The following op-ed was submitted to the Washington Examiner by Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian, in response to Alexander Murinson’s May 9 article “With Russia Strengthening its Alliance with Armenia, it’s Time to Cut off Foreign Aid to Armenia.”
The Washington Examiner refused to publish the piece, which can be read below in its entirety.
Answering Murinson’s Anti-Armenian Attacks
Alexander Murinson’s article (“With Russia strengthening its alliance with Armenia, it’s time to cut off foreign aid to Armenia,” Washington Examiner, May 9) echoes Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev’s own angry anti-Armenian speeches, statements, and tweets. His unfounded attacks should not be left unchallenged.
As is well known, the Azerbaijani government (Freedom House rating: Not Free) radically restricts freedom of expression by its own citizens while spending millions to express its views and advance its interests in Washington, D.C. Among Baku’s registered foreign agents is the Podesta Group, which gets $45,000/month, devoted, in large part, to misrepresenting Armenia and Americans of Armenian heritage.
Murinson’s anti-Armenian diatribe notwithstanding, Americans of Armenian heritage have contributed to every aspect of American life. Armenian American soldiers serve today in our military, and have fought and died in every war dating back to the Civil War, earning honors at every level, including Congressional Medal of Honor. Governors, mayors, and Members of Congress of Armenian heritage contribute to the civic life of our nation, just a business leaders, including billionaire investors and high-tech inventors, have strengthened our economy. In medicine, science, education, finance, public service, and so many other fields, Armenian Americans are part of the diverse fabric of America.
Here are several facts about the Armenian National Committee of America’s (ANCA) support for strong U.S. leadership:
The ANCA supports increased U.S.-Armenia military cooperation: The ANCA has consistently fought for increased U.S. military aid to Armenia, including Foreign Military Financing and International Military Education and Training. The ANCA backs U.S. support for modernizing Armenia’s Peacekeeping Training Center, bringing this facility up to NATO specifications, and also for a Field Hospital to support peacekeeping missions.
The ANCA backs Armenia’s active membership in NATO’s Partnership for Peace and is proud that Armenia is among the top per-capita contributors of peacekeepers for U.S. and NATO-led operations from Afghanistan (ISAF & Resolute Support Mission) and Iraq (Polish command) to Kosovo (KFOR), Lebanon (UNIFIL), and Mali (MINUSMA).
The ANCA supports expanded U.S.-Armenia trade and investment: The ANCA was a driving force behind the creation of the U.S.-Armenia Economic Task Force in 1999, Armenia’s membership in the World Trade Organization in 2003, Permanent Normal Trade Relations in 2004, and the 2015 signing of the U.S.-Armenia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). We have, since the historic TIFA signing, welcomed new U.S. investments of over $500,000,000 in the energy and mining sectors. The ANCA is currently pressing for a U.S.-Armenia Double Tax Treaty and for direct Los Angeles to Yerevan flights.
The ANCA supports continued U.S. aid to Armenia, as part of an aid-to-trade transition: U.S. assistance has met humanitarian needs – including demining efforts to clear farmland in Artsakh, promotes democratic development, and supports the growth of Armenia’s market-based economy. Armenia is rated by the Heritage Foundation/Freedom House as the 33rd freest economy in the world.
ANCA advocacy for U.S.-Armenia security cooperation: The ANCA is encouraged by Armenia’s energetic endorsement of the Royce-Engel proposals, a set of pro-peace recommendations backed by the U.S. and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE):
– An agreement from all sides not to deploy snipers, heavy arms, or new weaponry along the line of contact.
– The placement of OSCE-monitored, advanced gunfire-locator systems and sound-ranging equipment to determine the source of attacks along the line of contact.
– The deployment of additional OSCE observers along the line of contact to better monitor cease-fire violations.
Armenia and Artsakh have long agreed to all three measures; Azerbaijan opposes their implementation.
The ANCA supports U.S.-Armenia cooperation on refugees: The ANCA is working with our government to help Armenia serve as a safe haven for at-risk Christians and other vulnerable Middle East minorities. Armenia, the first Christian nation, benefited from American and other international humanitarian relief during the Armenian Genocide (1915-23) and seeks, in turn, to assist those who are today fleeing intolerance and violence.
The ANCA relentlessly defends Armenia’s independence: The ANCA devoted decades during the Cold War to protesting Soviet control of Armenia, honoring the flag, seal, and anthem of the Armenian Republic of 1918-20. Starting in the late 1980s, the ANCA advocated aggressively for Armenia’s independence from Moscow’s rule, a long-term aspiration that was ultimately realized in Sept. 1991.