Op-Ed: Ridiculous!

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov recently rejected as “ridiculous” common-sense calls for the Artsakh Republic to take part in talks to determine the status and security of its people (Graphic: The Armenian Weekly)

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov recently rejected as “ridiculous” common-sense calls for the Artsakh Republic to take part in talks to determine the status and security of its people.

Take a minute.

Think that one all the way through. Azerbaijan’s corrupt, undemocratic, family-run Aliyev dictatorship categorically ruling out a voice for the free citizens of Artsakh in deliberations about their own lives and liberties.

Want to know what’s really ridiculous?

The one-sided terms of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group’s “Madrid Principles,” which call for upfront, strategic, territorial, and irrevocable concessions by Artsakh in return for deferred, vague, and reversible promises from Azerbaijan.

This deeply flawed plan asks Armenians to suspend not only our reason but our very instinct for self-preservation:

  • Believing that Artsakh surrendering vast areas of its territory will somehow make Artsakh more secure or Azerbaijan less aggressive.
  • Believing that upfront land concessions by Artsakh will be followed by Azerbaijan forfeiting its claim of sovereignty over Artsakh.
  • Believing that Azerbaijan’s offer to restore Artsakh’s (Soviet-era style) “autonomy” will lead to peaceful and sustainable coexistence.
  • Believing that international peacekeepers deployed around Artsakh will actually risk their lives to block renewed Azerbaijani attacks.
  • Believing that it’s a fair deal to front-load Artsakh’s strategic concessions while deferring Azerbaijan honoring its vague (and reversible) promises.
  • Believing that Artsakh should be the subject to the terms of an international agreement that was reached without its full participation.

We need to challenge each of these reckless assumption, or risk being led – step by step – down the path to Artsakh’s surrender.

We cannot allow Artsakh’s hard-fought victory – the triumph of democratic self-determination, and a vital key to Armenia’s long-term viability – to be slowly undone.

  • Ground away by international pressure.
  • Explained away by establishment “experts.”
  • Given away through quiet acquiescence.

Informed and inspired by the lessons of our own history – and understanding all too well Azerbaijan’s openly aggressive aims – we know intellectually and instinctively – that the work of our generation must be to collectively consolidate, not unilaterally concede, Artsakh’s freedom.

We need not accept the false choice of surrender or survival.

The Madrid Principles do not represent a path to peace, they are a recipe for renewed war.

The true choice, our only choice, is to defend Artsakh’s democracy.

Here in the United States, within the political arena, we are doing just that, battling Aliyev’s army of lobbyists to generate U.S. support – in policy, practice, and principle – for the Artsakh Republic’s independent status and inviolable security. We ardently support the OSCE Minsk Group as a platform, while aggressively opposing the deeply flawed Madrid Principles, actively challenging Azerbaijani aggression, promoting accountability for attacks along the line of contact, and fostering a broader, pro-peace dialogue between the U.S. and Artsakh.

You’ve seen the Armenian National Committee of America’s (ANCA) results:

  • The ANCA spearheaded aid to Artsakh, making the U.S. the only country that has (since FY98) provided such assistance (over $45,000,000), helping Artsakh with maternal health care, clean water, and de-mining, while also representing a form of implicit U.S. recognition of Artsakh’ independence.
  • The ANCA supported passage of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act (opposing all attempts to eliminate or weaken this law), which establishes as U.S. policy (although currently waived) that Azerbaijan must take demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • The ANCA stopped Matt Bryza’s nomination to serve as Ambassador to Azerbaijan due to his clear pro-Aliyev bias, earning attacks against the ANCA by name by both the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal editorial boards.
  • The ANCA has challenged the pro-Azerbaijan Madrid Principles, which call upon Artsakh and Armenia to make up-front, irrevocable strategic/territorial concessions in return for deferred, vague, and reversible promises from Azerbaijan.
  • The ANCA, using political, policy, and legal avenues, helped block a potential Israeli sale of Iron Dome to Azerbaijan.
  • The ANCA secured bipartisan Congressional and OSCE Minsk Group support for the Royce-Engel peace proposals, spearheaded by the leadership of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, calling for the removal of snipers, deployment of additional monitors, and placement of gunfire-locators.
  • The ANCA worked with Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone to expand bilateral dialogue and visits through the U.S.-Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution.
  • The ANCA has reframed the Artsakh issue away from the reckless “land now, for status later” dynamic, toward peace (via the Royce-Engel proposals) and dialogue (via the U.S.-Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution).
  • The ANCA worked to secure state-level recognition of the Artsakh Republic by California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, and Rhode Island.

Moving forward, with your help we will continue to advocate for Artsakh on all fronts:

  • Promoting regional peace, via Royce-Engel proposals (gunfire locators, withdrawal of snipers/heavy arms, more observers).
  • Promoting dialogue, via the U.S.-Artsakh Travel and Communication Resolution and Artsakh’s full return to all OSCE Minsk Group negotiations.
  • Supporting Congressional and other official U.S./ international travel to Artsakh.
  • Expanding state recognition of Artsakh beyond California, Georgia, Hawaii, Lousiana, Maine, Michigan, and Rhode Island.
  • Seeking progressive American recognition of Artsakh, via direct U.S. aid, sister cities, state actions, and visits.
  • Opposing potential Iron Dome sale to Azerbaijan on the basis of U.S. arms export control laws.
  • Supporting H.Res.537 and other Azerbaijan sanctions due to Baku’s corruption, crackdowns, and regional aggression.
  • Tracking the next Azerbaijan ambassadorial nomination, and scrutinizing the new nominee.
  • Opposing Azerbaijan’s candidacy for World Trade Organization membership, based on its illegal blockades and regional aggression.

On each of these issues, and many others, the ANCA fights every day for Artsakh, Armenia, and the views and values of the Armenian American community. For a 360 degree survey of our advocacy, visit: www.anca.org/anca360 (online) or www.anca.org/anca360pdf (print).

That’s where we stand. Tell us what you think. Write a comment here, post on ANCA social media platforms, send us a private email at [email protected], or take our 2018 Strategic Survey: www.anca.org/survey.

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Aram Hamparian is the Executive Director of the ANCA. 

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Aram Hamparian

Aram Hamparian is the Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
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7 Comments

  1. How old is Azerbaijan in relation to the Armenian Kingdom, nation, people and culture? Why do Jews hate Armenians so much by providing military arms and personnel to Azerbaijan? Why did the Jewish ADL for years conspired and committed hate speech with Turkey in denying the Armenian Genocide and ANCA did nothing about it?

  2. If I were Armenia, I would be worried. Very worried, because as Turkey and Russia increase their cooperation and relationship, time might come when Russia sees no use for Nagarno-Karabahk to remain under Armenian occupation. Tick tock Armenia. Tick Tock.

    • Tuna,
      I assure you there will be no “tic tac toe”

      Yes, if oil man gets back to Artsakhi land he will do what ever he is done to Julfa’s old Armenian cemetery and creation of 2-nd Armenian Genocide by newly crowned invading Turkic herds!

      KGB Putin will never destabilize the region, unless oil man stop paying Russia and that’s unlikely, because Putin next chosen man is on the line of duty! On the other hand Putin and Turkey will never dare to destabilize the region without Iran’s permission.

      Azerbaijani tense internal situation, Kurdish war against Turks, and Russia’s North Caucasus situation will work in favor of Armenia, where political stabilization will be supported by the most advanced civilized nations!

    • Actually, there doesn’t exist any particular land by the name of “Nagarno-Karabahk.”

  3. How extremely ridiculous it was when Levon Ter-Petrosyan (LTP) agreed to Heydar Aliyev’s ceasefire, back in 1994, and therefore ordered the Armenian freedom fighters to halt their advance towards Baku and to instead return back to the newly liberated Armenian land of Artsakh. If that dope of LTP hadn’t made this horribly stupid mistake, then in a matter of 2 to 3 weeks, the Armenian soldiers would’ve easily reached Baku. Therefore, in addition to the liberation of the historic Armenian province of Artsakh, the whole entire “country” of Azerbaijan (once upon a time, it had been an Armenian province by the name of Aghvank) would today be a part of the Artsakh Republic.

    • Yerevanian seems to have a fantasy that strangely parallels that of an Azeri fantasist (he dreams of all Azerbaijan being Armenia the Azeri dreams of all Armenia being Azerbaijan). What does Yerevanian think some temporary nominal “capture” of Baku would have accomplished? Armenia could never have conclusively won a war against Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan could never have conclusively won a war against Armenia. The fighters back then showed great wisdom in taking only territory that was integral to Artsakh or needed for its successful defense, because the most Artsakh can achieve militarily is to halt and successfully neutralize Azeri attacks. That defensive strategy has worked. However, all Azerbaijan needs is to make one overwhelming attack that is not halted and then it will be the end of Artsakh, the complete end, for ever, for all time. Preventing the smallest chance that at some time in the unpredictable future that could happen is why finding a political solution will be an eventual necessity. But it has to be a political solution based on reality, which the obsolete Madrid Principles are not.

    • Nope, I’ve got no fantasy whatsoever of “all Azerbaijan being Armenia.” However, the reality is that if Levon Ter-Petrosyan (LTP) had not made that extremely ridiculous decision to accept Heydar Aliyev’s “call for a ceasefire” (back in May of 1994), then the Armenian freedom fighters who by that time were destroying the opposing Azerbaijani forces and were quickly advancing towards Baku, would easily have arrived there within two to three weeks. As a result, Azerbaijan would have become an extra territory attached to the newly liberated Armenian province of Artsakh. This would’ve certainly been the correct thing to do, because after all, it was the Azerbaijanis who started that particular war by attempting to commit a genocide against the Armenians of Artsakh as well as against the former Armenian population of Azerbaijan. Furthermore, as an additional territory included within the Artsakh Republic, there would be no terrorist state of Azerbaijan today to continuously commit acts of aggression (on a weekly basis) against both Artsakh and Armenia.

      The combination of today’s Artsakh Republic Defense Army and Armenia’s Army can actually do a lot more than only being capable of halting an Azerbaijani military attack. In an all-out war, they easily have the capability to knock out Azerbaijan’s oil pipelines with their missiles. If that were to happen, Azerbaijan’s economy would be in total ruin and it would no longer have the strength nor determination to continue fighting. It would call for a ceasefire, just like it did back in the four-day war of April, 2016. As the Armenians began to win that war and were just about to advance into Azerbaijani territory, what did Ilham Aliyev do? He immediately called for a ceasefire. And again, for a second time, the leadership of Armenia ridiculously accepted this Azerbaijani “ceasefire.”

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