Liberated Territories in Focus

The blogosphere is full of speculations about the seven regions in Azerbaijan currently under the control of Armenian and Karabakh forces, which are referred to as the “Liberated Territories”. This issue was also discussed by Onnik Krikoryan and Anaid1708 earlier.
The new wave of discussions seem to have started at OpenArmenia forum, after which Kornelij Glas posted about the petition signed by a number of internet resources against the surrender of the liberated territories, saying, that the negotiations currently in progress are based on “the readiness of Armenia to surrender already all seven (!) liberated territories around NKR, living only the Lachin corridor (not the region).” In exchange Karabakh would gain the right to conduct a referendum on its status after about 5-15 years. Kornelij Glas says his opinion, that this will definitely lead to a new war, in which we will be on the loosing side, is only shared by a few people, and of those few, most think, that Robert Sedrakovich (president of Armenia) is from Karabakh and would never make concession on the issue.
Ahousekeeper here, here and here as well as the Freedomfight777 and Hayblog.ru are also joining the petition and urging everybody to sign the petition “AGAINST THE SURRENDER OF THE LIBERATED TERRITORY” at http://www.miacum.ru. At that Armenia Breaking news is writing, that according to Vahram Atanesyan, chair of the NKR Parliamentary Committee of External Relations, all the issues discussed during the talks must become subject of public debates:

Are we ready for the settlement, for a compromise, or does the current situation satisfy us? At any rate, the issue needs to be discussed.
“Besides general principles of settlement there are nuances which need precision. For instance, “land communication with Armenia”. After all, the NKR government needs not only the vote of confidence of people but also needs to know their opinion to present it to the international community.
I think the people of NKR are to solve the question of status of NKR and the territories surrounding former NKAR, because only people are empowered.

Looking at all the polemics in the blogosphere Uzogh is stating, that there is no way to go without Kharabakh conflict resolution and is asking – what are the options?

I know 2 [positions in circulation currently]: the position of Jirayr Sefilyan (which can be described in short as: “the hell do we care about resolution, we are OK as we are now”), which rejects the concept of resolution per se, and we have vague suppositions, that can be reduced to the phrase “surrender of 7 regions”.

Uzogh’s post has definitely generated a lot of interest: 101 comment when I last checked it, which by Armenian blogging standards is pretty big deal.
Pigh says he won’t sign the petition. This is all pointless noise the blogger says: “Serge and Robert [Prime Minister and President] would never surrender Karabakh – 100%”.
So – my personal opinion – the speculations about the surrender are not serious, and the petition is not really that serious, but we need such speculations, petitions, discussions, and a lot more of them. I am also pretty sure, that if we want peace and integration in this region, we have to be prepared to surrender something. But what will be the true price?

56 thoughts on “Liberated Territories in Focus

  1. Reply
    Pokr Mher - 29.05.2007

    THE KARABAKH CONUNDRUM: LAND FOR PEACE – WILL IT WORK???
    There is an interesting article in the current issue of KarabakhOpen that deals with the topic of who exactly is representing the wishes of the people of Karabakh in the ongoing negotiations process to reach a political settlement after a decade of ” No Peace-No War”.
    Recently there has been a rash of statements emanating from Karabakh refuting any possible deal that includes a return of the “liberated territories” that surround the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Even NKR President Ghukasyan has recently declared that Kashatagh, the region sandwiched between the Republic of Armenian and the NKR that included the Lachin Corridor, will never be returned to Azerbaijan hegemony.
    The writer of the article advances the theory that an agreement has already been reached in the tri-party negotiations that include Armenia, Azerbaijan and the international community, most notably the OSCE Minsk Group. The alleged deal includes a withdrawal of Armenian forces from the “liberated lands”, a gradual return of displaced refugees and a public referendum to be held down the road to finalize the status of the NKR.
    What the article implies is that the recent Parliamentary elections in Armenia were given a satisfactory “nod” by the international election observers mainly due to the fact that a “legitimate” government is needed in Armenia to sign on to the existing agreement; an agreement that the Minsk Group believes is the best option for all parties involved.
    However, the KarabakhOpen commentary points out that Karabakh government is not a participant in these talks and the wishes of the people who fought and survived the war are not taken into account.

  2. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 29.05.2007

    It’s worth pointing out that it is only nationalists who do not want to compromise for peace that calls the territory “liberated.” Otherwise, with the exception of Lachin (and possibly Kelbajar) they are considered simply a security buffer zone until the conflict is resolved and a bargaining chip for Armenia.
    Otherwise, at some point in the future, when Azerbaijani military spending has crippled the Armenian economy in its attempt to keep up and Russia is an insignificant power in the South Caucasus, there will be war to take it back. Until then, with each passing year the Armenian position in negotiations becomes worse.
    Then again, it seems the issue is not whether or not you believe there will be war or not. It’s whether or not you can get away with using the fear of war to justify refusing to make concessions in negotiations. As I see it, an international peace keeping force and international security guarantees will secure stability until Armenians and Azeris get back to what they’ve always done best together.
    That is, trading with each other.
    What’s most interesting about this whole talk of Karabakh negotiations, however, is that the tables have been turned to some extent. Civil society, including those NGOs who even took grants for “conflict resolution” and “regional integration” projects are the most vocal in threatening action if there will be a peace deal on the terms we know.
    Meanwhile, Serzh Sarkisian and Vartan Oskanian have behaved and spoken quite maturely, moderately and logically in the eyes of the international community. That is, Karabakh must NOT be under Azerbaijani control, Karabakh MUST have a land border with Armenia, and there must be international security guarantees in place for such a deal to be signed and other territories returned.
    Of course, it’s arguable whether or not civil society really sides with the hard line nationalists who are prepared to send others to fight a new war because they believe in the non-concessionary argument or because it’s a way to try to stir up anti-government feeling (albeit unsuccessfully). Conversely, it’s not certain whether the RA official line in negotiations are genuine either or merely stalling for time.
    It’s the South Caucasus after all and just one reason why this region isn’t going to be able to integrate with Europe anytime soon until this kind of mentality changes. It’s very simple. The Karabakh war was about that territory and not what surrounds it — not even Lachin. Now, isolated from regional projects, a minority in nationalist and civil society groups in both Armenia and Azerbaijan seem to be getting more extremist with each passing year.
    Perhaps this is why this region needs a peace deal now. To stop this mentality of hatred and nationalism from becoming so devastating and damaging in both Armenia and Azerbaijan before its too late. Personally, I think the official Armenian position is correct and likely to win favor in the international community. Talk of not being willing to make any concessions just makes Armenia look bad in the same eyes and probably can be used to justify an Azerbaijani military offensive when it’s able to.
    Still, who knows, and who cares even? I remember Tom de Waal saying once that it’s amazing how Armenians and Azerbaijanis think Karabakh is such an important issue. It’s as if they think every world leader wakes up each morning thinking “Hell, how are we going to solve this issue?” In reality, nobody cares that much as long as there’s stability.
    Probably Azerbaijan in the next 5-10 years won’t care too much either because by increasing its military spending constantly, it will cripple Armenia in the game of catch up while regionally Armenia becomes more and more isolated. Still, it’s up to Armenia and Azerbaijan to sort out. I’d just prefer there not to be any new fighting, especially as this is not the same situation as during the war itself when Azerbaijan was in disarray.
    Anyway. I believe that anyone threatening action in Armenia and Azerbaijan to make concessions is in a minority in the former and can be controlled in the latter. So, basically, it will depend on the two Presidents and their security apparatus. Basically, if they are ready to sign, nobody can stop them and slowly, Europe will do all it can to make sure this region integrates first as a whole and then later into closer cooperation with it.
    Well, that’s what I think, anyway. I know others would prefer Armenia to just hermetically seal all of its borders and pretend that only Moscow and Los Angeles exists in the outside world, but anyway.

  3. Reply
    Kornelij - 29.05.2007

    KIrnelin dun es! sran mi najeq! 🙂
    Ok, please add me to the list of nationalists – its liberated terriotries. If Kelbajar is liberated, why Jabrail – not? What is criteria?

  4. Reply
    Pokr Mher - 29.05.2007

    Dear Onnik,
    Your categorization of the rationality of a “land for peace” deal presupposes a great deal of faith on the part of those who fought and died in the war to liberate Karabakh from Azeri domination. Sadly, their voices and wishes are not being included in these talks. This may be how the leadership in the ROA wants the situation to be and continue. But this situation does not facilitate a lasting agreement for an issue that has eluded any type of mutual agreement for the past deacde.
    Furthermore, by describing those elements who oppose such a plan as “nationalists” does a great diservice to those who actually fought and who now want a peace deal that has a good chance to last!!! Most polls show a majority in the NKR are opposed to returning the “liberated ” lands. Are they to be all lumped into the category of hard-line nationalists who are against any peace deal?
    Azeri military spending will continue to outstrip that of Armenia until the oil runs out regardless if a deal is struck. Thus, the danger will remain of another outbreak of war in the region. And this is something that no one wants to happen.

  5. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 29.05.2007

    Well, whatever. I hope there will be a Karabakh peace deal, refugees and IDPs can return to their homes, and confidence measures will slowly bring Azeris and Armenians back to being able to live together in urban settlements at least.
    As for whether referring to the security buffer zone as being “liberated,” I don’t like the term and no doubt Azeris are waiting for the change to do their liberation at some point because it is a subjective term. Nobody sought to liberate Lachin and Kelbajar or anywhere else apart from Karabakh at the beginning of the conflict so it’s somehow strange for me to see that this issue is enough for people to risk having a new war to keep them.
    As I said, if Armenians in Karabakh can gain their sovereignty, if a land border can be established which would likely constitute part of Lachin (but note, Lachin and not Kashatagh which encompasses more than just the Lachin region), and international security guarantees could be put in place, why not?
    Otherwise, I can only see Armenia being outstripped in terms of development by Azerbaijan and even Georgia in the next 10 years and the amount of hatred between Armenians and Azeris continuing to a point that is not healthy for any nation and which would make the prospect of war all the more likely.
    Sorry, I don’t buy the “maybe the war will happen again if we make a peace deal,” because without one, I think war is pretty much inevitable at some point. That is, unless someone out there is really monitoring Azerbaijani military expenditure and the type of armaments its being spent on in order to make sure the country keeps within its international obligations.
    On the other hand, who cares? If Kocharian and Aliyev (or more likely now, Serzh and Aliyev) want to sign a peace deal there’s nothing anyone will be able to do about it. The only questions that matter perhaps, is how strong is opposition to a concessionary deal in Azerbaijan because most couldn’t care less about it here in Armenia.
    Secondly, are the two leaders playing games in the negotiations anyway?
    Let’s see. All this discussion is very interesting, but it’s somewhat alarming to see the previously considered Diaspora brand of nationalism regarding Karabakh now apparently manifest itself here. Perhaps that was inevitable, especially as some of those favoring such a line wouldn’t go off to fight in any new war anyway.
    Still, I suppose we’ll have to wait until many people here realize that the only way this region (South Caucasus) can be considered to have a viable and sustainable future is when they can be taken as a whole. It will happen one day, perhaps not now, I don’t know. I can’t see a deal coming before presidential elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan next year anyway so this discussion is all academic anyway.
    Still, I hope that international donors now monitor where its money for conflict resolution and regional integration projects go to because from where I’m sitting it appears as though the money is being wasted big time.

  6. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 29.05.2007

    Just to clarify, I believe that the only territory that has a contemporary right to be “liberated” is Karabakh itself by virtue of the fact that most of its population is Armenian.
    At a stretch, given that Armenia brought Azerbaijan to the table to sign a ceasefire agreement, I think that the “victorious” side can demand a land border with Karabakh.
    And yes, please not I said “Armenia” and not “Karabakh” because as we know it is and was mainly the Armenian military that is as responsible for securing Karabakh’s security as NK itself — regardless of whether conscripts from Armenia stick NKR badges on their uniforms or not.
    Still, the main question is simply this? Are Armenia and Azerbaijan ready for peace? And the answer to that from “civil society” here appears to be no.

  7. Reply
    Pokr Mher - 30.05.2007

    External arbitration of the conflict never resolved anything in the long run. Just checj the history of the confllict going back to when these territories were “conquered” by the Russuan Empire from the Persians. Then you had the English mucking about and telling Antranig not to enter Karabakh on the side of the beleagured Armenian civilian populace. With the advent of the Soviets and their arbitrary delineations of territiory to suit their imperial machinations all semblance of equitable land distribution according to historic and demographic contingencies went out the window.
    The reality is that the historic Armenian homeland has been whittled away piece by piece over the last 125 years or so. After Western Armenia, which constituted the bulk of the Armenian ancestral lands, were depopulated of Armenians thru genocide and eviction in 1915, Armenian volunteer forces tried to maintain control of lands liberated from the Ottoman yoke by the forces of the Russian army which disintegrated after the 1917 revolution. First Erzerum fell, then Kars and finally the Yerevan oblast itself was almost overrun by the forces of Kizaim Karabekir in 1918.
    Later in 1920, what remained of Armenia was again attacked by the newly reorganized forces of Turkish nationalists. Only the intervention of the Red Army halted the final obliteration of that tiny portion of what remained of Armenia.
    Rest assured that the Armenian victory in Karabakh is only one battle in the decades old war for the survival of Armenia.
    Is Armenian resistance in this regard to be considered mere stubborn ‘Nationalism” or a moral imperative to survive????

  8. Reply
    Pokr Mher - 30.05.2007

    Correction…General Karabekir of the Turkish army attacked the Armenian Republic in 1920, not 1918..

  9. Reply
    Observer - 30.05.2007

    Kornelij Glas jan – kneres axper jan. I’ve corrected the mistake!

  10. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 30.05.2007

    I suppose I wish Armenians would stop dreaming about the past if it means it throws away its future. I can understand the rationale behind historical claims on territory although I am horrified that the same people calling for retention of all the territories surrounding Karabakh also say that Javakheti should be next.
    Such attitudes are more likely to lead to new war/s in my opinion, and on this, I have to take my hat off to Kocharian who since the 2003 Rose Revolution has done a lot alongside Saakashvili to improve Armenian-Georgian relations. Back to Azerbaijan, I think that the belief war will break out if a peace deal is signed is paranoia in the context of a region that should integrate and move closer to Europe.
    It is not the end of the former Soviet Union, for example, and I don’t believe that many people in Armenia are ready to go fight again, especially if the Azeris really build up their military which they have the capability to do. After a peace deal, as long as international security guarantees are in place and Karabakh officially becomes a protectorate of Armenia, I think it is possible for the international community to make sure that both countries keep within clearly defined armaments limits.
    Still, like I said, it doesn’t really matter, I suppose. The question of whether nationalists are prepared to risk a war by not accepting mutual concessions on either side is largely irrelevant when they have no power and whatever the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan decide can be enforced. Karabakh might want a say, but as long as it keeps its independence and can be linked to Armenia in some way, it’s worth pointing out that without Armenia behind them, there is no military, no economy and no access to the outside world.
    Of course, Armenia will not back off from support of Karabakh — and not least with the president hailing from there — but I can’t see that Ghukasian is able to do much or anything at all if a deal is imminent.
    It will be decided by Kocharian and Aliyev, basically. However, the main issue is whether they’re both serious or not. This still remains the $64 million question. Questions of survival, however, lie with Armenia being on good terms with its neighbors, in my opinion, and on that I also welcome the recent National Security Doctrine which again seems mature, logical, and fully in compliance with any comprehension of the situation Armenia faces now and in the near future.
    So, the territory will eventually go back. When is another issue as is how. For example, because of concerns about security guarantees a phased withdrawal from the regions surrounding Karabakh makes more sense than an immediate one. That’s about the only matter of real concern, in my opinion.

  11. Reply
    Patrik THE TIGER - 30.05.2007

    Any resuming conflict i think is almost out of the question. The situation is locked, a resuming war from Azerbaijan means that Armenian forces will blow up the BT oil pipeline, number two they can forget the Baku Tiblisi railroad being even constructed for a long time. Yes Azerbaijan is investing in its army but they are the aggressor and if you want to attack, you need bigger investments done in you military machine then if you are at the defensive position which Armenia is. The political climate has changed as well, last time there was Chechen and afghan muhajedins and talibans fighting for Azerbaijan ( The war against terrorism has weakened potential recreates and if any they wont have had the chance to train in terrorist camps) . The Azerbaijanis know in their mined that nagorno karabakh is Armenian Territory that’s why they don’t feel the moral courage to fight for it. Yes Azerbaijan was in political turmoil but what about Armenia during war the devastating earthquake, Armenia did not even have an Army? Whit the impending war looming between Iran and USA their is a need for conflict free Caucasus region, the situation will even be more locked whit Iran getting nuclear capacity and even in favor for Armenia!

  12. Reply
    Oneworld Multimedia - 30.05.2007

    Nagorno Karabakh Progress?
    15.2 km South of Lachin, Kashatagh Region, Republic of Nagorno Karabakh © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2006
    Now that the parliamentary election appears to be behind us, it’s no surprise that the international community is once again…

  13. Reply
    Observer - 30.05.2007

    Patric – you can’t speak of anybody’s mind, and even more so when it comes to the minds of Azerbaijanis. I have pretty frequent contacts with them, and I know, that for them Karabakh is quite Azeri territory.

  14. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 30.05.2007

    Armenia had more of an army than Azerbaijan who also had huge problems with attempted coup d’etats and banditry by their officers. And regardless of whether there is war or next, the simple truth is that Armenia can not keep up with Azerbaijani military expenditure increases over the next 10 years. Economically it will be crippling. As for Chechens and Afghans, last time Armenia and Karabakh had Russia, but it’s unlikely they will be so involved this time round.
    Anyway, I would prefer not to talk about war, but rather the need for peace instead. Still, as you raised the issue of the BTC well, what can I say? Assuming Armenia can actually hit it with a GRAD (I’m not sure Karabakh has high precision surface to surface missiles and Armenia’s MIG-29s are under Russian control) that’d be a good move, wouldn’t it? Then the oil companies make sure the United States, Europe and Russia gets involved.
    And it won’t be on the side of Armenia and Karabakh. Besides if and when Azerbaijan chooses to launch an offensive I’m sure it could only do so when it has enough technical equipment to take out offensive and defensive positions in Karabakh first. A enw war won’t be pretty and there will be no place for fedayin. It will be something Karabakh never experienced during the conflict although got a small taste of it in the last few months before the ceasefire.
    It will be a war between two armies and not groups of guerillas or loose detachments. Also, unlike the war when much of the territory surrounding Karabakh was taken by Armenian forces because the Azerbaijani military were nowhere to be found, there will be bloody conflict. Very bloody conflict. If Karabakh can be independent, if it can have a link to Armenia and if international security guarantees can be in place I think that peace is undoubtedly better than war.
    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Like I said, none of this really matters because it will be Kocharian and Aliyev who decide whether to sign a deal or not. Azerbaijan will have it worst in terms of opposition to a concessionary deal, but I’m sure the security apparatus can control the situation. I just wish that civil society in both countries were preparing the two respective populations for the unavoidable — that is, peace and reconciliation whenever it might come.

  15. Reply
    Patrik THE TIGER - 30.05.2007

    I think is even if the international community cares for this region? Everybody is happy whit the situation as it is for now? Except for the losing side which was Azerbaijan. Whether peace or no peace , war will be UGLY for both side, if Nagorno –Karabag is lost then Armenia is lost as well. On might even think their might be global conflict whit Armenian’s against Turks which should attract the country’s they live in. I am sure that the people in charge now are very well aware about what is at stake and we should have more trust in them WHEN IT COMES TO DEFENSE ISSUES! I do not think they are sitting and just watching what is happening, they are prepared for every scenario. AND DO NOT INSULT THE ARMENIAN BROTHERS THAT FOUGHT AND SACRIFICED THEM SELF FOR OUR NATION. THEY DID NOT JUST WALK IN AND TOKE BACK WHAT IS OUR LAND THEY HAD TO FIGHT FOR EVERY INCH ! We have always fought but this time we have a nation and an army ….. which we didn’t have before.

  16. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 30.05.2007

    Just noticed the Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article on Karabakh:

    Stepanakert, self-declared republic of Nagorno-Karabakh – Anoushavan Danielyan’s office is resplendent with the signs of his high post. A red, blue, and orange flag adorns a corner. A large seal depicts a regal bird, above whose head floats a crown. Plastic flowers sit in a vase.
    Outside, in a grim corridor that has seen better days, a sign indicates this is the office of the prime minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh republic.
    Never heard of it? Don’t worry. That’s because it doesn’t officially exist.
    […]
    As the head of government, Mr. Danielyan is rebuilding the region, which is about the size of Utah’s Great Salt Lake with a population of 100,000. Though the guns have largely fallen silent, the war isn’t really over. Azerbaijan still claims Nagorno-Karabakh, and, for now, the international community agrees. So the legions of aid workers and international investment that normally flood postwar zones have largely stayed away. That has left the prime minister – a serious, professorial man with a glossy bald head and bushy moustache – with all the responsibility of running a country and few of the perks.
    […]
    Nagorno-Karabakh’s relationship to Armenia is, to say the least, complicated. Officially, even Armenia doesn’t recognize Karabakh’s independence. In practice, it veers between treating it as a sovereign nation and a constituent part of itself.
    But the relationship between the leaders of Armenia and Karabakh is cozy: Armenian President Robert Kocharian was formerly the president of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian prime minister and long-time defense minister, Serzh Sarkisian, is Karabakh-born and headed the enclave’s military effort during the war with Azerbaijan. And Karabaki officials carry Armenian passports because any issued by their own government would be of little use crossing any international border.
    Officially, Mr. Sargsyan says, no Armenian troops serve in Karabakh or the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, also taken during the war. But on the streets of Yerevan, stop a young Armenian man on the street and the odds are that he’s recently done military service in Nagorno-Karabakh. Indeed, Nagorno-Karabakh boasts a standing army of 25,000 – astounding, if true, because that’s nearly a quarter of its population.
    […]
    Karabakh’s officials are all desperate to point out how they’ve built the trappings of a legitimate democratic state, even in the absence of international recognition. There’s the parliament. The flag. A national anthem. Government ministries. On July 19, there will be presidential elections.
    But still, there is no peace and no international recognition, and the young see little future. In a dim coffee house with a hefty, Russian-speaking waitress, 16-year-old Levon Grigoryian and his friends found themselves short of cash – a chronic situation, he says.
    “The problem is they all want to stay here,” he says of his friends, as they debate with the cafe owner. “But there are no possibilities, no jobs.”
    Back in Yerevan, Karabakh’s president, Arkady Ghoukassian, is visiting as a guest of the Armenian government, staying in an ornate former KGB guesthouse. He says Karabakh wants peace and recognition, but not at any price.
    “Of course we want to end this no war/no peace situation. The sooner we get a legal end to the war the better,” he says. “But we understand [that] for the time being, this is a long road. We will not compromise on our principles, even if it lasts for one or 200 years.
    “We paid too big a price for this independence.”

    Incidentally, after reading this entry and the comments someone sent me the following from the TOL conflicts blog. I’m re-posting it here.

    Seven Rules of Nationalism
    If an area was ours for 500 years and yours for 50, it should belong to
    us – you are merely an occupier.
    If an area was yours for 500 years and ours for 50, it should belong to
    us – borders must not be changed.
    If an area belonged to us 500 years ago but never since then, it should
    belong to us – it is the Cradle of our Nation.
    If a majority of our people live there, it must belong to us – they must
    enjoy the right to self-determination.
    If a minority of our people live there, it must belong to us – they must
    be protected against your oppression.
    All of the above rules apply to us but not to you.
    Our dream of greatness is Historical Necessity, yours is Fascism.

  17. Reply
    Patrik THE TIGER - 30.05.2007

    The best defence in the long run for Armenia is nuclear weapon capacity we should do what Israel has done.

  18. Reply
    Raffi - 31.05.2007

    Bottom line: “peace deals” with Turks has always backfired and hurt the Armenian nation badly.
    We should keep the land we have and if the Azeris try to take it by force, we should fight and demonstrate our resolve to beat them back at all costs.
    Armenia has survived thousands of years…a few years of a bad economy, due to war/war spending, is a small price to pay for our continued survival and eventual flourishment of the Armenian nation.

  19. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 31.05.2007

    Nuclear weapon capacity… Hmmm, how to win friends and influence people, huh?
    Except that Armenia is not Israel and bordering Iran it’s not likely to do the country any favors. Still, I know you’re not serious.
    Anyway, so the general consensus from everyone is pretty much, let’s have another war. Wonderful, and not least because those usually calling for a resumption of hostilities never seem to be willing to fight.
    BTW: Observer, I posted a comment which hasn’t appeared here yet. I guess it’s because there were two links in it so got caught in your anti-spam filtering.
    Back to Karabakh, however, I’m told that the OSCE are hopeful some kind of document will be signed during the meeting between the two presidents next month. I guess this would be the framework peace agreement.
    However, the source is skeptical such a document will be signed and I can’t blame him. We’ve been here so many times before, but in the interest of peace in the South Caucasus as well as its future development, I hope we’re both wrong in our skepticism about the likelihood of a such a landmark agreement now.
    Been here so many times in the past to take such talk seriously, I have to be honest, but let’s see.

  20. Reply
    Pokr Mher - 31.05.2007

    In the final analysis, those Armenians who oppose the return of these “liberated” territories have done precious little to alter conditions on the ground in their favor from a demographic perspective . It would appear that some 13 years after the ceasefire took effect there are less Armenians living on those lands than ever before. One can argue who has a historical and moral right to these lands till the cows come home.. What matters is the prevailing situation on the ground!!! In this respect. it would seem that the Armenian side has come up short.. Petitions??? It’s really a bit late for such initiatives. Yes, the war was won but was enough done to solidify a favorable peace? Struggle is not a part-time affair nor does it end when the last shot is fired. When the people who waged such a struggle are betrayed by their leaders , then there is no hope of winning the overall war.

  21. Reply
    Observer - 31.05.2007

    The best weapon Armenia can acquire in this war is: become a fully, completely democratic and economically strong country. This would give Armenia the moral right, to say, that we – a democratic country, think, that the people of Karabakh have the right to democratically decide what status they should have, etc.
    To develop the idea even further, like Pokr Mher is saying, if we really were prepared to keep those territories, we should have developed infrastructures there, built villages, local self-government systems, and have made them democratic. That way we could say with the full moral and legal right, that from the perspective of the grassroots democracy, which US and EU have declared as universal and most important principles, those regions have the right to choose where and how to live.
    Our leadership has failed us in all these points. Our dear nationalists have failed us in this. The people who are shouting loud about retaining those lands – why are they still here, in Yerevan, instead of going out to those lands, building a house, planting a tree, and saying with owners right – this is our home and we’re gonna keep it. So – stop this bull! Its not serious, it’s not realistic!

  22. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 31.05.2007

    Observer, your argument about forming a fully democratic state are correct, and this is certainly what Karabakh is trying to prove, but yes, it’s a problem for Armenia. However, compared to Azerbaijan we don’t have to worry about too much just yet.
    Regarding the territories currently under Armenian control outside of Karabakh, I think it’s impossible to populate those regions and nor would the international community look too kindly on such a reality hence the recent OSCE fact finding mission to check what was going on there. There is no way anyone would let areas cleared of their civilian populations be kept under Armenian control, perhaps with the exception of part of Lachin.
    Indeed, just as important as the right to self-determination and the importance of territorial integrity in conflict situations such as this, there’s one other very important factor that the international community will not not overlook. That is, the right of refugees and IDPs to return to their former homes. This is a reality in the real world that Armenians should understand. Anything else is simply a dream and only that.
    So, whether or not a peace deal was signed with the territories under Armenian or Azerbaijani control, Kurdish and Azeri civilian population would have the right to return and they would outnumber Armenians in the area. Anyway, there’s no way Azerbaijan is ever going to accept the loss of at least 5 of 7 regions (and I’m reckoning 6 of 7 is the best case scenario Armenia can ever hope for) surrounding Karabakh, so we only have one of two possible options.
    i) sign a peace deal with international security guarantees and ultimately, official and global recognition of the independence of NKR.
    or
    ii) don’t sign a peace deal and see if the status quo and situation of no-war and no-peace will hold.
    Anyway, I think Armenia can argue and win the case for a 30km wide corridor linking Armenia with Karabakh with all the territory around that in Lachin demilitarized and under the control of international peace keepers, but it’s unlikely to get anything else. And that’s now. Wait any longer and it will be lucky to get even that.

  23. Reply
    aghvank - 01.06.2007

    The “liberated territories” should not be given back at this point and it’s not about nationalism, it’s about survival. The liberated territories provide a good depth of defense. Please see the regnum article below:
    http://www.regnum.ru/english/679147.html
    For those that say “If you want to keep the territories, go and fight azerbaijan when they try to take them back” I would respond that those who want to give back the territories better be prepared to go and fight in a more geographically disadvantaged situation if Azerbaijan attacks after the territories have been given back.
    Keep in mind also that the current negotiations aren’t about giving back the “occupied territories” in exchange for the land that use to be the NKAR. They are about giving back the occupied territories in exchange for a referendum 15 years from now. This give azerbaijan 15 years to build up it’s military and take the land that use to be NKAR back in one blitzkrieg like attack, and the Armenians will not have any territorial advantages.
    We should learn the lessons of history. Before world war 2, Hitler started threatening Czechoslovakia demanding it give Germany the Sudetenland. After pressure from Britain and France, Czechoslovakia gave the Sudetenland. Shortly thereafter, Germany was able to take over the rest of Czechoslovakia very easily and it would have been much more difficult had Czechoslovakia not given up the Sudetenland.
    What should have been done is that the “liberated territories” should have been populated by refugees from Baku, Sumgait, Getashen etc. We are completely justified morally in doing this as these refugees are just moving from one part of Azerbaijan to another according to the international community.

  24. Reply
    Observer - 01.06.2007

    I have to admit, that the analysis in Regnum is interesting, but the author is not fully honest when saying: “for ensuring national security one should be ready for the worst scenario”, and then goes on describing only military consequences, but neglects the worst scenario on the Armenian economy and the development of the nation as a whole.

  25. Reply
    Observer - 01.06.2007

    I mean to say, that national security does not comprise solely of military aspects, but it includes developmental and economic security as well, and if Armenia pushes for the hardline position in the case of liberated territories, the negative economic and developmental consequences for the nation as a whole will be much worse, than what David Simonyan is describing in his article.

  26. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 01.06.2007

    This give azerbaijan 15 years to build up it’s military

    No, that’s just scaremongering because as part of any deal there would obviously be limits set on military spending and international checks as well as the deployment of peacekeepers in the regions surrounding Karabakh.
    However, I agree with the point about the immediate return of those territories. Firstly, Karabakh must officially be recognized as a protectorate of Armenia with the latter having the right to militarily intervene if necessary, and secondly, it would be better and safer to have a phased withdrawal from the buffer zone.
    As I understand it, this has been one of the sticking points in negotiations. That is, when would Armenia return most of Lachin and all of Kelbajar. Anyway, I don’t believe in the war argument because the international community will not allow it. Besides, in the next 10 years after a peace agreement Armenia and Azerbaijan would integrate regionally as well as into European structures.
    However, I do believe a new war is likely 5-10 years down the line if a peace deal is not signed now. With a few UN Security Council reasolutions calling for the immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from the territory surrounding Karabakh, Azerbaijan already has the legal right to launch a new offensive on what the international community considers its territory. However, after a peace deal, it would have no basis for doing so at all, and as I said, it would not be allowed to build up its armed forces.
    In fact, I daresay that a ceiling for spending and equipment would definitely be enforced on such matters. This is a peace deal we’re talking about — and one overseen by the US, France, Russia and other states. This is not some nationalist game. This is a matter of international politics and regional stability. Of course, I’d add that I’m skeptical a framework deal will be signed.
    However, I join all those that hope that one can be — and one that can secure Karabakh its right to take its place alongside other nations with a secure land link to Armenia, and with the necessary security guarantees in place. OSCE is hopeful. Others are not.

  27. Reply

    […] a breakthrough framework agreement will be signed, but let’s see. Some in Armenian circles oppose the deal and appear to prefer the perpetual state of hostilities between the two countries, but it’s […]

  28. Reply
    chello - 01.06.2007

    It appears that there are those amongst us who put their faith in Western institutions and the promises of Western leaders when it comes to a just and peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Those who tow the line of regional integration as a guarntee of peaceful cooperation betweeb the TransCaucasian republics seem to be lax when it comes to taking an historical perspective when it comes to the meddling and strategic interests of the West vis-a-vis the best interests of the peoples on the ground.
    A few hundred miles away in Iraq one can see the consequences of Western intervention in the regional affairs of others.

  29. Reply
    aghvank - 02.06.2007

    An interesting article on panorama.am (sorry I don’t know how to hyperlink or do any of the fancy quote formating on this site)
    http://www.panorama.am/en/politics/2007/06/02/lachin/
    ‘AZERBAIJANI POLITICAL SCIENTIST SAYS COMPENSATING FORMER LACHIN RESIDENTS AN ATTEMPT TO SOLVE ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI CONFLICT
    Six Azerbaijani citizens, formerly living in Lachin, have submitted a claim to the European Court of Human Rights demanding compensation for damage. The claim was accepted against Armenia and the court decided to discuss the case.’

    ‘Further, the political scientist deliberates that “if the Azerbaijanies get compensated for their property according to law, they practically lose their right and interest to return to their places of resident. Isn’t this a best solution to settle numerous issues on the table of talks?’

    ‘The political scientist also believes the compensations will be funded by international donors under “investment for peace regulation.”’
    I believe this points to Lachin remaining under armenian control in the negiotiations.
    I agree with the political scientist and I believe this should be the formula to solve not just lachin but the entire conflict. Compensate the former residence who were forced to flee from the “seven regions” compensate any azeris who were forced to flee from Armenia, compensate Armenians who were force to flee from azerbaijan. Just don’t give back the territories. If I get some time, I’ll dig up the article by a US military analyst that said that even the US army would have trouble taking back Nagorny Karabakh as it forms a natural fortress. Armenia needs this especially in the face of a very beligerant Azeri President.
    As for regional cooperation, what can I say. Azerbaijan and Turkey aren’t the only countries in the region and Armenia is starting to have regional projects with Iran. There’s the gas pipeline with Iran, possibly a second gas pipeline. A possible oil refinery and pipeline. I don’t buy into this whole thing about war with Iran being inevitable. The US can barely handle Iraq and Afghanistan right now. Also, I believe that regional cooperation with resume with Georgia when Georgia adopts a more Moscow friendly attitude, and I believe this will either happen or Russia will eventually adopt a scorched-earth policy with Georgia and turn it into 5-6 small statelets.

  30. Reply
    Patrik THE TIGER - 03.06.2007

    Hence, the liberated territory is a guarantee of geopolitical weight and international authority of modern Armenia. It is a precondition for its military, water, food, energy, psychological, and, in the near future, demographic security. It is a part of the Armenian homeland in terms of history, cultural heritage and physical geography. The liberated territory is the means for restoring the historically traumatized psyche of the Armenians. It is a medium for the true meaning of Armenia. Finally, the liberated territory is a just, though minimal, compensation for the Armenian territorial, cultural, material and human losses and sufferings caused by the Turkish and Azerbaijani genocides, a compensation which has been attained by Armenian blood.”
    Interview by Armen Ayvazyan, Doctor of Political Sciences, Director of the “Ararat” Center for Strategic Research (www.ararat-center.org)

  31. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 04.06.2007

    It is typical of the foreign operatives in Armenia to condemn pragmatists as “nationalists.” The fact of the matter is that the “concessionary” attitude is a radically pro-Turkish view when taken in the true context of the inevitable Turkish aggression in the region.
    Armenians will be blamed either way for aggression by the powes that want a stronger Azerbaijan and Turkey in the region no matter what steps Armenians take at this juncture. They are pretending consistently to be completely oblivious of the history of the region.
    The “Nationalists” are the only ones representing the situation as it is.
    The pragmatists are cognizant of the history of the region, the political intentions of the Military led Turkish Republic, the now increasingly “Kemalized” Azerbaijan,
    There is no possibility of dialog in this conflict by default due to the type of uncompromosing attitude on behlaf of what is increasingly becoming a single military uniion between Turkey and Azerbaijan, and the “International Community” in its many guses will not benefit Armenians, will not offer security guarantees to Armenians in any fashion, just as they have not been able to do so to the Southern Sudanese, the Timorese, the Serbs of Kosovo, or any other in a similar situation.

  32. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 04.06.2007

    Chello says that there are those who have faith in the western powers and their so-called benevolent institutions.
    They are the radical conformists who would compromise practually anything to achieve legitimacy. It feels better when they go to conference with fellow politicians, journalists, or operatives during conventions and gatherings at hotels.
    There are businessmen and their representatives who hope for the cheaper melons from Azerbaijan and cheaper sweaters from Turkey in order to turn a better profit, and they hav been consistently within the ranks of the “concessionary” sort.
    It is all about naive idealism, personal egoes, and personal greed.
    Those who think in the interests of the poeple in Armenia and the survival of the Armenian nation cannot possibly see any guarantee in giving away the de facto sole guarantee to Armenian security: Armenia’s ability to sustain military incursion more effectively.
    This is not a choice made by Armenians. This is a choice made by representatives of Turkeys, Azerbaijan, and the various western cartels that have an interest in a “peaceful region.”
    In this instances by definition of the oil company, for example, “peaceful region” is not necessarily a situation when bullets and missilies are not flying.
    On the contrary, it is peaceful now as it is. They would do better to give Amrenians enough territory to at least create a domestic climate of prosperity and restrain their little lapdogs in Baku and Ankara from being so militant and aggressive, as they have historically been against Armenians.
    In the perverted world view of the Oil Cartel, for example, “peaceful” means non-reported Azeri and Turkish aggression on the proposed narrow and totally indefensible territories and futile, discredited, and ignored, Armenian protests that will follow. This will be presented to the world as a “peaceful region where the Oil is coming out fine,” becuase the Turks and Azeris are happy.
    In other words, Armenian land will e coveted for by what is in effect a pan-Turkist duo whose ideology has not changed much at the military, its de facto leader in long-term policy. They will attack at any future opportunity no matter what “concessionary” stance our New Age Kirkor Zohrabs take.
    The proposal of the “concessionary ones” is to have such an indefensible Armenia in the region that will always be subject to threats and political extortion.

  33. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 04.06.2007

    It’s also interesting to note that western operatives consistently work to agitate the “minorities” in any gien entity, in this case Armenia. In pretending to care and be representatives of minority groups, what they are effectively doing is either creating societal rifts that should no exist, or changing the quality of relationship between the majority and minority populations into a more politicized and “official” flavor, one that they hope can be exploited for future political operations, perhaps an upheaval or two.
    This same sort of western oriented operative is working to create the false image of “nationalists” as those who somehow don’t want peace in the region. As mentioned above, the western operative will inject the word “nationalists” always in a negative light to depict someone as a radical “uncomforist” simly because that person or group does not trust in the mediation and peace-keeping capabilities of the various International Bodies. This is the unmistakable mark of the operative, the usage of the word “nationalist” in a negative light.
    Aslo, remember, when an operative is exposed, he will react violently in order to protect his position and will lash out sarcastically and most violently at all those wo choose to identify him or her.
    The nationalists are the pragmatists who first of all know, without exception, that there is no force to trust except one’s own, no matter how lopsided the balance of power may be, and that forging alliances with partners such as Iran and Russia require Armenia to have its own measure of military and economic strength. This is the only hope of Armenia ever securing an alliance with any partner. No entity, whether that is Iran or Russia, will invest in an alliance with an impotent entity, one that has ceded its own lands “in the spirit of concessionary peace.” They will see the weakness, and they will refrain from becoming investors in Armenia’s future.
    No one likes an invertebrate. No one especially likes a fool who does not learn from history.
    Turkey and their little Kemalist project of Azerbaijan, will always take the opportunity to attack Armenia. In the future, in the event that “concessionary” ones win it out, when Armenia has less territory and is less effectively defensible, Turkish authorities and opportunists will find ANOTHER reason that we are as of yet unaware of to attack Armenia and extort more land. This is the pattern of the Imperialist attitude of Turks that has been the dominant ideology since this group came to the Armenain Plateau. They are have been and are amply rewarded for their aggressiveness by the same “westerners” who pretend to want peace in the region.
    It is worth mentioning also that Azerbaijan is losing its unique cultural identity as a result of this increasing Kemalization led by the Musavatists and their political progenitors, a process that was partly stopped during the USSR, but one that is again accelerating. This is an idea promoted by Vafa Gulizade and other intellectuals, the one that states that “Azeris have no identity independent of Turkey,” which is patently false, but it goes to show what the pattern of the paradigm shift in Baku is and where it is headed.

  34. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 04.06.2007

    SCAREMONGERING
    We are told by the western operatives that those of us who caution against Azero-Turkish aggression re “scaremongering” because, and this is worth quoting, “Azeris will be restricted in their military expenditure.”
    The reality of future agression is something that is plainly evident as a guaranteed event no matter what the outcome of today’s negotiations. This is made clearly evident by Turkey’s rabidly aggressive diplomatic and military stance on the issue. Turkey is at the surface, whenever it is opportune, pretending non-interefence, but it is the most active entity on this table.
    The western operatives also always try to minimize the contest for Armenian land as something between solely Azerbaijan and Armenia.
    In reality, the chief beneficiary is Ankara at the expense of both Armenia and Azerbaijan, in terms of autonomy for Azerbaijan, which is already losing ground to Ankara interefence in internal and foreign policy.
    Turkey is invading the South Caucasus through such tactics, and we are turning a blind eye. This is what the proponents of “peace in the region” want. They want a guaranteed foothold of Turkish powered NATO in the region as a counterbalance to Russo-Chinese alliance that would be a formidable force on the Eurasian continent.
    The western operatives always pretend that Armenians are “Caucasians” as well, restricting Armenian historical demands to nothingness vis a vis Turkey by eliminating the Armenian presence in the global consciousness in Western Armenia.
    In other words, this is a win win situation for Turkey on all grounds. Turkey is the one to watch most carefully in this conflict. Baku is a soburdinate. Yassar Buyukanit has been identified as the de facto Chief of Staff in Baku by military sources in Armenia, Iran and Russia. I think we need to take that into serious consideration prior to embarking in any “formulation of peaceful deals.” They are not interested in peace. They are interested in yet more Armenian land.

  35. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 04.06.2007

    ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES
    We have above individuals who think that “hard-liners” (another word coined to discredit pragmatist nationalists) are not taking into account the dire consequences in the economic development realm.
    We are told that the military considerations are secondary to the economic, despite the facts outlined above where Turkey now effectively governs Azerbaijan, where the ideology of expanding the Turkish sphere of influence into Central Asia is more alive than ever, where Turkish fascism is still the leading paradigm and will continue to be for a long time coming, where Turkey’s constant erasure and discreditation of Armenian history and identity has not only not ceased but has accelerated some more.
    We are told, by a brand of logic that boggles the mind, that by giving up the most valuable economic asset, land, we are increasing the chances of economic prosperity.
    First, land is the most valuable economic asset.
    Second, there is neither the guarantee nor the probability that trade will either increase or decrease between the various republics, including Turkey. There is already underground trade through Goergia and Iran between the 3 entities at a large scale. It is already a fact that Turkish goods dominate certain sectors such as textile and processed foods.
    The blockade is serving to benefit Armenian light industry, and the further flooding of Armenia’s markets with even cheaper Turkish goods will cripple whatever is there.
    The only beneficial properity Armenia will see is in a corruption free bureacracy and a secure environment for domestically grown enterprise as well as foreign investments. This is what is lacking. The ingress and egress of goods is not the actual issue.
    Again, the only forseeable change is the event there is an opening of the borders, which will only be done at Turkey’s convenience and in accordance to its political designs, is that Armenians will suffer even more economically.
    This will double in intensity as Armenian, upon ceding land, will have the possibilty of even less output due to less arable and productive land, less habitable land for potential emigrees to Armenia, which is a slow but steady trend.
    The LIBERATED lands are arable, water rich, and productive. They are in fact worth more than the melons and sweaters we shall get from Turkey at even lower prices.
    The idea is to keep what we have and exploit it. Foreign particularly western powers have no interest in a stronger Armenia. Those who do, such as Iran and Russia and possibly India and China, will seek to forge alliances on equal footing. They will not continually hand over welfare checks.

  36. Reply
    Shantagizoum - 04.06.2007

    MANY DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF NK PEACE TALKS/PROCESSES ARE DISCUSSED HERE.ALL SPECULATIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS,ALBEIT SOME BASED ON ACTUAL ANOUNCEMENTS BY DIPLOMATS SUCH AS MR. BRYZA YESTERDAY.MEANING THAT THE OSCE ARE AT IT,HAVE BEEN AT IT FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS NOW. NK CONFLICT HAS TWO CONTENDERS,RATHER TWO SIDES,NAMELY R.OF ARMENIA AND AZERBAIJAN.WHEREAS REAL CONTENDERS ARE LATTER AND NK REPUBLIC,WITH ITS PEOPLE.ON THE OTHER HAND BEHIND THE SCENES IS GREAT TURKEY THAT MURKS IN THE DARK(sometimes showing up).WHY SO? BECAUSE ON JUST SOLUTION OF NK CONFLICT, SAY A LITTLE BIT OF GIVE AND TAKE ,SUCH AS AZERIS FIRST OF ALL ACCEPTING NK REPUBLIC AS A FAIT A COMPLIT AND WITH WHOM TO COME TO TERMS,ALSO IF EXPECTING RETURN OF “SOME” not all buffer zone areas-NEVER LACHIN AND KARVAJAR(kelbajar) say JABRAIL OR NEXT TO IT FIZOULI, AS BARGAINING CHIP FROM NK REPUBLIC IN EXCHANGE OF SHAHUMIAN DISTRICT(Bryza talked of return of districts…)THEN CONFLICT WILL HAVE BEEN SOLVED. AS TO GREAT TURKEY’S EXPECTATIONS GOING AWRYAND NOT BEING ABLE TO HAVE ARMENIA ACCEPT THEIR BLATANT DEMANDS OF NK REMAINING IN AZERI TERRITOY ETC.,,DO NOT BELIEVE IT,.IT IS JUST BLOWING DUST INTO EYES OF OBSERVERS WHETHER EUROPEAN OR OTHER,THEY ARE ALWAYS BLUFFING AND AIMING HIGH VERY HIGH IN ORDER TO AT LEAST GAIN SOME LITTLE.IN THIS CASE I DO NOT BELIEVE THEY ARE VERY MUCH INTERESTED IN ALL ABOVE MENTIONED EITHER.THEY KEEP THAT GOING AND ALL EYES FIXED ON THE CAUCASIAN DRECTION, WHEREAS WHAT REALLY INTERESTS GREAT TURKEY IS A CHUNK OF MOSUL/KIRKUK OIL..THAT TERRITORY.THEY HAVE LONG HAD THEIR EYES ON THAT AND ONLY RECENTLY AGAIN THEY HINTED AT IT AND COUPLE DAYS AGO THERE WAS MENTION OF MORE TROOPS(TURKISH) being lined up along the frontier with norther(IRAQUI (kurdistan).SO JUST WAIT AND SEE IF THIS DOES NOT DEVELP FURTHER.GREAT TURKEY NOW ACTUALLY THINKS GREAT NOT TO ENTER KARASTAN…FOR WHAT? to connect through to AZERBAIJAN AND FURTHER NORTHEAST ..THAT ONE WOULD INVITE RUSSIAN INTERVENTION,WITH WHOM G.TURKEY NOW DEALS IN BILLIONS…
    HAMAHAIGAGANI SIRO,
    GAYTZAG PALANDJIAN

  37. Reply
    Observer - 04.06.2007

    Gaytzag – thank you for sharing your ideas. However, may I ask you in the future to please not use ALL CAPITAL letters when commenting – it is most annoying and difficult to read.

  38. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 04.06.2007

    “WE HAVE NOT POPULATED THE REGIONS: A SIGN OF…”
    There are comments above directed at “nationalists” who are accused of hypocrisy. We have fought and gained territory, we are told, but we have not populated that territory purportedly due to inherent hypocrisy.
    Hypocrisy is out of the question. Procrastination on behalf of corrupt authorites, yes, but hypocrisy is nonsense.
    There are practical circumstances that cause uncertainty to a degree where the average person is not willing to take the risk.
    One such item is the very act of non-recognition of Artsakh as an Armenian entity by these “benevolent international bodies”, coupled with the malleable and inconsistent manner with which the Armeniann government has been handling this matter.
    The future is in fact made so utterly uncertain that no one is willing to take the risk anymore, especially not after the sad situation at Khashatagh. People did take the risk, but they did not get governmental support. This too is somewhat understandable when taken from the tradtionally defeatist perspective Armenians have been taught to think from.
    The Armenian government is not willing to invest in infrasturcture in areas, such as the Khashatagh region, precisely due to the problem of international non-recognition. Armenian authorities are unsure of the fact that their investements will not be in vain and will not be an Azerbaijani asset in the future.
    Armenian authorites are simply relying too much on foreign bodies to decide for them what the outcome will be. Armenian authorites are subsequently not taking the risk to invest in infrastructure development that will enable the population of those regions in question.
    If the government will not even pull elecrticity to those areas, build roads to those areas, pull running water, what do you expect the general population to do? What do expect the average Diasporan to do?
    Why, indeed, are we so prepared to hand over lands and accuse our peope of hypcorisy? Why don’t we learn to throw our accusatory remarks where they are truly due: The HYPOCRITS sitting at Baku, Ankara, the Hague, New York, London, and Washington?
    This is a fundamental error that Armenian authorities need to avoid. The western supranation organizations will not ever grant Armenians what Armenians are due, nor will they ever willingly give Armenians the advantage they need to merely survive as a whole. The balance has been, since the Truman Doctrine, to the favor of Turks.
    I need not remind the reader of the fact that Baku is now an inseparable and sbuordinate entity to Ankara, and that this issue needs to be evaluated from the larger geopolitical sphere that gives priority to identifying Turkey’s interests in the region.

  39. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 05.06.2007

    DAVID SIMONYAN
    I’ve been rereading Simonyan’s article, and it is the most sensible piece I have read on the topic. He is correct, Armenia has to be defensible erritory, and the “concessions” proposed will open the road to merely an escalation of Azeri demands in the short term. A thin strip of indefensible territory at the southern perimiter is a stupid proposal. Border troops will be facing two directions for short range missles and sniper fire? What sort of lunatic would see that as a viable and acceptable proposal?

  40. Reply
    Observer - 05.06.2007

    Hagop, nobody knows yet what is the proposal that is being mediated by the OSCE and is being discussed by the Armenian and Azeri governments at the moment. You have been calling me a “western operative” and “lunatic” indirectly, but repeatedly on this blog. I don’t care – that is your point of view, which is a mistaken one. …but I don’t care.
    What is more important, is the fact, that many people before me and I myself found it important, to discuss and debate this issue at this point – as you can see, there’s a lot of stuff to discuss. Still, most of the discussion is going around assumptions and vague suspicions, don’t forget about it.
    One thing that is clear to me is – we need to discuss this. My personal position is – we must be ready to give up those territories, but only if we get reasonable compensation for that. Your position is also clear – no, we must keep those territories and remain in the perpetual state of war.
    Perhaps I have led you to believe, that I consider such a position as nationalistic? Well, I’m sorry to state, that you do not deserve the name of “nationalist“, because your position is not that of loving your nation, but rather leaving it stuck in this situation without offering any solution.
    On my part, I will continue looking for solutions, and whatever solution is reasonable: retaining those territories or giving them back, I will accept it, as long as the country can prosper and the Armenian nation – those of us who chose to stay, live and suffer in this country, can live a little bit decent life.
    PS: …just tell me, what are you doing in US? Why aren’t you in Armenia if you’re so willing to fight for the Armenian soil?

  41. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 05.06.2007

    The wetsern operatives come in many guises and qualities, two of which I will deal with below:
    1. One quality is that of the unknowing individual who is not aware that he is executing the wishes of foreign interests.
    2. Another other is the active and conscious operative who knowingly spreads false propaganda in order to accomplish tasks that fit into the goals of his employers and/or sponsors.
    The assumption made above is that I refer to a given individual. That is but an assumption which is a false one.
    As a result, the person above feels wounded and wishes to lash back, and this is typical of the current Armenian psyche that cannot take critcism gracefully.
    One instrument typical of a wounded ego is to project one’s pain and feeling of inadequacy, perhaps honest feeling and sentiment of powerlessness, onto the other.
    In this case the verbiage is that of the typical accusation of “false and hypocritical nationalism of fanatic hard-linership without the offer of viable solutions.” This is a false assumption based on biases and prejudice, since the person above has not had the chance to hear the offered solutions.
    Clearly this commentary above cannot be measured and accepted within the criteria of honest and objective dialog. However, since we are brethren who love each other by default, dialog will continue in a civil manner.
    Let me assure the esteemed readership here, there is nothing above addressed to specific individuals. The target entities are systems of thought and the faulty paradigms upon which those belief systems and thought patterns sit. We as Armenians all suffer to different degrees from such complexes and foreign influence that take us away from a pro-Armenian perspective.
    In truth, I address mentalities which are based on rabid and radical conformism, and radical conformists have a serious lack of faith in fellow Armenians, in collective strength. This is an understandable and natural reaction coming from a people whose history is so full of misfortune, whose geopolitical situation so precarious, and whose psychological impairments are the product of being a subject to the most cruel series of empires Mankind has known.
    Consquently these people have no belief in an Armenian driven solution composed of grass roots work, political lobbying at the domestic level, implementation of programs recommended by an existing high caliber of thinkers and developing think tanks on the domestic front.
    David Simonyan’s commentary is dismissed as “narrow in focus” above without much support as counter-argument. It is taken for granted by the western operative (with the two definitions above in mind) that all those who favor a solution with no land concessions are automatically against some sort of peaceful solution. This is patently false, and the very same David Simonyan has demonstrated that perfectly well.
    Mr Simonyan aptly explains in his comprehensive article that the best defense and bargaining chip in any negotiation is a strong and defensible Armenia, and that strength is only guaranteed on the existing territory and its defensible parameters. Anything less in area and dimension than what is de facto under Armenian control is simply unacceptble and totally indefensible.
    There is no guarantee in compensation, no matter in what form it may come. Turkish “honorship” of treaties has a history of total mendacity and subversion. There is no guarantee, as it has been shown far too many times by historical analysis and recent events, that International Bodies will be able to enforce any treaty. 1.5 million Armenians died and just as many more were displaced because we made bad gambles based on the exact same paradigm of foreign reliance and codependence.
    There is clear precedence in the Kars/Ardahan “negotiations,” that resulted in non-posession of those critical territories for Armenians.
    The only guaranteed entity is that which Armenian military controls, and that is the Armenian land and required buffer zones. This is Strategy 101, basic and sensible.
    If the solutions are to be discussed, then this environ of wounded egoes is not yet very conducive. There is a lack of maturity that must first be addressed.
    Nevertheless, on other forums I have posted my proposals and those of others. You may freely browse and read them. In short, all my proposals are rooted and based on a psychology of self-reliance.
    With kind regards,
    HN

  42. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 05.06.2007

    WHY ARE YOU IN US? WHY ARE YOU NOT IN ARMENIA
    These related questions deserve separate treatment simly becuase they are indeed very important questions. For this, I thank the author above. This is a valid question when posed in an honest and free of prejudice.
    1. If the Diaspora did not exist as a strategic and economic partner, then Armenia would not exist. This is something that cannot be denied.
    2. Aside from Armenia, and the well known Israeli scenario, Ireland is one shining example of an economy and cultural homeland that survived and thrives due to its ties with its Diaspora.
    3. If the same mentality of condemning the existence of a caring Diaspora is applied, then Ireland will shrivel, Armenia will die.
    3. It is important to remember that all Armenians with honest nationalist sentiments do contribute to Armenia’s survival and future in their own way. Whatever they are able to do should be a welcomed sight and should not be rejected based on the criterias such as non-residence in Armenia.
    I can state on my behalf that my Diaspora existence is numbered in days. I own property in Armenia and am actively planning to eimgrate.
    However, that should not be justification for any endangerment of Armenia’s future. yet, my advocacy is that of maintaining defensible territory and thinking from a military paradigm of self defense. This is perfectly legitimate on any scale and is within justified and civil state security stratagem.
    It would be criminal to advocate offensives against either Azerbaijan or Turkey inside Turkish or Azeri territory outside of this self-defense paradigm. That, as far as I can ascertain, is the only “hypocritical” stance one can take, and this is something that a small and insignificant minority of fanatics were advocating. They are in control of no Armenian political entity, however.
    To my best knowledge, my ideas are a reflection of that which is of the majority in Armenia, and this I know from mature thinkers such as Mr David Simonyan, Mr Armen Ayvazyan, Mr Karen Vrtanessyan, and all those brilliant young men who are fighting for a self-reliant and strong Armenia. Military and Civilian thinkers wo make the most sense are those who agree with Mr. Simonyan.
    If I am to be proven wrong, then they too, living on Armenia soil, will be proven wrong.
    God forbid they are proven wrong. Since, again, from what analysis I and many others have done for the last 16 years, this paradigm of self-reliance on defensible territory is the sole long-term solution for Armenia’s surival.
    In any case, the participation of any Armenian ina positive way in Armenian affairs, no matter if they are located in Timbuktu or Darwin, Australia, should be a most welcome phenomenon. I applaud all those who offer their energies for the benefit of Armenia.
    My only objection is against the defeatist mentality that puts no faith in Armenians and too much, simply too much faith in foreign “peacekeepers” and “internationally recognized treaties.” I have lived long enough, have discussed this long enough with more experienced men than I, have read far too much, and have lived through enough political troubles and revolution to undestand that the only guarantee one has is one’s self.
    With Kindest Regards,
    HN

  43. Reply
    Observer - 05.06.2007

    The problem with discussions like this one, as well as with social disciplines as a whole, is their low specificity and difficulty to measure the opposite scenario.
    I do not know history well enough to argue my case, but I know for sure, that back in 1915, the power of the League of Nations was nowhere close to UN, there were no peace-keepers deployed anywhere near Armenia and the flow of information was nothing like we have today, when something happening in Darfur, is making waves throughout the world, whereas my friends from Sudan, one of them – a Southern Sudanese journalist – Charles Luganyo, say is only an internal conflict, and I know that he has no reasons to lie to me, whereas the West, US in particular, have all sorts of interests in presenting it as a Genocide, a failure of UN to act, when that might not really be the case.
    In such cases I choose not to trust anybody, but present the opinions of both sides: the powerful western media vs simple journalist Charles who actually lives in Sudan and has seen it all by his own eyes.
    Same with this blog: I have my personal stance on the issue, but I am presenting all the sides among the Armenian blogosphere, including the position of Mr. Karen Vrtanessyan (Ahousekeeper) and Armen Ayvazyan (via Anaid1708).
    Mr HN – I am glad, that you have a clear position, which I do not agree with, but which is of clear interest to me. If you have a blog or a forum, I would also appreciate a link to it, so I could follow your ideas in the future as well.
    Once again, my task on this blog is not to persuade anybody of anything, but to facilitate discussion, and as this discussion is taking a rather monopolized form, I would appreciate other contributions and opinions as well.

  44. Reply
    Observer - 05.06.2007

    Given existence of anti-Armenian system in region, Armenia’s aggressive position to some extent would come in handy
    http://www.panarmenian.net/news/eng/?nid=22532
    04.06.2007 18:21 GMT+04:00
    /PanARMENIAN.Net/ Armenia’s possible concessions in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict do not imply changes in Azerbaijan’s attitude towards Armenia, director of the Armenian Genocide Museum Hayk Demoyan said during round-table discussions titled “Possible developments of the Nagorno Karabakh talks.”
    If we suppose that Armenia will make concessions in the name of peace in the region, it does not mean that the Azeris will stop viewing Armenia as a rival, he said.
    Since 1991 Azerbaijan has exercised a certain code in the state policy and public conscientiousness, according to him. “This code like DNA is being hereditary faction of this country,” he said.
    Besides, the problem is not reduced to debated territories, it’s complex, he added.
    “We do face a problem of further existence in the region and it’s not an exaggeration, Given the presence of anti-Armenian system in the region, Armenia’s aggressive position to some extent would come in handy,” he said, Novosti Armenia reports.

  45. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 05.06.2007

    Mr. Luganyo is not a representative of the majority. Neither is is Ronald Suny in the case of Armenians and his advocacy of a view on the genocide that is in concord with Turkish revisionism.
    The numbers have been declining in the Juba district, and secessionism has been the backbone of the conflict, which indeed has esalated into full scale genocide. Ironically, slavery of the Dinka was an original issue and point of grievance that ignited the conflict, and this was also a form of slow genocide that the Dinka were fighting. The fact of the matter is that Khartum initiated the conflict, and they have escalated it to genocidal levels. There is nothing fabricated about the genocide charge.
    What is worth noting is he inaction of behalf of the “International Community” for the last 3 decades on this issue. This is yet another notch against the UN’s credibility and viability as a peace-keeping entity.
    If Mr. Luganyo does not acknowledge this, something that is plain fact, then he is not a trustworthy source either.
    My position is that of the majority. It will have to win, since it is the only position that makes sense.
    The UN is as impotent and hypocritical as the League of Nations ever was. As an example, the “food for oil” program against Iraq was a fiasco that failed miserably, and this was a farce to begin with, selective sanctions against selectively identified pariah states. The UN merely acted as an agent of US and UK (NATO) interests, and that is all that it will ever be.
    The individual above has yet to state his position and justify it. The person above has yet to state how the compromise and hand-over of the most valuable economic asset, land, is to bring about economic prosperty for Armenia.
    Armenians should be aware that the “International Organizations” mentioned above are impotent entities. The Blue Hats are “peace keepers” who are not allowed to take action. I don’t know if the Armenian public is aware that Blue Hats are not allowed to shoot.

  46. Reply
    Observer - 05.06.2007

    HN – I have stated my position above:
    >My personal position is – we must be ready to give up those territories, but only if we get reasonable compensation for that.
    Justification:
    1. Armenia has already been qualified as an aggressor state, and the liberated territories have been qualified as “occupied territories” in several reports, and this trend will continue, and the power of our Foreign Ministry and the Diaspora are decisively not enough to win in this fight.
    2. We have moral ground for supporting Kharabakh independence, but we have no moral or legal ground to keep those territories forever.
    3. All we can hope for is getting reasonable compensation for giving them back – but reasonable compensation, I personally understand admission of NKR sovereignty by Azerbaijan, secure connection with Armenia and International Peacekeepers across the border, along with international inspections to keep military spending in all three countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, NKR) under control.

  47. Reply
    Observer - 05.06.2007

    HN – I must also add one more time, that my objective for doing this blog is not statement of my personal positions (although I’m never hesitant to speak my mind, because I think, that truth is born in dispute, and nowhere else), but to facilitate discussions and promote Armenian bloggers.
    On that note, I would be really happy to have a link to your own blog/forum or other internet media that you are authoring, to be able to cover it in my blog review as well.

  48. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 08.06.2007

    Armenia has been qualified as an aggressor state by aggressor states.
    Where is the legitimacy in that?

  49. Reply
    aghvank - 08.06.2007

    Where has Armenia been qualified as an aggressor state? If you look at the UN resolutions it talks about “occupying forces” but doesn’t identify Armenia. Armenia has done well by keeping NKR independent and not annexing it.

  50. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 10.06.2007

    I consider that an error in diplomacy as well. The referendum was a legal act within the constitutional limits of USSR law where the ethnic Armenian Oblast had the legal right to secede from one Republic’s jurisdiction into Armenia. Armenia in effect refused the wishes of the people of Kharabakh when the latter voted, legally, to join the Armenian SSR at the time. Ter Petrossyan’s administration displayed the same defeatist attitude of the last 280 years of Armenian politicians in making concessions that no one asked for nor anyone ever honored.
    Now the Azeris are “demanding the secessionist enclave be totally under their juristdiction,” which is rididulous from the moral, security, and legal standpoints.
    I truly don’t know what plenet the person above came from, but it must be far away.

  51. Reply
    Artashes - 14.06.2007

    What is this ridiculous argument about “liberated territories”? In 1993 and 1994 they were called “occupied territories” by the Armenian forces themselves who occupied them largely without a fight, due to the disorganization and panic of Azeri forces. I repeat, they were NO bloody “liberation” fights of most of these Azeri regions, like Zangelan and Kubatli and Jebrail, etc. No sane person at the time would say: “Let’s go and liberate the Armenian towns of Aghdam or Fizuli”. End of the discussion. Only years later some unbalanced people started pushing the idea of them being “liberated” territories…
    They were occupied as a buffer zone and a bargaining chip. And this was ALWAYS the official position of the Armenian side!!
    I completely agree with the Observer on this. They should be used exactly the way it was intended in the beginning: to get the status of Karabakh out of any subordination to Baku, get the territorial and security guarantees in return for these Azeri territories.

  52. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 19.06.2007

    I respectfully disagree with the above posting and reserve the right to respind, despite the quota issue brought about by the blog owner, which I wish to respect as well.
    They are morall, historically, and legally liberated territories from the long temr and short term perspective of the history of the region.
    What one would call “unbalanced” is merely a sign of political and strategic maturation of the Armenian political front.
    The error of calling it “occupied territories” has caused more problems thatn solved them. It has given the Azeri extremist the chance to phrase the conflict to his advantage, and the semantics are important in that they once justified false Azeri demands.
    Now they justify Armenian demands, which are morall, legally, and historically correct.
    There is yet not enough maturity among our populations to refrain from calling messengers of opposing views as “imbalanced” or “fanatical” or any other pejorative. Thi sort of uncompromising ad hominem is certainly a major problem that could indeed cause Armenians much more than just this territory.

  53. Reply
    Artashes - 19.06.2007

    What does not serve the interests of the Armenian nation is dishonesty. For the second or third time I repeat: these territories were taken NOT because they were historically Armenian (whether they were or not was and is a different question), NOT because of “moral, historical, or legal” justifications, BUT because of their strategic importance and tactical availability (i.e. the disorganizaton and retreat of the Azeri forces: most of those regions fell in rapid succession and were taken in several bursts in a matter of days! This is important, since NO Armenian commander would ever send his soldiers to die in thousands attacking well-protected and fiercely defended Azeri regions of Jebrail, Kubatli, etc. ONLY on the grounds that they are historically Armenian territories and therefore have to be liberated. This supposition is absolute nonsense!)
    This is the truth of the matter. There are no three or five truths, there is only one. They were occupied and they WERE CALLED OCCUPIED by the victorious Armenian forces, for god’s sake! There was NO talk of “liberated territories” at the time of “liberation”! Can it finally register with the “unbalanced” people (and that’s the mildest term to denote them)??

  54. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 19.06.2007

    Policies are subject to adjustments and corrections. The incorrect anouncements made in a haphazard manner to ward off becoming an instant pariah ws the original policy decision. Now it has to be adjusted to fit the actual reality, which is that this is Armenian territory that has to be maintained.
    The nonsensical approach of avoiding the de facto borders and development within them makes absolutely no sense and is tantamount to suicide. D. Simonyan has outlined the military and strategic reasoning as well as the mora. Most military leaders agree with Mr. Simonyan due to practical and sensible reasons.
    The irrationality displayed above is due entirely to “International Sanctions”, which has proven to be a worthless component in state-building. it has only cost those who have succumbed to such international pressure.
    Therefore, the truth of the matter will always remain that these are historical Armenian lands, ones that were Armenian populated quite recently, and that the Armenian military has now adjusted their verbiage to reflect the situation more correctly.

  55. Reply
    Observer - 24.06.2007

    Hagop – I would be really interested to know your views on: which political force in Armenia today could be successful in reaching a solution to the Kharabakh problem:
    1. Republican Party
    2. Bargavach
    3. Dashnaktsutyun
    4. Jarangutyun
    5. Orinats Yerkir
    6. Some other party
    By solution I mean – anything, from successful sustaining of the current “status quo” to signing a peace agreement with Azerbaijan.

  56. Reply
    Hagop Nalbandian - 01.07.2007

    It is rather incredible that we are seeking some paper guarantee to be enforced by an “International Entity” who wil never enforce this guarantee.
    Our neighbor managed to become majority in the region because they murdered and forcibly assimilated our people for generations on end.
    Yet we are to be led by blind men whose memory is only 20 minutes long.

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