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Regional geopolitics

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  • Re: Regional geopolitics

    Good job Haykakan. What that American "prostitute" writes about us and what the American government does against us is identical. You see how "Armenians" go out of they way to "explain" why Armenia's enemies do what they do but they never do the same when its about the Armenian government tor Russia. Just like "londontsi" this "mher" guy is also a apologist for Armenia's enemies.

    Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
    I agree that this article is not the exact representation of reality but this article is a piece of the overall puzzle that defines USA/Armenia relations. Many decades of refusing to recognize the genocide, many decades of helping our enemies, many decades of promising help but then backing out, Doing nothing when gross injustice is committed against us(Sufarov) and demanding injustice instead(asking us to release the azeri murderers). If this is "prostitution work" then it highlights the corrupt system that is the USA today. the fact that you guys try in vain to make excuses in defending the undefendable shows just how blinded and brainwashed you are.
    Last edited by Serjik; 03-15-2015, 07:40 AM.


    • Re: Regional geopolitics

      Lot of errors, concerning us, but nevertheless, good picture of the region:

      40 maps that explain the Middle East:
      These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.


      • Re: Regional geopolitics

        I do not care for the comparison to Israel but it is a good read.


        Front Page Magazine
        March 18 2015

        March 18, 2015 by Stephen Brown

        Next month, Armenians worldwide will mark the centennial of the
        Armenian Holocaust that saw 1.5 million of their people perish
        barbarically at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in a jihad that is
        continuing today under the Islamic State. This destruction of the
        Armenians in Anatolia, where they had lived for several thousand years,
        was also the event that gave Hitler reason to believe he could get
        away with exterminating xxxs, Poles and Gypsies.

        "Who still remembers today the annihilation of the Armenians?" the
        Nazi leader reportedly said.

        The trauma of 1915 left deep scars on the Armenian psyche, similar
        to those the Nazi Holocaust made on that of the world's xxxs. As
        a result, one would think the Obama administration would show an
        increased sensitivity regarding the killing of Armenians, especially
        by Muslim enemies, and more especially in view of the approaching
        Armenian Holocaust's centenary in April. But only last month,
        US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
        Victoria Nuland urged Armenian authorities to make "a humanitarian
        gesture" and release two Azeri terrorists who had crossed the border
        from Azerbaijan and murdered two people, one a 17-year-old. A third
        Armenian, a woman, was badly wounded.

        "Such humanitarian gestures have been shown to reduce tensions
        and build trust between the sides. So that's what she (Nuland) was
        referring to," said a state department spokeswoman later at a press
        briefing, in explaining the assistant secretary's controversial

        Nuland was in Azerbaijan, the second stop of her tour of the Caucuses
        Mountains, when she made the "humanitarian gesture" comment, having
        previously visited Georgia. In Azerbaijan, Nuland also said she
        would take up the matter of releasing the two imprisoned Azeris when
        she visited Armenia, her next and last stop. Armenia and Azerbaijan
        are both former Soviet republics in the southern Caucuses Mountains,
        who now face each other over a closed, hostile border. Armed clashes
        occur there now almost daily and deaths have occurred. The military
        confrontation between the two Caucasian nations has recently become
        so heated, it is feared armed conflict could break out.

        The cause of the enmity between Christian Armenia and Azerbaijan, a
        Turkic-speaking, Muslim-majority country, was an undeclared war fought
        from 1988 to 1994 over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave inside
        of Azerbaijan that sought secession and reunification with Armenia in
        the dying days of the Soviet empire. The Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians,
        perceiving themselves as victims of the Soviet Union's nationalities
        policy, believed they were righting a historical wrong. In 1921, the
        Bolsheviks had first awarded the enclave to Armenia but later reversed
        that decision, giving it to Azerbaijan, even though the population,
        according to an early Soviet census, was 95 percent Armenian. Stalin
        was reportedly responsible for this fateful, and disastrous, decision

        During the conflict, both sides engaged in ethnic cleansing. According
        to authors Caroline Cox and John Eibner, Azeris cleared 40,000
        Armenians out of Kirovabad, Azerbaijan's second-largest city, in 1988
        in response to Nagorno-Karabakh's secession drive. Another Azeri pogrom
        against Armenians, in which 32 were killed, preceded this in Sumgait,
        followed by another in Baku, Azerbaijan's capital.

        "The Armenians were not quick to retaliate to the Sumgait massacre,"
        wrote Cox and Eibner in their 1993-published book Ethnic Cleansing In
        Progress: War In Nagorno-Karabakh. "But Armenian restraint crumbled in
        response to the Kirovabad pogrom and the anti-Armenian demonstrations
        in Baku."

        In the war itself, the outnumbered Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians, with
        assistance from neighboring Armenia, not only won their independence,
        defeating the Azeri forces, they also conquered some adjoining
        Azeri territory, which they still hold today. With the victory,
        Nagorno-Karabakh renamed itself Artsakh (its ancient name when
        an Armenian kingdom), and became an independent state, recognised
        internationally, however, by few others. These diplomatic difficulties
        have also prevented Artsakh from joining Armenia, although the two
        are closely entwined.

        Until now, Artsakh has refused to return the Azeri territory it
        occupies until it can be guaranteed that it will not be used to stage
        attacks on its land. In this respect, Nagorno-Karabakh has adopted
        a position similar to Israel's regarding the Arab territories it
        captured in 1967: it will trade land for peace.

        Azerbaijan's ally, Turkey, which is located on Armenia's western
        border, became so incensed when the Artsakh forces were winning that
        it threatened to attack Armenia, although it was not officially a
        combatant. Apparently, Turkey is not content with having murdered
        1.5 million Armenians a hundred years ago and wants to continue this
        homicidal tradition in this century. A Turkish military assault on
        Armenia would be like Germany attacking Israel today.

        However, a warning from the Kremlin that a Turkish attack on Armenia
        would mean war with Russia caused Turkey to climb down, thus averting
        a regional conflict. In the end, to save face, all Turkey could do
        was seal its border with Armenia as well. This closure has lasted now
        22 years, severely disrupting the Armenian economy. And incredibly,
        while trying its best to strangle Armenia, Turkey has hypocritically
        complained about Israel's blockade of Gaza.

        So it is against this background of war, genocide, ethnic cleansing
        and ancient hatreds that Nuland called upon Armenian authorities to
        make a "humanitarian gesture" and release the murderers. The two
        Azeri terrorists were found guilty in a Republic of Artsakh court
        after an "open and transparent trial," and received prison sentences
        of life and 22 years respectively. One of the charges that formed the
        conviction was "murder committed by an organised group motivated by
        ethnic hatred." Artsakh security forces killed a third Azeri terrorist
        belonging to the group. None of the three, Azerbaijan claims, are
        members of its military.

        Although Artsakh is recognised by four American state governments,
        the most recent being California in 2014, the federal government
        continues to deny it diplomatic recognition. As a result, Nuland
        did not talk with Artsakh authorities when in Armenia. Instead,
        she met with the Armenian foreign minister and visited the Armenian
        Holocaust memorial in Yerevan. But Nuland's talks with Armenian
        officials concerning the two Azeri terrorists yielded no results.

        This was to be expected. Armenians well remember the terrible injustice
        and humiliation inflicted on them when the Hungarian government
        released early from prison an Azeri military officer, Rami Safarov,
        who had killed Armenian officer, Lt. Gurgen Markarian, in his sleep
        with an axe in 2004 in Budapest. Both were attending a North Atlantic
        Treaty Organization-sponsored event at the time. Safarov was released
        after he had served only six years of a 30 year sentence for reasons
        that have yet to be discerned, outraging both Armenians and Hungarians.

        "With their joint actions the authorities of Hungary and Azerbaijan
        have opened the door for the recurrence of such crimes," Armenia's
        then president, Serge Sarkisian, stated prophetically. "With this
        decision they send a clear message to the butchers. The slaughterers
        hereafter are well aware of the impunity they can enjoy for murder
        driven by ethnic or religious hatred."

        Safarov returned home to Azerbaijan on a "special flight" and received
        a hero's welcome. For his foul murder, the government rewarded him
        with a pardon, eight years back pay, an apartment and a promotion of
        two ranks, similar to honours Palestinians bestow on their terrorists
        for killing Israelis. Also like the Palestinians, one Azeri member
        of the national legislature called Safarov "a national hero." Which
        shows the level of Azeri hatred and civilizational development when
        an axe murderer is accorded this status.

        The reason the Obama administration requested on Azerbaijan's
        behalf that the two Azeri murderers be released was probably not
        a humanitarian one, as it maintains. Like some Arab countries,
        Azerbaijan is very oil rich, while Armenia has no oil. American
        companies also have investments in the large Azeri oil industry.

        Equally important, Azerbaijan serves as a hub for the Caspian
        Sea-Central Asian energy pipelines. As well, both Israel and the
        United States view Azerbaijan as an ally in the regional showdown with
        Iran. So it is most likely that upholding these business and strategic
        interests with Azerbaijan was the real reason behind Nuland's pushing
        for the terrorists' release.

        This situation resembles the controversial early release by Great
        Britain of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan also known as the Lockerbie
        Bomber, who was responsible for 259 deaths when a Pan Am flight was
        destroyed by a terrorist bomb over Scotland in 1988. It was later
        revealed that the British oil company, British Petroleum, had lobbied
        for his release, which greatly helped it obtain a $900 million oil
        exploration contract from Muamarr Gaddafi.

        But Armenia is not Great Britain. The murder of Lt. Markarian in
        Budapest and the two civilians in Artsakh are symbolic of the hatred
        and homicidal fate the surrounding Turkic populations have in store
        for the Armenian people, much like the Arabs have for Israel. Also
        like Israel, Armenians cannot allow the lives of their people to be
        sold cheaply. They have already suffered one holocaust. Granting
        early release to the two Azeri terrorists would send a wrong, and
        very dangerous, message, one that would likely be interpreted as
        weakness in one of the world's rougher neighbourhoods where only
        strength is respected.

        Besides, some Armenians view Nuland's request as hypocritical. Would
        the United States, for example, release Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to Russia as
        "a humanitarian gesture" to better relations with an Islamic country
        or with Putin, they ask? Or free early other imprisoned foreign
        terrorists with American blood on their hands?

        If the State Department truly wants "to reduce tensions and build
        trust" in the region, it should first tell Azerbaijan and Turkey to
        lift their blockades and open their borders with Armenia, ending the
        crippling of the Armenian economy. This is the humanitarian gesture
        it should be pursuing and not the release of two murderers.

        The border openings would not only be a good start to solving the
        other outstanding regional issues, it would also serve to lessen the
        Armenian fear that their Muslim neighbours simply want to finish the
        extermination project they started in 1915. It would also constitute
        a very fitting gesture of friendship and reconciliation, especially
        by Turkey, to Armenians worldwide on the centenary of the horrific
        event that serves as the well-spring of so much of their pain.

        But instead of a adopting a principled position that would help
        lessen that pain, the Obama administration appears to have taken one
        of unprincipled pragmatism.

        Hayastan or Bust.


        • Re: Regional geopolitics


          by Tatevik Shahunyan

          Thursday, March 19, 15:11

          Georgian Parliament is not likely to discuss recognition of the
          Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey in the short run, Viktor Talidze,
          a Georgian parliamentarian, told ArmInfo. He said the Parliament of
          Georgia has never held any serious discussions on the issue and there
          have been no motions for a relevant resolution.

          As for the reasons why Georgia avoids recognition of the Armenian
          Genocide, Talidze said: "Frankly speaking, it is a very sensitive
          issue, not only for Georgia but also for many other countries. Much
          rests upon the relations of Tbilisi and Ankara."

          The first country to recognize that crime against humanity was
          Uruguay. Genocide of Armenians has been recognized by 43 United States
          as well as by 23 countries, including Canada, Argentina, Switzerland,
          Russia, Belgium, France, Poland, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Greece,
          Cyprus, Vatican, Sweden, Lithuania.. Swizterland, Slovakia and Greece
          have even passed laws criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide.

          France is preparing a similar bill. The Genocide of Armenians was
          recognized also by the CoE, European Parliament, the UN Subcommittee
          to prevent discrimination and protect minorities, the UN Committee for
          Military Crimes, the World Church Council, as well as New South Wales,
          San-Paolo, Seara and Parana (Brazil), Wales, Schotland and Northern
          Ireland, the Basque Country, Catalonia, Balearic Islands (Spain),
          Quebec, Kyev, Uzhgorod, Izyum. Goloseevskiy region (Ukraine), Crimea.

          Turkey still denies the genocide of 1,5 million Armenians in 1915-
          1923. Euronest PA and EPP have lately recognized and condemned the
          Genocide of Armenians.

          Hayastan or Bust.


          • Re: Regional geopolitics

            Most Armenians misunderstand the west and think since they are Christians as well that there is no way the west can be against us. Religion preaches blindness above all else and opens up great opportunities for manipulation. Here you see a western "Christian " organization writing an article against the first Christian nation on earth which has done more to fight for its religion then anyone while this article is supporting a nonchristian state despite the fact that that state stands against pretty much every Christian value there is and its people are responsible for the death of the Christian profit. All the hypocracy of the west does not ring clearer then this.


            CHRISTIAN NEWS

            By JNS.ORG \

            03/19/2015 13:08

            Armenia's budding relationship with Iran may hurt it's longstanding
            relationship with Israel.

            Armenian Christmas in Bethlehem . (photo credit:TRAVELUHJAH)

            The status of the Old City of Jerusalem and those holy places also
            presents one of the thorniest issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict,
            and the latest installment in this long-drawn drama involves the
            Republic of Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

            The Armenian leadership's cancellation of a planned visit to Jerusalem
            in February 2010 by then-prime minister Tigran Sargsyan provided
            a cause for concern and puzzlement for the Israeli government that
            persists to this day.

            Until recently, the Armenian government had not sent a single
            delegation to Israel since the cancellation of Sargsyan's visit. In
            contrast, an Armenian neighbor, the Muslim-majority Republic of
            Azerbaijan, has sent a series of top-level delegations, including
            cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, and Foreign Minister Elmar

            In what was reportedly a bit of damage control, on March 5, Armenian
            Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan arrived in Israel for what the
            Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs described as a "private visit,"
            promoting a decidedly anti-Turkish and anti-Azeri agenda. Nalbandyan
            received a less-than-warm welcome due to the well-documented and
            increasing wave of anti-Semitism in the Armenian media as well as the
            prolific state-sponsored anti-Israel propaganda that makes Armenia
            such a darling of Iran.

            What really caused the cancellation of the visit of Armenian prime
            minister Sargsyan to Israel? In mid-February 2010, Yerevan notified
            Israel that Sargsyan had become ill with the flu and was unable to
            travel. Other diplomatic sources in Jerusalem noted that the flu struck
            the Armenian prime minister in "a strange manner after a meeting with
            the advisor of Iranian President Mehdi Mostafavi."

            Nearly at the same time as the Armenian official trip, the Iranian
            ambassador in Yerevan, Seyed Ali Sagayan, announced that the Islamic
            Republic would act as an intermediary, promoting the normalization
            process between Armenia and Turkey. This was preceded by a visit
            to Tehran of then-Armenian minister of transport and communication
            Manuk Vardanyan, an invitation to the defense minister of Armenia to
            Iran, and the arrival in Yerevan of a head of the Iranian diplomatic

            According to information received in Jerusalem, Tehran feared that
            the Israelis would try to negotiate with the head of the Armenian
            government about the tacit cooperation on the Iranian issue. Although
            Iran remains a major regional partner of Yerevan, no less important for
            the Armenians is their position in Jerusalem at the city's holy sites.

            The Jerusalem Patriarchate of the Armenian Apostolic Church controls
            many Christian shrines in the city (including a part of the Church
            of the Holy Sepulchre). The Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem (where
            about 2,500 people live) is the spiritual center for the influential
            Armenian diaspora in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, and
            Iran. This quarter is even called the key to the "Armenian factor"
            of Middle East politics.

            For Armenians, these places are particularly sensitive because of
            the long-term confrontation with the Greeks regarding control over
            the Jerusalem sites. In resolving a number of conflicts between
            the Armenians and Greeks, the Israeli authorities, in particular the
            Ministry of Religious Affairs, plays a critical role. On such matters,
            Israeli state agencies prefer to remain neutral.

            But recently, representatives of the Armenian Church began to
            express fears that amid the crisis with Turkey, Israel had decided to
            strengthen the partnership with Greece, and by consequence the Israeli
            government may prefer the Greeks in the conflict over Jerusalem's
            holy sites.

            "Holy Mount Zion to the xxxs actually is in the possession of the
            Armenian community and the Israeli government is implementing a
            systematic policy to force Armenians out. Armenia as the state did
            not oppose this policy." Step Karapetyan, stated publicly ess than
            a month before the announcement of the visit of the Armenian prime
            minister to Israel, one of Jerusalem's priests. He further noted
            that "in such circumstances, conflicts and collisions will occur and
            further, because the problem is not only religious but also political
            and geopolitical conditions."

            The Iranians reportedly feared that in exchange for some assistance in
            the matter of holy places, Sarkisian would agree to tacit cooperation
            on subjects of strategic importance for Tehran, but the Armenians
            quickly backed down under pressure from Iran.

            The Iranian regime has never ceased to support Armenia in its
            megalomaniac policy of occupation of the sovereign Azeri territory.

            Recently, on behalf of Armenia, a blatant attack on an Azeri senior
            diplomat--Baku's ambassador to Washington, Elin Suleymanov--was aired
            by the official Islamic Republic of Iran broadcaster Radio Tabriz,
            in which the Iranian broadcast accused Suleymanov of "lobbying
            activities against Armenia in Washington, DC." The Iranians used a
            classical anti-Semitic ruse by calling any diplomat who has healthy
            relationship with xxxish people, especially American xxxry, a "secret
            agent" of Zionists.

            The mullah-controlled regime in Tehran manifests a growing concern
            over the invigoration of relations between Israel, Azerbaijan,
            and the states of Central Asia, particularly Kazakhstan. The
            Iranians fear that the Israeli strategy of containing the Islamic
            Republic--which continues to stall the P5+1 negotiations over Iran's
            nuclear program--is gaining momentum, while Armenia is still suffering
            from the Iranian flu.

            Hayastan or Bust.


            • Re: Regional geopolitics

              Հայկական կողմը հակառակորդին պետք է այնպես պատժի, որ այլևս չհամարձակվեն հարձակվել. Վահան Շիրխանյան

              Ըստ ՀՀ պաշտպանության նախկին փոխնախարար Վահան Շիրխանյանի՝ հայ-ադրբեջանական և ղարաբաղա-ադրբեջանական սահմանային...

              Ըստ ՀՀ պաշտպանության նախկին փոխնախարար Վահան Շիրխանյանի՝ հայ-ադրբեջանական և ղարաբաղա-ադրբեջանական սահմանային լարվածությունները թուլացնելու համար հայկական կողմը հակառակորդին պետք է այնպես պատժի, որ այլևս երբեք չհամարձակվեն ներխուժել մեր տարածք:ի հետ զրույցում Վահան Շիրխանյանը միաժամանակ նշեց, որ պետք է պատրաստ լինել ցանկացած տիպի սադրանքի:

              «Պետք է հասնել այն վիճակի, որ ընդհանրապես զոհեր չունենանք, պետք է պատժել արկածախնդիր հակառակորդին այնպես, որ այլևս երբեք չձեռնարկի նման քայլեր: Պետք է միջազգային դիվանագիտական բոլոր կապերով ազդել Ադրբեջանի վրա, որ դադարեցնի սադրանքները: Ադրբեջանը պետք է հասկանա, որ իր միակ ելքը անկախ Արցախի գոյությունը ճանաչելն է և Հայաստանի հետ հաշտության համաձայնագիր կնքելը»,-ասաց նա:

              Հիշեցնենք, որ այսօր՝ ժամը 08:30-ի սահմաններում, հակառակորդի հատուկ նշանակության ջոկատի ուժեղացված խումբը հարձակում է ձեռնարկել հյուսիսային (Գյուլիստանի) ուղղությամբ տեղակայված դիրքերի վրա: ԼՂՀ ՊՆ մամուլի ծառայությունից հայտնում են, որ շուրջ երկու ժամ տևած մարտական գործողության արդյունքում հետ է շպրտվել նախահարձակ հակառակորդը, ապա ոչնչացվել իր դիրքերի մատույցներում: Հակառակորդին դիմագրավելու ժամանակ արիաբար զոհվել է ՊԲ 3 զինծառայողն, ևս 4 զինծառայող վիրավորվել է:

              Վահան Շիրխանյանը նաև նշեց, որ ի տարբերություն վերջին տարիների, ակնհայտ է՝ այս տարի սահմանը աննախադեպ լարված է:

              «Դա, մասնավորապես, կապված է երկու խնդիրների հետ: Նախ՝ Ադրբեջանը նման սադրանքներով միջազգային հանրությանն ուղղորդում է քայլեր ձեռնարկել Հայաստանի ու Արցախի դեմ, դրա համար էլ տարբեր քայլերի է դիմում ո՛չ միայն սահմանին, այլ նաև՝ գործի է դնում դիվանագիտական, տնտեսական կապերը, կաշառում մարդկանց: Երկրորդ հարցը կապված է Թուրքիայի շահերն սպասարկելու հետ: Հենց Թուրքիան է անվերջ դրդում, որ լարվածությունը սահմանին բարձրանա, քանի որ ինքն էլ իր հերթին ծանր խնդրի առաջ է կանգնած՝ Հայոց ցեղասպանության 100 -րդ տարելիցի հետ կապված: Թուրքիան փորձում է ամեն կերպ շեղել միջազգային հանրության ուշադրությունը այդ խնդրից դեպի ղարաբաղյան կոնֆլիկտը»,-ասաց նա:


              • Re: Regional geopolitics

                20 March 2015

                Obama tells Iran of 'historic' opportunity

                US President Barack Obama tells the Iranian people a nuclear deal presents a rare chance to transform the two countries' relationship.

                US President Barack Obama has told the Iranian people that a deal to transform the relationship between the two countries could be within reach.

                "We have the best opportunity in decades to pursue a different future between our countries," he said in a video message for Persian New Year.

                Six world powers are negotiating a deal aimed at limiting Iran's nuclear activity, with a March deadline near.

                The president conceded there were still "gaps" in negotiations but was hopeful.

                "This moment may not come again soon," said Mr Obama in his message celebrating Nowruz.

                "I believe that our nations have an historic opportunity to resolve this issue peacefully - an opportunity we should not miss."

                If Iran's leaders agreed to a reasonable deal, then the country would be on a path to prosperity, he said.

                Isolation awaited if agreement was not reached, he added.

                But the president has yet to convince the US Congress of the merits of a deal, and many lawmakers remain opposed to the easing of sanctions.

                Earlier this month, 47 Republican senators warned Iran's leaders that any deal on Tehran's nuclear programme could be revoked once Mr Obama leaves office.

                The move was widely condemned as an attempt to undermine the president's foreign policy.

                Iran's Zarif (left) talks to Ali Akbar Salehi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, in Lausanne
                Iran's Zarif (left) deep in talks in Lausanne
                According to unnamed officials talking to Associated Press news agency, the deal being hatched in the long-running talks will commit Tehran to a 40% cut in the number of machines it could conceivably use to make an atomic bomb.

                In return, economic sanctions would be eased sharply and a UN embargo on conventional arms would be partially lifted.

                But on Thursday, a letter signed by 360 members of Congress was sent to the president, reminding him that the lifting of permanent US sanctions against Iran would require new legislation from Congress.

                Iran insists its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes but members of the international community fear it has nuclear weapons ambitions.

                The sticking points are thought to include the pace at which sanctions would be lifted, how long the deal will last and how much Iran's nuclear facilities will be open to inspection.

                On Thursday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met for the fourth consecutive day in Switzerland.

                The six world powers - the US, China, Russia, UK, Germany and France - and Iran are hoping to reach a framework agreement by 31 March.


                • Re: Regional geopolitics

                  BBC News

                  20 March 2015

                  Ukraine crisis: EU links Russia sanctions to truce deal

                  European Union leaders have agreed to keep sanctions on Russia in place until the end of this year at the earliest.

                  The sanctions, imposed because of Russia's alleged military intervention in Ukraine, are now linked to "complete implementation" of a ceasefire deal.
                  Last month's deal envisages Ukraine regaining full control of its eastern border with Russia by the end of 2015.
                  The sanctions target major firms and political figures close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
                  They are unable to get Western loans and their travel is restricted.

                  Pressure on Russia

                  The sanctions decision was agreed at an EU summit in Brussels.
                  "Our common intention is very clear - to maintain the sanctions until Minsk is fully implemented," European Council President Donald Tusk said at a news conference.
                  He was referring to the ceasefire deal agreed in February in Belarus' capital.
                  Thursday's move is designed to force Russia to put pressure on the heavily armed pro-Russian rebels occupying parts of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
                  The EU sanctions were imposed last July and were due to expire after a year.
                  A formal decision to extend the measures must still be made, and is expected in the summer.
                  Both Ukraine's military and the rebels accuse each other of repeated shelling, but the fragile ceasefire agreed in Minsk, Belarus, is largely holding.
                  More than 6,000 people have died since the fighting in eastern Ukraine erupted last April, the UN estimates.
                  The Kiev government, Western leaders and Nato say there is clear evidence that Russia has helped the rebels with troops and heavy weapons. Russia denies that, insisting that any Russians on the rebel side are "volunteers".
                  The clashes began a month after Russia annexed Ukraine's southern Crimea peninsula.

                  'Political weapon'

                  In Brussels, the leaders also agreed to make gas contracts with Russia more transparent, to avoid pricing disputes which have bedevilled such contracts in the past.
                  Many East European states in the EU rely heavily on Russian gas supplies. But the European Commission is investigating Russia's Gazprom monopoly, suspecting it of overcharging for gas.
                  Mr Tusk said it was "unhelpful" that most bilateral gas contracts with Russia were long-term, sometimes agreed for 20 years.
                  That timescale gives Russia much leverage, and Mr Tusk said gas must no longer be used as "a political weapon".
                  Ukraine is a key transit country for Russian gas deliveries to Europe, and previous price disputes have led to shortages, threatening the EU's energy security.
                  It is not yet clear how the EU Commission will monitor future gas deals with Russia, to check compliance with EU law. The leaders stressed that confidentiality must still be respected for commercial contracts.
                  In a further effort to curb the Russian state's influence in Europe, the leaders instructed EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to draw up a strategy to counter Russian "disinformation campaigns".
                  There are fears that the Kremlin is stepping up propaganda to influence opinion in former communist bloc countries, including the Baltic states, which have large ethnic Russian minorities


                  • Re: Regional geopolitics

                    Ինչու է Սերժ Սարգսյանը «սպառնում» Ռուսաստանին


                    Նախօրեին, Ռուսաստանի կողմից ԼՂ հակամարտության կողմերին զենք վաճառելու մասին հնչած հարցին ի պատասխան, ՀՀ նախագահ Սերժ Սարգսյանն անսովոր կտրուկ պատասխան է տվել: «...Այս հարաբերություններում մեզ անհանգստացնում է, որ ՌԴ-ն, ելնելով տարբեր դրդապատճառներից, սպառազինություն է վաճառում Ադրբեջանին, և այստեղ խնդիրը սպառազինության որակը չէ, խնդիրն այն է, որ մեր սահմանին կանգնած հայ երիտասարդը գիտակցում է, որ իրեն փորձում են ոչնչացնել ռուսական զենքով: Սա է ամենաբարդ հանգամանքը, և սա է, որ կարող է վատ ազդեցություն ունենալ մեր հարաբերությունների վրա... Սա խնդիր է, որը պետք է լուծում ստանա»,- ասել է Սերժ Սարգսյանը։

                    Ռուսաստանի կողմից Ադրբեջանին զենք վաճառելու վերաբերյալ Հայաստանում մտահոգություններն առավել սրությամբ արտահայտվեցին` սկսած 2013-ից, երբ հայտնի դարձավ Ռուսաստանի կողմից Ադրբեջանին մոտ 1 մլրդ դոլարի ժամանակակից հարձակողական զինտեխնիկա վաճառելու գործարքի մասին, և երբ Բաքուն բացահայտեց, որ իրականում Ռուսաստանից գնվող սպառազինության ընդհանուր գինը կազմել է ավելի քան 4 մլրդ դոլար:

                    Այն ժամանակ պաշտոնական Երևանն անհանգստության որևէ նշան չդրսևորեց:

                    Պաշտպանության նախարարը նույնիսկ հիշեցրեց, որ, որպես սուվերեն երկիր, Ռուսաստանն իրավունք ունի զինամթերք վաճառելու ում ցանկանա:

                    Ահա այս ֆոնին նախագահ Սարգսյանի արած հայտարարությունը ձեռք է բերում առանձնակի նշանակություն: Ի՞նչն է դրդել այս պահին անելու նման կոշտ հայտարարություններ, ի՞նչն է ստիպել Երևանին հիշելու այն, ինչ, չնայած զգուշացումներին, անտեսում էր տարիներ շարունակ:

                    Ուշագրավ է, որ նախագահն այս մտահոգությունը հնչեցրեց Երևանում անցկացվող «Եվրանեսթ»-ի խորհրդարանական վեհաժողովի խորապատկերին և ԵԺԿ գագաթաժողովին մասնակցելու պատճառաբանությամբ Բրյուսել մեկնելուց անմիջապես առաջ:

                    Առաջին հայացքից թվում է, թե, Ռուսաստանին անուղղակիորեն նախատելով Ադրբեջանին զինտեխնիկա վաճառելու մեջ, Սերժ Սարգսյանը ցանկանում է Բրյուսելին կրկին հավատ ներշնչել եվրոպական ուղղությունը զարգացնելու հարցում Հայաստանի իշխանության տրամադրվածության անկեղծության նկատմամբ՝ խաղալով եվրոպացիների համար ամենանուրբ՝ հակառուսականության լարի վրա:

                    Ինչպես «Եվրանեսթի» ԽՎ-ի մասնակցող Եվրախորհրդարանի մի քանի պատվիրակներ և ՀՀ էկոնոմիկայի նախարար Կարեն Ճշմարիտյանը հաստատեցին անցնող օրերին, ներկայումս Հայաստանի և ԵՄ-ի միջև բանակցություններ են ընթանում ԵՄ ասոցացման համաձանագրի քաղաքական մասի վերափոխված տարբերակն ընդունելու շուրջ, ինչը նշանակում է վերակենդանացնել եվրոպական ասոցացման օրակարգը: Չի բացառվում, իհարկե, որ այս գործոնը որոշակի դեր կատարել է:

                    Բայց իրական պատճառը դա չէ:

                    Հարցը պաշտոնական Երևանը սրել էր դեռևս «Եվրանեսթ»-ի ԽՎ-ի երևանյան նիստից առաջ: Նախորդ շաբաթ սլովենական «Dnevnik» օրաթերթի հետ հարցազրույցում նույն դժգոհությունն արտահայտել էր ՀՀ արտգործնախարար Էդվարդ Նալբանդյանը՝ հայտարարելով, թե Հայաստանը կնախընտրեր, որ Ռուսաստանն Ադրբեջանին զենք չվաճառեր: Այս ռեպլիկը հնչեց ավելի շատ Ղազախստանի նախագահ Նուրսուլթան Նազարբաևի աննախադեպ ցինիկ քայլից հետո, երբ ԵՏՄ շրջանակներում առևտրատնտեսական հարաբերությունները քննարկելու նպատակով Ռուսաստանի և Բելառուսի նախագահներին Աստանա հրավիրելով, չգիտես ինչու, հրավեր չուղարկեց նաև Հայաստանի նախագահին:

                    Դրանից հետո մարտի 12-ին տեղի ունեցավ Հայաստանի և Ռուսաստանի նախագահների հեռախոսազրույցը, որից հետո միայն, ուշադրություն դարձնենք, Հայաստանը պաշտոնապես բարձրաձայնեց ԱլԳ ծրագրի շրջանակում ԵՄ-ի հետ նոր համաձայնագիր մշակելու շուրջ բանակցությունների մասին և ուղղակի դիտորդի կարգավիճակով սկսեց հետևել, թե ինչպես են 4 օր շարունակ «Եվրանեսթ»-ի պատվիրակները Հայաստանի խորհրդարանում Ռուսաստանին քարկոծում ու քննադատում և Ուկրաինայի նկատմամբ ագրեսիա իրականացնելու մեղադրանքներով համեմված բանաձև ընդունում:

                    Պետք է ենթադրել, որ Սերժ Սարգսյանին հեռախոսազրույցի ժամանակ չէին բավարարել իրեն Աստանա չհրավիրելու կապակցությամբ` ՌԴ նախագահի տված հնարավոր մեկնաբանությունները: Եվ այն գործընթացները, որոնք տեղի են ունենում դրանից հետո եվրոպական ուղղությամբ և այն հայտարարությունները, որոնք արվում են Ադրբեջանին զինտեխնիկա վաճառելու կապակցությամբ ուղղակի արտահայտում են նախ` անձամբ Սերժ Սարգսյանի, ապա նաև, ընդհանուր առմամբ, Երևանի վիրավորանքն ու զայրույթը:

                    Երևանում թերևս միայն դրանից հետո հասկացան, որ իրենց ԵՏՄ-ում վերջին դռնապանի դեր է հատկացվել, ում կարծիքը բացարձակապես իրենց չի հետաքրքրում, որ ԵՏՄ-ն ոչ թե ինչ-որ տնտեսական ու քաղաքական դիվիդենդներ է տվել Հայաստանին, այլ միայն չոքեցրել նոր պարտավորությունների ծանրության տակ, որ ուղղակի պարզ խաբեություն էին ԵՏՄ-ին անդամակցելու դիմաց Հայաստանի և ԼՂՀ-ի անվտանգությունը երաշխավորելու մասին` Մոսկվայից հնչած խոստումները:

                    Եվ ահա, դիմելով նման քայլերի, որոնք իրականում շատ ավելի մատնում են Երևանի հուսահատությունը, հայաստանյան իշխանությունները փորձում են ցույց տալ, որ չեն պատրաստվում համակերպվել իրենց վերապահվող այդ նվաստացուցիչ դերին: Եվ դրա համար կրկին ընտրվել է եվրոպական վեկտորը խորացնելուն դիմելու միջոցով յուրատեսակ շանտաժ կիրառելու միջոցը: Պատահական չէ, որ Մոսկվային ուղղված կշտամբանքի վերջում Սերժ Սարգսյանը նշում է, թե Ադրբեջանին զենք վաճառելու խնդիրը պետք է լուծում ստանա՝ նկատի ունենալով ոչ թե անմիջականորեն հենց զենք վաճառելու խնդիրը, այլ, առհասարակ, հայ-ռուսական հարաբերությունների և պատասխանատվության շրջանակների վերջնական հստակեցումը:

                    Դրա մասին է վկայում նրա այն ակնարկը, թե խնդիրը ոչ թե սպառազինության որակն է, այլ այն, որ սահմանին կանգնած հայ երիտասարդը գիտակցում է, որ իրեն փորձում են ոչնչացնել ռուսական զենքով: Այսինքն՝ եթե Ռուսաստանը Հայաստանին վերաբերվեր որպես դաշնակցի, ապա նրա զենքը չէր կրակի իր դաշնակից երկրի զինվորի ուղղությամբ:

                    Այն, որ Հայաստանն այս կերպ փորձում է Մոսկվային հասկացնել իր նկատմամբ ցուցաբերվող վերաբերմունքից իր չբավարարվածությունը, հասկանալի է: Սակայն ողջ հարցն այն է՝ ինչպե՞ս է Երևանը պատկերացնում այս վիճակի հանգուցալուծումը: Երբ Սերժ Սարգսյանը պնդում է, թե այս հարցը պետք է լուծում ստանա, արդյոք նա ունի՞ այդ լուծումը, որը կարող է ազատ քննարկել Պուտինի հետ: Կամ` Երևանը հաշվարկե՞լ է ԵՄ-ի հետ քաղաքական համագործակցությունը խորացնելու նոր փուլ սկսելու հետևանքները և Մոսկվայի հնարավոր արձագանքը, որպեսզի հանկարծ նորից չստացվի այնպես, որ թե' եվրոպացիները և թե' Հայաստանի հասարակությունը նոր սեպտեմբերի 3-ի խայտառակ շրջադարձի ականատեսը դառնան: Սրանք առայժմ օդից կախված հարցադրումներ են:

                    Գևորգ Դարբինյան

                    Հ.Գ. Մինչ բոլորը փորձում են հասկանալ՝ ինչպես է Հայաստանը պատասխանելու այդ հարցերին, ՌԴ նախագահի մամուլի քարտուղար Դմիտրի Պեսկովը հայտարարում է, թե քննարկվում են Վլադիմիր Պուտինի՝ Հայաստան այցի ժամկետները: Դա այն դեպքում, երբ այդ ժամետները հստակ էին ի սկզբանե. Կրեմլից ավելի վաղ հաստատել էին, որ Պուտինը Հայաստան պետք է ժամաներ ապրիլի 24-ին՝ մասնակցելու Ցեղասպանության 100-րդ տարելիցի միջոցառումներին: Սա կարելի է հայաստանյան նոր եվրառևերանսների և Սերժ Սարգսյանի հայտարարությունների առաջին արձագանքը համարել: Մնում է հասկանալ՝ կանխատեսելի՞ էր, արդյոք, սա, ինչպես նաև այլ հնարավոր, ավելի կոշտ արձագանքները իշխանությունների համար: Կապրենք, կտեսնենք:

                    Մանրամասները` կայքում:


                    • Re: Regional geopolitics

                      Should Putin Let the Ruble Bottom Out?
                      The Russian president is just the latest in a long line of national leaders with a sentimental, ill-fated attachment to propping up their countries’ currencies.

                      One can almost excuse Vladimir Putin for trying so hard. This is a man, after all, who famously built his public image in part on feats of derring-do: riding shirtless across Siberia, hang-gliding with migrating birds, and releasing a caged leopard into a natural reserve. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that the Russian president would leap with similar brashness into his country’s economic crisis, precipitated by tumbling global oil prices and Western sanctions. Why not use sheer financial force to wrestle the depreciating ruble back to safety?

                      At 1 a.m. Moscow time on Dec. 16, Russia’s central bank announced a massive hike in the country’s interest rate, from 10.5 to 17 percent. Early indicators of the government’s move were mildly positive, with the ruble opening the next morning up 
10 percent against the dollar. Within hours, though, the weight of the foreign exchange market reasserted itself, hammering the ruble to less than half its starting value in 2014 and raising the dual specters of inflation and recession. Over the following weeks, Putin and his lieutenants proved almost wholly incapable of controlling the two economic forces that mattered most to them: As of mid-
January, spot prices for Brent European crude oil hovered near the historically low level of $46 a barrel, and the ruble was stubbornly slumped at 65 to the dollar.

                      It’s clear why falling oil prices and a declining ruble would strike fear into even the leopard-friendly Putin. The Russian economy remains overwhelmingly dependent on oil and natural gas, which in 2013 accounted for 68 percent of the country’s export revenues and 50 percent of its federal budget. Diminishing global energy prices could lead to a 
4.5 percent GDP contraction in 2015, according to the country’s central bank. A declining ruble would similarly wallop the country’s holders of hard-currency debt, $130 billion of which come due this year.

                      What’s not clear is how Putin and his colleagues could realistically have expected to achieve anything by hiking the interest rate. Unless the increase was intended to attract foreign capital — a very unlikely event — it could only have led to higher inflation and greater downward pressure on the ruble. The country’s international debt was destined to become harder to service; the prices of imported goods were likely to rise; and Russian holders of foreign debt were going to face difficulties in accessing foreign currencies.

                      Yet Putin is hardly the first national leader to chase a stronger currency at the risk of a weaker economy. In the 1920s, Winston Churchill drew down his country’s reserve holdings to bolster the British pound, long after the nexus of global financial power had shifted from Britain to the United States. The result was a marked decline in British industrial competitiveness and a sagging economy that contributed to the unfurling of the Great Depression. Half a century later, U.S. President Richard Nixon struggled to maintain the dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency despite the growing financial cost to the United States of doing so. And Mexican President José López Portillo pledged to “defend the peso like a dog” shortly before being forced by his country’s collapsing economy to let the currency float, and plunge. In all these cases and many others like them (Russia in 1998, Indonesia in 1997, the United Kingdom in 1992), intervention led solely and inevitably to malaise: higher inflation rates, slower growth, rising unemployment, and capital flight.

                      Why such a long line of clearly ill-fated policies? Probably because, like many of their citizens, national leaders often seem to feel a physical, sentimental attachment to their currencies. It’s an odd vestige, arguably, in a world marked by increasing cross-border flows of foreign exchange, but a powerful one nonetheless. In theory, the value of any currency is an impersonal, apolitical fact — the result of supply and demand in the open marketplace. In practice, though, leaders often associate strong currencies with national strength more generally and thus view declining currencies (and particularly rapidly declining ones) as insults to their prowess.

                      As a result, in the optics of intervention, a national leader is seeking to convey a certain element of power-broking — to display muscle and an implicit promise that the state is not being abandoned to ruinous outside forces. Think again of Churchill, who in 1925 risked Britain’s gold to prop up the beloved pound. The economic wisdom was clear: Intervention would not work. That same year, economist John Maynard Keynes had warned that returning Britain to the gold standard at an artificially inflated rate would lead inevitably to unemployment, class conflict, and prolonged strikes. Yet Churchill proceeded, unwilling to let the pound fall below what he considered its rightful level.

                      For Putin, too, sitting by as the ruble declined was probably never an option — and still isn’t. He likely will keep indulging in efforts to pump up the ruble and draw down Russia’s hard-currency reserves accordingly. (In a surprise move, the central bank cut interest rates in late January — but only by 2 percentage points.) Because neither of these measures will do anything to redress the country’s underlying economic woes, however, Russia will probably be consigned to muddling through until global oil prices eventually rise again.

                      What Russia should do is diversify its economy away from anything that involves extracting resources out of the ground and selling them at volatile, internationally set prices. The country should follow the Norwegian example of isolating energy revenues in a sovereign wealth fund, investing the proceeds for the long term, and insulating its broader economy from dependence on commodity markets. It should consider strategies like those employed in Chile, where copper revenues are carefully invested in a broader range of industries and where export earnings during booms are reliably saved for less felicitous days.

                      Until that happens, Russia and its chest-thumping leader will be caught in a cage of their own making, acting symbolically but without any real effect. And the country will remain on the long list of states making policies based on nostalgia rather than sense.

                      The Russian president is just the latest in a long line of national leaders with a sentimental, ill-fated attachment to propping up their countries’ currencies.