U.S.-Armenia military exercises spark political commentary amid regional tensions

U.S.-Armenia military exercises spark political commentary amid regional tensions
A+ A-
Amid heightened concerns over Nagorno-Karabakh, the U.S. State Department stresses the 'routine' nature of joint exercises with Armenia.

The recent joint Armenia-U.S. military exercises, dubbed EAGLE PARTNER 2023, which began on September 11, have captured the global community's attention amid regional tensions. When asked about the implications of these exercises, U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller clarified their nature.

"We routinely train and operate alongside our partners to maintain readiness and continually improve interoperability between our militaries," Miller stressed at a recent press briefing. As reported by the ARMENPRESS, he responded to speculation that the drills were a countermeasure to potential Azerbaijani aggression by noting, "This is a routine exercise that is in no way tied to any other events."

Miller also took the opportunity to address Russian concerns, stating, "Given that Russia has invaded two of its neighbors in recent years, it should refrain from lecturing countries in the region about security arrangements."

The United States and Armenia have been cultivating their military partnership for years, highlighted by Armenia's cooperation with the Kansas National Guard since 2003 as part of the Department of Defense's State Partnership Program.

While focusing on the joint exercise, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez didn't mince words about Azerbaijan's blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh. He described it as having "all the hallmarks of genocide. Menendez called on the Biden administration to enforce Section 907 and cut off all security assistance to Azerbaijan. He also called for sanctions against the Aliyev regime, condemning the alleged war crimes and ethnic cleansing. "To the men who organized and carried out this brutal campaign, we will hold you accountable for your crimes...you will pay a price, you will face justice," Menendez passionately declared.

In the shadow of these solid political statements, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported its intervention in the conflict. On Tuesday, the ICRC evacuated 13 patients from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia in response to urgent medical needs caused by the Azerbaijani blockade. The blockade has reportedly strained health care in the region, with hospitals in Nagorno-Karabakh suspending normal operations.