Obama Taps Kerry for Secretary of State

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama nominated long-time Armenian-American issues supporter, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), as his next secretary of state, with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) widely considered to take his place as the next chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“We welcome President Obama’s nomination of Senator Kerry, a legislator with a three decade-long record of support for Armenia and a legacy of advocacy for the foreign policy priorities of Armenian-Americans, as our nation’s next secretary of state,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We look forward to continuing to work constructively with Senator Kerry, now in his new role at the Department of State, as we seek to lift Turkey’s gag-rule on American recognition of the Armenian Genocide, strengthen U.S.-Armenia ties, and put in place freedom-based solutions that provide security to the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh.”

Kerry was first elected to the Senate in 1984. He succeeded now-Vice President Joe Biden as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009. Over the years, Kerry has been a strong advocate for Congressional affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, co-sponsoring many resolutions to end U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denial of this still unpunished crime. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he pressed ambassadorial nominee to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone, about U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide, Turkey’s blockade of Armenia, and the Turkey-Armenia protocols. He is not currently a co-sponsor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

In the early 1990’s, Kerry was a vocal leader in support of Senate adoption of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, which restricted U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan until it lifted its blockades and stopped its aggression against Armenia and Karabagh. Earlier this year, Chairman Kerry was “shocked and appalled” at Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s pardon, praise, and promotion of convicted Azerbaijani axe-murderer Ramil Safarov. “This needlessly provocative act endangers the fragile peace between these countries and damages the government of Azerbaijan’s credibility,” he noted.

The ANCA had endorsed Kerry in his bid for the presidency in 2004 against Republican incumbent President George W. Bush.

Kerry will likely be succeeded by Sen. Robert Menendez as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez has been an outspoken advocate for U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide since his years in the House of Representatives. He is the lead sponsor for the Senate Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res.399) introduced earlier this year. Menendez was joined by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in blocking the nomination of Dick Hoagland, President George W. Bush’s nominee as U.S. ambassador to Armenia, after Hoagland denied the Armenian Genocide during his Senate confirmation process. Later, Menendez and Boxer successfully opposed the nomination of U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza, expressing concerns about his serious shortcomings in his track record as a senior diplomat dealing with the Caucasus.

Other changes in the Senate Committee leadership include Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s selection to serve as chairwoman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, taking over the position from Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, who passed away earlier this month.


  1. It is going to be interesting watching another hypocrite politician to reveal himself to be as such.

    Folks, yes, Genocide did take place. But US will not recognize it in the foreseable future … for selfish reasons. It will lose Turkey if it does so, and it is a very hefty price to pay. It is not just my opinion. It is borne out by the many years of US official refusal to acknowledge as such. What has changed recently? Has Turkey become less important to US? No, it is the other way around. Turkey is even more prominent as a regional player than before. Yes, its relatins with Israel have soured, but are still much better than anybody else in the region (excluding Azerbaijan, which of course is no Turkey in size and importance).

    So Kerry will go down the same route as Obama did, and many before him.

    You are wasting your time and money trying this route. Of course, you will tell me: dont worry about us, go mind your own business. Well said. I will. But I will still be leaving you wasting your time. Just think about it. You guys are good at chess, aren’t you?

    Not to put ideas in your head, try something else to … international justice court, direct law-suits, undermining US aid to Turkey, helping block their entry into EU.

    • Or maybe have those Turks that clearly understand the reality of what happened to the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians as as being Genocide, put forth effort to set reality straight in Turkey itself?

      Isn’t it ridiculous that till this day, Turkey puts forth so much effort and money to maintain a false narrative as somehow being the truth?

  2. {“You are wasting your time and money trying this route.”}

    it is our time to waste: why do you care ?
    if you guys think we are, you should sit back and enjoy it: encourage us Armenians to ‘waste’ more of our time and money; right ?

    and contrary to what Turks and AzeriTurks believe, we Armenian-Americans are spending very little money on this front: it is all grassroots effort.
    ANCA has a miniscule budget and miniscule staff: lots of volunteers though.

    Turkey and Azerbaijan are the ones that spend the big bucks: they have to hire lobbyists to carry their water.
    It is a very cost effective process for us Armenians. We make you guys spend lots of money, for very little return.
    We didn’t spend a dime to get Anti-Armenian Turcophile Bryza thrown out.

    And you are correct: we can’t move US Executive branch now, but we can cause a lot of trouble for Turks and AzeriTurks via US Congress, and we do. And we will continue until you guys stop trying to wipe us out.

    And though US is the biggest dog on the block, it is not the only one.
    Turks got the scare of their life when French Assembly and Senate overwhelmingly passed the AG Criminalization law.
    Turks had to scramble to buy a few of the French constitutional court jurists to invalidate it.
    But it will come back. And other European countries will be added.
    The AG Nightmare for Turks will never end. It won’t go away, because we won’t go away.

  3. I served honorably with the 1st Air Cavalry in Vietnam from DEC ’65 to MAY ’67. I will never forget nor can I ever forgive John Kerry for his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee back in 1971. He painted all of us who served as deranged baby-killers. He did this while holding a commission in the Naval Reserve. He is a despictable individual who successfully built a political career on the backs of our soiled reputations. He is shameless.

    Armenians ought to accept that this phony warrior will backslide on the issue of the Armenian Genocide. Obama did it. Clinton did it. Kerry will do it, too. I’m anxiously awaiting to see if my senator, Bob Menendez, will tow the company line and dance around the subject or will he stand and fight for what’s right?

  4. Avery, what you makes perfect sense. I stand corrected. If I were you, I therefore would do the same thing you are doing … but only if one grants that you are justified in thinking of Azeris/Turks the way you do (as sworn enemies deserving utter revenge and harm).

    I cannot speak for Turks. But we Azeri are not trying “wipe out the Armenians,” as you say in a kind of a mania of persecution. Our beef with you guys is over the land you have taken from us (and not really over the Stepanakert and other traditional Armenian lands, but over the adjances Azeri states). If we get those back, we have no issues with you, as attested to by the fact that Armenians have lived just fine in Azerbaijan before the war, including having very comfortable lives in Baku.

    As for the Turks, I doubt that they want to wipe you out. Maybe in 1915, ok. But do you really believe this?

    Also, you talk about the monetary cost of giving Turkey hard time. But you forget other costs too … you are making Turkey into an even worse enemy to you than you already think it to be. And one should always be careful about making powerful enemies. And I think it is in this juncture where the interests of Armenians in Armenia sometimes diverge from American-Armenians. It is they and not you who bear the cost of this enimosity (closed borders, etc). For you guys, it is just easy (and sometimes even fun) getting back at Turkey. And why not?

    • Most all that region is historically Armenian lands. That’s a fact.. Modern Turkey through genocide, is situated on others historical lands: Armenians , Greeks and Assyrian.. What should we do about that? Forget that but only worry about the Azeri lands given to them by Joseph Stalin that was reclaimed by Armenians through a war started by the Azeri side?

      Unfortunately i expect war. I also expect the Azeri side, in the end, to lose more lands that in reality are historical Armenian Lands.

  5. Our President, Obama, should do what he promised to do when he was runnig for the office, ” I will recognise the Armenian Genoside it is a proven fact” that’s all I wish for, so all the Armenians like myself descandants of Genoside survivers may finally find peace within.

  6. We are waisting our time and money.When our politicians get to the state
    department ,it becomes a different story behind close doors.We have to work with Turkey directly. Lets put our efforts in recognizing the Republic of Artsakh.
    And in case of war with the Azeris ,we have to start a volunteer army from the diaspora beeing Europe Russia or the USA to go and fight in the Artsakh
    army have we thought of that. Soldiers defend a country not talk or money.

    tHE aRAB STATES????
    yoiu think great Turkey will dare to start war against I R A N –
    think over it.
    Armenia will have to wait , we have paticence..we are over patient!!!!
    But kerim or some other was asking way ermenis do not start Laim officially as yet.
    We are preparing for it ,you can be sure of thjat…
    Wait a bit more have patience like I said we have

  8. Kerim speaks very intelligently. It is wholly irrelevant what self-serving politicians say or don’t say about the Armenian Genocide. We would be much better served pressing them to strive for an end to the blockade of Armenia. Ending that blockade is in US interests (cheaper energy routes, more chance of a resolution to NKR conflict that will ensure the security of existing pipeline routes, etc.), while acknowledging the genocide gives the US no tangible benefit.

    Kerim, just one word about the Karabakh conflict. Armenia has consistently stated that it will return the surrounding rayons once a comprehensive peace deal is made. What’s the point of giving the land back in the absence of a peace deal? That would simply be endangering the lives of the refugees who will return to those lands. Azerbaijan threatens war every day, as you know.

  9. That is you opinion Alex. Thosse talks -re giving back surrounding areas of NK-Not a palm of land or TIZ in Armenian a Foot in English will be given back…
    Fact is they the Axerbainjains have to as yet cede to us SHAHUMIAN MARTAKERT.As to us ,outside of thsoe areas sons and daughters of Nakhijevantis and Kars people etc., have our LEGITIMATE CLAIM ON THOSE..
    Btu first thignns first.We ahve to win our case as to Genocide recognition bry great Turkey…little brother-ficticious state,did not exist before 1918…
    is just a small part of the great Turkey who is manipulating it to her desire.
    Our fight is to the end Alex, in case you are not aware of it…
    First blood money from great Turkey then when Kurdish issue ripends up , we’ll plan something along with them to topple that great one to to a lower platform .
    After all you must be aware that the british Empire ,became Great Britain ,the U.K. and now tlka are around it becomign England,as Scotland and Wales are begining to stirr a bit.Sorry if I have diverted from subject matter,but that is to show to you and others that NOTHING IS PERMANENT!!!

  10. Kerim, although we may disagree on our direction, your tone is reasonable; which I appreciate. I’d like to comment on something that our patriot Avery spoke to. The approach of Armenian people and the Turkish authorities to the genocide is polar opposite. The Turks have created this fictional account to rewrite their history, educate new generations with denial of the historical truths and operate as mercenaries when it comes to opposing the rights of,the Armenians. On the other hand, for us it is a sacred responsibility for each succeeding generation to pursue the justice that was denied our grandparents. This explains the vast world wide volunteer network that fuels our mission. It is not work…. It our life inspired by the voices of murdered population and motivated by the future of the Armenian nation.
    This why we don’t worry about who recognizes the fact of the genocide or the Turks expensive efforts to create fabrications of the truth. Any casual observer can see which way this matter is trending. The Turks are on the defensive. In their own society , the real change is taking place as the civil society and younger generation challenge the taboos and begin to realize the mis truths on the foundation of their republic. The truth will always prevail.
    My other comment pertains to the Azerbaijani relationship. Your government, in the aftermath of losing a war they started, has resorted to spreading racist and violent rhetoric among your people. They have made the Armenians the public enemy and have crossed the line between political conflict and outright advocacy of racist based violence. You my speak of a more moderate position, but you are represented in the world of sovereign nations by a far more dangerous opinion. Is this how you want the Azerbaijani people represented? As war mongering oil hypocrites?
    Artsakh was liberated because they were refused their God given right to self determination. In 1918, in 1920, in 1923 , countless times during the Soviet occupation, in 1987-90. Faced with an attempt at annihilation , they fought and won. The surrounding territory was liberated for historical and security reasons. The behavior of your government only furthers our resolve for freedom.
    I pray that peace and freedom returns to this land.

  11. Alex, I agree that the Armenian leadership has put it on the table to give back the adjacent rayons. But I believe they have done so only with not all of these rayons. But you are right: the current proposal to Armenia does not make sense. If I were Armenians, I would never agree to agreeing on the final staus of Karabak AFTER they have given up ALL the rayons. But we Azeris are not asking for all the regions, but a handful, still leaving some for future decisions. So Armenia would still have something to negotiate with.

    Of course, neither one of us are part of the negotiations, and we might never know what is the real sticking point.

    As for Azeris, I think we need better leaders to LEAD and make us realize this, in preparation for peace (instead of stroking hatred by pardoning a maniac like Safarov):

    1) Stepanakert and other pre-war ARmenian lands will never PEACEFULLY be part of Azerbaijan, and we can never Hope to kill them all (not that we should even think about it even if it was possible)

    2) And we should not be disappoined over this loss. After all it does not matter whose these lands were 100s years ago, It has been Armenian in recent memory. Frankly, I think over 80% of Azeris would agree to this, if they saw that they would not be the only ones openly acknowledging this (hence the need for a true leader)

    3) Instead focus on getting our pre-war Azeri lands back in exchange for recognizing and respecting Karabak independence.

    Of course, this is hard to do for any leader. And I dont think it will ever be done. I think, unfortunately, a war will need to take place to re-shuffle the chess table to see if the new configuration may yield a solution.

  12. Stepan, I too hope that no war takes place, and things are resolved peacefully.

    Yes, the Azeri leadership has not been good at preparing the nation for a compromise and peace. But the case for peace would be greatly helped if Armenians took a tangible step towards compromise too, showing a good will. Out of the 7 adjacent districts, if they gave up one (even if the smallest one), it would go a long way towards showing Azeris that they are interesed in peace. And I think that is what the intermediaries have been pushing for, before the final status is decided. I guess there is currently very little trust between the two leaders, and it is understantable why Armenians would hesitate to take the first step in exchange for what appears to be a free prize to Azeris. But trust me, it would not be a free prize … it would improve good will, which is critical for any peace deal.

    But also let’s note forget this too … Being from essentially the Middle East, our peoples are very vindictive and proud. And compromise will be very hard to come by

  13. Kerim you are quite level-headed and I see your perspective. However, I think it would not reflect an honest outcome to this conflict for the following reasons:

    -Please name for me any other conflict in history where it was incumbent on the *winning side*, who did not start the war, to make concessions? Azerbaijan, as 1) the loser and 2) the party that threatens war and spreads racism daily as you’ve admitted, has to take the first step. A constructive one would be to remove snipers from the Line of Contact. Sending Safarov back to Hungarian prison and acquiescing to a concrete time and date for a referendum in NKR would be others.

    -The seven rayons are not only a bargaining chip but more importantly a security barrier for Karabakh. The evidence of this is that the attacks from Baku did not stop until those rayons were conquered. The international community, Azerbaijan included, has to make credible and demonstrable security guarantees for Karabakh before any of those rayons, even the smallest one, can responsibly be returned. As Okun writes, “If you close one escape valve, you have to provide another.”

  14. Alex, it is nice to chat with a person form “the other side” who tries to see the other perspective.

    You are right. The Armenian side is the winner from Round 1 and cannot be expected to compromise too much. But Armenian sides does not hold all the chips. On the surface, it does look bad for Azerbaijan to threaten force, but this threat itself is a chip too: I give up this threat if you do X. And to make this threat sound legitimate, Azeris have had to spend a lot of money on weaponry etc. And Azeris are not asking for a large compromise at this stage: one or two rayons to help build good will and trust. That is what Armenia is capable of giving. What is Azerbaijan capable of giving? You have more chips than we. We are not asking you to give up your Ace chip. The only think you can say we can give (beside forgoing a right for a re-match) is to recognize Karabak’s independence. But that is our Ace chip too. Can you imagine the Azeri president trying to sell this tou our population? They would say: if we were going to give this up, why not do it 20 years ago? And don’t forget: to expect this concession from Azerbaijn now when it could not be gotten 20 years ago is unreasonable, because today we are much stronger than we were 20 years ago.

    As for removing the snipers, you sound like a person genuinely interested in understanding the other side … So here is our rationale. Again, on the surface it makes us sound the bad guys. But, removing the snipers would amount to cementing the status quo (i.e., forgoing the chip of the threat of a renewed war). Why would we do that at this stage? It is in our interests to make it (at least on the surface) look like the status quo could go bye-bye anytime … to pressure Armenian and the mediators to keep seeking peace soon.

    As for Safarov, I, like many silent Azeris, think it a mistake to release him. But again, from the real-politik perspective (not the moral one of course) … this step was deliberate by Aliyev to showcase to Armenian this: “Look, how influential we have now become. We can even bribe a major European country, PLUS not care what the SuperPower have to say, all of which will do nothignt to change our course.” This again was designed to show to ARmenia not to hope too much that Azerbaijan can be swayed by foreign pressure (and it worked out: only empty words came from them all) … so, if a war starts, don’t think we can be easily pressured to stop either.

    Anyways. I am all for peace. I am just trying to analyze the events from our perspective.

  15. Kerim
    Why compromise? You are stronger than ever before so all you need to do is to take your historical land by force then let Armenia try to compromise

  16. Kerim Khan,

    country so called Azerbaijan should remove a mafia leader, who is rubbing oil money and banking his wealth on behalf of his countrymen, like yourself. Armenia and diaspora Armenians do not take this gentleman as righteous leader, for this oil Sheikhdom!
    read below FYI))))))))))))))

    OCCRP names Aliyev “Person of the Year ” – Organized Crime and …


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