WASHINGTON – Armenian National Committee of America Chairman Raffi Hamparian issued a scathing rebuke of the Trump and Biden administrations’ policies on Artsakh that aided and abetted Azerbaijan’s genocide of 120,000 indigenous Christian Armenians.
In powerful remarks delivered at the ANCA Eastern Region’s “We Stand United for Artsakh” October 9 gathering in Boston, Hamparian outlined the evolution of the disastrous US policy on Artsakh – from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration.
“To be clear – President Biden did not fail on Artsakh. Just the opposite. He got exactly what he wanted – what Trump started, and he finished. The genocide of Armenians from their ancient, indigenous Artsakh homeland,” said Hamparian.
Hamparian saluted the work of the ANCA Eastern Region and issued a clarion call to stalwart advocates for Artsakh and the Armenian Homeland to rebuild, restore, and renew – “to ensure that we have a dynamic and vibrant Diaspora that can stand strong for our Hairenik – all of our Hairenik.”
Raffi Hamparian’s call to action is available here, with the text of prepared remarks provided below.
“U.S. Policy on Artsakh is Vile and Corrupt”
Remarks by ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian
ANCA Eastern Region “We Stand United for Artsakh” Gathering
October 7, 2023
We are here tonight in Boston, Massachusetts, at this ANCA Eastern Region gathering, with love in our hearts, resolve in our minds, and strength in our bones.
We gather here as happy warriors.
Happy warriors for a cause that belongs to us, to our parents, to our grandparents, to generations before, and to generations yet unborn.
In these dark and forbidding times – times that twist your stomach and torture your soul, times that make you question all that you believe in – it is fitting that we honor individuals who represent rays of light in the darkness.
Individuals of honor, of character, of strength, of dignity. Individuals who serve causes and principles that are the best of us – the very best of us.
Communities are built on the strong – seemingly indestructible – backs of men and women like Barkev Kaligian, Houry Boyamian, and Joseph Dagdigian. These are members of our volunteer army – our “gamavor panag” – who seek nothing more and nothing less than a strong and vibrant Diaspora in service to the cause of freedom and liberty for the Armenian Nation.
This evening – with the hour being late – I will focus my remarks on three key points.
First, I want us all to be clear about the true nature of America’s foreign policy with respect to Artsakh.
Second, I want to express how proud the ANCA is of the exceptional work of the ANCA Eastern Region – under the leadership of Dr. Ara Chalian – during these most trying of times for our common cause.
And third – I want to remind us all that during these dark and forbidding times, we must summon the strength – strength that we must be able to find – to keep the faith alive – certain in the knowledge that Artsakh lives.
To my first point – America’s policy on Artsakh was and is – and I would like to be precise here – both vile and corrupt. Let me explain why.
Back in 2018 and 2019 – President Trump’s then National Security Advisor John Bolton, began a reassessment of U.S. foreign policy in the Caucasus – with a specific focus on Artsakh.
As part of this review, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Vindman – who worked at the National Security Council under Bolton – summoned a senior Armenian diplomat to the White House to convey that Armenia must prepare its population for peace. In plain English – preparing populations for peace and specifically preparing the people of Artsakh for peace was a code word for integrating Artsakh into Azerbaijan. In effect – a death warrant for the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh.
The Trump Administration backed up its death sentence by shipping tens of millions in military aid to Azerbaijan, and cutting off U.S. humanitarian aid to Artsakh – even as Aliyev openly announced his plans to destroy Artsakh. Our U.S. Ambassador to Armenia at the time, Lynne Tracy, was, sadly, but not surprisingly, especially enthusiastic in this effort.
What started as a new policy on Artsakh – actually against Artsakh – under the Trump Administration continued and was compounded under the Biden Administration, even after Azerbaijan’s 44-day war in 2020.
In the wake of Baku’s aggression, President Biden twice waived Section 907 – continuing to provide direct American military aid to Azerbaijan. His Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan further deepened ties with the Aliyev regime, well aware of its genocidal intentions – as part of cynical geopolitical games and corrupt oil politics. Samantha Power, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, despite decades of human rights rhetoric, was told to stand down and did just that, failing to lift a finger to help as Artsakh’s population was starved to death by Azerbaijan’s blockade. And the State Department’s Yuri Kim – who testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “the United States will not countenance any action or effort—short-term or long-term—to ethnically cleanse or commit other atrocities against the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh” – was silent as Azerbaijan moved, just days later, to attack and ethnically-cleanse Artsakh.
And finally, on this topic – America’s vile and corrupt policy on Artsakh could only be fully implemented with the complicity of the Republic of Armenia’s present leadership – which, against all reason, recklessly recognized Azerbaijan’s legal sovereignty over Artsakh.
When, in the end, Azerbaijan had depopulated Artsakh, President Biden sent “flowers to the funeral” – by issuing a cruel letter to Armenian authorities that is not worth the paper it was printed on.
So to be clear – President Biden did not fail on Artsakh. Just the opposite. He got exactly what he wanted – what Trump started and he finished. The genocide of Armenians from their ancient, indigenous Artsakh homeland.
As a proud Armenian American – as the son of a father who proudly served this nation in World War II and the Korean War – this pains me. As I know, it pains each of you. We must work to reverse these policies, to roll back their destruction. The John Boltons and Antony Blinkens of Washington do not represent either U.S. interests or American values – and must be stopped before they aid and abet Azerbaijan and Turkey’s longstanding campaign to eradicate the Armenian homeland.
My second point this evening is to salute the remarkable – the heroic work of the ANCA Eastern Region and its brilliant volunteers across the Eastern United States.
This remarkable volunteer army – from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the Garden State, from Maine to Florida, from the Keystone State to North Carolina, from Detroit to Chicago, from Providence to Baton Rouge, worked furiously to defend our cause and people of our Hairenik.
They worked tirelessly, in a bipartisan manner, to stop or slow down the Executive Branch – specifically the State Department – hell-bent on “integrating” Artsakh into Azerbaijan. They worked to stop this death sentence.
For this work – for the honorable and effective leadership of Dr. Ara Chalian – ANCA Eastern Region Chairman – for the work of the ANCA Eastern Region Board – for the remarkable efforts of the ANCA Eastern Region chapters, staff, and volunteers – we should all be grateful.
I salute the work of the ANCA Eastern Region.
Finally – and with a clear understanding of all that we face – I want to conclude with these words.
In this time of crisis – we must summon new strength to rebuild, to restore, and to renew.
Rebuild our own faith that Artsakh – against all odds – will be free again.
Restore our commitment to keeping Artsakh alive – in all ways – until we return – our “veratartz” – to a land that has been ours for millennia.
And renew – renew our commitment to our communities here in the Eastern United States – with the work of shining points of light like Barkev Kaligian, Houry Boyamian, and Joseph Dagdigian – to ensure that we have a dynamic and vibrant Diaspora that can stand strong for our Hairenik – all of our Hairenik.
Let me close with the words of an American President:
“Greatness comes not when things go always good for you. But the greatness comes when you’re really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes. Because only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”
My fellow Armenians – today we are in the valley of death – enduring a genocide conducted against the heroic people of Artsakh.
For this reason – we must, together, rebuild, restore and renew.