State Department’s Baku-Pandering Super Couple

James Warlick , the former US Minsk Group Co-Chair and his wife, Mary, an energy envoy at the State Department
James Warlick , the former US Minsk Group Co-Chair and his wife, Mary, an energy envoy at the State Department

James Warlick , the former US Minsk Group Co-Chair and his wife, Mary, an energy envoy at the State Department

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

It seems Ilham Aliyev and his wife, Mehriban Aliyeva, are not the only couple with a hold on Azerbaijan. The US State Department has its own Baku-pandering super couple in the form of James and Mary Warlick.

For years, James Warlick, who is better known as the Twitter-happy former US-Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, tasked with finding a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, made sure to appease Azerbaijan in his approach to the Karabakh conflict. From using pro-Azerbaijani lexicon (“occupied territories”) to advocating for Azeris to share water from the Sarsang Reservoir (Azerbaijan’s main target in the April attacks) Warlick was a US diplomat with, shall we say, varied interests.

While serving as the US Co-Chair, James Warlick’s wife, Mary, a career diplomat with a focus on Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia (according to the State Dept. bio), served as the State Department’s Special Envoy for the Bureau of Energy Resources and in January was re-appointed to that position on an interim basis.

President Aliyev appointed his wife Mehriban Aliyeva first Vice President of Azerbaijan on Feb. 21, 2017 during a Security Council meeting in Baku (Photo: Azerbaijani Presidental Press Service)

President Aliyev appointed his wife Mehriban Aliyeva first Vice President of Azerbaijan on Feb. 21, 2017 during a Security Council meeting in Baku (Photo: Azerbaijani Presidental Press Service)

Mary Warlick on Wednesday was a keynote speaker at the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce annual conference on US-Azeri relations discussing the Trans Caucasus corridor, the main supply route for Baku energy wealth.

The two-day conference entitled, ”Looking Ahead: Diplomacy, Business, Trade & Investment Celebrating 25th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations,” focuses on “recent economic reforms, investment environment, public-private partnerships, trade and commercial opportunities for American companies in Azerbaijan, particularly in agriculture, agribusiness, food processing, chemical/petrochemical industry and renewable energy,” according to the event’s website.

One has to wonder by how much was James Warlick’s approach to Artsakh predicated on Mary Warlick’s work within the energy sector, which included the “US’s great partner Azerbaijan.”

While neither the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce nor the Azerbaijani press has covered the specifics of Mary Warlick’s speech, her participation in the conference as a keynote speaker indicates that she would be cheering Baku’s efforts within the energy sector. Asbarez will be following this story, with a special interest on whether Mary Warlick warns the USACC about the deplorable human rights conditions in Azerbaijan, Baku’s continued aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh highlighted by its most recent attack on Artsakh positions over the weekend and the recent kerfuffle over the Israeli-Russian blogger Aleksander Lapshin, who was extradited to Baku by Belarus to face criminal charges for visiting Artsakh.

Despite the fact that James Warlick announced in November that he would step down to take a post at a Russian law firm, he continued to provide his sage input on the matter this past week after Azerbaijani forces launched the largest attack against Karabakh since April.

On February 28, he told Voice of America Armenian Service that all sides must respect the cease fire and called for peace in the region, once again failing to criticize Azerbaijan for its continued military aggression. How could he? His wife was due to speak at the USACC conference the next day.

Let’s hope that President Trump’s executive order banning lobbyists from serving in government posts once and for all will rid the State Department of these dual-interest—double-agent—apparatchiks.

Dr. Mallory Moss Katz who praised Mehriban Aliyeva's appointment is the wife of Azeri lobbyist Jason Katz

Dr. Mallory Moss Katz who praised Mehriban Aliyeva’s appointment is the wife of Azeri lobbyist Jason Katz

Footnote on Another Pro-Baku Couple
A week after the Huffington Post published a critical piece about Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev appointing his wife, Mehriban Aliyeva, as Azerbaijan’s first Vice-President and his successor, the same self-proclaimed left-leaning liberal publication published a piece praising that very appointment as a step forward for women’s inclusion on the world stage.

The problem is that the author of the piece, Dr. Mallory Moss Katz, is the wife of Jason Katz of the Tool Shed Group LLC, a lobbying firm being paid by Azerbaijan to promote its agenda in the US.

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4 Comments

  1. Robert Bedrosian said:

    Ara,

    Thanks for a wonderful article. Your writings and interviews are always first-rate, beautifully constructed, and stimulating.

    There is an adjective in Classical Armenian–o’dzut (“crawling with snakes”) used to describe the pit St. Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned in. It certainly could be applied to the snaky activities of people like this power couple.

    When I think of Mom-and-Pop public relations firms, I recall other dynamic duos operating in Asia Minor and the Caucasus–Matthew Bryza and wife, and even a father-and-son team (Michael Flynn and son) engaged in the same activity.

    They call it “public relations,” but in the alternate reality of Turkey and Azerbaijan, their line of business could be categorized as “massage parlors,” where the truth gets massaged, and not always gently, either.

    These are shadowy creatures of the night which can merge and shift. However, they are not overly intelligent, and are not difficult to detect. Even in their salad days, when they had some formal connection to the U.S. State Department, they were not heavy-weights or luminaries. And so now, in changed financial times, no one should expect much from them. Their backers are out of cash. In fact, not so long ago that modern-day Diogenes, that seeker after Truth, former Congressman Dan Burton, was cheated. Not paid for services rendered!!

    Bless you for shining a light on them when you can.

    Given the duplicitous nature of the human animal and the charged political scene in Congress, perhaps we will see an unexpected advancement on Armenian issues. Not, of course, in the interests of justice or fairness, but to embarrass the other political party–to “out” them as parasites, for practising the same behavior that has been standard operating procedure for politicians everywhere–in and out of government.

  2. Joe said:

    This seems to be a trend. First it was Mathew Bryza who basically became an Azerbaijan spokesman. Here we hear of Warlick and his opportunistic and corrupt wife promoting Azerbaijan. And now the Genocide denier and Azeri boot lick Hoagland. This is by design. Trust non of them.

  3. danoog said:

    ka-ching! The Azeris learn “diplomacy” from their Turkish pals.

  4. Raffi said:

    I keep repeating, while they are in service and after, follow their income and their standard of living, learn from the Jews, after 70 years they still pursue the Nazi criminals

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