Azeri paper attacks Sassounian for saying Azerbaijan wastes billions on lobbying

Last week, I was asked by Alpha News TV to comment on the U.S. Senate’s decision, by a unanimous vote of 100 to 0, to suspend for two years Pres. Joe Biden’s authority to waive Section 907 of the United States Freedom Support Act, which prohibits providing assistance to Azerbaijan. Should the House of Representatives also approve this bill, it would then go to the President for his signature, which would make it a law. Since 1992, all U.S. presidents, including Pres. Biden in the last two years, have waived Section 907, thus providing tens of millions of dollars of aid to Azerbaijan.

The Senate’s decision angered Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry, which described it as a blow to Armenia-Azerbaijan relations and canceled its participation in the planned Washington talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries on Nov. 20.

During my interview with Alpha News, I stated that not a single U.S. senator objected to the anti-Azerbaijan bill, despite Azerbaijan hiring multiple large lobbying firms to defend its interests in Washington. This means that Azerbaijan has wasted tens of millions of dollars in the last two decades paying for these useless lobbying firms. The person directly responsible for overseeing the work of these lobbying firms is Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Washington Khazar Ibrahim. Therefore, any government that becomes aware of the waste of such large amounts of money would immediately fire its ambassador. If Pres. Aliyev does not dismiss Amb. Ibrahim, then he would be equally responsible for the waste of millions of dollars on worthless lobbying firms, which have not been able to convince a single senator out of 100 to vote in favor of Azerbaijan’s interests.

Within days of my interview with Alpha News, Azerbaijan’s first English language newspaper, AzerNews, published a lengthy article titled, “Bribing congressmen, Armenian lobby poses threat to future of Yerevan.” The article attacked me personally for saying that Azerbaijan has wasted millions of dollars on lobbying. This is what shameless people do when they accuse others of doing things they are guilty of.

The whole world knows about Azerbaijan’s notorious Caviar Diplomacy and Azerbaijani Laundromat, through which it bribes politicians throughout Europe with billions of dollars to cast votes in favor of Azerbaijan in order to whitewash its severe human rights violations and fraudulent presidential elections.

Shamelessly, AzerNews falsely stated that since “Armenia’s lobby organizations abroad, pour millions or perhaps billions into the pockets of congressmen, of course, baseless and biased opinions against Azerbaijan will be voiced from the West.”

There are several grave errors in the above sentence. First of all, the Armenian government has not hired a single U.S. lobbying firm, simply because it does not have the huge amount of petrodollars that Azerbaijan has, which it wastes on lobbying firms in Washington, instead of taking care of its people at home. Secondly, Armenian-American organizations do not have millions, let alone billions of dollars to “pour into the pockets of congressmen.”

Armenian-Americans do not need to bribe anyone. When your cause is just, you do not need to pay bribes to convince anyone of the truth. Only when you commit massive crimes, as Azerbaijan and Turkey repeatedly do, do you need to spend millions and billions of dollars to cover up your crimes.

Elnur Enveroglu, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of AzerNews (X, formerly Twitter)

AzerNews went on to incriminate Azerbaijan, saying that Baku “is not only interested in participating in this auction of finding partnerships that Armenia is lavishly doing now.” Even though the sentence is not grammatically correct, the Azeri writer seems to admit that Azerbaijan is eager to bribe foreign officials. This is a useless statement, since Azerbaijan has been bribing foreign officials for years.

Azerbaijan should be the last country in the world to cast aspersions on Armenia or any other country, since Baku is led by a dictator who jails journalists and human rights activists, and his soldiers commit the ugliest war crimes, such as rape and beheading. Azerbaijan invaded Artsakh and committed genocide against its Armenian population. Furthermore, Ramil Safarov, an Azeri soldier, during a NATO-sponsored training seminar in Hungary, beheaded a sleeping Armenian soldier with an ax. After Pres. Aliyev bribed the Hungarian government to release him from prison, he pardoned Safarov and recognized him as a national hero.

I commend AzerNews for tracking my interview in Glendale, California all the way from Baku and writing a baseless and false response. The writer of the article, Elnur Enveroglu, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of AzerNews, went to great lengths to find not only my TV interview, but also to translate it from Armenian into English.

Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh one billion dollars of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

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