ANN/Armenian News – Week in Review – 09/27/2020

Armenian News Network / Armenian News

Armenian News: Week in Review

ANN/Armenian News

September  27, 2020

  • Asbed Kotchikian

  • Marine Manucharyan

  • Emil Sanamyan

  • Hovik Manucharyan

  • Asbed Bedrossian

Hello, and welcome to Armenian News Network, Armenian News, Week in Review. I’m Hovik Manucharyan.

This episode was recorded before Azerbaijani forces started a wide-scale attack against Artsakh and Armenia over the weekend, so we will not cover that important topic today. 

In this episode, along with Asbed Bedrossian, we’re going to talk about the following major topics:

  1. The 29th Anniversary of Armenian Independence;

  2. Armenia’s foreign policy; 

  3. Azerbaijan war of disinformation; and lastly

  4. Opposition trio rally and Tsarukyan’s arrest

To talk about these issues, we have with us:

Asbed Kotchikian, a senior lecturer of political science and international relations at Bentley University in Massachusetts.

Marine Manucharyan, president of the Civic Forum NGO. Her areas of focus include Artsakh, the Armenian Armed Forces, National Security and Foreign Policy.

And

Emil Sanamyan, a senior research fellow at USC’s Institute of Armenian Studies specializing in politics in the Caucasus, with a special focus on Azerbaijan.

YouTube           Apple            Google         Spotify       Facebook

On Monday September 21, Armenia celebrated its 29th anniversary of Independence. A very long parade of congratulations rolled in from world leaders, from Russia to America, to China, Japan, Canada, Australia, the Arab world – even Saudi Arabia, around Europe and South America, Kazakhstan and Georgia. Many world landmarks were lit up in the colors of the Armenian flag, and Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed September 21 as “Armenian Independence Day” in DC.

Thoughts?

One country we didn’t hear from on September 21 was from our neighbor Iran, and the press immediately went speculating what was going on. Finally, congratulatory letters arrived I think on the 24th, three days late. The letters were sent to Prime Minister Pashinyan as well as President Sarkissian.

What is Iran telling Armenia? 

For the past month Azerbaijan has upped the war rhetoric and ramped up its #FakeNews machinery to full gear. A constant stream of complaints about Armenian families relocating from Syria and Lebanon to Artsakh is now coupled with fake information that Armenia is relocating 60,000 PKK fighters there, on Friday they had included ASALA fighters.

There was a leaked internal Facebook memo a couple of weeks ago that singled out Azerbaijan as a major hub for fake accounts and profiles which their government uses against their opposition and Armenians. As usual they accuse Armenians of the same things that they’re accused of, in order to blur everything and drown the story in the noise. Is this a two-way street? Is there a lot of Armenian counter-Faking?

Where is all this disinformation leading to?

The BHK, ARF, and Hairenik party, announced that they will hold a rally in the Freedom Square on October 8, and said that they plan to call for snap elections in Armenia.

Bright Armenia’s leader Edmon Marukyan said that the LHK will not join the rally. They’re in favor of change, but through elections. On Friday, a Yerevan court authorized the arrest of BHK leader Gagik Tsarukyan on vote buying charges. Tsarukyan denies all wrongdoing and says that the charges are politically motivated because he called on PM Pashinyan to resign.

In reality the three parties seem to have divergent ideologies. What is uniting them today?

What can we expect to see between now and October 8?

  • Armenia celebrated its 29th anniversary of Independence on Sept. 21, 2020. A very long parade of congratulations rolled in from world leaders, from Russia to America, to China, Japan, Canada, Australia, the Arab world, around Europe and South America, Kazakhstan and Georgia. Many world landmarks were lit up in the colors of the Armenian flag, and Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed September 21 as “Armenian Independence Day” in DC.

    • Meanwhile, Ilham Aliyev complained to the UN about Armenia, while a potential tragedy began unfolding in Azerbaijan: the colors of the Armenian national flag were 'detected' in school textbooks! 😯😂 (Here’s the text of the speech)

    • Turkey warned Armenia against playing with fire after an Azerbaijani soldier was killed on the border.

  • PM Pashinyan introduced Armenia’s All-National transformation strategy on Independence Day. A fundamental Tenet: 5 million population by 2050.

  • GM Levon Aronian won the Bundesliga title with OSG Baden-Baden.

  • Armenia’s athletics team returned home with three gold medals from the Balkan Athletics Championships held in Romania.

  • Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Suren Papikyan discussed his concerns to IAEA General Director Rafael Grossi over the recent Azerbaijani threat to strike the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant.

  • Armenia health workers fighting COVID-19 honored with Hero of Our Time special award.

  • The Hairenik bloc: The Prosperous Armenia, Homeland and ARF parties announced that they will hold a rally in the Freedom Square on October 8, and say that they plan to call for snap elections in Armenia. The LHK will not join the rally. Edmon Marukyan has said that the party is in favor of change, but through elections.

  • Composer and conductor Loris Tjeknavorian shares his memories of independence.

  • Japan considers necessary to reform the UN Security Council because the system designed seventy-five years ago no longer delivers on the purposes of the Charter. 

  • Azerbaijan’s militaristic rhetoric, accusations against Armenia show that Baku is preparing a ground for an attack, Editor-in-chief of Realist Arabic news agency, Amr Eldiib says.

  • The Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction approved a motion on arresting former Armenian Ambassador to the Vatican Mikayel Minasyan. An arrest warrant has been issued.

  • The ICRC visited 5 Armenian officers held captive as POWs in Baku.

  • The Governor of Aragatsotn province has tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Employees of a children’s home in Yerevan are under criminal investigation on suspicion of physically and psychologically abusing the children at the institution.

  • Stepanakert called on Baku to abandon its policy of military blackmail and threats, and get back to a full format of negotiations.

  • Healthcare Minister Arsen Torosyan held conversations with the Chinese ambassador, and the Russian Chief Sanitary Doctor about the state of COVID-19 in Armenia.

  • A shooting at an Armenian school over the weekend in San Francisco has sparked a new hate crime investigation — the third hate crime against an Armenian establishment in San Francisco in the last two months. The SFPD is Investigating

  • Azerbaijan has called army reservists for inspection and training, claiming that there has been a ‘serious deterioration of the situation on the front line’.

  • A project funded by the European Union’s EU4Business initiative is helping to improve food safety in Armenia. The effort is being implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC).

  • Elvir Klempic, the National Affinity and Ethnic Engagement Director for the Joseph Biden presidential campaign, has issued a statement on his role and position on the Armenian Genocide and related issues.

  • Armenians, Syrian refugees in Turkey and Greeks are at the top of the list of groups targeted with hate speech by the Turkish media in 2019, according to the “Hate Speech and Discriminatory Discourse in Media 2019 Report,” published by the Hrant Dink Foundation.

  • "My Step" faction MP Armen Pambukhchyan has been named deputy minister of emergency situations.

  • Israel’s State-Run Aerospace Giant Contributed to Azerbaijani Laundromat, Leaks have Revealed.

  • Gagik Tsarukyan has denied the allegations made in the recently published in Khodorkovsky’s Dossier.Center website, that he has secret ties to Russia.

  • Armenia’s technology sector is continuing to grow rapidly despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to PM Pashinyan.

  • Russia is advancing a draft law to ban the latest encryption technology to prevent internet users bypassing state-imposed blocks & filters.

  • A 2.5 earthquake was registered 7km south-east from Armenia’s Ashotsk village.

  • The SHANT 2020 nationwide military exercises will be held in Armenia from November 16 to 20.

  • Two employees of the Cadastre Committee have died from the novel coronavirus.

  • US-based SADA Systems plans to establish a Global Center for Technological Solutions in Armenia.

  • Newly-built Chinese embassy in Yerevan shows China’s intentions for developing much deeper relations with Armenia.

  • Alexander Lukashenko was sworn in as the Belarusian president on Wednesday.

  • The new Ambassador of the Netherlands Nico Schermers presented his credentials to the President Armen Sarkissian.

  • New ambassador of Armenia to Bulgaria, Armen Edigaryan, presents credentials.

  • Russian MFA spox Maria Zakharova denied Azerbaijani reports that Russia advocated for the 'return of five regions surrounding Nagorno Karabakh to Azerbaijan' and that 'Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan impedes the Karabakh peace process.'

  • Kansas, Armenian leaders talk military models in partnership exchange.

  • Pianist Laura Galstyan won the 4th prize at the 5th Krystian Tkaczewski International Piano Competition in Poland and was recognized as one of the top six pianists.

  • Yerevan will host the Armenia International Music Festival, with five classical music concerts at the concert hall of Karen Demirchyan Sport and Concert Complex.

  • The Ministry of Education has expanded the funding for the teaching of Armenian and other Armenia-related subjects abroad. In the 2020-21academic year, the teaching will be expanded to ten institutions across eight countries.

  • Putin awards three Russian Armenian doctors for great contribution to the coronavirus fight.

  • Fruit prices rose by 30.2% in Armenia.

  • Three employees of Yerevan orphanage were arrested over child abuse.

  • Russian PM Mikhail Mishustin has expressed interest in visiting Armenia with the condition that he also be allowed to visit Gagik Khachatryan, a former finance minister who is in jail with charges of corruption.

  • No congratulatory messages have arrived from Iran on Armenia’s anniversary of  Independence this year.

  • Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan said that the increase in numbers since September 11 is conditioned by the increase of mobility and non-observance of the epidemic rules since the end of the emergency rule.

  • The Asian Development Bank will provide a $2 million grant to Armenia for COVID-19 response.

  • President of Iran Hassan Rouhani has sent congratulatory letters to PM Pashinyan and President Armen Sarkissian about Armenian Independence Day. The letter is 3 days late, and there has been much speculation about why it took so long.

  • Former MP Artur Gevorgyan arrested in the US.

  • Caucasus 2020: Armenian and Russian troops hold major live fire drills.

  • California State University, Northridge (CSUN) has received an anonymous $3 million gift to support its Armenian Studies Program and provide scholarships to students.

  • WorldBank: Financing Reforms are Critical for Better Health in Armenia.

  • Venice is also an Armenian city: Italian exhibition opens at the President's residence.

  • "Credit Holidays" granted to thousands of borrowers in Armenia can cause major damage to the banking system, Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Nerses Yeritsyan told a parliamentary inquiry.

  • The Spanish Senate ratified the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on September 23.

  • Bourg-les-Valence Mayor Marlene Mourier revealed in a Facebook post that she has received threats from Azerbaijanis in August this year.

  • Reports that Turkey is transferring syrian Militants to Azerbaijan as hostilities against Armenia increases.

  • Armenian champions Ararat-Armenia made it to the play-off round of Europa League after beating Celje (Slovenia) 1-0 at home in the third qualifying round.

  • Arthur Gevorgyan, the son-in-law of former Republican MP and former Chief of Police Vladimir (Vova) Gasparyan, has been arrested in the US.

  • Deputy Minister of Education and Science Grisha Tamrazyan has resigned.

  • There has been a huge amount of #FakeNews disseminated by Azerbaijan’s secret services about Armenia and Armenians. Azerbaijan is well known and well documented by Facebook as a hub for fake accounts and fake news being used against their domestic opposition, as well as Armenians.

  • The EU will provide Armenia with 60 million euros in fresh assistance earmarked to deal with the coronavirus crisis, reform courts and root out corruption.

  • Sweden’s first resident ambassador to Armenia Patrik Svensson presented his credentials to President Armen Sarkissian 

  • The U.S. Embassy in Armenia warned US citizens to avoid travel near the line of contact and the border, including the area to the east of the M4 and M16 Highways north of the Dilijan National Park and up to the border with Georgia in Tavush province, and Nagorno-Karabakh region.

  • The Turkish Prosecutor General's office has launched the process to deprive Armenian MP Garo Paylan of diplomatic immunity. Paylan and seven other members are accused of making statements supporting “terrorists” in the developments surrounding Syria’s Kurdish-majority city of Kobani.

  • An Armenian Spell Checker for iOS has been released. Nayiriboard works with apps such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, to productivity apps such as Pages, Notes and more.

  • The ministry of healthcare won an award of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on the prevention and control of Non-communicable Diseases (UNIATF) during the Task Force meeting.

  • Police Chief Vahe Ghazaryan and Indian Ambassador Kishan Dan Dewal discussed effective partnership between Armenia and India law enforcement.

  • PM Pashinyan relieved the Deputy Minister of Education, Grisha Tamrazyan and Georgy Avetisyan, the Head of the Food Safety and Inspection Agency.

  • Minister of education, science, culture and sport Arayik Harutyunyan met with the Ambassador of Lithuania Inga Stanytė-Toločkienė, where the latter expressed interest in establishing a TUMO center in Lithuania.

  • The NSS warned about and denied #FakeNews being spread by Azerbaijani special services over “evacuation of the residents of Artsakh” in social networks.

  • DM Tonoyan is in Russia attending the main stage of the Kavkaz 2020 (Caucasus 2020) Russian military drills in the Kapustin Yar shooting range. In Armenia it was held at the Alagyaz shooting range on September 24.

  • My Step MP Gayane Abrahamyan has submitted a resignation letter. She has cited that “status has become an end, not a means”, and therefore that has crossed a red line for her.

  • Referring to newly appointed Constitutional Court judge Yervand Khundkaryan’s candidacy to the presidency of the court, judge Vahe Grigorian said a different candidate should be considered. Later in the day Justice Khundkaryan failed the confirmation vote to become the President of the Constitutional Court. He was the only nominated candidate to become the chief justice.

  • President Sarkissian visited FAST, the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology, and familiarized with their ongoing projects, and referred to his ATOM presidential initiative on science development in Armenia.

  • Seven Iranian prisoners in Armenia repatriated to Iran.

  • U.S. lawmakers called on Library of Congress to adopt Armenian Genocide subject heading.

  • Military expert Tigran Abrahamyan, the head of Henaket Analytical Center warned of a ‘sharp increase’ in security threats.

  • Federal Member for the South Australian electorate of Spence, Nick Champion has affirmed his support for Australian recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides by signing on to the Joint Justice Initiative of the Armenian-Australian, Assyrian-Australian and Greek-Australian communities.

  • The world premiere of "Gate to Heaven" by Jivan Avetisyan will take place at the Moscow International Film Festival on October 1-8.

  • A team of Armenian schoolchildren won a total of 4 medals at the 32nd International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI).

  • Another group of Armenian servicemen has returned to Armenia after complying its peacekeeping mission as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

  • Azerbaijani, Georgian FMs meet in border demarcation talks, issue of arms transit to Armenia not discussed.

  • Georgian logistics company Gzavnili has advised its customers not to use Armenian surnames when ordering parcels. A message on the company’s website blamed the Azerbaijani customs services for the policy, claiming that a new law in Azerbaijan allowed them to confiscate packages on the border.

  • The AEF has awarded over 600 scholarships to students in Armenia.

  • Aliyev lashed out at Armenia in a video speech delivered at a session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday. Meanwhile, PM Pashinyan slammed Turkey in his speech at the UN.

  • A Yerevan court allowed investigators late on Friday to arrest Gagik Tsarukian, leader of the opposition Prosperous Armenia (BHK), on vote buying charges rejected by him as politically motivated.

  • Armenia’s economic activity index declines by 6.4% in 8 months.

  • Today marks the birthday of Komitas.

  • Several hundred Syrian refugees have been recruited by Turkey to fight against Armenia in the disputed Karabagh region – writes the Jerusalem post, attributing it to Syrian sources.

  • Mustapha Adib, Lebanon’s PM-designate has resigned after failing to form a new government.

  • Catholicos of All Armenians will meet with Pope Francis in Rome.

  • Turkish police have arrested the Kurdish mayor of Kars Ayhan Bilgen, and transported him to Ankara by plane.

  • Six months after French Armenian politician Patrick Devedjian’s death, the Hauts-de-Seine department, of which he was president, paid him a strong tribute on Friday.

  • Two resolutions in the US Congress, H.Res.452 and H.Res.190 regarding U.S.-Armenia and U.S.-Artsakh relations, continue to garner support,

  • Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan partook on Saturday in Stepanakert's Circular Park in a solemn ceremony dedicated to the Day of the Capital.

  • Libya starts implementing joint military programs with Turkey, defense minister says

  • Turkey and the US presidential election

  • Turkey bashes UN, EU and Armenia in latest statements

  • Erdogan breaks with Trump over Israel deals and Iran

  • India slams Turkish President Erdogan’s Kashmir remarks at UNGA

  • Why Turkey is making friends in West Africa

  • Greece said on Wednesday that it still expects the EU to approve sanctions against Turkey despite agreeing to restart talks on maritime boundaries.

Pianist Laura Galstyan won the 4th prize at the 5th Krystian Tkaczewski International Piano Competition in Poland and was recognized as one of the top six pianists.

That concludes our program for This week’s Armenian News Week in Review. We hope it has helped your understanding of some of the issues from the previous week. We look forward to your feedback, and even your suggestions for issues to cover in greater depth. Contact us on our website, at groong.org, or on our Facebook PageANN – Armenian News”, or in our Facebook Group “Armenian News – Armenian News  Network.

Special thanks to Laura Osborn for providing the music for our podcast. I’m Hovik Manucharyan, and on behalf of everyone in this episode, I wish you a good week. Thank you for listening, and talk to you next week.

29th Anniversary Independence, Nagorno Karabakh, Azerbaijan, War

Additional: Emil Sanamyan, Asbed Kotchikian, Marine Manucharyan


ANN/Armenian News – Week in Review – 09/27/2020

Armenian News Network / Armenian News

Armenian News: Week in Review

ANN/Armenian News

September  27, 2020

  • Asbed Kotchikian

  • Marine Manucharyan

  • Emil Sanamyan

  • Hovik Manucharyan

  • Asbed Bedrossian

Hello, and welcome to Armenian News Network, Armenian News, Week in Review. I’m Hovik Manucharyan.

This episode was recorded before Azerbaijani forces started a wide-scale attack against Artsakh and Armenia over the weekend, so we will not cover that important topic today. 

In this episode, along with Asbed Bedrossian, we’re going to talk about the following major topics:

  1. The 29th Anniversary of Armenian Independence;

  2. Armenia’s foreign policy; 

  3. Azerbaijan war of disinformation; and lastly

  4. Opposition trio rally and Tsarukyan’s arrest

To talk about these issues, we have with us:

Asbed Kotchikian, a senior lecturer of political science and international relations at Bentley University in Massachusetts.

Marine Manucharyan, president of the Civic Forum NGO. Her areas of focus include Artsakh, the Armenian Armed Forces, National Security and Foreign Policy.

And

Emil Sanamyan, a senior research fellow at USC’s Institute of Armenian Studies specializing in politics in the Caucasus, with a special focus on Azerbaijan.

YouTube           Apple            Google         Spotify       Facebook

On Monday September 21, Armenia celebrated its 29th anniversary of Independence. A very long parade of congratulations rolled in from world leaders, from Russia to America, to China, Japan, Canada, Australia, the Arab world – even Saudi Arabia, around Europe and South America, Kazakhstan and Georgia. Many world landmarks were lit up in the colors of the Armenian flag, and Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed September 21 as “Armenian Independence Day” in DC.

Thoughts?

One country we didn’t hear from on September 21 was from our neighbor Iran, and the press immediately went speculating what was going on. Finally, congratulatory letters arrived I think on the 24th, three days late. The letters were sent to Prime Minister Pashinyan as well as President Sarkissian.

What is Iran telling Armenia? 

For the past month Azerbaijan has upped the war rhetoric and ramped up its #FakeNews machinery to full gear. A constant stream of complaints about Armenian families relocating from Syria and Lebanon to Artsakh is now coupled with fake information that Armenia is relocating 60,000 PKK fighters there, on Friday they had included ASALA fighters.

There was a leaked internal Facebook memo a couple of weeks ago that singled out Azerbaijan as a major hub for fake accounts and profiles which their government uses against their opposition and Armenians. As usual they accuse Armenians of the same things that they’re accused of, in order to blur everything and drown the story in the noise. Is this a two-way street? Is there a lot of Armenian counter-Faking?

Where is all this disinformation leading to?

The BHK, ARF, and Hairenik party, announced that they will hold a rally in the Freedom Square on October 8, and said that they plan to call for snap elections in Armenia.

Bright Armenia’s leader Edmon Marukyan said that the LHK will not join the rally. They’re in favor of change, but through elections. On Friday, a Yerevan court authorized the arrest of BHK leader Gagik Tsarukyan on vote buying charges. Tsarukyan denies all wrongdoing and says that the charges are politically motivated because he called on PM Pashinyan to resign.

In reality the three parties seem to have divergent ideologies. What is uniting them today?

What can we expect to see between now and October 8?

  • Armenia celebrated its 29th anniversary of Independence on Sept. 21, 2020. A very long parade of congratulations rolled in from world leaders, from Russia to America, to China, Japan, Canada, Australia, the Arab world, around Europe and South America, Kazakhstan and Georgia. Many world landmarks were lit up in the colors of the Armenian flag, and Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed September 21 as “Armenian Independence Day” in DC.

    • Meanwhile, Ilham Aliyev complained to the UN about Armenia, while a potential tragedy began unfolding in Azerbaijan: the colors of the Armenian national flag were 'detected' in school textbooks! 😯😂 (Here’s the text of the speech)

    • Turkey warned Armenia against playing with fire after an Azerbaijani soldier was killed on the border.

  • PM Pashinyan introduced Armenia’s All-National transformation strategy on Independence Day. A fundamental Tenet: 5 million population by 2050.

  • GM Levon Aronian won the Bundesliga title with OSG Baden-Baden.

  • Armenia’s athletics team returned home with three gold medals from the Balkan Athletics Championships held in Romania.

  • Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Suren Papikyan discussed his concerns to IAEA General Director Rafael Grossi over the recent Azerbaijani threat to strike the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant.

  • Armenia health workers fighting COVID-19 honored with Hero of Our Time special award.

  • The Hairenik bloc: The Prosperous Armenia, Homeland and ARF parties announced that they will hold a rally in the Freedom Square on October 8, and say that they plan to call for snap elections in Armenia. The LHK will not join the rally. Edmon Marukyan has said that the party is in favor of change, but through elections.

  • Composer and conductor Loris Tjeknavorian shares his memories of independence.

  • Japan considers necessary to reform the UN Security Council because the system designed seventy-five years ago no longer delivers on the purposes of the Charter. 

  • Azerbaijan’s militaristic rhetoric, accusations against Armenia show that Baku is preparing a ground for an attack, Editor-in-chief of Realist Arabic news agency, Amr Eldiib says.

  • The Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction approved a motion on arresting former Armenian Ambassador to the Vatican Mikayel Minasyan. An arrest warrant has been issued.

  • The ICRC visited 5 Armenian officers held captive as POWs in Baku.

  • The Governor of Aragatsotn province has tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Employees of a children’s home in Yerevan are under criminal investigation on suspicion of physically and psychologically abusing the children at the institution.

  • Stepanakert called on Baku to abandon its policy of military blackmail and threats, and get back to a full format of negotiations.

  • Healthcare Minister Arsen Torosyan held conversations with the Chinese ambassador, and the Russian Chief Sanitary Doctor about the state of COVID-19 in Armenia.

  • A shooting at an Armenian school over the weekend in San Francisco has sparked a new hate crime investigation — the third hate crime against an Armenian establishment in San Francisco in the last two months. The SFPD is Investigating

  • Azerbaijan has called army reservists for inspection and training, claiming that there has been a ‘serious deterioration of the situation on the front line’.

  • A project funded by the European Union’s EU4Business initiative is helping to improve food safety in Armenia. The effort is being implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC).

  • Elvir Klempic, the National Affinity and Ethnic Engagement Director for the Joseph Biden presidential campaign, has issued a statement on his role and position on the Armenian Genocide and related issues.

  • Armenians, Syrian refugees in Turkey and Greeks are at the top of the list of groups targeted with hate speech by the Turkish media in 2019, according to the “Hate Speech and Discriminatory Discourse in Media 2019 Report,” published by the Hrant Dink Foundation.

  • "My Step" faction MP Armen Pambukhchyan has been named deputy minister of emergency situations.

  • Israel’s State-Run Aerospace Giant Contributed to Azerbaijani Laundromat, Leaks have Revealed.

  • Gagik Tsarukyan has denied the allegations made in the recently published in Khodorkovsky’s Dossier.Center website, that he has secret ties to Russia.

  • Armenia’s technology sector is continuing to grow rapidly despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to PM Pashinyan.

  • Russia is advancing a draft law to ban the latest encryption technology to prevent internet users bypassing state-imposed blocks & filters.

  • A 2.5 earthquake was registered 7km south-east from Armenia’s Ashotsk village.

  • The SHANT 2020 nationwide military exercises will be held in Armenia from November 16 to 20.

  • Two employees of the Cadastre Committee have died from the novel coronavirus.

  • US-based SADA Systems plans to establish a Global Center for Technological Solutions in Armenia.

  • Newly-built Chinese embassy in Yerevan shows China’s intentions for developing much deeper relations with Armenia.

  • Alexander Lukashenko was sworn in as the Belarusian president on Wednesday.

  • The new Ambassador of the Netherlands Nico Schermers presented his credentials to the President Armen Sarkissian.

  • New ambassador of Armenia to Bulgaria, Armen Edigaryan, presents credentials.

  • Russian MFA spox Maria Zakharova denied Azerbaijani reports that Russia advocated for the 'return of five regions surrounding Nagorno Karabakh to Azerbaijan' and that 'Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan impedes the Karabakh peace process.'

  • Kansas, Armenian leaders talk military models in partnership exchange.

  • Pianist Laura Galstyan won the 4th prize at the 5th Krystian Tkaczewski International Piano Competition in Poland and was recognized as one of the top six pianists.

  • Yerevan will host the Armenia International Music Festival, with five classical music concerts at the concert hall of Karen Demirchyan Sport and Concert Complex.

  • The Ministry of Education has expanded the funding for the teaching of Armenian and other Armenia-related subjects abroad. In the 2020-21academic year, the teaching will be expanded to ten institutions across eight countries.

  • Putin awards three Russian Armenian doctors for great contribution to the coronavirus fight.

  • Fruit prices rose by 30.2% in Armenia.

  • Three employees of Yerevan orphanage were arrested over child abuse.

  • Russian PM Mikhail Mishustin has expressed interest in visiting Armenia with the condition that he also be allowed to visit Gagik Khachatryan, a former finance minister who is in jail with charges of corruption.

  • No congratulatory messages have arrived from Iran on Armenia’s anniversary of  Independence this year.

  • Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan said that the increase in numbers since September 11 is conditioned by the increase of mobility and non-observance of the epidemic rules since the end of the emergency rule.

  • The Asian Development Bank will provide a $2 million grant to Armenia for COVID-19 response.

  • President of Iran Hassan Rouhani has sent congratulatory letters to PM Pashinyan and President Armen Sarkissian about Armenian Independence Day. The letter is 3 days late, and there has been much speculation about why it took so long.

  • Former MP Artur Gevorgyan arrested in the US.

  • Caucasus 2020: Armenian and Russian troops hold major live fire drills.

  • California State University, Northridge (CSUN) has received an anonymous $3 million gift to support its Armenian Studies Program and provide scholarships to students.

  • WorldBank: Financing Reforms are Critical for Better Health in Armenia.

  • Venice is also an Armenian city: Italian exhibition opens at the President's residence.

  • "Credit Holidays" granted to thousands of borrowers in Armenia can cause major damage to the banking system, Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Nerses Yeritsyan told a parliamentary inquiry.

  • The Spanish Senate ratified the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on September 23.

  • Bourg-les-Valence Mayor Marlene Mourier revealed in a Facebook post that she has received threats from Azerbaijanis in August this year.

  • Reports that Turkey is transferring syrian Militants to Azerbaijan as hostilities against Armenia increases.

  • Armenian champions Ararat-Armenia made it to the play-off round of Europa League after beating Celje (Slovenia) 1-0 at home in the third qualifying round.

  • Arthur Gevorgyan, the son-in-law of former Republican MP and former Chief of Police Vladimir (Vova) Gasparyan, has been arrested in the US.

  • Deputy Minister of Education and Science Grisha Tamrazyan has resigned.

  • There has been a huge amount of #FakeNews disseminated by Azerbaijan’s secret services about Armenia and Armenians. Azerbaijan is well known and well documented by Facebook as a hub for fake accounts and fake news being used against their domestic opposition, as well as Armenians.

  • The EU will provide Armenia with 60 million euros in fresh assistance earmarked to deal with the coronavirus crisis, reform courts and root out corruption.

  • Sweden’s first resident ambassador to Armenia Patrik Svensson presented his credentials to President Armen Sarkissian 

  • The U.S. Embassy in Armenia warned US citizens to avoid travel near the line of contact and the border, including the area to the east of the M4 and M16 Highways north of the Dilijan National Park and up to the border with Georgia in Tavush province, and Nagorno-Karabakh region.

  • The Turkish Prosecutor General's office has launched the process to deprive Armenian MP Garo Paylan of diplomatic immunity. Paylan and seven other members are accused of making statements supporting “terrorists” in the developments surrounding Syria’s Kurdish-majority city of Kobani.

  • An Armenian Spell Checker for iOS has been released. Nayiriboard works with apps such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, to productivity apps such as Pages, Notes and more.

  • The ministry of healthcare won an award of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on the prevention and control of Non-communicable Diseases (UNIATF) during the Task Force meeting.

  • Police Chief Vahe Ghazaryan and Indian Ambassador Kishan Dan Dewal discussed effective partnership between Armenia and India law enforcement.

  • PM Pashinyan relieved the Deputy Minister of Education, Grisha Tamrazyan and Georgy Avetisyan, the Head of the Food Safety and Inspection Agency.

  • Minister of education, science, culture and sport Arayik Harutyunyan met with the Ambassador of Lithuania Inga Stanytė-Toločkienė, where the latter expressed interest in establishing a TUMO center in Lithuania.

  • The NSS warned about and denied #FakeNews being spread by Azerbaijani special services over “evacuation of the residents of Artsakh” in social networks.

  • DM Tonoyan is in Russia attending the main stage of the Kavkaz 2020 (Caucasus 2020) Russian military drills in the Kapustin Yar shooting range. In Armenia it was held at the Alagyaz shooting range on September 24.

  • My Step MP Gayane Abrahamyan has submitted a resignation letter. She has cited that “status has become an end, not a means”, and therefore that has crossed a red line for her.

  • Referring to newly appointed Constitutional Court judge Yervand Khundkaryan’s candidacy to the presidency of the court, judge Vahe Grigorian said a different candidate should be considered. Later in the day Justice Khundkaryan failed the confirmation vote to become the President of the Constitutional Court. He was the only nominated candidate to become the chief justice.

  • President Sarkissian visited FAST, the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology, and familiarized with their ongoing projects, and referred to his ATOM presidential initiative on science development in Armenia.

  • Seven Iranian prisoners in Armenia repatriated to Iran.

  • U.S. lawmakers called on Library of Congress to adopt Armenian Genocide subject heading.

  • Military expert Tigran Abrahamyan, the head of Henaket Analytical Center warned of a ‘sharp increase’ in security threats.

  • Federal Member for the South Australian electorate of Spence, Nick Champion has affirmed his support for Australian recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides by signing on to the Joint Justice Initiative of the Armenian-Australian, Assyrian-Australian and Greek-Australian communities.

  • The world premiere of "Gate to Heaven" by Jivan Avetisyan will take place at the Moscow International Film Festival on October 1-8.

  • A team of Armenian schoolchildren won a total of 4 medals at the 32nd International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI).

  • Another group of Armenian servicemen has returned to Armenia after complying its peacekeeping mission as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

  • Azerbaijani, Georgian FMs meet in border demarcation talks, issue of arms transit to Armenia not discussed.

  • Georgian logistics company Gzavnili has advised its customers not to use Armenian surnames when ordering parcels. A message on the company’s website blamed the Azerbaijani customs services for the policy, claiming that a new law in Azerbaijan allowed them to confiscate packages on the border.

  • The AEF has awarded over 600 scholarships to students in Armenia.

  • Aliyev lashed out at Armenia in a video speech delivered at a session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday. Meanwhile, PM Pashinyan slammed Turkey in his speech at the UN.

  • A Yerevan court allowed investigators late on Friday to arrest Gagik Tsarukian, leader of the opposition Prosperous Armenia (BHK), on vote buying charges rejected by him as politically motivated.

  • Armenia’s economic activity index declines by 6.4% in 8 months.

  • Today marks the birthday of Komitas.

  • Several hundred Syrian refugees have been recruited by Turkey to fight against Armenia in the disputed Karabagh region – writes the Jerusalem post, attributing it to Syrian sources.

  • Mustapha Adib, Lebanon’s PM-designate has resigned after failing to form a new government.

  • Catholicos of All Armenians will meet with Pope Francis in Rome.

  • Turkish police have arrested the Kurdish mayor of Kars Ayhan Bilgen, and transported him to Ankara by plane.

  • Six months after French Armenian politician Patrick Devedjian’s death, the Hauts-de-Seine department, of which he was president, paid him a strong tribute on Friday.

  • Two resolutions in the US Congress, H.Res.452 and H.Res.190 regarding U.S.-Armenia and U.S.-Artsakh relations, continue to garner support,

  • Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan partook on Saturday in Stepanakert's Circular Park in a solemn ceremony dedicated to the Day of the Capital.

  • Libya starts implementing joint military programs with Turkey, defense minister says

  • Turkey and the US presidential election

  • Turkey bashes UN, EU and Armenia in latest statements

  • Erdogan breaks with Trump over Israel deals and Iran

  • India slams Turkish President Erdogan’s Kashmir remarks at UNGA

  • Why Turkey is making friends in West Africa

  • Greece said on Wednesday that it still expects the EU to approve sanctions against Turkey despite agreeing to restart talks on maritime boundaries.

Pianist Laura Galstyan won the 4th prize at the 5th Krystian Tkaczewski International Piano Competition in Poland and was recognized as one of the top six pianists.

That concludes our program for This week’s Armenian News Week in Review. We hope it has helped your understanding of some of the issues from the previous week. We look forward to your feedback, and even your suggestions for issues to cover in greater depth. Contact us on our website, at groong.org, or on our Facebook PageANN – Armenian News”, or in our Facebook Group “Armenian News – Armenian News  Network.

Special thanks to Laura Osborn for providing the music for our podcast. I’m Hovik Manucharyan, and on behalf of everyone in this episode, I wish you a good week. Thank you for listening, and talk to you next week.

29th Anniversary Independence, Nagorno Karabakh, Azerbaijan, War

Additional: Emil Sanamyan, Asbed Kotchikian, Marine Manucharyan


Azerbaijan picks a fight over lost Armenian enclave

Asia Times


by Richard Giragossian
Sept. 28, 2020

Surprise assault on Nagorno Karabakh leaves dozens dead in what could
be the first salvo in a protracted conflict

YEREVAN – Following months of bellicose threats, Azerbaijan launched
on Sunday a coordinated military offensive against the Armenian-held
breakaway republic of Nagorno Karabakh, leaving dozens dead and
raising the specter of a protracted open war.

On Monday morning, Karabakh officials announced 32 Armenian soldiers
had been killed, as well as two civilians, a woman and child. Baku
said an Azeri family of five were killed by Armenian shelling but did
not announce any casualties among its armed forces.

Azerbaijan, a gas-rich state run by an authoritarian dynasty, declared
martial law on September 27, as did Armenia, whose president called
for a general mobilization of military personnel.

The eruption of hostilities over the vast and strategic mountainous
territory comes two months after Azeri forces launched a cross-border
attack, which only differed by targeting Armenia proper.

Since that foiled July incursion, Azerbaijan has been increasingly
open about its disdain for diplomacy and desire to rely on the force
of arms.
“Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan,” Azeri President Ilham
Aliyev tweeted on Sunday.


For the nearly three decades since the implosion of the Soviet Union,
unresolved conflicts continue to litter the landscape. One of those is
over Nagorno Karabakh, seized by Armenian forces during the breakup of
the Soviet Union in 1991.

Azerbaijan, following the loss of the enclave which it had been
granted during the Soviet era, continues to claim Karabakh as part of
its territory – a claim recognized by the United Nations.

The unresolved nature of this and other lingering conflicts of the
Soviet breakup have served to distort economic development, discourage
democratization and, in most cases, defend Russian influence and
interests.

For Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Nagorno Karabakh conflict poses its
own burden, as an imperative for Armenia’s embrace of Russia for
security and as an impulse for Azerbaijan to challenge the status quo.

After decades of peace talks, Azerbaijan is frustrated by the lack of
any substantive progress in negotiating the status of the 4,400 square
kilometer territory.

Defined by a sense of national humiliation over the loss of the
historic region, Azerbaijan’s frustration has now reached a dangerous
level as it drives a resolution to the conflict by military means. The
country is armed with billions of dollars worth of armaments purchased
in recent years with its vast gas wealth.

This latest military offensive shows Azerbaijan’s desire to negotiate
on the battlefield rather than at diplomatic summits.

Despite a sometimes confusing war of words over who started the
fighting, the military reality on the ground suggests that the purely
defensive force posture for the Armenian and Karabakh sides greatly
reduces any offensive threat, thereby revealing little logic and even
less validity in Azerbaijan’s claims that Armenia attacked first.

From a military perspective, the Karabakh defenders would be unlikely
to cede their advantage by launching a risky offensive that negates or
diminishes tactical advantages inherent in their entrenched fortified
defensive positions.

Unlike the political and diplomatic context, however, it is less
important and largely irrelevant who attacked first. Once forces are
engaged in combat operations they tend to follow their own logic and
tempo.

Context of conflict

In the opening round of fighting on early Sunday morning, the
Azerbaijani attacks left 10 Karabakh soldiers and at least one
civilian dead, with more wounded. By Monday morning, the toll had
risen to 32 soldiers announced dead by the Armenian defense ministry.

This latest round of fighting is markedly different than previous
clashes, opening a new chapter of the Karabakh conflict. This latest
Azerbaijani offensive has been much grander in scale and space, with
coordinated attacks all along the line of contact separating Nagorno
Karabakh from Azerbaijan proper.

Unlike the two sides’ previous round of fighting in April 2016, which
at the time was the most serious seen since a fragile ceasefire was
reached in 1994, the latest salvos are marked for their intensity and
use of heavier firepower.

A second new aspect of the offensive is rooted in the scope of combat
operations. For example, this sudden offensive opened with preliminary
massive artillery and rocket barrages.

Those were then followed by an assault on three areas along the line
of contact between Karabakh and Azerbaijan that involved the use of
armored units in support of an infantry ground assault that was
bolstered by the deployment of more than two dozen UAVs, or
military-grade drones.

After inflicting the initial damage and casualties in the surprise
attack at dawn on Sunday, later that morning Karabakh defensive units
were able to repulse the broader offensive, although fighting
continued well into the early evening in border areas along the north-
and south-east.

A third defining feature of the initial offensive was the Azerbaijani
forces’ ability to seize and secure at least one and perhaps as many
as four Armenian military positions in the area. By the end of the
first day of fighting, the Armenian side also reported more than 100
wounded, largely from artillery bombardments.

Armenian military sources also showed evidence of the destruction or
capture of some 33 Azerbaijan tanks, 11 armored personnel carriers
and, in another rare achievement, the downing of four helicopters as
well as a number of UAVs.


The coordination and logistical preparation necessary to conduct this
expansive offensive demonstrated Azerbaijan’s improved capacity. Such
preparation confirms that this latest round of fighting was a
calculated and planned act of aggression.

Beyond the surprise nature of the attack, Azerbaijan’s willingness to
target civilian areas and population centers in Karabakh also
demonstrates an apparent new disregard for the loss of civilian life.

This may stem from the failure of the initial July offensive, which
was quickly halted and decisively repulsed due to the tactical
advantage of the defenders in terms of terrain and topography, and as
a result of the quick loss of the tactical element of surprise in the
location and intensity of the attack.

From this perspective and based on Azerbaijani military performance in
the past, local unit frustration and strategic failure on the ground
have translated into a desperate and deadly reliance on artillery and
rocket attacks on civilian areas that inflict damage with little or no
real military value.

External actors and factors

Despite its localized nature with no foreign presence on the ground,
the Karabakh conflict has the potential to morph into a much wider
confrontation of competing interests of larger, more powerful regional
actors including Russia, Turkey and Iran.

For Russia, the Karabakh conflict offers the most effective leverage
for maintaining its power and influence over both Armenia and
Azerbaijan, especially as it now serves as the primary arms supplier
to both sides.

As a key external actor, Russia is now seen and generally accepted as
having a legitimate interest in the conflict. That’s due mainly to its
diplomatic engagement and initiative as a co-chairing nation, along
with France and the United States, of the Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) “Minsk Group,” the sole diplomatic
entity empowered to mediate.

At the same time, the conflict is also a challenge for Russia, as it
has only revealed and deepened the weakness and inherent limits of its
“strategic partnership” and security alliance with Armenia.

Beyond the Karabakh conflict, there has been a profound crisis in
Armenian-Russian relations for several years. That stems from
Armenia’s deepening dissatisfaction with the unequal terms of the
relationship, marked by frustration with the asymmetry and disrespect
afforded to its alliance and exacerbated by a sense of betrayal by
Russia.

While Azerbaijan looks to Russia and Israel for military equipment, it
is Turkey – now engaged in proxy wars as far afield as Libya and Syria
– that has taken a most active and assertive policy in response to the
Karabakh conflict by forcefully backing Azerbaijan.

Turkey’s vocal defense of fellow Turkic Azerbaijan is partially driven
by a desire to regain its past role as Azerbaijan’s primary military
patron that Russia and Israel now serve. The Turkish response to the
latest eruption in violence was immediate and harsh, endorsing
Azerbaijan’s version of events well before the state of affairs on the
ground was determined.

Diverging domestic drivers

Every modern Azerbaijani leader up until the current President Aliyev
has either risen to or fallen from power due to events on Karabakh’s
battlefield.

It thus follows that resorting to force and resuming war is a risky
gambit for the Aliyev dynasty in Baku. Yet the use of military force
and an appeal to nationalism by the Azerbaijani leadership has also
served as a convenient, if temporary, distraction from domestic
problems, as was the case with the 2016 fighting.

On the other side, since a rare victory of non-violent people power in
2018, Armenia has emerged as a respected and legitimate democracy. Yet
this has only exacerbated the divergence and divide between the two
rival states.

This divergence is evident in the very nature of the regime in
Azerbaijan, whose political legitimacy is founded not on free and fair
elections but rather derived from family tradition and genetics, with
power passing from father-to-son through the rule of the Aliyev
dynasty.

Armenia and Karabakh now stand alone, with no partner for peace and
little hope for sincere or serious negotiations with Azerbaijan. The
imperative now is to focus on a back to basics diplomacy, aimed less
at substantive peace talks and more on preventing a further escalation
of renewed hostilities that threaten to lure in rival regional powers.



 

Azerbaijan picks a fight over lost Armenian enclave

Asia Times


by Richard Giragossian
Sept. 28, 2020

Surprise assault on Nagorno Karabakh leaves dozens dead in what could
be the first salvo in a protracted conflict

YEREVAN – Following months of bellicose threats, Azerbaijan launched
on Sunday a coordinated military offensive against the Armenian-held
breakaway republic of Nagorno Karabakh, leaving dozens dead and
raising the specter of a protracted open war.

On Monday morning, Karabakh officials announced 32 Armenian soldiers
had been killed, as well as two civilians, a woman and child. Baku
said an Azeri family of five were killed by Armenian shelling but did
not announce any casualties among its armed forces.

Azerbaijan, a gas-rich state run by an authoritarian dynasty, declared
martial law on September 27, as did Armenia, whose president called
for a general mobilization of military personnel.

The eruption of hostilities over the vast and strategic mountainous
territory comes two months after Azeri forces launched a cross-border
attack, which only differed by targeting Armenia proper.

Since that foiled July incursion, Azerbaijan has been increasingly
open about its disdain for diplomacy and desire to rely on the force
of arms.
“Karabakh is ours! Karabakh is Azerbaijan,” Azeri President Ilham
Aliyev tweeted on Sunday.


For the nearly three decades since the implosion of the Soviet Union,
unresolved conflicts continue to litter the landscape. One of those is
over Nagorno Karabakh, seized by Armenian forces during the breakup of
the Soviet Union in 1991.

Azerbaijan, following the loss of the enclave which it had been
granted during the Soviet era, continues to claim Karabakh as part of
its territory – a claim recognized by the United Nations.

The unresolved nature of this and other lingering conflicts of the
Soviet breakup have served to distort economic development, discourage
democratization and, in most cases, defend Russian influence and
interests.

For Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Nagorno Karabakh conflict poses its
own burden, as an imperative for Armenia’s embrace of Russia for
security and as an impulse for Azerbaijan to challenge the status quo.

After decades of peace talks, Azerbaijan is frustrated by the lack of
any substantive progress in negotiating the status of the 4,400 square
kilometer territory.

Defined by a sense of national humiliation over the loss of the
historic region, Azerbaijan’s frustration has now reached a dangerous
level as it drives a resolution to the conflict by military means. The
country is armed with billions of dollars worth of armaments purchased
in recent years with its vast gas wealth.

This latest military offensive shows Azerbaijan’s desire to negotiate
on the battlefield rather than at diplomatic summits.

Despite a sometimes confusing war of words over who started the
fighting, the military reality on the ground suggests that the purely
defensive force posture for the Armenian and Karabakh sides greatly
reduces any offensive threat, thereby revealing little logic and even
less validity in Azerbaijan’s claims that Armenia attacked first.

From a military perspective, the Karabakh defenders would be unlikely
to cede their advantage by launching a risky offensive that negates or
diminishes tactical advantages inherent in their entrenched fortified
defensive positions.

Unlike the political and diplomatic context, however, it is less
important and largely irrelevant who attacked first. Once forces are
engaged in combat operations they tend to follow their own logic and
tempo.

Context of conflict

In the opening round of fighting on early Sunday morning, the
Azerbaijani attacks left 10 Karabakh soldiers and at least one
civilian dead, with more wounded. By Monday morning, the toll had
risen to 32 soldiers announced dead by the Armenian defense ministry.

This latest round of fighting is markedly different than previous
clashes, opening a new chapter of the Karabakh conflict. This latest
Azerbaijani offensive has been much grander in scale and space, with
coordinated attacks all along the line of contact separating Nagorno
Karabakh from Azerbaijan proper.

Unlike the two sides’ previous round of fighting in April 2016, which
at the time was the most serious seen since a fragile ceasefire was
reached in 1994, the latest salvos are marked for their intensity and
use of heavier firepower.

A second new aspect of the offensive is rooted in the scope of combat
operations. For example, this sudden offensive opened with preliminary
massive artillery and rocket barrages.

Those were then followed by an assault on three areas along the line
of contact between Karabakh and Azerbaijan that involved the use of
armored units in support of an infantry ground assault that was
bolstered by the deployment of more than two dozen UAVs, or
military-grade drones.

After inflicting the initial damage and casualties in the surprise
attack at dawn on Sunday, later that morning Karabakh defensive units
were able to repulse the broader offensive, although fighting
continued well into the early evening in border areas along the north-
and south-east.

A third defining feature of the initial offensive was the Azerbaijani
forces’ ability to seize and secure at least one and perhaps as many
as four Armenian military positions in the area. By the end of the
first day of fighting, the Armenian side also reported more than 100
wounded, largely from artillery bombardments.

Armenian military sources also showed evidence of the destruction or
capture of some 33 Azerbaijan tanks, 11 armored personnel carriers
and, in another rare achievement, the downing of four helicopters as
well as a number of UAVs.


The coordination and logistical preparation necessary to conduct this
expansive offensive demonstrated Azerbaijan’s improved capacity. Such
preparation confirms that this latest round of fighting was a
calculated and planned act of aggression.

Beyond the surprise nature of the attack, Azerbaijan’s willingness to
target civilian areas and population centers in Karabakh also
demonstrates an apparent new disregard for the loss of civilian life.

This may stem from the failure of the initial July offensive, which
was quickly halted and decisively repulsed due to the tactical
advantage of the defenders in terms of terrain and topography, and as
a result of the quick loss of the tactical element of surprise in the
location and intensity of the attack.

From this perspective and based on Azerbaijani military performance in
the past, local unit frustration and strategic failure on the ground
have translated into a desperate and deadly reliance on artillery and
rocket attacks on civilian areas that inflict damage with little or no
real military value.

External actors and factors

Despite its localized nature with no foreign presence on the ground,
the Karabakh conflict has the potential to morph into a much wider
confrontation of competing interests of larger, more powerful regional
actors including Russia, Turkey and Iran.

For Russia, the Karabakh conflict offers the most effective leverage
for maintaining its power and influence over both Armenia and
Azerbaijan, especially as it now serves as the primary arms supplier
to both sides.

As a key external actor, Russia is now seen and generally accepted as
having a legitimate interest in the conflict. That’s due mainly to its
diplomatic engagement and initiative as a co-chairing nation, along
with France and the United States, of the Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) “Minsk Group,” the sole diplomatic
entity empowered to mediate.

At the same time, the conflict is also a challenge for Russia, as it
has only revealed and deepened the weakness and inherent limits of its
“strategic partnership” and security alliance with Armenia.

Beyond the Karabakh conflict, there has been a profound crisis in
Armenian-Russian relations for several years. That stems from
Armenia’s deepening dissatisfaction with the unequal terms of the
relationship, marked by frustration with the asymmetry and disrespect
afforded to its alliance and exacerbated by a sense of betrayal by
Russia.

While Azerbaijan looks to Russia and Israel for military equipment, it
is Turkey – now engaged in proxy wars as far afield as Libya and Syria
– that has taken a most active and assertive policy in response to the
Karabakh conflict by forcefully backing Azerbaijan.

Turkey’s vocal defense of fellow Turkic Azerbaijan is partially driven
by a desire to regain its past role as Azerbaijan’s primary military
patron that Russia and Israel now serve. The Turkish response to the
latest eruption in violence was immediate and harsh, endorsing
Azerbaijan’s version of events well before the state of affairs on the
ground was determined.

Diverging domestic drivers

Every modern Azerbaijani leader up until the current President Aliyev
has either risen to or fallen from power due to events on Karabakh’s
battlefield.

It thus follows that resorting to force and resuming war is a risky
gambit for the Aliyev dynasty in Baku. Yet the use of military force
and an appeal to nationalism by the Azerbaijani leadership has also
served as a convenient, if temporary, distraction from domestic
problems, as was the case with the 2016 fighting.

On the other side, since a rare victory of non-violent people power in
2018, Armenia has emerged as a respected and legitimate democracy. Yet
this has only exacerbated the divergence and divide between the two
rival states.

This divergence is evident in the very nature of the regime in
Azerbaijan, whose political legitimacy is founded not on free and fair
elections but rather derived from family tradition and genetics, with
power passing from father-to-son through the rule of the Aliyev
dynasty.

Armenia and Karabakh now stand alone, with no partner for peace and
little hope for sincere or serious negotiations with Azerbaijan. The
imperative now is to focus on a back to basics diplomacy, aimed less
at substantive peace talks and more on preventing a further escalation
of renewed hostilities that threaten to lure in rival regional powers.



 

Councilmember Paul Kerkorian Statement on Azerbaijan’s Aggression

Azerbaijan's
Aggression Threatens the World

The
United States Needs to Stop It

By Paul Krekorian

Los Angeles City
Councilmember

 

Yet again, Azerbaijan’s military forces have launched a
deadly and unprovoked attack against its Armenian neighbors.  Yet again, Azerbaijan’s recklessness puts
innocent civilian lives and fundamental United States interests at risk.  And yet again, the Armenian people face a
genuine threat of the continuation of Turkish efforts to annihilate them.

Last night, Azeri tanks, helicopters and artillery attacked
the ethnically Armenian civilian population of Artsakh (formerly
Nagorno-Karabagh), including that country’s capital city, Stepanakert.  This invasion follows the deadly attacks
Azerbaijan launched just two months ago against rural villages in Armenia.  During a time when the UN has called for
ceasefire around the world due to the COVID pandemic, Azerbaijan instead is
renewing warfare, violating its ceasefire agreement with Armenia, and causing
death and destruction to the Armenian population that it so detests.

This reckless invasion is a direct threat not only to the
Armenian population of the region, but also to regional stability.  Already, Turkish dictator Erdogan is
threatening Armenia and offering full support to the Azeri invasion.  It is not hard to imagine that a full scale
war against a country that borders on Turkey, Russia and Iran presents a grave
danger to the world.  Azerbaijan’s
actions create an immediate danger of escalation that would enflame a tinderbox
and severely damage US strategic interests in the region.

The corrupt Baku regime’s outrageous warmongering and racist
hatred of Armenians seems to know no limits. 
This attack is just the latest in a consistent record of Azeri barbarity
directed at Armenians who just want to go about their lives in peace.  The Azeris targeted Armenian civilians with
mass murder in the pogroms of 1988 and 1990. 
They targeted Armenian civilians with indiscriminate shelling during
Artsakh’s war of independence.  Twenty
years ago they destroyed a thousand year old Armenian cemetery at Julfa,
ignoring the pleas of UNESCO and desecrating tens of thousands of graves.  They celebrated as a hero and rewarded the
Azeri soldier who beheaded an Armenian with an axe during a NATO “Partnership
for Peace” program in 2004.  They
targeted Armenian civilian villages and committed shocking war crimes during
their 2016 invasion of Artsakh.  And now
they are engaging in the same kinds of ruthless violence and abomination yet
again.

If that were not enough, the bellicose Azerbaijan government
recently threatened to launch a missile attack on a nuclear power plant,
releasing massive amounts of radiation only 20 miles from Yerevan.  The spokesperson for the Azerbaijan Defense
Ministry today bragged about their capability of hitting the power plant, which
would, as he put it, “lead to a great disaster for Armenia.”  This rhetoric is a continuation of
Azerbaijan’s repeated threats, including from its famously corrupt and
dictatorial president, to destroy and conquer all Armenian lands.

This outrageous and consistent pattern of aggression
completely shreds all international norms and notions of human decency.  Worse, Azeri violence and threats carry with
them the echoes of generations of pan-Turkish commitment to erasing the
Armenian population and culture from the world. 
The most dramatic manifestation of this lust for ethnic cleansing, of
course, was the Armenian Genocide in which Turks killed 1,500,000 Armenians
early in the Twentieth Century.  But the
actions, statements and active preparations of Azerbaijan and its enabler
Turkey make clear that genocide is a genuine threat in our time as well.

The United States, France and Russia, as co-chairs of the
OSCE Minsk Group, have attempted for years to mediate a sustainable negotiated
peace, but those efforts have utterly failed. 
Azerbaijan has consistently violated the ceasefire with scores of
attacks across the border, resulting in both civilian and military deaths in
both Armenia and Artsakh.  The United
States nonetheless still refuses to state clearly that there is only one
perpetrator that continues to be responsible for the violence, bloodshed and
instability in the region, and that is Azerbaijan.  Any statement of moral equivalence in the
face of continued massive violence, aggression and genocidal threats by the
government of Azerbaijan is entirely unacceptable. Our government has an
obligation to hold Baku accountable for Azerbaijan’s destruction of the peace
process and its ongoing crimes and threats.

Unless Azerbaijan immediately faces meaningful consequences
and international condemnation, there is little chance of achieving lasting
peace.  The interests of the United
States will be harmed by instability in this vital region, and our reputation
in the international community will be irreparably damaged by our failure to
stand up and speak out on behalf of the victims of this inexcusable and
continuing record of Azeri aggression and violence.  And if another slaughter of Armenians comes,
the nations who failed to stop it will have no excuse for their complicity.

I therefore call upon the United States government to
condemn Azerbaijan unequivocally for its latest violation of the ceasefire, and
to demand an immediate and permanent cessation of all Azeri hostile
action.  I further call upon the Trump
Administration and the United States Congress to take immediate action to cease
all military support and cooperation with Azerbaijan, including suspending all
arms shipments to Azerbaijan.  Finally, I
call upon the United States Department of State to utilize all diplomatic,
economic and political means to compel Azerbaijan to engage meaningfully in the
peace process, through the Minsk Group or otherwise, to achieve a sustainable,
lasting peace that ensures the sovereignty, territorial integrity and
independence of the Republic of Artsakh.

 

 



Councilmember Paul Kerkorian Statement on Azerbaijan’s Aggression

Azerbaijan's
Aggression Threatens the World

The
United States Needs to Stop It

By Paul Krekorian

Los Angeles City
Councilmember

 

Yet again, Azerbaijan’s military forces have launched a
deadly and unprovoked attack against its Armenian neighbors.  Yet again, Azerbaijan’s recklessness puts
innocent civilian lives and fundamental United States interests at risk.  And yet again, the Armenian people face a
genuine threat of the continuation of Turkish efforts to annihilate them.

Last night, Azeri tanks, helicopters and artillery attacked
the ethnically Armenian civilian population of Artsakh (formerly
Nagorno-Karabagh), including that country’s capital city, Stepanakert.  This invasion follows the deadly attacks
Azerbaijan launched just two months ago against rural villages in Armenia.  During a time when the UN has called for
ceasefire around the world due to the COVID pandemic, Azerbaijan instead is
renewing warfare, violating its ceasefire agreement with Armenia, and causing
death and destruction to the Armenian population that it so detests.

This reckless invasion is a direct threat not only to the
Armenian population of the region, but also to regional stability.  Already, Turkish dictator Erdogan is
threatening Armenia and offering full support to the Azeri invasion.  It is not hard to imagine that a full scale
war against a country that borders on Turkey, Russia and Iran presents a grave
danger to the world.  Azerbaijan’s
actions create an immediate danger of escalation that would enflame a tinderbox
and severely damage US strategic interests in the region.

The corrupt Baku regime’s outrageous warmongering and racist
hatred of Armenians seems to know no limits. 
This attack is just the latest in a consistent record of Azeri barbarity
directed at Armenians who just want to go about their lives in peace.  The Azeris targeted Armenian civilians with
mass murder in the pogroms of 1988 and 1990. 
They targeted Armenian civilians with indiscriminate shelling during
Artsakh’s war of independence.  Twenty
years ago they destroyed a thousand year old Armenian cemetery at Julfa,
ignoring the pleas of UNESCO and desecrating tens of thousands of graves.  They celebrated as a hero and rewarded the
Azeri soldier who beheaded an Armenian with an axe during a NATO “Partnership
for Peace” program in 2004.  They
targeted Armenian civilian villages and committed shocking war crimes during
their 2016 invasion of Artsakh.  And now
they are engaging in the same kinds of ruthless violence and abomination yet
again.

If that were not enough, the bellicose Azerbaijan government
recently threatened to launch a missile attack on a nuclear power plant,
releasing massive amounts of radiation only 20 miles from Yerevan.  The spokesperson for the Azerbaijan Defense
Ministry today bragged about their capability of hitting the power plant, which
would, as he put it, “lead to a great disaster for Armenia.”  This rhetoric is a continuation of
Azerbaijan’s repeated threats, including from its famously corrupt and
dictatorial president, to destroy and conquer all Armenian lands.

This outrageous and consistent pattern of aggression
completely shreds all international norms and notions of human decency.  Worse, Azeri violence and threats carry with
them the echoes of generations of pan-Turkish commitment to erasing the
Armenian population and culture from the world. 
The most dramatic manifestation of this lust for ethnic cleansing, of
course, was the Armenian Genocide in which Turks killed 1,500,000 Armenians
early in the Twentieth Century.  But the
actions, statements and active preparations of Azerbaijan and its enabler
Turkey make clear that genocide is a genuine threat in our time as well.

The United States, France and Russia, as co-chairs of the
OSCE Minsk Group, have attempted for years to mediate a sustainable negotiated
peace, but those efforts have utterly failed. 
Azerbaijan has consistently violated the ceasefire with scores of
attacks across the border, resulting in both civilian and military deaths in
both Armenia and Artsakh.  The United
States nonetheless still refuses to state clearly that there is only one
perpetrator that continues to be responsible for the violence, bloodshed and
instability in the region, and that is Azerbaijan.  Any statement of moral equivalence in the
face of continued massive violence, aggression and genocidal threats by the
government of Azerbaijan is entirely unacceptable. Our government has an
obligation to hold Baku accountable for Azerbaijan’s destruction of the peace
process and its ongoing crimes and threats.

Unless Azerbaijan immediately faces meaningful consequences
and international condemnation, there is little chance of achieving lasting
peace.  The interests of the United
States will be harmed by instability in this vital region, and our reputation
in the international community will be irreparably damaged by our failure to
stand up and speak out on behalf of the victims of this inexcusable and
continuing record of Azeri aggression and violence.  And if another slaughter of Armenians comes,
the nations who failed to stop it will have no excuse for their complicity.

I therefore call upon the United States government to
condemn Azerbaijan unequivocally for its latest violation of the ceasefire, and
to demand an immediate and permanent cessation of all Azeri hostile
action.  I further call upon the Trump
Administration and the United States Congress to take immediate action to cease
all military support and cooperation with Azerbaijan, including suspending all
arms shipments to Azerbaijan.  Finally, I
call upon the United States Department of State to utilize all diplomatic,
economic and political means to compel Azerbaijan to engage meaningfully in the
peace process, through the Minsk Group or otherwise, to achieve a sustainable,
lasting peace that ensures the sovereignty, territorial integrity and
independence of the Republic of Artsakh.