Clinton In The Caucasus: ANCA Offers Ten-Point Checklist For Successful Visit
WASHINGTON—The Armenian National Committee of America has suggested the
following ten steps that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should undertake during her
upcoming visit to the Caucasus region to advance U.S. interests, promote American
values, and strengthen the Obama Administration’s diplomatic standing in a pivotal
region of strategic importance.
Secretary Clinton is set to travel to the Caucasus from June 4 to 7 to discuss issues
of regional security, democracy, economic development and counter-terrorism. She
will visit Armenia on June 4, Georgia on June 5, and Azerbaijan on June 6, prior to
traveling to Turkey for meetings on June 7.
10 Steps Toward a Successful Visit by Secretary Clinton to the Caucasus:
1. A public announcement by Secretary Clinton that President Obama, after more
than three years in office, will finally honor his promises to recognize the Armenian
Genocide and to support the proper recognition of this crime by the U.S. Congress.
2. An official visit to the Armenian Genocide memorial, during which she honors
her own pledges to recognize the Armenian Genocide, renounces her assertion that
the Armenian Genocide is a matter for “historical debate,” and asserts that the
Administration will no longer use the failed Turkey-Armenia Protocols as an excuse
for complicity in Ankara’s genocide denial.
3. A clear statement distancing the U.S. from a recent NATO declaration prioritizing
the principle of territorial integrity over self-determination in settling the status of
Nagorno Karabakh, and a commitment to strike, from a recently released State
Department report, the false assertion that Nagorno Karabakh is a part of Azerbaijan,
a Baku-backed claim that is directly at odds with President Obama’s pledge to work
towards a durable settlement “based upon America’s founding commitment to the
principles of democracy and self determination.”
4. A public retreat from the Administration’s proposed 19% cut in economic and
democracy-building aid to Armenia, and a pledge to both work with Congressional
appropriators to honor the President’s promise to “maintain” aid levels to Armenia,
and also to allocate all unexpended aid that Congress has intended for Nagorno
5. A joint declaration with the Armenian government, in the spirit of President
Obama’s promise to foster stronger U.S.-Armenia economic relations, announcing
talks to implement bilateral trade and investment initiatives, including a Trade and
Investment Framework Agreement, a Double Tax Treaty, and a Free Trade Agreement.
6. A strong stand, during her visit to Azerbaijan, against the Aliyev regime’s escalating
pattern of threats and renewed aggression against Nagorno Karabakh, and a public
announcement that the White House will not waive Section 907 of the FREEDOM
Support Act as long as Baku fails to commit to a peaceful resolution of its conflict
with Nagorno Karabakh.
7. A withdrawal of the Administration’s support, in light of Baku’s ongoing threats
and acts of aggression, for the sale or transfer of any and all arms or dual-use items
to Azerbaijan, including the controversial pending sale of advanced helicopter-based
8. A visit to investigate the medieval Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, Nakhichevan, the
site of thousands of intricate Armenian stone crosses (khatchkars) systematically
destroyed by the Azerbaijani military in December of 2005, as documented on
9. A public expression of U.S. support, during her trip to Georgia, for targeted U.S.
economic, development, and infrastructure assistance programs and public-private
partnerships for the Armenian-populated Javakhk region of Georgia.
10. A trip to Stepanakert to demonstrate support for the OSCE Minsk Group peace
process, to press for the reinstatement of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh as a
full participant in all negotiations, and to underscore America’s longstanding and
proud tradition of supporting the right of all peoples to democratic self-determination.
COMMENTARY: AZERIS ARE WINNING THE MEDIA WAR
By Edmond Y. Azadian
May 31, 2012 11:21 am
Azerbaijan's political clout is growing in the Caucasus, despite
internal dissensions as well as the beatings and jailing of the jour-
nalists, because major powers are not interested in those finer
matters, unless they became the necessary tools to meddle in the
internal affairs of some targeted sovereign countries, marked for
Currently, Azerbaijan has been elected to the UN Security Council
non-permanent membership and in a rotating system, it is presiding over
the UN Security Council. If you need to figure out the moral bankruptcy
of international politics, you have to watch the war-mongering
President Ilham Aliyev, delivering his speech at the UN forum
lambasting Armenians as aggressors and occupiers of Azeri territory.
Two major factors have contributed to Azerbaijan's accession to the
Security Council seat, defeating Slovenia: 1) It is reported that
between $100 to $140 million were "donated" to developing countries
to buy their votes. Islamic countries are regularly brain- washed
at Islamic conferences that Christian Armenians have massacred their
fellow Muslims in Karabagh, playing the religion card. Most vocal among
the Islamic countries is Pakistan, under different administrations
(Benazir Bhutto, Pervez Musharraf and the current rulers). They are
natural supporters of their Muslim Azeri brothers, never mind that
the Karabagh conflict is not a religious issue.
Therefore, the Islamic bloc does not need any bribes to sup- port
Azerbaijan's candidacy. 2) Azerbaijan's newfound friendship with
Israel has also helped to rally many Western countries around that
country. Azeris are playing an incendiary role in the region, providing
their territory to Israel as a launching pad, in preparation for an
eventual confrontation with Iran.
Interestingly, no binding resolutions can be adopted at the UN
Security Council level on the Karabagh issue, because the co- chairs
of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
are also part of that body and they are not ready to relinquish their
mediator's role to the UN.
However, Azerbaijan and Turkey will gain a lot of public
relations mileage every time they can bring the issue to the UN
forum. This poses a very serious challenge to Armenia's foreign
policy establishment. Armenia has seasoned diplomats, beginning with
Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, and ending with Garen Nazarian,
Armenia's ambassador to the UN.
Armenia cannot depend too much on world powers, who have demonstrated
time and again that Azeri oil is worth more than Armenian blood.
Therefore, they have to rely on the limited resources at their
One may wonder what Diaspora Armenian activism can provide to the
Foreign Ministry's diplomacy. An organized and politicized diaspora
can act as the extension of Armenia's foreign policy establishment.
But are we ready, willing and capable of playing
that role? Do we have the political vision to assume such a role?
Some introspection, admission of responsibility and guilt, if you
will, are in order here. The Armenian community was informed a long
time ago about
Azeri President Ilham Aliyev's appearance at the UN. In addition, no
one had any doubts what kind of speech he was about to deliver. Only
an impressive massive rally at the UN could blunt Aliyev's message,
reverberating in the news media. Our diplomats were already conducting
their task, quietly. But Aliyev stood up at that world forum and
told his side of the story with- out an effective challenge from
"the one-million-strong US Armenian community."
Who was supposed to take the initiative? Our religious leaders have a
good excuse and they cannot get involved in politics; never mind that
Aliyev's politics destroys thousands of khachkars, religious symbols
in Nakhichevan with another few hundred houses of worship. Out of
thousands of attendants at the Times Square commemoration, a few
hundred must have the political motivation to counter Aliyev at
the UN. Some of our lobbying groups are locked in other battles and
therefore let Aliyev enjoy a free ride at the UN.
That leaves the burden to the Armenian political parties; the Armenian
Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) is split, and whatever the legitimate
leadership undertakes on the East Coast, some renegades undermine the
initiative, under orders from their Armenian Revolutionary Federation
The ARF led a half-hearted demonstration at the UN head- quarters,
probably giving a good laugh to the Azeri delegation. It was reported
that only 50 demonstrations showed up with some banners. That was
enough for domestic consumption to boast that only the ARF challenged
Aliyev's arrogance, whereas it may have done more damage than good.
If the ARF leadership considered that this was a cause of para- mount
importance, they could have invited other groups also to participate,
if they were not concerned sharing the glory with them. After all,
that party was able to mobilize more than 1,000 demonstrators at the
Armenian Embassy in New York to protest the signing of protocols with
Turkey. Many more showed up under their leadership in Los Angeles and
Beirut to harangue and insult Armenia's president during that period.
Had no one showed up at the UN, the Azeri delegation could be
mystified, thinking that Armenians have a secret formula to counter
their onslaught. But the way the community reacted pacified the
Azeris that they can dismiss Armenian political power in the US,
which demonstrated its quixotic face at the UN.
Perhaps it is not altogether fair to single out the ARF leadership in
this case, since the entire community is responsible for the debacle.
And after that we cannot play the role of armchair guru, blaming
Armenia's foreign policy establishment battling the Azeri public
relations and media onslaught.
As we can see, the Azeris are winning the media war assisted by
petrodollars and their friends in higher positions.
Ottoman Destruction of Three Christian Communities a Homogenization Process
GMT 6-3-2012 2:28:55
Assyrian International News Agency
By Joseph Haweil
(AINA) -- AINA interviews Ara Sarafian, the founder of the Gomidas Institute (London),
an organization promoting and disseminating research and scholarship on modern
Armenian studies. In 2000 Sarafian edited and published The Treatment of Armenians
in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-1916 (known as the Blue Book), an extensive collection
of primary-source documents concerning the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocide,
compiled originally by James Bryce and Arnold Toynbee and presented to Viscount
Grey of Fallodon in 1916.
Please tell us about your personal and academic background.
All of my grandparents came from different parts of what is now modern Turkey. So I
have a personal involvement in the Turkish-Armenian issue. I am also an archival
historian specializing in late Ottoman and modern Armenian history. I often go to
Turkey to work in archives and visit various places of interest. Only recently I went to
Ayash, outside Ankara, which was one of the locations where Armenian intellectuals
from the capital were held prior to their execution. Finally, I am the director of the
Gomidas Institute (London), an independent academic organization dedicated to modern
Armenian Studies (www.gomidas.org).
Do you consider the 1915 genocide of the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks to be
Yes I do, in the sense that the Armenian Genocide was part of a process of
"homogenizing" a modern Turkish state. In the case of Armenians, Assyrians and
Greeks, this was largely achieved through mass murder, but also forced assimilation
of the remnants. The destruction of these three Christian communities was one
aspect of the "homogenizing" process, which also included the murder and assimilation
of Muslim groups as well--such as Kurds, Arabs, Circassians and Pomaks. However, in
the case of Muslim groups, there were less murders and more forced assimilation, as the
history of the Turkish Republic shows.
As you are aware, scholars focusing on the Assyrian Genocide are a few. Why do
Genocide scholars broadly speak so little about the fate of co-victims of the Ottoman
Empire genocide, as opposed to that of the Armenians? How can low-levels of interest
in the Assyrian genocide amongst scholars be explained?
There are many reasons. 1. The destruction of Assyrians took place in more isolated
parts of the Ottoman Empire, most notably in Hakkirari-Diyarbekir; 2. Elsewhere,
Assyrians were often an invisible Christian minority and seen as "Armenians" by
outsiders--such as in the Harput region. They were counted as Armenian victims;
3. Many Armenian historians have not bothered to find out more about Assyrians, or
they have not wanted to dilute their "Armenian narrative" by dwelling on the murder
of Assyrians as a separate category; 4. Assyrians and their sympathisers have not been
able to represent the Assyrian experience better. This need not be the case today, and it
is not. There are more publications on Assyrians and a better understanding of their fate
as a distinct ethnicity.
Does the Blue Book compiled by Viscount Bryce and Arnold Toynbee remain the most
authoritative reference for primary-source documentation of the genocide, or is new
research revealing hitherto unknown information and perspectives?
The Blue Book was a catalyst in informing the world about the Armenian Genocide. I
believe that Bryce and Toynbee considered calling it "The Treatment of Armenians and
Assyrians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-16." I believe they did not do so because
information about Assyrians was weaker--they simply did not have the authoritative
information they needed at hand. One can see this in the Toynbee Papers at the UK
National Archives. For example, the Americans in Diyarbekir were expelled before the
killings began, so that a crucial part of the potential evidence was missing. That was
not the case for Trebizond, Harput, Aleppo, or Damascus where there were US Consuls,
missionaries and others. However, Assyrians were mentioned in the book, but not in the
title of the book. While the Blue Book was compiled under difficult circumstances and
made its essential point, we now have a great deal of information, primary sources, that
were not available to the authors of the Blue Book. The history of the Assyrian Genocide
should be based on this broader range of records, not only such sources as those in
German and Austrian archives, but also the testimonies of Assyrians themselves. There
is a lot of potential to make progress, if there is the right organization to promote it.
Asked in 2005 whether Armenia should become the first state to acknowledge the Assyrian
genocide, respected scholar Professor Vakhan Dadrian commented, '… I can't give you an
answer, because we do not know much about your experience.' Referring to the latter
comment, Professor Hannibal Travis has suggested that 'there is a movement within
genocide studies to construct an Armenian Genocide that affected Armenians only' and
that this genocide is 'discontinuous from the experiences of victims of anti-Christian
massacres in historic Assyrian [sic], Pontic Greece, and Thrace.' Would you agree with
Professor Dadrian's suggestion that little is known about the Assyrian genocide? How
would you, in turn, respond to Professor Travis' analysis?
Professor Travis does have a valid point, and we know a great deal more about the Assyrian
experience today. I suggest that we focus on making the Assyrian issue better understood
today. Professor David Gaunt has a very good book on the Assyrian experience, and I hope
more scholars will follow it up. I am always happy to work with Assyrian scholars, and indeed,
I do so. But Assyrians should create the means to bring such work to fruition--that means
funding for excellent research, publications, dissemination of information, and not least, the
creation of a new generation of academics who can continue with such work.
In March 2012, the Armenian Parliament rejected a proposal to consider a bill recognizing
the Assyrian and Greek genocides. Assyrians worldwide have asked; 'if Armenia cannot
understand the need for recognition, then who can?' Should Armenia have recognized the
Assyrian genocide and would you urge the Republic to reassess is previous decision?
Armenia should be the first country to express solidarity with Assyrians and recognize the
Assyrian Genocide--both at the state and non-governmental level. I am sure, with a little work,
it would be possible to win over people in Armenia to take a stand on the Assyrian issue.
How best can the three main victim groups cooperate for a united approach towards genocide
recognition and justice? How necessary is a united approach?
Adopting common projects (i.e. supporting common research and publications), maintaining
academic standards, making such knowledge available at a popular level. I should also add
that many Turks, Kurds and other Muslims recognize the genocides that were committed in
the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, and they identify with the victims of these genocides.
Of course, this is a welcome development because it holds the prospect of a real resolution
based on principles of shared human and ethical values. Recently at the two main
commemorations of the "Armenian Genocide" in Istanbul, Turkish sympathizers did not leave
out Assyrians as one of the main groups who were destroyed in 1915. So, once more, there
is a foundation to work on--but Assyrians need to work together and project their case in a
sensible manner. Having said all this, I have to say that there is progress, and I appreciate the
work your Seyfo Center [Assyrian Genocide Research Center] has done over the years. I hope
you are getting the support you need to carry on and expand your work.
What is the extent of your work with Assyrians and Assyrian genocide scholars and activists?
I have good relations with Assyrian scholars, and this summer we have two advanced scholars
working on Assyrian issues at the Gomidas Institute in London.
By Joseph Haweil