Soccer-Armenian Cup winners since 1992

Soccer-Armenian Cup winners since 1992

YEREVAN, May 9 (Reuters) – Results of Armenian Cup finals

since the competition began in 1992 after the collapse of the

Soviet Union:

Season Winners Runners-up Score

1992 Banants Abovyan Sports Union of Armenia Yerevan 2-0

1992-93 Ararat Yerevan Shirak Gyumri 3-1

1993-94 Ararat Yerevan Shirak Gyumri 1-0

1994-95 Ararat Yerevan Kotaik Abovyan 4-2

1995-96 Pyunik Yerevan Kotaik Abovyan 3-2

1996-97 Ararat Yerevan Pyunik Yerevan 1-0

1997-98 Tsement Ararat Yerevan Yerevan 3-1

1998-99 Tsement Ararat Shirak Gyumri 3-2

1999-2000 Mika Ashtarak Zvartnots Yerevan 2-1

2000-01 Mika Ashtarak Ararat Yerevan 1-1

(Mika Ashtarak won 4-3 on penalties)

2001-02 Pyunik Yerevan Zvartnots Yerevan 2-0

2002-03 Mika Ashtarak Banants Yerevan 1-0

2003-04 Pyunik Yerevan Banants Yerevan 0-0

(Pyunik Yerevan won 6-5 on penalties)

– – – –

All-time winners of Armenian Cup finals since the

competition began in 1992:

4 – Ararat Yerevan

3 – Mika Ashtarak, Pyunik Yerevan

2 – Tsement Yerevan

1 – Banants Abovyan (Banants Abovyan became Banants Yerevan

in 1998)

Note: Ararat Yerevan were the only Armenian team to win the

Soviet Cup in 1973 and 1975.

05/09/04 14:45 ET

ANKARA: White page agreement

Hurriyet, Turkey
May 9 2004

WHITE PAGE AGREEMENT

The step, which provided ”white page agreement”, was taken with the
meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Greek
counterpart Costas Caramanlis.

Erdogan conveyed the uneasiness felt over a meeting which took place
in Athens by Armenians and in which some Greek ministers and
administrations joined.

Caramanlis said ”this is a free country” and gave the message that
they could not intervene in such meetings.

Fresno: Local devil was inspired by zoo’s Angel Fresno’s Sid Haig

Fresno Bee (California)
May 4, 2004, Tuesday FINAL EDITION

Local devil was inspired by zoo’s Angel Fresno’s Sid Haig, known for
being a heel in cult films, will use his celebrity to aid Chaffee
Zoo.

Jody Murray THE FRESNO BEE

This is what 30-plus years of lunch-bucket toil as a Hollywood heavy
gets you. Cult stardom. Horror-film conventioneers tripping over
their tongues in your presence. One highly placed B-movie fan,
Quentin Tarantino, giving you a part in “Kill Bill: Vol. 2.”

And it was less than six decades ago that Sid Haig was performing a
Christmas skit with other children in the display window of the
downtown Fresno J.C. Penney.

Ah, kids. They grow up so quickly. Especially when they’re 10 pounds
at birth and stand 5 feet 7 inches tall by age 9.

Haig, now 64, 6 feet 4 inches tall and splitting his time between
homes in Fresno and Simi Valley, is semiretired from show business.
He lets the roles comes to him. He works when he wants to. He has a
second career as a hypnotherapist at a clinic in Tarzana.

But since last fall, he’s been heavy on the convention circuit,
hitting about two events a month. That’s not counting Saturday’s
appearance at Heroes comic book store in Fresno to benefit the
Chaffee Zoo.

Fans want to talk to him about movies such as “Spider Baby,” “The Big
Doll House” and “THX 1138.”

Some remember his turn as the evil Dragos in the kid show “Jason of
Star Command,” or his appearances in the original Pam Grier action
movies (“Foxy Brown,” “Coffy” and “Black Mama, White Mama”).

All of those roles, however, are at least 25 years old. His current
popularity is powered largely by a more recent character: Capt.
Spaulding, the malevolent master of ceremonies, in 2003’s “House of
1000 Corpses.” Haig got top billing in the movie, which was written
and directed by shock-rocker Rob Zombie.

Haig, a friend of Zombie, learned at Zombie’s wedding a few years ago
that the groom was writing a screenplay that plugged Haig into the
Spaulding role.

“Corpses” plays off the classic horror shtick of rain-soaked folks
stumbling across an isolated residence inhabited by unhinged freakos.

Spaulding, all bug-eyed and unnerving in a grimy Uncle Sam costume,
“is kind of the force that drives the innocent people to the house,”
Haig said. “Then everything just goes bad from there.”

The character didn’t die with the movie. He appears several times in
“Spookshow International,” a comic book that spins off from the film.

And later this month, filming begins on a “Corpses” sequel, “The
Devil’s Rejects,” with Haig back at blood-slickened center stage.

The book is what led Haig into Heroes one afternoon three months ago.
He wanted to see if the Fresno shop had copies of the title (it did).
The visit led to discussions with store owner Dave Allread. Those
talks spun into Saturday’s fund-raiser.

Haig will hang out at the shop and sign “Corpses” posters, comic
books and whatever else people push his way. (Parents, please note:
“Spookshow International” is an adult-themed comic.)

He also will sell various memorabilia from his career, with proceeds
going to the cash-strapped zoo.

Haig said he was inspired by Angel Arellano, who at age 9 made an
endearing appeal for zoo support that captivated the community and
led to more than $450,000 in donations.

“I thought, ‘I should be able to do something like that,’ ” he said.
“If you can’t make something of the celebrity you have, then what are
you doing, you know?”

That B-movie celebrity was enough to earn him a small role as Jay the
Bartender in the current hit “Kill Bill: Vol. 2.” His link to
Tarantino began a decade ago, when he just missed getting a role in
Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.” Two years later, the director cast him in
a bit role in “Jackie Brown,” which starred Grier; Haig said he got
the part because of his work in Grier’s early classics.

“He has a family of actors,” Haig said of Tarantino, “and he just
uses the same people over and over.”

Haig has been a performer for as long as he can remember. Born in
1939 in the heart of Fresno’s Armenian community (his birth name is
Sid Mosesian; Haig is his father’s first name), he was taking dance
classes at age 7. Music and theater were added to the mix as he grew
into his teens.

After graduating from Roosevelt High School, he and some friends
formed a band and cut a single called “Full House.” His career as a
rocker lasted only two years, though it helped him land an uncredited
role a few years later as The Righteous Brothers’ drummer in a “Beach
Ball,” a teen bikini movie.

>From 1960 through 1992, Haig went nearly nonstop through hundreds of
roles in film, television and theater. Producers saw his tall, blocky
build and rough-hewn features and plugged him into countless
tough-guy parts.

His movies had such titles as “The Don is Dead,” “Swashbuckler” and
“Commando Squad.” On TV, he popped up on “Gunsmoke,” “Fantasy
Island,” “Mission: Impossible” (nine episodes), “Star Trek” and
“Batman” (as a sidekick to Victor Buono’s villain, King Tut).

“I got a lot of work just because they knew I was going to show up on
time, I was going to do my homework and that I wasn’t going to make
problems on the set,” he said.

Years of playing the heavy eventually wore Haig down. He wanted to do
more in front of a camera, but he was not getting the chance.

“At that point in my career, such as it was, I thought, ‘These guys
aren’t getting it. They don’t understand I can do more than point a
gun at somebody,’ ” he says.

He stopped actively seeking roles in 1992. Five years later, he got
his certification as a hypnotherapist.

Nowadays, Haig is perfectly happy to pick and choose the
opportunities that cult status bestows — even if that status still
makes him shake his head in disbelief.

“I haven’t been able to wrap my mind around it,” he said. “I’m still
amazed that anyone remembers any damn thing I did.”

The reporter can be reached at [email protected] or at (559)
441-6367.

INFOBOX

IF YOU GO

What: A fund-raiser for the Chaffee Zoo, featuring actor Sid Haig

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Heroes comic book store,

110 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno

Details: (559) 229-4376

GRAPHIC: LIONS GATE FILMS Sid Haig had top billing for the 2003
horror film “House of 1000 Corpses.” He will sign posters from that
film and sell memorabilia Saturday at Heroes comic book store in
Fresno. Proceeds will be donated to Chaffee Zoo.

Armenian Genocide cannot be denied

Daily Targum
University Wire
April 22, 2004 Thursday

Armenian Genocide cannot be denied

By Avo Youmshakian, Daily Targum; SOURCE: Rutgers U.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.

On April 24, 1915, the Turkish government apprehended, deported and
brutally murdered 300 Armenian intellectuals and professionals in
Istanbul, Turkey. Later that day, 5,000 of the poorest Armenians were
savagely murdered in their communities. This day was the beginning of
the tragedy that came to be called the Armenian Genocide — which is
defined as the systematic execution planned and ordered by the
Ottoman Turkish government and carried out by the Turkish army — of
1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923.

The Turks started and nearly achieved the goal of wiping out the
entire Armenian population of western Armenia within the borders of
the Ottoman Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Middle
East, including what is known today as the country of Turkey. After
89 years, Armenians still possess animosity against members of the
Turkish race not only because they murdered the Armenians but also
because they still continue to deny the existence of the Armenian
Genocide.

The Central Committee of the Young Turk Party, which was controlled
by the most racist individuals in the government in 1915, devised the
Armenian Genocide. The genocide was directed by a special
organization set up by the Committee of Union and Progress, which
created special butcher battalions composed of extremely violent
Turkish criminals who were released from prison for the sole purpose
of exterminating the Armenians from the Ottoman Empire.

As if this inhuman act was not a crime itself, Turkish governments
since the fall of the Ottoman Empire have continuously denied the
genocide. Some government officials claim Armenians were removed from
their homes because they were living in the Eastern War Zone and the
Turks feared for the safety of the Armenian people.

This claim is false because fact proves Armenians were massacred in
cities in western, central and southwest Turkey as well as on the
coast of the Black Sea. Christians were not allowed to carry firearms
in the Ottoman Empire, thus defeating another claim the Turks were
protecting themselves from Armenian rebellion.

Despite the approval of the Armenian Genocide by the majority of
Turks in the Ottoman Empire and the denial of its occurrence, there
were a few righteous Ottoman officials such as Celal, governor of
Aleppo; Mahzar, governor of Ankara; and Reshid, governor of
Kastamonu. These three officials were dismissed from their offices
for not complying with the extermination campaign. Any common Turks
who protected Armenians during the genocide were also taken on the
death marches and slaughtered.

In late 1915, Henry Morgenthau Sr., the neutral American ambassador
to the Ottoman Empire, sent a message to the United States State
Department. “Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians
is increasing, and from reports of eye witnesses, it appears that a
campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of
reprisal against rebellion.”

Even though historic facts, eyewitness reports and especially the
stories of surviving victims all prove the Armenian Genocide’s
existence, Turkish officials struggle to deny it. One questions why.
In an interview with a reporter from the French newspaper Le Figaro,
Armenian President Robert Kocharian publicly discussed recent
developments on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. He provided
an explanation that the recognition of the genocide does not provide
legal basis for territorial demands. While most Armenians do not
agree with the way the president’s remarks were interpreted by
Turkish journalists, one fact remains: The Turkish government is
actually concerned with Armenian territorial demands. Turkish
leadership is well aware of the possibility of redrawing geographical
boundaries. Through the elimination of Armenians from the western
provinces of Armenia, entire Armenian regions eventually became part
of present Turkey.

Armenian people in Armenia and all over the world struggle daily to
have the genocide remembered. Every year, on the Sunday before the
saddening day of April 24, thousands of Armenians gather in Times
Square in New York. They hold a march and a rally to educate the
public about the existence of the massacring, the butchering, the
genocide the Armenians lived through between 1915 and 1923. Educating
the public and having Turkish officials accept the sad reality,
Armenians believe, are important to prevent similar crimes against
humanity.

Eight days before invading Poland in 1939, Adolf Hitler — commander
of the Nazi forces during World War II — said, “Go kill without
mercy. Who today remembers the extermination of the Armenians?” I
remember it.

(C) 2003 Daily Targum via U-WIRE

Armenian & Russian Troops March Through Yerevan to Mark Victory Day

ARMENIAN AND RUSSIAN TROOPS MARCH THROUGH YEREVAN TO MARK VICTORY DAY

ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow
9 May 04

YEREVAN

Armenia on Sunday (9 May) is celebrating the Day of Victory and
Peace. Thousands of people came to the Victory Park in the Armenian
capital Yerevan to commemorate the fighters who fell in the Second
World War battles.

Representatives of the republican authorities, ministries,
departments, the army, law enforcement bodies, political parties and
public associations, as well as war veterans, living in the republic,
laid wreaths and flowers at the eternal flames of the Unknown Soldier
Tomb.

The chairman of the Armenian National Assembly, Artur Bagdasaryan,
Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan and other high-ranking officials of
the country attended the ceremony. They also laid a wreath from
Armenian President Robert Kocharyan who is visiting Stepanakert to
celebrate the first anniversary of Shushi (Susa)’s capture in the
course of the Karabakh conflict.

Employees of the Russian embassy in Armenia, representatives of the
command of the Russian military base and border guards stationed in
the republic laid wreaths and flowers at the monument. Heads of
diplomatic missions and military attaches took part in the ceremony.

Following the performance of the national anthems of the Russian
Federation and the Republic of Armenia, columns of Russian troops and
border guards as well as of the Armenian army marched.

Karabakh Able to Fight Off Azeri Attack – NKR DM

KARABAKH ABLE TO FIGHT OFF AZERI ATTACK – NKR Defense Minister

Hayastani Hanrapetutyun, Yerevan
8 May 04

Text of David Mikaelyan’s report by Armenian newspaper Hayastani
Hanrapetutyunni on 8 May headlined “‘If the army and society are
united, they are invincible,’ Seyran Oganyan says”

This is an interview with the defence minister of the Nagornyy
Karabakh Republic, Seyran Oganyan.

(Hayastani Hanrapetutyun correspondent) Mr Minister, the Azerbaijani
press often touches on the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani
border and says that the Azerbaijanis are holding commanding positions
and making progress in those sectors of the border that are controlled
by the Artsakh (Karabakh) defence forces. Are these rumours true? And
what is the situation today?

(Seyran Oganyan) Since the 1994 armistice, i.e. over the past 10
years, no serious change of positions has taken place on the
Armenian-Azerbaijani border. First of all, I mean the contact line
with the enemy. I should say that our forces always control the
situation, and any attempt to violate the border is foiled. Until 1996
there were frequent active exchanges of fire on the border. Sometimes
there were even incursions by sabotage and reconnaissance groups. In
1996-2000, these incursions almost ended while positional exchanges of
fire continued. In recent years there has been certain activity by
sabotage groups. But they have always been defeated. The rumours
disseminated by the Azerbaijani mass media that the enemy (Azerbaijan)
has infiltrated our territory in some cases and that as a result of
their “progress”, they have taken the commanding positions are an
absolute lie. Naturally, this propaganda aims to carry out
psychological attacks and terrorize the peaceful population, to cause
a feeling of fear, hopelessness and panic among the people. But this
is doomed to failure.

(Correspondent) To what decree is a resumption of hostilities
possible?

(Oganyan) On the whole, the war can resume at any time. For this
reason, we should always be ready and on alert. But I do not think
that today Azerbaijan is ready to start the hostilities, especially as
we manage to maintain the correlation of forces. The process of army
build-up, in particular, the fulfilment of strategic programmes (the
strengthening of defence structures, positions, the renewal of modern
military equipment, measures directed at raising the fighting spirit
of soldiers, etc.) give us an opportunity to take realities into
account and at the same time, to analyse and assess the situation
soberly. I repeat once again that the fighting efficiency of the army
is on such a level that not only can we defend ourselves, we can also
carry out a counter-strike at the enemy. In recent years we have
carried out great work in the sphere of strengthening the link between
the army and the people. And if the army and society are united, they
are invincible.

(Correspondent) Representatives of the so-called “Karabakh Liberation
Organization” in Baku have been more active of late. They call for “a
peace march” to Shushi (Susa) on 9 May. Do you think that such
statements are serious?

(Oganyan) As is known, we are at war at the moment and war has its own
rules. We have a state border and they should have a visa for
crossing it. It is difficult to guess how they will manage to get this
right. If they have bellicose purposes, they will naturally get a
relevant response from our side.

(Correspondent) It is no secret that regular supplies play a decisive
role in the army. How do you settle the commanders’ problems and renew
the staff of officers?

(Oganyan) An army cannot be organized in one day and all problems
cannot be settled immediately. It is no secret that the staff of
officers is reinforced by people of different professions. Most of
them had participated in the war and had gained experience. But within
the framework of the personnel policy, we have been sending our boys
for higher education in military institutions of Armenia and other
countries since 1995. This process is continuing today and according
to an agreement, the staff of officers and commanders is reinforced by
relevant personnel. The state is taking care of improving social
conditions for its officers and their families.

(Correspondent) Mr Minister, what did the 10 years of the armistice
give us?

(Oganyan) First, I should emphasize that the armistice was a result of
the efforts of the whole Armenian nation. It gave us an opportunity to
switch to a peaceful life after long-lasting suffering, to seriously
deal with army build-up, to restore the economy, to gradually
strengthen the army, and to ensure the security of our country and
people. Unfortunately, it is impossible to restore spiritual values
and human losses. One should not forget that we are in a so-called
relative war. And the situation “neither peace nor war” compels us to
be on alert all the time.

Karabakh Important Factor in Caucasus – NKR FM

KARABAKH IMPORTANT FACTOR IN CAUCASUS – NKR Foreign Minister

Hayastani Hanrapetutyun, Yerevan
8 May 04

Text of Galust Nanyan’s report by Armenian newspaper Hayastani
Hanrapetutyun on 8 May headlined “The NKR is an important factor in
the region”

This is an interview with the foreign minister of the Nagornyy
Karabakh Republic (NKR), Ashot Gulyan. The Bishkek agreement on the
armistice signed on 12 May 1994 will mark its 10th anniversary
soon. It does not contain any term, it only says that the armistice
should last until the signing of a peace agreement.

According to NKR Foreign Minister Ashot Gulyan, when the armistice
agreement was signed, the NKR was given the opportunity to start
peaceful life. “It is natural that the Karabakh party’s participation
in the signing of the armistice agreement, as well as in other
discussions, was one the most painful problems for Azerbaijan,” Gulyan
said.

Irrespective of everything, the most important thing is that they
reached such an agreement and it is still in force. According to
Gulyan, if the NKR as a party is responsible for maintaining the
armistice, so the NKR should logically be a full participant in the
Karabakh conflict settlement.

When several months ago the former foreign minister of Azerbaijan,
Vilayat Quliyev, said that Azerbaijan is ready to negotiate directly
with the NKR if Armenia walks out of this process, Ashot Gulyan says
that it was not serious readiness. This was simply a regular political
step on the part of Azerbaijan and aimed to find out what response it
will get.

“The NKR president, as well as numerous members of the NKR Foreign
Ministry, have repeatedly said that the Karabakh party is ready to
negotiate with Azerbaijan in any format without any pre-conditions,”
Gulyan said.

He also said that in the 10 years they managed to make quite serious
progress in the issue of creating and establishing an independent
state.

Gulyan said that thanks to these efforts, the NKR has really become an
important factor in the region. If earlier the NKR was seen in the
region only as a military and political factor, which had military
potential, today “I think that the level of the NKR’s economic and
public development allows us to say that Nagornyy Karabakh is really
an important factor in the region in all spheres,” Gulyan said.

As for the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border and the Nagornyy
Karabakh conflict in this context, Gulyan said that only Armenia and
Turkey can settle these relations. “I have the impression that the
Turkish government is hostage to the pre-conditions put forward by
Azerbaijan from time to time,” Gulyan said.

BAKU: Police Prevent Azeri Pressure Group’s March to Karabakh

POLICE PREVENT AZERI PRESSURE GROUP’S MARCH TO KARABAKH

Lider TV, Baku
8 May 04

(Presenter) Today marks the 12th anniversary of Susa’s occupation. The
plans of the Karabakh Liberation Organization (KLO) to hold a peace
march to Karabakh have failed. The members of the organization, who
gathered at the Martyr’s Avenue at 1100 (0600 gmt), first commemorated
the martyrs and laid a wreath at the memorial complex.

(Video shows crowds of people visiting the Martyrs’ Avenue)

KLO chairman Akif Nagi said they would march as far as Karabakh and
that citizens from districts along the route would join them.

The march scheduled for 1200 (0700 gmt) did not take place. Police
officers did not allow the KLO members to hold their march. They
explained this by the fact that the action was unsanctioned.

The KLO members, who gathered at the Martyrs’ Avenue, agreed with the
police and gave up on the march in order to avoid a conflict on this
day.

Russian Daily Examines Saakashvili “Peace Offensive” vs Abashidze

RUSSIAN DAILY EXAMINES GEORGIAN LEADER’S “PEACE OFFENSIVE” AGAINST ABASHIDZE

Kommersant, Moscow
7 May 04

>From the very start of the clash between Georgian President Mikheil
Saakashvili and the now ex-Ajarian leader Aslan Abashidze few people
doubted that ultimately victory would rest with the leader of the
“Rose Revolution”. A scion of the old Soviet elite and a proponent of
the old mentality, Aslan Abashidze was in every respect a man of the
past, and a politician of that kind even at the level of an autonomous
republic, not to mention state level, has no historical future.
However, the Abashidze ruling clan seemed to be a nut that could not
be cracked straightaway or a rhizome that would be extremely hard to
uproot. Many people, including the writer of this article, thought
just a few days ago that a protracted standoff that could develop into
bloodshed might be a quite realistic scenario for Ajaria. Because
people like Aslan Abashidze do not go voluntarily.

But a miracle has all but happened. The fact that the denouement came
quickly and, importantly, painlessly came as a complete surprise. When
Eduard Shevardnadze was swept away in the same manner in November last
year, it was not so surprising. By then it was clear that Mr
Shevardnadze held little control within the Georgian state and he only
had to be given a slight nudge for his regime to collapse. But “strong
Abashidze”, who has maintained a grip on his state within a state for
so many years, seemed in some respects the exact opposite of the “weak
Shevardnadze”. Yet now he has suffered the same end. Why?

“Abashidze’s strength” proved toothless in the face of the peace
offensive from Mikheil Saakashvili, who refused to use force. And was
reluctant to have a punch-up, relying on his loyal personnel and his
best devoted soldiers. Abashidze probably also had troops of that
kind, and plenty of them. But the whole trick is that they were not
allowed to show their worth. There was no military offensive, which
would have allowed Aslan Abashidze to don a flak jacket, come out onto
the square, and say for all to hear “Ajaria is in danger!” rallying a
people’s militia around him. The Ajarian leader concluded simply that
“Tbilisi had scheduled a meeting” for him and, thus, made a fatal
error.

Why did a seemingly experienced politician allow himself to be outdone
by a novice? Possibly because for the past decade rebellious regions
have been dealt with in this way, by force, not only in Georgia but
also in other republics of the former USSR. Let us recall Abkhazia,
South Ossetia, Nagornyy Karabakh, and the Dniester region. Lastly, let
us recall Chechnya. The “Ajarian lion” decided that his republic had
the same fate in store. He blew up the bridges and prepared for
all-out defence. However, all these actions turned against him. He
lost the battle for the Ajarian people. As a result we have witnessed
the first experience in the post-Soviet area of a peaceful solution to
the problem of separatism. The Ajarian “sovereignty bandwagon” has
turned out to be not a military parade but a peaceful May Day
demonstration, whose participants were marching not with submachine
guns but with balloons.

Iran: Azerbaijan Military Manoeuvre Adversely Affects Caspian Issue

AZERBAIJAN’S MILITARY MANOEUVRE ADVERSELY AFFECTS CASPIAN ISSUE, IRANIAN
DAILY SAYS

Shargh web site, Tehran,
2 May 04

The Republic of Azerbaijan is planning to perform a military manoeuvre
in the Caspian Sea in the coming days. Contrary to the remarks by the
commander of Azerbaijan’s Border Guards regarding the aims of the
manoeuvre in terms of evaluating the readiness of the border forces of
the Azerbaijan Republic in order to confront a possible violation of
its maritime borders, it seems that this military action is
commensurate with the deployment of NATO equipment in the areas close
to the northern borders of Iran and that the aims of the manoeuvres
are something else.

Holding military manoeuvres so soon after the recent Moscow
conference, during which the littoral states of the Caspian Sea
declared their verbal commitment to keep the Caspian Sea far from
militarization and help the establishment of a durable peace, is a
matter that can be studied from several points of view.

A long time ago, Aran and Shirvan were annexed forcefully by Tsarist
Russia and the name was changed to the Republic of Azerbaijan. The
policies of that republic in the later course of history were always
accompanied with the negation of the historical identities and always
affected the security of the northern borders of Iran. The leaders of
the Republic of Azerbaijan, which has fewer than 8 million population,
under the guidance of the late president of the Azerbaijan, Haydar
Aliyev, used the old doctrines of the former USSR to insist on the
common language of Azeris with Iranian Azerbaijan, as an element for
trying to separate this part of Iran from the rest of the country.

The Republic of Azerbaijan, since its independence from the 15
republics of the former USSR, has tried to regain old aims and has
tilted towards extraterritorial powers for financial and other
assistance. They have attracted 12.5m dollars from the White House and
Washington’s special budget to consolidate and equip the Azeri Navy
and bring it up to NATO standards, in line with the militarization of
the Caspian Sea. The military influence of the USA on the regional
countries around the Caspian Sea has been increasing under many
pretexts, like the training of military forces or holding
manoeuvres. For instance, every year we see the common manoeuvres by
the USA with regard to Kazakhstan. In order to increase the support
from the Republic of Azerbaijan, the USA has used its experience of
military and economic assistance programmes. The Americans have
presented warships and patrol boats to Azerbaijan. They are
consolidating their own presence in the region through a partner like
Azerbaijan to protect their oil interests. On the other side, the
Russian Federation, which had the reputation of a powerful military
presence in the Caspian Sea, has tried to enhance its military muscle
through holding naval manoeuvres. The great manoeuvre of the Russians
in the Port of Astrakhan, immediately after the summit of the littoral
states in Asgabat, was in the same line. The Russian Federation has
recently declared that it has to equip its forces in the Caspian Sea
with the latest military equipment.

Undoubtedly, Iran’s northern neighbours are taking advantage its
passive position. Relying on the great powers, they are trying to
enhance their military power in the Caspian Sea in order to gain more
advantages in there. They will be able to protect the security of the
pipelines under constructions, especially Baku-Ceyhan, which are
uneconomical routes designed to bypass Iran, as well as to pressure
Iran to go deeper into the passive mood and ignore its rights to oil
and gas in the Caspian Sea. This point gains importance when we notice
that four of the 14 main oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan are within
the 20 per cent limits that some Iranian politicians have set as the
acceptable share for Iran. Of course, Azerbaijan’s other allies, like
Turkey, which has 15 km of common border with Azerbaijan, and Israel,
are planning to expand the political, economic, and cultural influence
in the region, and they are supporting Azerbaijan from a military
point of view.

The reality is that, despite the failure of the repeated sessions and
conferences of the littoral states for devising a proper exploitation
plan in the Caspian Sea and the codification of joint military plans
in order to preserve the balance of naval power in the Caspian Sea,
can be followed by our authorities in order to protect the national
interests and facilitate the implementation of other plans. On the
other side, Iran’s power to affect the Karabakh and Talesh issues are
among Iran’s capacities that have not been used, and they can be
important in the preservation of stability along the maritime and land
borders and help Iran to play its natural and historical role.