijan has genuinely contributed with troops and resources in the war against terrorism and organized crime, the European Union Global Strategy and Washington on the other hand have failed to properly address, incur a concrete progress and actively engage in the negotiations table intended to solve the ongoing war of Nagorno – Karabakh, were the Armenian Armed Forces continue to occupy over twenty percent of Azerbaijani sovereign territory and inflict pain, destruction and violence among Azerbaijani civilians and environment.
European Union’s goal in “implementing a multi-dimensional approach through the use of all available policies and instruments aimed at conflict prevention, management” has proved to be irrelevant, and Brussels has kept a prolonged silence when it comes to solving the Nagorno-Karabakh protracted war and ensure Azerbaijan’s full territorial sovereignty and hold Armenia accountable.
Moreover the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Mali, Somalia and Syria, demonstrate EU’s and NATO’s diminished role towards becoming major players to solve and invest more resources in the de-escalation of the ongoing conflicts in the outskirts of Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean.
At a time when the EU and NATO continue to keep a blind eye towards the flagrant crimes against humanity committed by Yerevan’s Fascist Government inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan; the latter sent in 2017 a group of 70 Azerbaijani military troops to Afghanistan to serve with the NATO led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, to provide a vital support in the stability and security of this country.
In early 2018, AZERTAC reported: “on November 23, 2017, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ilham Aliyev announced that the number of Azerbaijani peacekeepers [in the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan] will be increased in 2018.”
On this occasion, AZERTAC states that: “on December 29, 2017, the Azerbaijani parliament amended the Resolution “On giving consent to the deployment and participation in the relevant operations in Afghanistan of military troops of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan as part of the battalion of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Turkey and under the general command of NATO structures”. It is admirable to note that the number of Azerbaijan’s peacekeeping force is increased from 94 to 120 servicemen beginning in 2018.
Moreover Baku hosted the ‘”Heart of Asia” – Istanbul Process (HoA IP) 7th Ministerial Conference under the motto “Security and Economic Connectivity towards a Strengthened Heart of Asia Region,”’ attended by the President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani. Such an event demonstrates once again, the role of Azerbaijani Government on securing peace and stability in Central Asia, meanwhile Armenia’s centuries old policy of ethnic cleansing, genocide and aggression deliberately carried out against Azerbaijani territories and innocent civilians continues to be immune due to EU’s policy of silence and double standards.
Furthermore, in early June 2018, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland has allegedly initiated the suspension of Azerbaijan’s membership in the Council of Europe. International media is well aware that Mr. Jagland, a politician without a college degree, has always demonstrated a pro-Armenian stance and a biased attitude toward Azerbaijan. This hidden initiative against Azerbaijan was randomly announced by the Spokesperson of Armenian Foreign Affairs Ministry and today everyone is aware of Mr. Jagland’s poor leadership skills and overwhelming lack of appreciation towards Baku’s impressive economic and socio-political reforms.
Azerbaijan’s indispensable role in peace – building missions has been remarkable and its public diplomacy strategy has fostered great levels of inter-religious tolerance, preserved multiculturalism and has strengthened good governance paired with its pragmatic production economy strategy.
The Azerbaijani Head of State, Ilham Aliyev has aligned his country among those who support the west and strengthened economic, commercial and defense cooperation with E.U. member countries (Italy and Germany), while maintaining a strong sense of national independence.
Washington and Brussels are aware that Azerbaijan has a strategic proximity with Iran and Russia; nonetheless these two global actors have failed to bring peace and stability in the Caucasus, in addition to ensuring the full territorial sovereignty of Azerbaijan and further contain Armenian terrorism. Baku has energetically contributed towards a more peaceful and secure world; while EU’s myopia ignores the threat of Armenian terrorism at the shores of the old continent.