BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
It’s no surprise that Turks are killing Armenians again. And, for clarity and the purposes of this observation, there’s no point in making a distinction between Erdoğan’s murderous minions and the pup-Turk Azeris being treated as cannon fodder by their “president” Aliyev. This is a case of history-made-obvious-and-repeating.
It’s no surprise that Turkey has sent men and munitions to Azerbaijan to attack the Republics of Artsakh and Armenia.
It’s no surprise that Turks are targeting “soft targets”, i.e. civilians by shelling residential areas of our homeland rather than focusing their (illegitimate) fight against our soldiers.
It’s no surprise that outsiders haven’t done much but call for cessation of hostilities by both sides, as if everyone in the world doesn’t know who started both the latest round of bloodshed and every previous round as well.
It’s no surprise that these same outside powers are concerned only about energy supplies flowing from Azerbaijan being interrupted and the risk of the conflict expanding and drawing in neighbors/regional powers (i.e. Turkey [even more than it is now], Russia, Iran, and perhaps even Europe, the Arabs, and Israel—remember, it’s selling abundant arms to Azerbaijan).
It’s no surprise that Turkey probably flouted U.S. laws in using an F-16 jet to shoot down an Armenian plane.
It’s no surprise that this attack and war are happening now. The brief clashes of July were a probe, a warmup, telling us this was coming. But even more importantly and in a slightly broader temporal context, Azerbaijan’s oil production is set to start its decline (barring new discoveries, of course) by mid-decade. It’s natural gas production will follow suit sometime in the not too distant future. Plus, the world is slowly moving away from the use of fossil fuels. All this means that Baku and the kleptocrats running it while richly lining their pockets will not have the same resources in a few years that they have now. Thus, strike they did, since time is not on their side.
It’s no surprise that the White House and U.S. Department of State have been relatively quiet. Remember, we learned just a few weeks ago that President Donald Trump is making millions from deals he’s struck in Azerbaijan and Turkey.
It’s no surprise that Asbarez was under cyberattack for days rendering its website inaccessible. That’s a recognition by the Turks of its and the ARF’s (with which it is affiliated) importance and impact on the information scene.
It’s no surprise that the Turks have resorted to disseminating false information. One “news” item I saw in the non-Armenian media reported that the village of Talish had been taken by the Turks. Later that day I learned that was not true, and that the Azeris had put out video showing burning buildings as evidence. But Talish is a village, not a city, which was on display in those videos … it turns out Baku was using footage of its bombings of Stepankert. Interesting, isn’t it? They’re confessing to bombing civilians!
It’s no surprise that I’ve been told of videos, with Arabic voices, in which Islamic extremist mercenaries shipped by Turkey to Azerbaijan are bewailing their fate, complaining that they’re not accustomed to fighting on mountainous terrain. This probably makes them easy pickin’s for our defending soldiers.
It’s no surprise that at the three demonstrations I attended last week, our compatriots, in significant proportions, not just a relative handful, willfully and proudly attended with no mask on during this pandemic. The one in Glendale had more than half the faces uncovered, though to be fair, I learned of it late and arrived there as it was breaking up. The ones in Burbank and at the Los Angeles Consulate General of Azerbaijan boasted a more sane recognition of biological reality. (more on demos separately).
It’s no surprise that I’ve gotten complaints of Facebook taking down pro-Armenian postings, including, I’m told, one about California congressman Adam Schiff’s assistance in this critical time. At first, my thought was that Turks were complaining about the posts, leading Facebook to remove them. But the latest news from Facebook, that it has decided to ban posts denying the Jewish Holocaust, but not other genocides such as ours and the Rwandan, makes me wonder if there’s not more here than meets the eye. Facebook had also taken down some Armenian Genocide related postings around the time of its centennial. It may be time to take on this social-media-mega-monster…
It’s no surprise that very shortly after the weekend ceasefire went into effect, the Turkish side shelled Armenian territory.
Once again in fairness, there were a few surprises. France’s president came out fairly strongly against the true instigators of this last round of fighting. The Washington Post editorially condemned Erdoğan’s involvement, also citing the other recent fights he’s picked with neighbors. A former NATO general’s analysis at least laid out the thinking in those circles that Armenian forces would beat Azeri forces. But another piece introduces the Turkish-advisor factor, arguing there’s no such thing as bad soldiers, just bad commanders or strategy, and lauding the Azeris’ more “modern” approach to the current war (including the use of Israeli-built drones) versus Armenians’ “Soviet” and “dogmatic” approach, implicitly suggesting the Azeris would prevail in this round of fighting.
What to do from the Diaspora? Unfortunately, we’re somewhat limited. Some people were recruiting volunteers to go fight. Where this has gotten, I don’t know. But primarily, and frustratingly, it’s all about money. Give whatever you can. Sending goods is also an option, but far less efficient, given the time it takes to move bulky items such as clothes, food, and other necessities. Many also want to send items that might be of military use. But here, caution is necessary since there may be compatibility issues with the largely Russian-supplied Armenian forces and gear that is produced in the West.
Finally, get out to any and all protests, demonstrations, pickets, etc. that may be organized near you, especially those targeting our clear-cut enemies: Azerbaijan AND Turkey.
Author’s Note: Apologies to readers for my extended, COVID-era silence. I’m back!