Christian Solidarity International President Dr. John Eibner says a town known as Shushi, Nagorno Karabakh, has been effectively cleansed of its Armenian Christian population in the past two months. Since late September 2020, Islamic forces from Azerbaijan have desecrated the region, which has long been a self-declared independent satellite of neighboring Armenia. More than 100,000 people — two-thirds of its population — have been forced to flee their homes. Eibner says the region has been a hotbed of political unrest for decades.
“Nagorno Karabakh lies at the center of a long-running geopolitical conflict, what Kipling dubbed ‘the Great Game,'” says Eibner. “‘The Great Game’ is a power competition for the vast, strategically important, predominantly Turkic Muslim territory stretching from Anatolia to Xinjiang province in western China.”
The Great Game started as a competition between Britain and Russia for imperial ascendancy in the mid-19th century. It continues today as a competition between the United States, Russia, and China, allied to numerous smaller states. Over the past 25 years, the oil-rich associate NATO member Azerbaijan has achieved military supremacy over Armenia by positioning itself as a crucial strategic asset within Washington’s network of alliances. Eibner says the latest conflict is just a continuation of the great Armenian genocide in the late 19th century.
“The Armenians have long been among the biggest losers in the Great Game,” says Eibner. “The most recent six-week war is simply an ongoing process of genocide. Official responses in Britain to the war of Azerbaijan and its allies against the world’s oldest surviving Christian nation have tended to be low-key ritual appeals for peace. For the Karabakhi Christians, there have been no demands for humanitarian military intervention.”
Last year, the Prime Minister pledged to “provide protection for vulnerable Christian communities”, and to place this duty “at the heart of the priorities of UK foreign policy.” But Eibner says this did not happen when the aggression began in September.
“The options for combating persecution, such as sanctioning those responsible for atrocity crimes and tabling a UN Security Council Resolution for the protection of endangered Christian communities, were not used,” says Eibner. “This abdication of responsibility suggests that the Great Game will continue, at the expense of endangered, but inconveniently situated, ancient Christian communities.”
CSI is an international Christian human rights organization, campaigning for religious liberty and human dignity and assisting victims of religious persecution, victimized children and victims of the catastrophe. CSI delivers emergency food assistance, medical treatment, and other lifesaving aid to victims of religious persecution and natural disasters in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, South Sudan, Pakistan, and other hotspots worldwide. For more information, visit https://csi-usa.org.