August 13, 2014 - 15:11 AMT
- While Syria burns, Gaza explodes and al Qaeda captures another Iraqi
town, another full-blown conflict threatens to further destabilize the
Middle East, this one between Armenia and Azerbaijan. For months now,
Ilham Aliyev, one of the worst dictators alive, has been
indiscriminately shelling the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, says an
article in The Huffington Post.
"The Aliyev clan has run
Azerbaijan as if it were its own personal bank account and backyard for
the past twenty some years. Armenian leadership over the same period has
not been ideal either: corrupt and megamoniacal, it has however avoided
the type of morally bankrupt hereditary dictatorship that the Aliyev
clan has imposed on their country. Needless to say the Aliyevs have
become billionaires several times over while their own people have seen
only limited benefits from its booming oil trade," Christopher Atamian
says in the piece titled "As Conflict Escalates, Dictator Ilham Aliyev
Needs to Be Stopped."
"Serzh Sargsyan, the President of Armenia,
is short and squat and wily in appearance; Aliyev is tall and gangly and
with an empty open stare that suggests an absence of what Agatha
Christie's famed detective Hercule used to call little grey cells. Worse
than his perceived lack of intelligence, Aliyev continues to lie to his
people about the causes of the ongoing Nagorno Karabakh conflict. He
insists on painting the Armenians as aggressors and the Azeris as
historical inhabitants of Artsakh out to innocently defend their lands;
the exact opposite is the case. Aliyev, who has falsely claimed that he
has triumphed over Armenia politically and economically and that he can
do so militarily as well continues to watch his own soldiers die in
numbers which exceed Armenian casualties. As if his own people they were
mere flies, expendable in some futile attempt to regain land over which
it has no legitimate claim," Atamian says.
"Russia, which arms
both Armenia and Azerbaijan, may of course be at the heart of recent
hostilities. Putin may well be attempting to kill two proverbial birds
with one stone, threatening the West with the possibility of a new
regional conflict, while also trying to convince Armenians that they
need Russian protection. Russia has never been Armenia's true friend and
it is certainly not Azerbaijan's -- if Putin had his way, he'd turn
both countries back into Russian -- scratch Soviet Union provinces or
Republics," the author presumes.
He goes on to say: "Azeris need
to understand that Aliyev is not only a vicious dictator, but that his
current policies will ultimately lead to the demise of this regime and
country. The Armenians and Azeris have one mutual advantage: unlike the
Israelis and the Palestinians, for example, who live in a patchwork of
territories within each other's respective lands (i.e. there are Israeli
Arabs within the borders of Israel: Gaza and the West Bank as a pairing
make little geographical sense), Armenia and Azerbaijan today have one
neat border: Armenians on one side, Azeris on the other."
"Azerbaijan needs to cease its hostilities towards Armenia and lift its
unilateral blockade of the country (as does Turkey, but that is another
not wholly unrelated story). Armenian and Azeri civil societies need to
begin substantive cultural and educational exchanges. Aliyev and his
henchmen need to stop their propaganda campaign against Armenia
domestically and abroad: it fools few foreigners while it brainwashes
its own people," he says.
In other words, Atamian says, a true peace process needs to occur.
"The United States and Russia -- or the current OSCE Minsk Group --
should accelerate their efforts in this direction before it is too late.
Let's put an end to historical or territorial recriminations. They make
no sense in this case. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia have enough
territory to survive and prosper. And without each other, neither
country will reach its true potential -- economic or otherwise. If hawks
such as Aliyev can be overthrown or the Azeris finally see reason, then
Azerbaijan and Armenia, along with their joint neighbor Georgia can
form an economic corridor that would be a shining example to the world.
The alternative -- war and more death -- is not a pretty option to
ponder. Cautious optimism may be in order since Presidents Sargsyan and
Aliyev met with Putin in light of recent events on August 10 and agreed
that the conflict needs to be resolved peacefully," he says.
"Finally, as an aside, I would like to say that I am a pacifist. I do
not believe in violence, which history has taught us only begets more
violence. But there are facts on the ground. NKR will l never return to
Azerbaijan, willingly or otherwise. It is time to build peace. Time for
Armenians, Azeris, Georgians and Turks to bring prosperity to the
Caucasus together. Like it or not the four countries, along with Iran to
the South, share more things in common than they do differences. True
courage on the part of Presidents Sargsyan and Aliyev will bring them to
the negotiation table, in an earnest desire to resolve this conflict,
once and for all," the author concludes.source: