World Op-Ed: Why Armenians everywhere stand with those in Nagorno-Karabakh

14:00  16 october  2020
14:00  16 october  2020 Source:   latimes.com

Armenia's Prime Minister Accuses Turkey of 'Reinstating the Ottoman Empire' in Sending Mercenaries to Nagorno Karabakh

  Armenia's Prime Minister Accuses Turkey of 'Reinstating the Ottoman Empire' in Sending Mercenaries to Nagorno Karabakh The revival of the 30-year conflict threatens to engulf Armenia and Azerbaijan in all-out warIn fact, the battle already threatens to bleed beyond the mountainous 1700-square mile enclave in the South Caucasus to engulf Azerbaijan and Armenia in all-out war, and risks provoking an even wider conflagration. In an interview with TIME, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan doubled down on accusations that its bitter rival Turkey is already intervening militarily on behalf of Azerbaijan, claiming President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is vying to extend his influence in the region.

Op - ed . Intense clashes between ethnic Armenian and Azeri forces over Nagorno - Karabakh have been raging since late September. Azeri authorities consider Nagorno - Karabakh illegally occupied by Yerevan, proclaiming that they want to get their territory back.

Op - ed . Earlier, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that his country supports Nagorno - Karabakh ’s right to self-determination, describing that as non-negotiable.

a vintage photo of a group of people posing for the camera: Aram Arax, standing, with Vervant Janigian shortly after they arrived in Fresno, Calif. in 1920. (Courtesy of Mark Arax) © (Courtesy of Mark Arax) Aram Arax, standing, with Vervant Janigian shortly after they arrived in Fresno, Calif. in 1920. (Courtesy of Mark Arax)

A century ago, our grandfathers, survivors of the Armenian Genocide, traveled 7,000 miles by ship and train to start a new life in California. Yervant Janigian and Aram Arax, uncle and nephew, took one look at the San Joaquin Valley — flat, rich loam stretching out to a Sierra filled with water — and declared it a new Armenia.

Azeris and ethnic Armenians fight before planned talks with Russia

  Azeris and ethnic Armenians fight before planned talks with Russia Azeris and ethnic Armenians fight before planned talks with RussiaBAKU/YEREVAN (Reuters) - Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces fought new clashes on Friday as Russia prepared to host talks with the warring sides' foreign ministers on ending the deadliest battles in the South Caucasus for more than 25 years.

It includes both the Armenian -majority enclave of Nagorno - Karabakh , and land that surrounds it and links it to Armenia . For decades, international mediators have been looking for a way to hand territory back to Azerbaijan while preserving the safety of Armenians in Nagorno - Karabakh .

Op - ed . Fighting erupted in Nagorno - Karabakh on September 27, with both Armenia and Azerbaijan accusing each other of firing the first shots. However the forces of Nagorno - Karabakh were still “heroically fighting” against the continued assault, he said.

They raised the grapes they had raised in the old country, brewed their raisin moonshine in the same copper stills, sang as they mourned, and taught us that their embrace of America did not mean they had severed their souls from the homeland.

We were part of a fierce, proud tribe that had withstood thousands of years of slaughter by Mongols, Tatars, Persians and Turks. The Phoenicians were gone. The Babylonians were gone. But the Armenians had managed to hold on to a remnant of their ancient empire and endure. It was our obligation as exiles in the new land to make sure the old land and its people did not vanish into history.

Today, as we pen these words, the nation of Armenia and its neighboring enclave Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh, face the gravest threat to their survival in a century. The stakes could not be higher in an escalating war between the Armenians and the Azeris, who are actively backed by their ethnic kin in Turkey.

Nagorno-Karabakh truce under severe strain as both sides allege violations

  Nagorno-Karabakh truce under severe strain as both sides allege violations Nagorno-Karabakh truce under severe strain as both sides allege violationsBAKU/YEREVAN (Reuters) - A Russian-brokered humanitarian ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh was under severe strain on Sunday a day after it was agreed, with Azerbaijan and Armenia accusing each other of serious violations and crimes against civilians.

Op - ed . The decades-old dispute over Nagorno - Karabakh – an Armenian -populated enclave inside what is internationally recognized as Azerbaijan – flared up on September 27, with Azerbaijan and Armenia accusing each other of being the instigator behind the new bout of heavy fighting.

The Nagorno - Karabakh conflict is an ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno - Karabakh , inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians

To the casual observer, the fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, a small plot of earth in the Caucasus, may seem a squabble between neighbors. But it was the forebears of these same Turks and Azeris who massacred 1.5 million Armenians living under Ottoman rule in the years 1915 to 1918. And to this day, they continue to deny the crime of genocide. This denial is not simply an erasure of history. It sets the stage for what Armenians now fear is an attempt to inflict a mortal wound to what is left of our homeland.

Imagine for a moment that Germany denied it had ever slaughtered Jews. Indeed, it insisted that Jews had slaughtered Germans, and that the word “Holocaust” could not be uttered in public. Imagine now that Germany wasn’t 2,000 miles removed from Israel but shared with it a border, and that its hatred of Jews was so consuming that it closed the border and claimed that Israel was the greatest threat to peace in the region.

Armenia, Azerbaijan tensions rise amid claims of new attacks

  Armenia, Azerbaijan tensions rise amid claims of new attacks YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated Wednesday, as both sides exchanged accusations and claims of new attacks over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, where heavy fighting continues for a third week despite a cease-fire deal. In a statement compounding fears of a wider conflict, Armenian Defense Ministry claimed it reserves the right to target Azerbaijani military objects and troop movements. That followed an announcement by the Azerbaijani military that it destroyed an Armenian missile system “targeted ... to inflict casualties among the peaceful population and to destroy civilian infrastructure.

Nagorno - Karabakh ’s press service asked Elovsky not to reveal the shelter’s exact location, but he told Meduza that it “These old men just shrugged off the bombings and stood there, pointing the way like traffic controllers. Amid exasperation with the deadlock in Nagorno - Karabakh , the recent surge in

Armenia ’s Defense Ministry said that the forces of Nagorno - Karabakh successfully implemented a “tactical trick” on Monday, which allowed them to deliver Yerevan has vowed to do everything to defend ethnic Armenians in Nagorno - Karabakh from an Azerbaijani attack, while Baku insists that

For Armenians residing in Armenia and adjacent Nagorno-Karabakh, squeezed between Turkey and Turkic Azerbaijan, this scenario is not a hypothetical. It is what they have lived through for a century, and what they are still living through.

The 3 million Armenians in the homeland and the 8 million like us scattered far and wide believe Nagorno-Karabakh is part and parcel of our survival. It is where our people, a majority of the population for millennia, have built their churches and buried their dead, a land that Stalin, in his maniacal attempt to quash ethnic identity, handed over to Soviet Azerbaijan in 1923.

This seizure made no sense as a matter of culture, history or geography, since the tiny Soviet republic of Armenia sat only a few miles from Nagorno-Karabakh. But from that moment on, the 150,000 Armenians inside the enclave had to rely only on Russia as protector. Then in 1988, as the USSR began to crumble, Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh voted for independence. In response, Azeris set about murdering Armenians in the city of Sumgait and other parts of Azerbaijan.

A new weapon complicates an old war in Nagorno-Karabakh

  A new weapon complicates an old war in Nagorno-Karabakh The use of drones has upset the military balance between Azerbaijan and Armenia in their longtime dispute over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.“We don’t see them," said Katarina Abrahamyan, a 38-year-old supermarket cashier. "We hear them.

Sunday saw the escalation of the simmering Armenian -Azeri conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno - Karabakh , with both sides blaming each other for unleashing the hostilities.

Op - ed . Armenia ’s President Armen Sarkissian thanked Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as other co-chairs of the OSCE group on the Nagorno - Karabakh conflict – France and the US – for their mediation efforts.

In the winter of 1990, American reporters landed in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. “Here and there, boarded windows or soot-blackened walls mark an apartment where Armenians were driven out by mobs and their belongings set afire on the balcony,” Bill Keller of the New York Times wrote. “The Armenian Orthodox Church is now a charred ruin.”

Beyond Baku, in a town called Julfa, it wasn’t enough that the local Azeris killed and drove off Armenians. They obliterated 10,000 uniquely carved Armenian stone crosses from the town’s medieval cemetery, one of the great cultural catastrophes of the modern age.

By 1991, both Armenia and Azerbaijan had become independent nations. Fearing annihilation, Armenians hunkered down in Nagorno-Karabakh and fought for its liberation. A shaky cease-fire has more or less stood for the past 25 years, even as Armenian control of the enclave continues to enrage Azeris and Turks.

Over the past few weeks, as fighting has intensified, Armenians from Los Angeles, Beirut, Buenos Aires and everywhere else the diaspora reaches have taken to the streets to remind the world of their history, and why it must not be repeated.

They have called out the government of Israel for supplying Azerbaijan with weapons that are pulverizing Nagorno-Karabakh's capital. They have called out President Trump for failing to apply any pressure to Israel, Turkey or Azerbaijan. They have called out Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo for playing blind to the fact that 90 million neighboring Azeris and Turks pose an existential threat to Armenians.

How the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been shaped by past empires

  How the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been shaped by past empires A fateful decision by Stalin, and divisions drawn by the Soviet Union, still reverberate in a historic conflict that has recently re-erupted on the battlefields of the Caucasus.Residents of Stepanakert, the capital of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, enter a building damaged by a missile attack on October 3, 2020. While the majority population of the territory is ethnic Armenian, it is considered part of Azerbaijan by most of the international community.

Ilham Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan, has tweeted, “Armenia is not even a colony. It is not even worthy of being a servant.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, has vowed that "Turkey will continue to stand by its brothers in Azerbaijan as it has always done.” He has made good on his pledge by sending war machines and Syrian jihadists to the battlefront. “We will continue to fulfill the mission our grandfathers have carried out for centuries in the Caucasus.”

The two us are descendants of that mission. Our grandfathers passed down to us the story of the crane, the groonk, the mythical bird of Armenia. It would fly thousands of miles to other lands, but it would never forget the way home. We are 11 million groonks. But in this time of peril, what will home be?

Aris Janigian’s most recent novel is "Waiting for Sophia at Shutters on the Beach." He is co-founder of The Artifa[ctuals], a new arts and culture magazine. Mark Arax is the author, most recently, of "The Dreamt Land," which was a finalist for the 2020 L.A. Times Book Award.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

They lay competing claims to Nagorno-Karabakh. The war over it defines them both .
Their decades-old battle over the mountainous territory of Nagorno-Karabakh has come to define how Armenians and Azerbaijanis view themselves.The boundary marks the two sides of a war that has solidified grievances as uncompromising and storied as the trenches themselves, whose gun emplacements, mines and rust-crusted barbed wire make up one of the world's most militarized zones.

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