Azerbaijan's War Crimes—Why the World Can No Longer Stay Silent | Opinion

For a president who entered office claiming human rights would be the central tenet of his foreign policy, President Joe Biden has had a mixed record halfway through his presidency. There's no question that his leadership on the world stage in defending and supporting countries like Ukraine has sent a strong message to autocrats like Russian President Vladimir Putin that their nefarious actions will not be tolerated.

President Biden's willingness to stand up to bullies both here and abroad has the potential to be a key hallmark of his presidency. But his administration's handling of Azerbaijan's illegal war and unprovoked attacks on Armenia promises to derail any of those accomplishments.

Put simply, Azerbaijan is committing war crimes and atrocities. Despite overwhelming evidence, the Biden administration has done next to nothing in holding Azerbaijan accountable and keeping them in check.

Taking a page out of Vladmir Putin's playbook, Azerbaijan's petro-dictator Ilham Aliyev used the pretext of historical revisionism to start an unlawful war in 2020 against Armenians living in their ancestral homeland of Nagorno-Karabakh, known as Artsakh to Armenians.

And while a tenuous ceasefire remains in place, Azerbaijan continues to violate the terms of the peace agreement by attacking the territorial integrity of Armenia. Last month, Azerbaijan fired artillery and drone strikes against Armenian border towns including Vardenis, Goris, Sotk, and Jermuk while killing hundreds of Armenian soldiers and forcing Armenian civilians to evacuate.

It was during those recent clashes where Azerbaijan troops mutilated a female Armenian soldier who was subsequently stripped naked with text written across her breasts and stomach. A stone was placed in her eye socket and a severed finger in her mouth. And video evidence recently emerged showing Azerbaijani troops executing a small group of captured Armenian soldiers.

This patten of illicit behavior led Genocide Watch to issue a genocide warning against Azerbaijan with a recommendation that Western countries stop all military sales to Baku, and a warning that sanctions be placed on Azeri oil and gas exports if attacks continue.

In recent days, we have also seen a chorus of bipartisan support from members of Congress condemning these latest Azerbaijani crimes including new legislation from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and senior member Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) that calls for an end to military aid to Azerbaijan and potential sanctions on the Aliyev regime. These efforts come on the heels of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's historic visit to Armenia, where she highlighted the