STRONG STRIKES TO AZERBAIJANI POSITIONS: ARMENIA ADOPTS NEW TACTICS
Haikazn Ghahriyan, Editor-in-Chief
Comments - 02 October 2015, 12:53
NKR MoD: Enemy Continues to Fire Artillery
The Last Objective of Armed Forces Ahead of Asymmetric Strike
ICRC Representatives Visited Armenian Prisoner
Azerbaijan Used Reactive Rocket Launcher Against Armenian Front Units
Armenian Government's Border Morality Cameras
In September the Armenian armed forces answered the Azerbaijani
aggression with several tough strikes causing significant losses
to Azerbaijan. The leadership of the Armenian army announced about
its new tactics: it will no longer wait for Azerbaijan's actions
to silence it. The Armenian armed forces will regularly hit the
Azerbaijani positions and act more proactively.
The Armenian officials have announced at different instances that
Azerbaijan is behaving like a terrorist organization. Hence, Azerbaijan
should be treated like a terrorist organization.
Recently the representatives of Armenia have brought up the issue of
the attitude of the international community in different international
organizations, including the PACE. Namely, the international community
is putting an equal mark between the actions of the conflict sides.
>From Serzh Sargsyan to the Armenian representatives to the PACE,
everyone has announced that in this situation nothing is left but to
force Azerbaijan to choose peace and the international community is
accountable for its stance. This means that Armenia is implementing
"artillery preparedness" to use its new tactics.
What does "international community puts an equal mark" mean? It means
that at this stage the conflict sides have a carte blanche to resolve
their problems. Apparently, the carte blanche is with Armenia.
Evidence to this is that the notion "Karabakh issue" is omitted
from the international terminology. Instead, the notion "area of the
Karabakh conflict" is used. This indicates a pause in the "negotiation
In fact, this is a common international practice, a way of maturing
of a new situation.
The defense ministry officials have announced that the purpose
of the new tactics in the conflict area is to force Azerbaijan to
accept a new ceasefire agreement. In fact, the 1994 truce was not a
binding document and was aimed at saving Azerbaijan from a historic
disaster rather. Then Russia saved Azerbaijan, and time showed that
this agreement does not regulate the main issues. From this point of
view, the stance of the leadership of the Armenian army is crisp and
clear - achieve an agreement which will address the issue of security
Hence the new tactics of Armenia is delineated. The Armenian armed
forces can address this issue. However, pending is the issue of
the political basis for the actions of the armed forces, namely how
adequate and consistent to the new tactics and how independent the
actions of the political leadership of Armenia will be to rule out the
entry of "peacekeepers" of the third countries to the conflict area.
The 1994 truce which is not a binding document was the shortcoming
of the political leadership then. Another such shortcoming may this
time do great harm to Armenia.
- See more at:
GETTING THE FACTS RIGHT ON NAGORNO KARABAKH (ARTSAKH)
Posted 02 October 2015 - 10:24 AM
STRONG STRIKES TO AZERBAIJANI POSITIONS: ARMENIA ADOPTS NEW TACTICS
Posted 03 October 2015 - 06:46 AM
ISIS IS NOT ALONE? SALVAGING AZERBAIJAN'S IMAGE IS A MISSION IMPOSSIBLE
The Times of Israel
Oct 1 2015
September 29, 2015, 4:29 pm 8
There is a famous quote saying "gold shines everywhere." However, its
shine can never "blind" the international community. Azerbaijan has
developed an illusion that through lavishing millions of dollars of
"gold" it can build up a positive, democratic and tolerant image of
Azerbaijan, thus eliminating the intensifying international criticism
on the deterioration of country's democratic governance and human
rights records. The fact that increase of international criticism,
as well as steps of the leadership of Azerbaijan aimed at undermining
regional stability and security are followed by the intensification
of pro-Azeri journalists' and experts' efforts to present the image
of Azerbaijan as a "country of tolerance" and "eternal victim of
While reading Israel Barouk's article "In Cultural Cleansing ISIS is
not Alone," (The Times of Israel, 29 September, 2015) I automatically
remembered the incentive and the raison d'Ãªtre of this propagandistic
article, (the same author in the past has also published articles
the sole aim of which was the tarnishing of Armenia while praising
On September 10, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on
Azerbaijan, which outlines that "overall human rights situation in
Azerbaijan has deteriorated continuously over the last few years,
with growing intimidation and repression and intensification of
the practice of criminal prosecution of NGO leaders, human rights
defenders, journalists and other civil society representatives". And
the image of the "most multicultural country", as presented by the
propaganda machine of the official Baku, is completed by the very fact
that civil society activists who promote dialogue between Armenian
and Azerbaijani civil societies are persecuted as traitors and spies,
and are imprisoned for several years.
In the article, the author misrepresents the approach of Armenia and
Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) towards the Azerbaijani cultural monuments
in their territories, and he does not bother to mention that since
2008 the government of Nagorno-Karabakh directed special funds for
restoration and conservation of Upper and Lower Mosques of Shushi,
the Mosque in Aghdam, as well as initiated studies of Muslim culture
and its documentation. Maybe the sponsors of the article just did
not inform the author about this "small" detail, or maybe the author
just did not wish to present this fact in order not to "humanize"
the image of the presented "Armenian monster". I would like also to
mention that since the first day of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan,
both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, unlike their neighbour, have
taken all Muslim monuments within their territory, including the
Azerbaijani cemeteries under their protection. International, as well
as Azerbaijani delegations during their visits to Nagorno-Karabakh
have had a chance to witness the proof of the above.
With this article Barouk is trying to hide what already has been
exposed to the international community. It is well known which party
of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is destroying the cultural heritage
in the "best traditions" of the Islamic State. The examples of such
vandalism are numerous.
The author is right: the consequences of the ISIS barbarism
towards ancient cultural heritage in the Middle East are immense and
irreversible. Those actions were described by UNESCO as a war crime,
which urged to "respond to this criminal chaos that destroys culture"
and "to put an end to this catastrophe." Indeed, next generations will
never see the ancient cultural heritage of the Middle East, including
Assyrian ancient monuments in the Northern Iraq and the Palmyra city.
However, the next generations will never be able also to enjoy the
ancient Armenian cultural heritage either, which have been brutally
destroyed by the order of the Azerbaijani leadership.
In particular, from 1998 to 2005 over 5,000 ancient Armenian
cross-stones in the city of Julfa (or Jugha) of Nakhijevan (the
Armenian region in Azerbaijan) have been destroyed by the Azerbaijani
military. A relevant condemnatory resolution was issued by the 16th
International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) stating that:
"this heritage that once enjoyed its worthy place among the treasures
of the world's heritage can no longer be transmitted today to future
generations". In the same Nakhijevan region all Armenian churches
and monuments, numbering over one hundred, were completely destroyed
and eradicated, the undeniable proof of which have been presented
by the Scottish architect/photographer Stephen Sim. All the above
mentioned facts have been documented and published in my books "The
Invention of History", 2009/2010 and "Clash of Histories in the South
In general, the history of connections between Azerbaijan and
the terrorist networks is a long one. During the Karabakh war,
Azerbaijan was widely using the services of Chechen and Afghan
mercenaries. The territory of that country had become a real hub for
Islamic Jihad, Taliban, and other notorious organizations. Later on,
these terrorists who gained a huge experience in Azerbaijan, lent
their services to the enemies of civilizations in different parts
of the world. It is not a coincidence that, according to numerous
reports, today a few hundred Azerbaijanis are involved in the armed
clashes in Syria. For example, the famous terrorist Khaled Azeri,
who was one of the leaders of Azerbaijani groups within the Islamic
State, killed during the international coalition strikes in Kobani,
previously was the founder of "Karabakh guerillas" group.
These facts have been overlooked by Israel Barouk, who has already
lavished numerous dithyrambic articles on Azerbaijan in his blog at
Times of Israel. Barouk and other 'analysts' like him are trying
to achieve almost the impossible goal of salvaging Azerbaijan's
international image, which is in a free fall. They try to counter
the rapidly growing criticism in international media, which presents
the inconsolable situation of human rights present in Azerbaijan,
repressions toward political and civil freedoms, as well as
Azerbaijan's aggressive actions against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Furthermore, the fact is that Israel Barouk presents himself as a
Rabbi, while repeating Azerbaijani falsifications and covering their
tracks. Here we are facing a double sacrilege. On the one hand,
the publishing of an article based on obvious fabrications and
falsifications by an analyst declaring himself a Rabbi, and on the
other hand, obliviousness of Azerbaijan regarding cultural and human
values in order to promote its propagandistic interests. In this way,
Azerbaijan, in fact, dishonours Israel and the whole of Jewry.
Posted 06 October 2015 - 10:48 AM
Armenian delegation to PACE slams pro-Azerbaijani report on Karabakh
Armenian delegation to PACE slams pro-Azerbaijani report on Karabakh
October 6, 2015 - 18:24 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The scandalous report by PACE rapporteur Robert Walter titled “The increase in violence in Nagorno Karabakh and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan” met an appropriate response, chairman of the Armenian delegation to PACE said Tuesday, October 6.
According to Hermine Naghdalyan, the report conveys a pro-Azerbaijani position: “play for time, avoid direct contact with Nagorno Karabakh authorities,” required by the Armenian delegates.
“Our delegates have by all means encouraged such contacts between the rapporteur and Nagorno Karabakh Republic, while he has constantly avoided them. The requirement of the Armenian delegation is logical, and we want the Assembly to further cooperate with Nagorno Karabakh,” Naghdalyan said.
Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:39 AM
ITALIAN JOURNALIST: GETTING INTO AZERBAIJAN'S "BLACK LIST" HONOR FOR PEOPLE REFUSING TO "KISS TYRANT ALIYEV'S FEET"
12:51 07/10/2015 Â" REGION
One does not have to try hard to get into Azerbaijan's "black list."
You just need to tell the truth. This is what Milena Gabanelli,
an Italian journalist, did covering the Karabakh war at the early
90's. A few years ago, another Italian journalist, Anna Mazzone,
also wrote a story on Artsakh where the war is not a remote memory
but a conflict that may burst out any moment, the journalist herself
writes for Formiche.net, recounting how she got into the "black list"
of the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan.
At the beginning of her article, Mazzone states that the government
of Azerbaijan has increased repressions against oppositionists
deteriorating its international image, which was negative to start
with. Over the recent years, dozens of human rights defenders,
political and civil figures, journalists and bloggers have been
arrested or jailed on politically motivated reasons. Many others left
the country. NGO and their leaders' bank accounts have been frozen. In
some cases, those organizations were closed down. New laws made it
practically impossible for the independent groups to be financed from
abroad. According to the journalist, the international community
criticizes Azerbaijani government's "iron fist" from the one hand,
and fails to promote an improvement of the situation in the country,
from the other.
"I have never been in Azerbaijan's 'black list,' but never say never.
It happened and it makes me happy - being a 'persona non grata' for
a dictator is always worth praising. Really, I did not do much to be
given the honor - I just did my work," Mazzone writes.
For many years, the journalist told her readers about Armenia and
Azerbaijan, parts of the world that seem to be so remote, yet they are
closer that one could imagine. Asking the Melendugno (Italy) residents
would be enough to be convinced in that. These are the people, who
protested against the realization of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline
(TAP), which is to supply Azerbaijani gas to the European countries.
Mazzone notes that there are also other Italians banned from entering
Azerbaijan. She acknowledges being in a good company in the "black
list." The list starts with the name of Antonia Arslan, a well-known
Italian writer of Armenian descent, who traveled the whole peninsula
during the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide committed by the Young
Turks to spread the word about what happened in Turkey between 1915
The names of other journalists and TV reporters, who "are probably
guilty of not kissing the tyrant Ilham Aliyev's feet" are also in the
"black list." Names of sculptors, architects, actors and actresses
are in their company, as well.
Mazzone further reminds that French journalists for the TV channel
France 2 recently called the president Ilham Aliyev a "dictator" and
Azerbaijan one of the cruelest dictatorships in the world. A dictator
president cannot use against the foreign journalists the same methods
he uses against the local journalists. Mazzone, citizen of a free and
democratic country, does not understand a ban on entry into another
country. Nonetheless, she hopes that democracy will be established
in Azerbaijan. "Do not worry Aliyev. This is what happens to the
'best dictators' sooner or later," the journalist sums up.
Back in 2013, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan published a list of
people who had become persona non grata in Azerbaijan for visiting
Nagorno Karabakh Republic, and thus are barred from entry to the
country. According to media reports, the number of the names included
in the list is above 300, which, however, does not stop the world
Related: Azerbaijan adds Kazarnovskaya in "black list" for NKR visit
France 2 journalists: Civil society organizations will help us win
trial against Azerbaijan authorities
Posted 14 October 2015 - 10:45 AM
THE BAKU SCHOOL OF SCANDAL, OR ALIYEV HAS CARVED HIMSELF
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
That lie has become a cornerstone of the domestic and foreign policy
of Azerbaijan is a well-known fact, which hardly needs any comment. In
fact, it penetrated into all the pores of the ruling elite of the
country, becoming a tool in achieving the domestic and foreign goals.
But, if the Azerbaijani society does not resist and readily digests
the blatant nonsense, with which it is fed, it is its own problem.
Surely, we won't interfere in the domestic affairs of Azerbaijan,
but we cannot ignore the falsifications designed for the external
audiences, especially related to the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict.
Last week, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and the deputy head
of his administration, head the Foreign Relations Department of
the President's Office, Novruz Mamedov, shone simultaneously with
their abilities in the creation of lie. In order to keep the chain
of command, let's start with the person occupying the top step of
the hierarchy of Azerbaijan, i.e. with Aliyev. Speaking in Baku at a
meeting with the participants of the 18th session of the Conference
of the Special Services of the Turkic states, Aliyev stated that
"Azerbaijan is a country, which has suffered from terrorism". There is
no need to have a special insight to guess whom Ilham will "appoint"
the main culprit of the terrorist troubles of Azerbaijan. According
to him, "the terrorist attacks against Azerbaijan were part of the
policy of occupation of the Azerbaijani lands, which was carried out
by Armenia in the early 1990s". And then, Aliyev stated with pathos,
"There are wars between countries, there are conflicts, but we should
strive always to keep the human face". And as a summary he voiced the
appeal, "We must know the truth. The truth is what I am telling and
what is confirmed by the history, the documents and the facts". Alas,
Aliyev will be disappointed - the history, the documents and the facts
prove the contrary, namely, that Azerbaijan is a terrorist state. From
the first days of the current stage of the Karabakh conflict it was
the Azerbaijani authorities that unleashed blatant terror against
the Armenian population, committing massacres and pogroms against the
civilians in Sumgait, Kirovabad, Baku and other settlements. They were
followed by a criminal war against the NKR, during which the Azeris
destroyed the towns and villages of the Republic, using internationally
prohibited weapons, mercilessly and with brutal cruelty cut out the
population of the Armenian village of Maragha.
Azerbaijan then didn't care, for some reason, about "keeping the
human face". Moreover, capitalizing on the Christian religion of
Armenians, Azerbaijan involved in the war against the NKR thousands
of representatives of the international Islamic terrorism in the face
of the Afghan mujahideens, the Turkish officers, the Arab mercenaries,
the Chechen bandits led by well-known Shamil Basayev and Khattab.
Terror is currently underway on the border in the form of skirmishes
and killing of Armenian civilians. In a broader sense, subjected
to terror is also the international community in the face of the
international mediators, whom Azerbaijan threatens to unleash a new
war in case if the conflict isn't resolved in favor of its annexation
policy. But, let's pay attention also to Novruz Mamedov, especially
that we are talking about the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen, whom he
once again subjected to obstruction. In an interview published in
the Istanbul magazine 'Caucasus International', this figure, like his
President, without disdaining a lie, stated that all the initiatives
of the OSCE Minsk Group were rejected by the Armenian party, while
it is known that it is Azerbaijan that always rejects the proposals
of the mediators on the withdrawal of snipers from the front lines,
on the necessity to maintain the ceasefire and to launch a mechanism
for investigating the incidents on the Line of Contact between
the armed forces of the conflicting parties. With such statements,
official Baku simply puts itself in a ridiculous position. Similarly,
Novruzov's statement that "the OSCE Minsk Group actually monopolized
the resolution of the conflict" cannot but cause an ironic smile. The
impression is that the head of the Foreign Relations Department
(!!!) of the Azerbaijani President's Office isn't aware yet that the
only international mandate to conduct the mediation mission in the
settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict is entrusted just to
the OSCE Minsk Group. The inadequate, illogical statements and actions
of the representatives of the top authorities of Azerbaijan indicate
one thing - Baku is nervous, because, due to the infamous human rights
situation in the country and the destructive stance in the Karabakh
settlement process, it is more and more isolated internationally. This
is partly confirmed by the fact that Aliyev refused to participate in
the jubilee 70th session of the UN General Assembly, but willingly
spoke to the "native" audience of heads of the special services of
the Turkic, as he puts it, "friendly to us (Azerbaijan. - ed.) states".
And with what political baggage could he go to New York? And who will
believe the false speech of the dictator who grossly violates not only
the rights of his own citizens, but also the assumed obligations to
solve the Karabakh issue by peaceful means, thus opposing himself
to the international community? At the above-mentioned meeting
with representatives of the special services of the Turkic states,
Aliyev voiced a phrase that can rightfully be attributed to himself:
"History has repeatedly proved that one cannot conduct a policy of
flirting with the aggressor". And, really, cannot.
Leonid MARTIROSSIAN Editor-in-Chief of Azat Artsakh newspaper
Posted 18 October 2015 - 09:59 AM
Sergei Dovlatov's daughter: I absolutely don't care about possible inclusion in
12:59 17/10/2015 » INTERVIEWS
The daughter of writer Sergei Dovlatov, Katherine Dovlatov, absolutely
does not care about violation of the laws of Azerbaijan and her
possible inclusion in the so-called "black list" of Azerbaijani
Foreign Ministry, Vesti.az writes.
Commenting on her visit to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Katherine
Dovlatov ironically wrote on her Facebook: `Less than a day after my
visit to Karabakh, I got an anxious letter from an Azerbaijani
journalist in which he informed me: `You have broken the law on the
"border" of the Republic of Azerbaijan and were included into the
"black list" of Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry'. It looks like me and my
mother will not have to be Azerbaijan's guests. I do not know how we
can go through it."
Katherine Dovlatov also shared her impressions of the trip: "Armenia
and Karabakh, we loved you! Thank you for your warm welcome. I am a
little sad to leave but hoping to be back.'
Sergei Dovlatov's daughter and widow, Katherine and Elena Dovlatova,
came to Yerevan to attend the premiere of Vadim Dovlatov's film titled
Five Corners of Dovlatov, dedicated to Sergei Dovlatov. During their
Armenia visit, the writer's wife and daughter visited Garni and Tatev.
They also were in the NKR. In Stepanakert, a private screening of the
film Five Corners of Dovlatov was also held. The filmmakers, the
Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs of NKR Narine Aghabalyan, MPs
and members of the Artsakh community were attending the event.
The film was made with the support of the Ministry of Culture and
National Cinema Center of Armenia.
Azerbaijan adds Kazarnovskaya in `black list' for NKR visit
Italian journalist: Getting into Azerbaijan's `black list' honor for
people refusing to `kiss tyrant Aliyev's feet'
Posted 19 October 2015 - 10:56 AM
LEBANON RECONFIRMS ITS SUPPORT TO ARMENIA IN NAGORNO KARABAKH CONFLICT
16:50, 19 October, 2015
YEREVAN, OCTOBER 19, ARMENPRESS. The delegation headed by the President
of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia Galust Sahakyan
which paid visit to Geneva to attend 133rd Inter-Parliamentary Union
(IPU) Assembly, met Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon Nabih Berri
on October 18. As "Armenpress" was informed by Public Relations and
Media Department of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia,
issues related to the development of relations of the two countries and
cooperation at international level were discussed during the meeting.
Galust Sahakyan emphasized the necessity of developing
interparliamentary cooperation which according to the President of
the National Assembly is significant for strengthening the basis of
mutually beneficial cooperation.
Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon Nabih Berri thanked for the
meeting and assured that Lebanon is by Armenia's side. In regard
to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, the Speaker of the Parliament of
Lebanon reconfirmed his attitude: Lebanon supports the Republic of
Armenia in this matter too.
Galust Sahakyan invited his counterpart to Armenia and received
Posted 22 October 2015 - 09:45 AM
MISINFORMATION SPREAD BY BAKU AIMED AT INCITING ANTI-ARMENIAN SENTIMENTS
18:17, 21 Oct 2015
Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan received the head of ICRC
(International Committee of the Red Cross) delegation to Armenia
Caroline Douilliez and the newly appointed Regional Director for
Eastern Europe and Central Asia Patrick Vial.
The parties discussed issues on the agenda of cooperation between
the Armenian Defense Ministry and the ICRC Delegation and referred
to the future joint programs.
The ICRC delegates praised the role of Armenian government bodies and
particularly the Ministry of Defense in the activities of the State
Commission for Prisoners of War, Hostages, and Missing Persons.
Referring to the Karabakh conflict, Seyran Ohanyan noted that the
Baku's misinformation about the number of missing as a result of the
Artsakh war and the information about mass burial sites, as well as
the ungrounded accusations against the Armenian side aim to incite
anti-Armenian sentiments among the Azerbaijani public.
Minister Ohanyan thanked the ICRC and its representation in Armenia
for the high level of cooperation and expressed the willingness of the
Armenian government agencies to support all humanitarian initiatives.
Posted 03 November 2015 - 11:19 AM
10:01 03/11/2015 » SOCIETY
Corriere della Sera: Sooner or later world will accept that Artsakh people are true Christians and Armenians
“Olibanum smoke and flickering candles quivering the strings of the soul. These are the strongest impressions of a Sunday morning in Karabakh,” Marco Merola writes for the weekly appendix to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, where he shares his impressions of Nagorno Karabakh Republic.
A longhaired man and his daughter pray in inspiration and then knee on a big carpet in the centre of Gandzasar church, while the others present calmly pray, the journalist writes.
He notes that Gandzasar is a much-respected monastery in the NKR. Knyaz Hasan Jalalyan built it in the first half of the 13th century. According to a legend, the monastery was constructed to bury John the Baptist’s cut head, which Knyaz Hasan had brought from the Iberian Peninsula. Until the 19th century, Gandzasar was the undisputable centre of the religious life in Artsakh.
In Gandzasar, the author met two young men, Hayk Hakobyan and Mikael Mkhitaryan, who had arrived from Yerevan commissioned by the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.
“We are here to study the numerous inscriptions emblazoning the walls of the church. They contain information about the donations the local families made throughout centuries. The Turks burnt up all the books and manuscripts. Thus, those manuscripts became a very important proof,” Hayk and Mikael said.
The real aim of the research, however, was different. They intended to show that Artsakh belongs to Armenia, rather than Azerbaijan, by revealing the roots and genealogy of Armenian aristocracy in that land. Merola learnt that Yerevan is going to give a few thousand ancient books to a specially equipped place at the monastery in the months that follow. Those books are currently kept in Matenadaran, the Scientific Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts. This will make Gandzasar a “branch” of Matenadaran. The message is clear – “the Armenians and Artsakhians are one face and one race.”
The efforts of Gregory the Enlightener, who spread Christianity in every corner of Great Armenia in 301, had a powerful unifying effect in that sense. His grandson, Bishop Grigoris, was his deserved successor, who died in a city near the Caspian. The bishop’s disciples took his body to bury in Amaras Monastery. Merola decided to check the truthfulness of the legend by himself.
“The place is beautiful and romantic in its detachment,” the journalist admires. The monastery was looted and destroyed during the war, but the tomb remained intact only because the troops of the adversary side did not find it. “We arm ourselves with torches and go down a round staircase. Suddenly, the tomb ‘appears’ in front of us,” the journalist writes.
The famous saying comes to his mind: “He who controls the past controls the future.” To Merola, these words are especially true when it comes to Artsakh. He points out that the only obstacle for large-scale historical and archaeological researches here is the shortage of resources – a side effect of the blockade.
Further, Merola writes about the ancient city Tigranakert. Now, the author and his company were accompanied by Nadya Paskual, a tourism expert, and Hamlet Petrosyan, an archaeologist, who had dedicated ten years of his life to studying Tigranakert. Paskual said the Armenian king Tigranes the Great (99-55 BC) was the founder of the city. The Italian journalist and his group went to the valley of Khachenaget River on the side of Vankasar Mountain. They went up the mountain, about 450 metres, and then stopped in front of huge limestone blocks set with geometric accuracy.
According to Merola’s article, Tigranakert is an excellently preserved ancient city in the Caucasus, beautiful as Antioch and Seleucia. The cyclopean walls, which protected the acropolis from the enemies, fully touch the cliff despite the slope. “Imagine what a beautiful sight would open to you from here – white stone and parks, many parks,” Petrosyan admires.
Further, Merola shares his impressions from Artsakh State Museum. Back in 1938, German archaeologists found numerous artefacts dating back to the second millennium BC in the territory of Artsakh as they were searching for traces of former civilisations. Armine Grigoryan, the director of the State Museum of the NKR, told the journalist the museum started to fully function only after the fall of the Soviet Union. She said in the 1970s, the museum had coins of Tigranes the Great’s times. However, the museum could not demonstrate them more than one day because of the Azerbaijanis’ protest, and the director of the museum was fired. The author states that one must make sure to visit the museum whose floors separate it in accord with eras starting from the Stone Age and ending with the war of the 1990s.
The author had the impression that the people of the NKR work to promote tourism. Projects of eco villages are elaborated. Each of those people feels themselves as a part of something very great.
Hasmik Mkhitaryan, the head of Karabakh Carpet company, is one of them. She moved from Yerevan to the NKR in 2013. The local government recovered the old carpet weaving school in an intention to revive the ancient traditions, which had been cut short because of the war. “I moved here because I felt I must help these people,” Hasmik said. She meets her family once a month. Either she goes to Yerevan, or her family visit her in Artsakh.
“It is difficult, but when I see the satisfaction of my girls (this is how she calls all the women working at the company even if they age from 16 to 65), I calm down,” she explains. At average, one can buy a Karabakh carpet for approximately 80 thousand drams (160 euros). A carpet for Rome Pope was woven here. Pargev Martirosyan, the Archbishop of Artsakh diocese, will be probably be the one getting it to the Pope. The Archbishop does not conceal his sympathy towards Pope Francis. “A brave person defencing the justice,” this is how he describes the Pope.
“We are true Christians and Armenians. Sooner or later the world will accept that,” Pargev Martirosyan, the Archbishop, said.
Posted 08 November 2015 - 07:50 AM
Italian journalist: Not a single anti-Azerbaijani propagandistic
poster in Stepanakert centre, only bright colours
13:09 07/11/2015 » REGION
A six-hour drive takes from Yerevan to Nagorno Karabakh Republic. On
the border checkpoint between Armenia and the de facto independent
state, one can see the flags of both states. Their difference is that
there is a geometric drawing reminding a carpet ornament against the
background of the Armenian flag, Italian journalist Simone Zoppellaro
writes for Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso.
A particularly beautiful mountain landscape takes to Shushi, one of
the first cities in the NKR. There are new buildings, a hotel and
other structures here, yet the echoes of war and traces of bombing can
still be felt. Many refugees, who left Azerbaijan in the 90s, live in
Shushi. The city is situated on a hill, which the Azerbaijani troops
used to bomb the Armenians down in Stepanakert day and night. Everyone
still remembers those days with a sense of alarm. A tank T- 72 stands
at the entrance to the city as a monument to the victory, Zoppellaro
The capital Stepanakert is 10 kilometres from Shushi. The buildings of
state agencies and the parliament are in the city with about 50
thousand residents. Everyone here took part in the war; at least
everyone has relatives or friends killed in the war.
The author notes several excellent restaurants, pub, hotels, state
offices, fountain and even a small tour agency in the central square,
the heart of the city. There are no signs of war in Stepanakert
centre, and not even a single anti-Azerbaijani propagandistic poster.
There are only bright colours. Sadly, the war is not far away,
however; it can be noticed after just a few minutes' drive. The road
taking from the capital to the city Martakert is an impressive sight.
`The death and life are neighbours on this road, where the two armies
have been fighting for over twenty years under Europe's indifference,'
Zoppellaro writes. He brings the example of the Armenian village
Maragha, utterly destroyed in 1992.
Posted 15 December 2015 - 10:52 AM
MOSCOW WARNING: RUSSIA SLAMS TURKEY OVER "COUNTERPRODUCTIVE" STANCE ON KARABAKH
Karabakh | 15.12.15 | 10:13
A senior Russian diplomat has warned Turkey against supporting
Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict following statements by
Ankara officials about their efforts to help Baku regain control over
the disputed region.
In comments on the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Monday, Aleksandr
Lukashevich, who currently serves as Russia's ambassador to the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE)
headquarters in Vienna, said that Turkey's position runs counter to
international efforts to broker a Karabakh settlement.
"Such a position is not supported in the OSCE," said Lukashevich,
reminding that Russia, along with the United States and France,
carries the main burden of the mediatory mission as a Minsk Group
co-chair country. He said that while Turkey is also a member of the
Minsk Group, "the leading role [in the Karabakh peace process] is
reserved for the three co-chairs."
"Therefore, attempts to defend one of the parties to the conflict in
Nagorno-Karabakh are absolutely destructive and cannot have any
continuation," Lukashevich emphasized.
The senior Russian diplomat's remarks come amid continuing tensions in
the relations between Moscow and Ankara that followed the November 24
downing by a Turkish fighter jet of a Russian warplane near the
Late last month Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Foreign
Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu paid separate visits to Baku reassuring
Azerbaijan's leadership of Ankara's support in the Karabakh conflict
resolution. Cavusoglu, in particular, also criticized the American,
Russian and French mediators for failing to achieve a Karabakh
settlement acceptable to Azerbaijan.
The statements were taken by some analysts and politicians in Moscow
as Turkey's intention to "open a second front" against Russia in the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
Tensions near Nagorno-Karabakh and along the volatile
Armenian-Azerbaijani border have increased in recent days amid efforts
of the mediators to organize a fresh Armenian-Azerbaijani summit. The
Minsk Group co-chairs say such a meeting between Armenian President
Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev could be held
before the end of the year.
Russia is Armenia's key political and military ally and has a military
base in Armenian soil. Armenia is also a member of the Collective
Security Treaty Organization, a defense pact of six former Soviet
nations led by Russia.
Posted 16 December 2015 - 10:39 AM
Azerbaijan's Guns Must be Silenced:
Can't Negotiate under Fire
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
For over two decades, the international community, led by OSCE Minsk
Group mediators representing the United States, France and Russia, has
been trying to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the Artsakh
The main obstacle is Azerbaijan's persistence in shooting while
negotiating, and intensifying its attacks on the eve of every crucial
meeting for settlement of the conflict. Such unconstructive behavior
is totally unacceptable for everyone involved in the peace
process. Azerbaijan intentionally escalates the violence on such
occasions in order to pressure the international community to force
Armenia into making unfair concessions on Artsakh.
To make matters worse, every time Azerbaijani forces launch attacks on
Artsakh or Armenia, the Minsk Group mediators issue a routine
statement urging both sides to stop firing, thereby equating the
violator with the victim. In addition, the mediators cover up their
irresponsible statement by claiming that they are not certain which
side initiated the shooting.
In October, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R--CA)
and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel of New York, initiated a letter
signed by 85 House members, to U.S. co-chair, Amb. James Warlick,
urging him to take all necessary steps to withdraw snipers from the
border, deploy gunfire locator systems along the Line of Contact, and
increase the number of field monitors. These measures were accepted by
Armenia, Artsakh, the US Congress, and the Minsk Group co-chairs, but
rejected by Azerbaijan because of its intent to conceal and continue
its warmongering initiatives. Under these untenable circumstances, the
three mediators may consider placing gunfire locators on the Artsakh
side of the border to record the source of incoming fire. If the
mediators are unwilling to take such action, Armenia should go ahead
and purchase gunfire locators from US manufacturer Raytheon and
recruit independent NGOs to monitor and report the results to the
Once the source of the shooting is identified, the mediators would
then be obligated to condemn the perpetrator; otherwise, they would be
encouraging Azerbaijan to escalate the attacks on Armenia and Artsakh.
Meanwhile, the mediators must warn Azerbaijan's autocratic President
Ilham Aliyev that should he not cease and desist from making threats
and shelling Armenia and Artsakh, they will be forced to submit
Azerbaijan's violations to the United Nations Security Council, to
mandate economic sanctions against his country.
The mediators could also temporarily suspend their peacemaking
activities by announcing that they are prevented from seeking a
negotiated settlement to the conflict, while Azerbaijan keeps on
shooting. Surely, it is not possible to fight and talk at the same
Since Azerbaijan is not ready to go to war -- if it were, it would
have started it already instead of merely threatening -- it has no
choice but to heed the call of the mediators to cease firing and start
negotiating in earnest. Freezing the negotiations would be a serious
setback for Azerbaijan because that is the only way it can hope to
reach some accommodation with Armenia and Artsakh. Armenians, on the
other hand, have already accomplished their objective of liberating
Artsakh from Azeri occupation and have nothing to gain from further
Should the mediators decide not to freeze the peace talks, the
Armenian government may decide to suspend its participation in these
unproductive negotiations, thus sending a clear message to Baku that
shelling Armenia and Artsakh undermines Azerbaijan's own interests.
If the negotiations are not suspended and Azerbaijan continues its
attacks, the Armenian government may eventually respond with a
`massive and asymmetrical retaliation," as it has repeatedly
warned. While some may be concerned that such an action would further
escalate the violence, in fact it would diminish, if not halt the
endless border skirmishes, once Azeri leaders realize that they have
more to lose by fighting than talking. It is unfortunate that
Pres. Aliyev is exploiting the deaths of young Azeri soldiers on the
frontlines to distract his people's attention away from massive
violations of civil rights, corruption at the highest echelons of his
government, and abysmal economic conditions due to diminishing oil
I had the opportunity to discuss some of these issues last week with
various officials in Washington, D.C., while Artsakh's Foreign
Minister Garen Mirzoyan was in town to meet with members of Congress
and US mediator Amb. Warlick. Two receptions were held to honor the
visiting Foreign Minister at the Armenian Embassy and on Capitol Hill,
the latter co-hosted by the U.S. Congressional Caucus on Armenian
Issues, Armenian National Committee of America, Armenian Assembly of
America, and the U.S. Office of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic. Several
House members, Amb. Warlick, and other dignitaries attended the
congressional reception to the chagrin of Azerbaijan's Embassy which
had dispatched a small group of Azeris to protest the event. Chairman
Royce announced during the reception that he had asked Amb. Warlick to
come to the House of Representatives this week for a briefing on the
A large number of ANCA activists from throughout the USA, including
this writer, joined Foreign Minister Mirzoyan in Washington last week,
to share a message of peace and democracy for Artsakh with dozens of
House and Senate members, urging them to recognize its independence
Posted 17 December 2015 - 10:35 AM
AZERBAIJANI FACES RUSSIA COURT FOR MAKING ANTI-ARMENIAN CALLS
Theme: Politics, Society
The lawsuit, which is filed against local resident of Azerbaijani
origin Alik Ibragimov, has been forwarded to the Tselinsky District
Court of Rostov Oblast (province), Russia.
Ibragimov is charged with inciting ethnic enmity, Ruffnews.ru reported.
"According to the investigation premise, the accused (...) made
statements which incite enmity toward a group of people (Armenians)
having a certain ethnic affiliation, convincing those present in
the need for carrying out violent acts toward people of Armenian
ethnicity, [and] forming a response of aggressive behavioral stereotype
toward representatives of the Armenian nationality," the respective
investigative press release specifically notes.
Posted 19 December 2015 - 10:06 AM
US AMBASSADOR TO OSCE PRAISE TURKEY'S ROLE IN MINSK GROUP
about 1 hour ago 18/12/15
United States Ambassador to the OSCE, Daniel B. Baer
VIENNA--The United States Ambassador to the OSCE, Daniel B. Baer on
Thursday praised Turkey's role as a Minsk Group member in remarks
delivered the organization's permanent council.
"We note recent statements that have called into question Turkey's
constructiveness as a Minsk Group member and disagree with that
assessment. Turkey has been a valuable member of the Minsk Group and
has worked cooperatively with the Co-Chairs on finding a way forward
in peace talks," Baer said in defense of Turkey whose role was deemed
as destructive to the Karabakh talks earlier this week by Russia's
Ambassador to the OSCE, Aleksandr Lukashevich.
The Russian diplomat on Monday deplored Turkey's unconditional support
for Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, calling Ankara's
pro-Azerbaijani position "destructive."
"There is a strict understanding that the three co-chairs [of the OSCE
Minsk Group] -- Russia, France and the U.S. -- carry the main burden,
as do other members of the Minsk Group," said Lukashevich. "Turkey,
by the way, is also a member. But the leading role [in the Karabakh
peace process] is reserved for the three co-chairs."
"Therefore, attempts to defend one of the parties to the conflict
in Nagorno-Karabakh are absolutely destructive and cannot have any
continuation," added the diplomat.
Armenian National Committee of America Chairman Ken Hachikian responded
Friday to U.S. Baer's statement.
"In the wake of Ambassador Baer's recent reckless statement, it is
clear that the leadership of our State Department needs to exercise
considerably greater caution and thoughtfulness regarding officials
who encourage a direct Turkish role in the Nagorno Karabakh peace
process," said Hachikian.
"Ankara makes no secret of its pro-Baku bias, and long ago abandoned
any pretense of neutrality. Look at the facts: The Erdogan government
actively supports Aliyev's virulent anti-Armenian positions, openly
providing military aid and training to the Azerbaijani military, while,
at the same time, blockading Armenia, contrary to international law,
and seeking to isolate Yerevan in the international arena.
Turkey's strategy -- and the international community's unwillingness to
call them out on it -- has emboldened an aggressive and intransigent
Azerbaijan to increase its attacks - leading to over 43 Armenian
deaths in 2015 alone," added Hachikian.
"Why then, do U.S. officials allow themselves to be used as props in
Erdogan's farce, pretending that the Turkish government will - against
all evidence - play the role of some sort of impartial mediator?"
"Why is it that U.S. leaders can't seem to find our moral compass when
its comes to Turkey - on issues ranging from justice for the Armenian
Genocide and a peace for Syria to freedom for Nagorno Karabakh?"
"This Administration's shameful legacy of endlessly caving in to
Turkish threats - at the expense of our own values and interests as
a nation - is truly a national disgrace - an embarrassment beneath
the dignity of the American people," commented Hachikian.
"Tearing down the firewall between Turkey and the Karabakh talks
would only result in adding more fuel to the fire, setting back the
cause of lasting peace," concluded Hachikian.
Posted 23 December 2015 - 12:11 PM
Pres. Obama Should Dismiss Amb. Baer
For Favoring ISIS Ally Turkey
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Even the most uninformed person on earth is aware by now that Turkey
is a major accomplice of ISIS. There have been countless news reports
in the global media documenting Turkish complicity. Amazingly, there
is one American diplomat who seems to be clueless about Turkey's
destructive role in the region, not only in Syria and Iraq, but also
in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh)!
How could the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) be that ignorant to give a speech
praising Turkey's `valuable' role in the effort to settle the Artsakh
In his December 17 statement to OSCE's Permanent Council, Amb. Daniel
B. Baer had the audacity to praise Turkey's `constructive role as a
Minsk Group member' in the Artsakh conflict. He went on to state that
`Turkey has been a valuable member of the Minsk Group and has worked
cooperatively with the Co-Chairs on finding a way forward in peace
talks' between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Amb. Baer expressed his disagreement with Alexander Lukashevich,
Russia's Ambassador to the OSCE, who had questioned two days earlier
`Turkey's constructiveness as a Minsk Group member.' The Russian
Ambassador had criticized Turkey for siding with `one of the parties
of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict [Azerbaijan],' and described Ankara's
position as `unacceptable' and `absolutely destructive.'
Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Ken Hachikian
denounced Amb. Baer's statement, calling it `reckless.' Hachikian
noted Turkey's long list of staunchly pro-Azerbaijan policies: `The
Erdogan government actively supports Aliyev's virulent anti-Armenian
positions, openly providing military aid and training to the
Azerbaijani military, while, at the same time, blockading Armenia,
contrary to international law, and seeking to isolate Yerevan in the
The ANCA Chairman wondered why `U.S. officials allow themselves to be
used as props in Erdogan's farce, pretending that the Turkish
government will -- against all evidence -- play the role of some sort
of impartial mediator?' Hachikian concluded: `This Administration's
shameful legacy of endlessly caving in to Turkish threats -- at the
expense of our own values and interests as a nation -- is truly a
national disgrace -- an embarrassment beneath the dignity of the
Several members of the U.S. Congress also condemned Amb. Baer's
scandalous remarks. Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairman Frank
Pallone (D-NJ) said he was `troubled by the recent statement praising
Turkey's role in the Minsk Group peace process made by our
U.S. Representative to the OSCE. Turkey's active and overt support of
Azerbaijan with regard to the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict has been
apparent from the beginning. A statement like this will only serve to
polarize the negotiations.'
House Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Democrat Adam Schiff of
California stated unequivocally that `given Turkey's behavior and
longstanding support for Baku, they cannot be considered -- in any way
-- a neutral broker in what has become an increasingly intense
conflict along the Line of Contact.' Cong. Schiff further suggested
that `instead of stacking the table against Nagorno Karabagh, all
nations should insist upon the deployment of monitoring technology
along the border, a step that Armenia has readily agreed to but has
been resisted by Azerbaijan, doubtless because it would demonstrate
their unprovoked aggression.'
This writer has yet to see a reaction from Armenia challenging
Amb. Baer's ill-advised and inappropriate remarks. Silence would imply
agreement with the U.S. Ambassador's unfortunate words. In fact,
Amb. Baer should be severely criticized by everyone, Armenians and
non-Armenians alike, for encouraging Turkey's detrimental meddling in
the Artsakh conflict. Instead of praising Turkey's `constructive' and
`valuable' role, the U.S. Ambassador should have followed the example
of his Russian counterpart and lashed out at Ankara's sinister and
Two years ago, when he was sworn in as envoy to OSCE, Amb. Baer
released a video in which he cheerfully announced: `My partner, Brian,
and I, are excited to live in Vienna, along with our greyhound,
Cleo. We look forward to exploring a wonderful city, and going skiing
and hiking in Austria, and to traveling around the OSCE region.'
Amb. Baer seems more interested in tourism at US taxpayers' expense
than engaging in serious diplomatic work. If that is the case,
Pres. Obama should relieve the Ambassador of his duties, so he can
continue his sightseeing tour of Europe at his own expense!
Posted 23 December 2015 - 06:14 PM
Finding The Next Flashpoint in US – Russia Relations Since the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, US-Russian relations repeatedly have been hit by surprise developments. In just the last couple of years, unexpected events have included Edward Snowden’s leaks, Crimea, Donbas, Syria, the Russian Metrojet tragedy and the Turkish shoot-down of a Russian Su-24. The list could go on. In each case, Washington was forced to make reactive as opposed to proactive policies concerning Russia or its neighbors.
This phenomenon is such that Russia’s ability to surprise is frequently presented as one of its prime tactical advantages over the West. The US Congress has even called for investigations into “intelligence failures” connected to Russia’s ability to surprise.
The focus should not be on intelligence failures. Many Russians were equally surprised by these events. The problem is that Washington repeatedly has failed to look for potential flashpoints, and, therefore, has done nothing to prepare for them. Breaking the pattern, then, should begin with identifying the next potential hot spot.
The list of potential problems is long, but the “frozen conflict” in Nagorno-Karabakh—an obscure region of the South Caucasus—stands out because it is far from frozen. The “hot” phase of the Karabakh war—the result of nationalist Armenia clashing with nationalist Azerbaijan during the twilight of the Soviet era—ended with a 1994 ceasefire agreement. Armenians ended up controlling the disputed Karabakh region along with a large swathe of Azerbaijan proper. The human cost was high: 20,000 killed, 1 million displaced, economies torn to shreds. After the war, Armenia fell firmly under Russia’s security blanket, while Azerbaijan looked to Turkey and the West, eager to find markets for its oil and gas. For the past two decades plus, the two combatants have failed to come to a lasting political settlement.
That is now part of the problem because a renewed conflict would pit Armenia, Russia’s ally, against Azerbaijan, NATO-member Turkey’s ally. Of late, both Armenia and Azerbaijan have been testing the ceasefire; if it does crumble, the conflict has the potential to develop into another proxy war between Russia and the West. The current friction between Turkey and Russia over the Su-24 downing adds a new layer of complication to an already tense situation in the Caucasus, and has raised perceptions in the Caucasus of a heightened threat level.
It does not have to be this way. The United States, Russia and France for much of the past 20 years led diplomatic efforts to manage the Karabakh conflict. These efforts have not brought peace, but they at least have prevented a renewal of large-scale fighting. Soldiers die each year, but clashes are largely contained to the front lines of the disputed territories.
Peace remains elusive because neither Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev nor his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan really want the conflict resolved. The status quo of “no real war/no real peace” is useful to them because it allows their governments to justify authoritarian policies and divert popular attention from social, economic and political problems at home. In short, these leaders find it easier to blame their respective society’s ills on external enemies than to try to implement reforms.
The problem now is the system of trilateral diplomacy that long kept large-scale fighting at bay in Karabakh is breaking down due to the broader erosion of East-West relations. As a result, the heat is being turned up on the long simmering conflict.
Aggressive language is on the rise, as local economies struggle. This is particularly problematic in Azerbaijan, where the Aliyev administration is facing a fiscal crisis brought on by the plummeting price of oil and natural gas. Baku’s increasing reliance on authoritarian governing methods also has fueled rancor in its relations with the West, diminishing Washington’s ability to influence Azerbaijan on Karabakh.
Over the past two years, occasional small-arms fire along the front lines has given way to artillery duels and mortar attacks, the downing of a helicopter, the use of drones and ambushes. The fighting claimed 72 lives in 2014, making it the bloodiest year since the ceasefire. Deaths this year look like they may have already surpassed that; fighting has moved beyond the traditional front lines to other areas of the border region. And villages have been targeted, leading to civilian deaths.
In most cases, Azerbaijan appears to be testing Armenian resolve, but Armenia is responding with resounding force. Both sides are complicit in the spike of violence this year.
Russia at times has played a helpful role in international negotiations; former Russian President Medvedev tried in vain to broker a resolution during his time in the Kremlin. At the same time, Russia also fuels the conflict by providing weapons to both sides. Eager to pull Azerbaijan back into its orbit, the Kremlin has authorized the sale of advanced weapons to Baku. This weapons flow has unnerved Armenia, which has sought to improve its relationship with the West, despite its alliance with Moscow.
Keeping the Karabakh conflict in check would seem to be in the Kremlin’s interests. The last thing Moscow needs right now is a war next to its volatile North Caucasus region, and not too far from Syria—where the Russian military is risking becoming bogged down.
With a lasting Karabakh peace settlement still looking illusive, the status quo probably suits the West too. Distracted by Syria, the Ukrainian conflict and growing terror threats at home, the West does not have the bandwidth to address yet another conflict.
Another consideration is that instability in Armenia or Azerbaijan could provide a post-sanctions Iran with an opening to increase its influence in the Caucasus at Russian, Turkish and US expense. This would occur at the same time when Tehran is trying to expand its influence in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Russia and the United States have a track record of at least trying to de-escalate the Karabakh conflict. Another war between Armenia and Azerbaijan is in nobody’s interest, and it is time to reinvigorate diplomacy to make sure there is not one.
Editor’s note: Paul Stronski is a senior associate in the Carnegie Endowment’s Russia and Eurasia Program, where his research focuses on the relationship between Russia and neighboring countries in Central Asia and the South Caucasus. He was Director for Russia and Central Asia on the US National Security Council Staff from 2012 to 2014; he also has served as a research analyst in the US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, focusing on Russia and the South Caucasus.
Finding The Next Flashpoint in US – Russia Relations by Paul Stronski, EurasiaNet
Posted 12 January 2016 - 11:13 AM
The White House Should Answer
10 Key Questions on Artsakh
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
For many years, the Armenian-American community has been dissatisfied
with United States policy on Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh).
Under the guise of neutrality, OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair James Warlick
and his predecessors have put the blame on both sides of the conflict
each time that Azerbaijan has opened fire on Armenia and Artsakh. Such
an unfair approach has encouraged Pres. Aliyev to escalate his
To eliminate or at least minimize such bloody aggression, 85 members
of Congress recently signed a joint letter urging the Obama
Administration to implement the following three steps regarding the
border between the two countries: 1) withdraw the snipers; 2) increase
the number of international monitors; and 3) deploy gunfire
locators. Not surprisingly, Azerbaijan has rejected all three
proposals, while Armenia, Artsakh, and the Minsk Group of mediators
(France, Russia, and United States) have accepted them.
Last week, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce held a
classified briefing with Amb. Warlick concerning the implementation of
the proposals which he and Cong. Eliot Engel had initiated. Before the
closed-door meeting, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)
had circulated a set of 10 suggested questions for Amb. Warlick. While
it not known if these questions were raised during the congressional
briefing, the Obama Administration should be asked to respond publicly
to the 10 questions so that everyone becomes aware of its position on
the Artsakh conflict.
To ensure that an official answer is received, I suggest the posting
of these questions on the White House website, under the `Petitions'
section. The website states that the Obama Administration will issue a
formal response in 60 days to any petition that gathers over 100,000
signatures within 30 days of its posting. Azeris have already taken
advantage of this unique opportunity by posting on the White House
website two anti-Armenian petitions which gathered 105,686 and 126,828
signatures respectively. As expected, the White House did issue a
statement in response to the two Azeri petitions.
Below are the 10 ANCA questions which should be posted as a petition
on the White House website:
1) What specific steps, if any, has the U.S. government taken to
ensure the implementation of the Royce-Engel peace proposals,
specifically with regard to an agreement on the non-deployment of
snipers, the addition of observers, and the deployment of gunfire
locator systems along the line of contact?
2) The State Department has been both very vocal and highly specific
about what it believes the Armenian side must concede. Is the
U.S. government willing to match this public diplomacy with equally
high-profile and similarly concrete demands upon Azerbaijan?
3) What are the specific facts, legal arguments, and policy
considerations that led our government to officially recognize Kosovo
but not Nagorno Karabakh?
4) Does the Azerbaijani government's record of domestic repression and
corruption in any way impact how our government views Azerbaijan's
claim to extend its governance over Nagorno Karabakh?
5) Why has Azerbaijan's well documented (and video-taped) destruction
of the medieval Armenian Cemetery in Djulfa never been mentioned in
either the State Department's Human Rights or Religious Freedom
6) What is the U.S. government's current request, if any, regarding
the re-incarceration of admitted and still unrepentant axe-murderer
7) What is the U.S. policy concerning the Azerbaijani government's
travel restrictions related to U.S. citizens of Armenian heritage?
8) What is the U.S. policy regarding NATO member states, notably
Turkey, making sales or transfers of advanced, offensive weaponry to
9) What specific restrictions exist regarding travel and communication
between the citizens and officials of the United States and Nagorno
Karabakh? What are the justifications for any such restrictions of
these freedoms? What, if any, are the perceived benefits of such
10) What interests do you believe have been served, if any, by
official U.S. public restraint in challenging Azerbaijan's
high-profile anti-Armenian incitements, threats, and cross-border
I believe that a well-publicized petition can gather much more than
100,000 signatures within 30 days of its posting on the White House
website, particularly if prominent individuals with a large number of
followers endorse the petition.
Posted 29 January 2016 - 10:37 AM
Expert: Azerbaijan might `play the Karabakh card' given worsening of
Region:Armenia, Karabakh, Azerbaijan
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has actually obliterated the
formal opposition, famous expert Thomas de Waal writes in his article
`Azerbaijan's Perfect Storm,' published on carnegieeurope.eu website.
According to the expert, many leading critics of his regime'human
rights defenders, journalists, and youth activists ` were arrested
over the past two years.
`Only 20 years ago, Azerbaijan had a turbulent and chaotic political
life, which was put to an end by the skills of the all-powerful Heidar
Aliyev. [However] Ilham Aliyev, Heidar's son and successor since 2003,
has never been the dominant monarch that his father was, more of the
pivot at the center of the elite, the `first amongst equals,' and
arbiter of disputes amongst top officials, who are also rent-seeking
businessmen,' Thomas de Waal notes.
The Azerbaijani regime is no longer that homogeneous as it used to be,
the author writes.
`In October, Eldar Mahmudov, Azerbaijan's long-serving national
security minister'the head of what used to be the KGB'was sacked,
along with most of his subordinates. There are many rumors as to why.
One tells of a conspiracy with the former head of the International
Bank of Azerbaijan'a relative by marriage of Mahmudov'to defraud the
government. Or else, reportedly, Mahmudov was caught carrying out
secret surveillance of fellow ministers and presidential officials,'
de Waal writes.
According to him, the international context is worsening too.
`Azerbaijan is in the middle of a (self-inflicted) row with the United
States, after closing down almost all U.S. organizations in Baku and
accusing Washington of fomenting a `color revolution' in the country.
A bill threatening sanctions in response to human rights abuses was
recently tabled in Congress. The row between Russia and Turkey, its
two closest international partners, has put Azerbaijan in an awkward
spot. (Only last year, Aliyev was convening a friendly meeting between
Putin and ErdoÄ?an in Baku.) Lifting of sanctions on Iran is a triple
blow. It removes a major card Baku was playing with the West (that it
was a bulwark against a hostile Iran), reinvigorates a regional power
which has a number of quarrels with Azerbaijan, and depresses oil
prices. Moreover, there is talk in Georgia of importing oil from Iran
via Armenia, which would end Azerbaijan's monopoly on gas imports,'
the expert notes.
According to de Waal, two more powerful sources of instability add to
the picture of distraction and uncertainty. One is the unresolved
conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. `Over the last few years,
the ceasefire regime established in 1994 has deteriorated, Azerbaijan
has acquired a fearsome new arsenal of weaponry, and the country has
turned up the dial of bellicose rhetoric against the Armenians for
occupying Azerbaijani land. The increasing worry is that an
Azerbaijani regime that is in desperate straits might choose to `play
the Karabakh card''-the one grievance that can rally all Azerbaijanis
around the flag'and start a military operation, large or small, to
recover lost territory. In that case, the Armenians would be bound to
strike back and a new and potentially catastrophic conflict in the
Caucasus would break out,' the author writes.
The other one, according to him, is political Islam. Azerbaijan's
secular pro-Western political prisoners have captured most of the
attention abroad. On December 28, one of the most prominent of them,
famous journalist Rauf Mirkadirov, was sentenced to a six-year
imprisonment on the charge of allegedly spying for Armenia.
But the majority of the prisoners in Azerbaijan are accused of
political radicalism. Among them are Shias from the pro-Iranian
village of Nardaran or Sunnis accused of supporting the Islamic State.
`Last year, the Azerbaijani government predicated its budget forecasts
on $50-a-barrel oil. Now, President Aliyev faces the near-impossible
task of how to buy off very different groups of discontented citizens
with oil at little more than half that level,' the expert concludes.
Posted 31 January 2016 - 09:54 AM
Azerbaijan angered by Russian TV channel report on Karabakh
13:49 ¢ 30.01.16
A Russian military TV channel's documentary dedicated to
Nagorno-Karabakh has spurred a wave of anger in Azerbaijan which
disapproved of a wording describing the country as an independent
The docuemtnary was broadcast by the TV Channel Zvezda on the occasion
of the 24th anniversary of the Armenian Armed Forces.
A corresponding footage, which was posted on the TV Channel's website,
featured the presidents of the two Armenian republics heading to the
Military Pantheon Yerablur on January 28.
According to the Azerbaijani news agency APA, the country was
particularly angered by the fact that Bako Sahakyan was referred as
the president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:13 AM
Australian Senator slams `ludicrous' anti-Armenian statement on
Karabakh by MP Simpkins
17:36, 03 Feb 2016
Senator Joe Bullock of Western Australia has delivered a speech in
Australia's Senate, blasting the anti-Armenian stance on
Nagorno-Karabakh recently expressed by his fellow Federal Australian
politician, MP for Cowan, Luke Simpkins, the Armenian National
Committee of Australia reports.
Simpkins, the Chair of the Azerbaijan Australia Parliamentary
Friendship Group, recently travelled to Azerbaijan as a guest of the
petro-Dictatorship, and has since refused to meet with the Armenian
side of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Despite this unbalanced approach,
and despite the Australian media questioning his relations with
Azerbaijan and his other activities abroad, Simpkins has remained
steadfast in what the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC
Australia) has called his `assumed role as the chief communicator of
the Azeri propaganda in Australia's Parliament'.
On the first 2016 sitting day of Parliament, Bullock spoke in
Australia's Senate, recalling his late-2015 meeting with an ANC
Australia delegation headed by Republic of Nagorno Karabakh MP, Davit
He proceeded to call out Simpkins's `uncritical support for
Azerbaijan', sighting the history of the region of Nagorno-Karabakh
and why this democracy does not deserve the treatment the West
Australian MP is serving. In his speech, Bullock also acknowledged the
historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, as well as the rights to
self-determination for the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh.
After highlighting the historical background of how Nagorno Karabakh
was always Armenian, and explaining the oppressive Azeri regime
forcing the Armenians of the region to vote for Independence in a
referendum, Bullock said:
`To speak, as the Member for Cowan [Simpkins] has repeatedly done in
the other place [House of Representatives], of the `illegal occupiers
of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan' is ludicrous. How can a
people who have lived continuously in this region for centuries
illegally occupy their own land?'
Bullock added: `Furthermore, such uncritical support for Azerbaijan's
absurd demand that this brave little nation commit suicide, dismantle
its 25-year-old democracy and hand over its people to the tender
mercies of the Azerbaijan government can only serve to strengthen the
intransigence of the Azerbaijanis in refusing to recognise the reality
of Nagorno-Karabakh's nationhood.'
`As Nobel Peace prize winner Andrei Sakharov said in November 1989,
shortly before his death: `For Azerbaijan the issue of Karabakh is a
matter of ambition; for the Armenians of Karabakh, it is a matter of
life or death'.'
Bullock concluded his powerful address by saying: `[Nazi Germany
Propaganda Minister] Joseph Goebbels may have notoriously preferred
guns to butter, but the Australian government needs to take care that
its efforts to increase exports of butter to Azerbaijan do not result
in the Azerbaijanis more confidently turning their guns onto the brave
citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh.'
ANC Australia Executive Administrator, Arin Markarian welcomed the
speech made by Senator Bullock in the Senate.
`It is refreshing that we have legislators in Australia like Senator
Bullock, who received a visit from an Armenian delegation, then
researched the issues we advocated, before reaching a conclusion on
his own, which he has now communicated to Parliament,' said Markarian.
`He has shone a light on the plight of the Armenians of Nagorno
Karabakh, and advocated for their rights to self-determination on what
is their native land.'
Markarian concluded: `We commend Senator Bullock for this, and for
leading Australian political discourse on this issue back to the moral
high ground, like Mr. John Alexander has done before him in the House
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