BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Well, maybe it’s more than a week’s worth of craziness, but it’s still heartening, maddening, and plain old time-energy-attention consuming, all in one.
The Azeris’ attempt to pass deceitful measures in various state houses took another hit, this time in Tennessee, when HR 145 was rejected by the committee considering it. This is good news, not only for the obvious reason— passing bad legislation is never desirable —but also because one of the leading Genocide denialists in the U.S. House of Representatives, Steve Cohen, hails from Tennessee. Plus, it shows that determined, well presented, and truthful lobbying of elected officials can carry the day over moneyed-public-relations-firm hacks.
The Azeris were also busy working themselves into a tizzy over James Warlick’s, US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Tweet that simply reconfirmed the reality that the conflict is between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan. This is a big deal for Baku because much of the pup-Turks’ efforts are directed at creating the illusion that the Republic of Armenia (RoA) is guilty of a land grab at Azerbaijan’s expense. The fact that Artzakh represents a question of people’s right to self-determination does not suit them. So anything that attests to that fact drives Baku batty.
And speaking of self-determination, how about the huff Ukraine got itself into, even recalling its ambassador to Armenia over Serzh Sarkisian’s comments about Crimean self-determination? While the upshot is not that Kiev will sever ties with Yerevan, the former still demonstrated a lot of gall in getting worked up into such a lather. After all, isn’t what Ukraine did in opting out of the Eurasian customs union just another manifestation of people acting on their right to self-determination, in this case by avoiding being under Russia’s control as Ukraine sees things? And, Ukraine has been very chummy with Azerbaijan, to Armenia’s detriment, over the years since all three got independence. So, what did the Ukrainians expect, especially given the Armenian predicament of having to be very close to Russia because of the two murderous neighbors to the east and west?
And since we’re addressing temerity, did you hear about the RoA Environmental Minister’s comments to an activist during a conference about responsible mining in Armenia? He said something to the effect of “Hey brat, I’ll cut off your ears and hand them to you” (translated from the Armenian, of course) (listen starting at the 2:45 mark of this online video— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iOxrvnInpo). Don’t the government officials of such a beleaguered country have anything better to do than threaten their own citizens?
In fairness, while that minister was making thuggish remarks, other RoA officials, a parliamentary delegation from the RoA, were doing good work meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (who confirmed the presence of Azeri mercenaries among those battling Syria’s forces) and visiting our Kessabtsi compatriots who have once again become refugees at, effectively, Turkish hands.
In case you’re not familiar, Kessab is one of the few Western Armenian villages/towns/cities still inhabited by its rightful, ancestral, residents. Located in what can be described as the southernmost reaches of Cilician Armenia, it is nestled in the coastal mountains in the northwest-most corner of Syria, with the Mediterranean to the west, and Turkey to the north and east.
You’ve got to hand it to Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdoghan! He pulled off quite a well leveraged stunt by allowing his allies, Islamic extremists (I can’t wait ‘til they turn their guns on Turkey), to invade Syria, under cover of Turkish artillery fire, via the Armenian town of Kessab. Count his benefits:
1- He continues his anti-Syria, possibly territory-seeking, crusade;
2- He gets to look like he’s gotten revenge for the Turkish F-4 warplane shot down by Syria almost two years ago (over Syrian airspace) by shooting down a Syrian jet last week (unclear in whose airspace it was);
3- He creates a distraction, internally and internationally, from the recent corruption allegations/revelations leveled against him and numerous close political associates and family members and the related clash with the Gulen movement in Turkey;
4- He benefits from that distraction, gets to look tough, stoke Turkish chauvinism, and energize his Islamic base on the eve of the March 30 local elections set to take place in Turkey where his party might otherwise take a beating in light of #2 above;
5- He disrupts Armenian life in an important, symbolic, stronghold;
6- He hands us an additional, substantial, obligation— seeing to Kessabtsis’ needs —on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Genocide, when we should be pouring resources into those efforts. This fits in well with what I wrote last week about Turkey’s indirect (in that case tourism/advertising based) attempts to create distractions to divert attention from its genocidal nature.
As always, get busy, sign the ANCA’s petition to DC electeds, talk to your local newspapers so they report the truth about Turkey’s murderous intentions in Syria, and recruit your friends to support your efforts.