The Isolation of Armenia and the Iranian Deal

 

Garegin Nalbandian

It is no secret that many superpowers have been competing for control over the Caucasus since the Biblical times. The last 300 to 400 years, however, the main competitors over the Caucasus were Iran, Turkey, and Russia. Realistically speaking, the competitors are Iran and the Russo-Turkic League. Yes, there is a Russo-Turkic League even if it’s hiding behind other names to disguise their existence.
The Russo-Turkic Factor
On 23 March 2015, Bordyuzha, the head of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) announced that military exercises for this Russia-led defense pact will hold in Armenia this year.
According to some Armenian official sources, the issue topped the agenda of Nikolay Bordyuzha’s talks with Serzh Sargsyan and Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan. Although they gave no dates for the annual exercises codenamed “Indestructible Brotherhood”, the date of this exercise will be sometime in mid-September.
We also have information that units from the Russian 102nd Military Base, which is stationed in Armenia according to an agreement signed between Boris Yeltsin and Levon Ter-Petrosyan in 1991, will participate in this exercise due to the fact that Bordyuzha plans to host this exercise on the Armenian border with Georgia, not Turkey.
This decision is not neighborly towards the Georgians because of the tensions between Russia and Georgia. To be fair, the reader must know about the fact that Georgia is involved in many military and economic partnerships with Armenia’s rivals – Turkey and Azerbaijan Republic. Both Armenia and Georgia had provided valued support for several NATO-led operations. Thus, both republics are in good terms with NATO.
These tensions, which are created by Russia and the two Turkic republics, between Armenia and Georgia require immediate attention of both Armenia’s and Georgia’s governments. Only good neighborly relations between Armenia and Georgia can prevent a possible future conflict between the two former Soviet republics. Good neighborly relations between Armenia and Georgia will also promote an increase in commerce for both republics, which may serve as an initial model for how the countries of the European Union can establish and increase their commerce with the countries of the Eurasian Customs Union.
The most recent of such exercises that Armenia hosted was in September 2012. The 2,000 or so participating troops were part of the CSTO’s Collective Operational Reaction Forces (CORF) created in 2009. The war games were watched by then Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
The most recent CSTO drills took place in Kyrgyzstan in July-August of last year. They involved about 1,000 troops from the six ex-Soviet states aligned in the bloc: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Speaking at the news conference on January 30 in Moscow, Bordyuzha reportedly ruled out a direct CSTO intervention in the Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict. This decision and the fact that Russia provided Azerbaijan Republic with $4 billion worth of weapons, including S 300 and Smerch missiles, have raised concerns among many Armenians in Armenia and in Diaspora. Many Armenian critics of close military ties with Russia seized upon those remarks to again accuse CSTO of failing to honor its defense obligations to a member state. Seyran Ohanyan dismissed such criticism and insisted that the Armenian army is strong enough to contain Azerbaijan Republic without a direct Russian or CSTO intervention.
Russia’s attempts to isolate Armenia and to increase dependence on Russia, Russia’s shortcomings of promising and not keeping their promises, and Russia’s hostile takeover of Armenia’s economy, leave Armenians to join two camps: pro-Russians, those who went to Russian schools and serve Russia’s interests above Armenia’s interests, and anti-Russian, those who were not brainwashed by Russian propaganda and understand one simple thing – both Russians and Turks want Armenia without Armenians.
The same pro-Russian and anti-Russian camps also exist in all former Soviet republics, including the current republics of the Caucasus, and in all countries of the former Warsaw Pact.
Many pro-Russian Armenians repeat what their Russian superiors say, “If it weren’t for Russia, Armenia would become a Vilayet of Turkey. The Armenian history; however, proves otherwise. When Russia left the region in 1917-1921, Armenians defeated the Turkish Army in 1918, three years after the Genocide, in Bash-Aparan, Karakilisa-Vanadzor, Artsakh (Karabakh) and Syunik (Zangezur); and the most famous of all battles were the Battle of Sardarapat and Kars. The Armenian Army went on a counter-offensive and went all the way to Karin (Erzrum) and Sarikamish. In 1992 when the Russians left the region again, the Armenians were able to defeat the Azerbaijani Republic and free parts of Artsakh, not entirely though.
The Artsakh (Karabakh War) started because of anti-Armenian Pogroms in Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad, and everywhere throughout the Azerbaijan Republic. The Soviet Union was falling apart and Armenia declared its independence, which followed by the Russian punishment of the earthquake on December 7, 1988, and the never-ending war to keep both Armenia and Azerbaijan republics on a tight Russian leash.
The real “Indestructible Brotherhood” exists between Russians and the Turks. There are many facts that unmask the Russia-Turkey secret pact. The Russians make sure not to leave any trace of betrayal because they need the loyalty of the Armenians; however, there are some accounts that have survived the elimination process to inform us about the Russia-Turkey cooperation.
There are many accounts of Russian Army units advancing to Armenian populated areas in Western Armenia, disarming the Armenians, and retreating without firing at the Turkish Army units. Those Armenians, who wouldn’t leave their homes when the Russians retreated, were punished by the Turks for siding with the Russians. Russia also created new terms, such as Caucasian Turks and Caucasian Tatars, after sending armed units of Turks and Tatars to Baku and Elizavetopol Gubernias, thus changing the demographics in the area. The Turks and the Tatars quickly subjugated the indigenous people, and similar to the Ottoman Turks, they targeted the Christian Armenians.
During July 1904, a unit of 61 Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) members was moving through Kars on their route from Tiflis (Tbilisi) to Sassoun because Sultan Hamid had dispatched a unit of 20,000 Turk soldiers to destroy Sassoun. Tiflis Gubernia was part of the Russian Empire at that time. Vorskan was the name of that unit, and commander of that unit was Torgom (Tuman Tumeants) who was guiding ARF members across the Russia-Ottoman border since the early 1900s, and in 1903 a unit called M’r’reek had to fight through the Turkish and Kurdish units but was able to cross the border without any losses under the guidance of Torgom because he knew the area well. His assistant was Hunter Gevorg. Suddenly the Turks opened fire at the Vorskan unit. The Armenians took cover. That’s when the Russian border patrol unit began to fire at the Armenian unit. Surrounded and outnumbered, Torgom decided to send messengers to the Russian unit. The Armenian messengers who carried a white flag were killed, too. Both Turks and Russians continue to fire and the Armenian unit. Torgom sent another messenger with a white flag to the Russians. The second messenger was killed, too. Then, Torgom decides to go to himself and ask the Russians not to shoot at his men. Torgom was killed, too. Gevorg decided to send a messenger to Tiflis to tell the ARF leaders what happened to the Vorskan unit. On 29 July 1904, at 7 o’clock in the evening, the Turks and the Russians finished the remaining of the Vorskan unit.
In May 1915, when Armenians had stopped the attacks of the Turkish Army against the unarmed Armenians in Van, more Armenians from other districts of Western Armenia who had escaped the death marches were going to Van, where they hoped to find refuge and to help the Armenian defenders of Van. Famous Armenian writer Hovhannes Tumanyan visited Van for several days at that time. He was encouraging the Armenians to stay there and support the rebellion. Czar Nicholas (Nikolai) II of Russia, however, disapproved of the newly forming Armenian Republic of Van, and he ordered to empty Van, and General Abatsiyev of the Russian Army began disarming and evacuating the Armenians from Van. All Armenians were taken out of Van and resettled throughout Russia. Without the support of the people, the Armenian Militia units were unable to continue the fight against the Turkish Army. Therefore, they also left Van.
I am sure that everybody knows about the fact that Russia and Turkey together created the Azerbaijani Republic, knowing that the real Azerbaijan (Atropatene or Atrpatakan in Armenian) is in Iran. Everybody knows about the Treaty of Moscow. Everybody knows about the Kars Treaty.
Even during the “Cold War” period when Turkey was part of the NATO Pact and Russia was part of the Russia-led Warsaw Pact, the relationship between Russia and Turkey continued. The Armenians were not allowed to talk about Andranik Ozanian, Garegin Nzhdeh, Serob and Sose, Gevorg Chaoush, and other Armenian heroes. The Armenians were not allowed to commemorate April 24th (the day when Sultan Hamid of Ottoman Turkey cut off “the head from the body” to put it in a metaphor, by ordering to kill 600 Armenian intellectuals) leaving the Armenians without leadership. Armenians were encouraged to marry non-Armenians, specifically Turks and Russians.
Presently, Russia controls Armenia’s economy and Armenia’s government. The Russo-Turkic dream of having Armenia without Armenians continues. Armenians are unable to find jobs in Armenia; therefore, Armenians are invited to work in different parts of Russia. Jobs in Siberia pay more, so many Armenians are moving to Siberia. Armenian soldiers are attacked by the Azerbaijani Republic’s army units who fire at Armenians with the weapons they buy from Russia. Recently, the Defense Minister of Azerbaijan Republic announced that Azerbaijan can bomb any target in Armenia with Russian-made Smerch, which is a weapon of mass destruction as 10 Smerch = 1 atomic bomb. Azerbaijan has a few atomic bombs worth Smerch missiles. Hence, the Armenian Genocide continues…
Many pro-Russian Armenians say that Russians saved the Armenians from the Iran; however, history proves that Armenians always saved Russia. If you have doubts please read about Suvorov (Suveryants), who defeated the French Army in 1812, Guy or Gayk (Hayk) Bzhshkyants, who defeated the White Guardian Army and freed Ulyanovsk for Lenin, Marshal Baghramyan, who defeated the Germans at Leningrad, conquered Pri-Baltika, Poland, and was the first to enter Berlin.
Then, the Russian propagandists tell fairy tales about how on 19 October 1812, Kotliarevski crossed the Araks (Araz) River and defeated a Persian Army of 30,000 at Aslanduz; how on 2 September 1826, Madatov with 2,000 Russian soldiers defeated a division of 10,000 Persians. The Russians supposedly did that to free the Armenians from Iran, however, history proves that there was always Armenia under the Iranian Empire but Armenia disappeared under the Russian Empire. Armenia was divided into several Gubernias under the Russian conquest. More than 500 Armenian schools were closed and all properties of the Armenian Apostolic Church were seized by the Russians. So, did the Russians really save the Armenians from Iran or were the Russians trying to achieve their goal of having Armenia without Armenians? The Russian soldiers in Armenia have always been serving Russia’s interests in reality.
The Iranian Factor

Iran as an empire in the past, and Iran as a republic, has always conducted a well-balanced policy with regard to all its neighbors. Iran is a moderate country with a multitude of economic capacity. Iran has recently closed its border with Turkey. Iran announced to open a new trade center in Armenia. Iran is ready to export its oil and gas at much lower prices than Russia and Saudi Arabia are currently exporting theirs. Iran understands its neighbors.
Iran’s current President recently announced that in times of war, Iran always has and always will fight fair with its rivals. This means that Iran is relying on its military, rather than nuclear bombs. Iran, unlike other countries with modern and nuclear weapons, does not need a nuclear weapon to feel safe.
Iran’s Nuclear Project was originally initiated by the USA in order to free up more of Iran’s oil and gas for commercializing and exporting those resources to the USA. Then, after the French supported the Islamic Revolution, the French tried to take over the Nuclear Project but failed. Then the Germans, then the Chinese, and at last the Russians worked on Iran’s Nuclear Project. The result is that Iran now has some unsafe nuclear plants. What’s interesting is that those were the same countries that were voting on Iran’s Nuclear Deal this summer.
Except for some brief periods of time, during the Sassanid period and during David Beck’s rebellion, Iran and Armenia have almost always been allies. Whether directly or indirectly, Iran has always supported Armenia and the Armenians. Armenians are treated with more respect in Iran, than in Turkey and in Russia. Armenians have earned that respect by serving the Persian Monarchs with loyalty. The Armenian Cavalry always led the Persian armies to battle and helped the Persian Empire with strategic conquests. There were times when Armenian and Persian monarchs were brothers, and prior to the Arab conquest of Iran, there were linguistic ties between Armenian and Farsi.
If we pay attention to the letters and the revolutionary songs of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), those letters and songs mention how Armenian units were transporting weapons and ammunition from Iran to Western Armenia in order to help save the lives of unarmed Armenians, and how the Armenian volunteers would receive letters ordering them to go save the Armenians from the Genocide. These are facts that no Armenian may think about because the Russian brainwashing would not let most Armenians seek the truth about our past.
Did it ever occur to any Armenian that Iran is also subject to the threat of Pan-Turkism, which may be the reason why Iran may have been secretly helping the Armenians to fight against Ottoman Turkey? During the Artsakh War too, Armenia was in blockade by Turkey and Azerbaijan and by the Turkic-populated Marneuli District of Georgia. The only open border was Iran, hence Iran was indirectly helping Armenia to fight in the war, while Russia, both as RSFSR (from the onset of the Karabakh movement in 1988 through the end of the Soviet Union in 1991) and as Russian Federation (from 1991 to presently) always pretended to be Armenia’s ally but in reality sided with the Azerbaijani Republic. In 1993, Russia voted on four UN Security Council Resolutions in favor of the Azerbaijani Republic. All four resolutions concerned the Azerbaijani Republic’s territorial integrity, Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia occupying Nagorno-Karabakh, and withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijan’s territory. Yes, of all the countries in the world Russia voted in favor of those resolutions knowing that there would be no Azerbaijani Republic and no Nagorno-Karabakh conflict if Russia had not created both to begin with. In 1994, Russia brokered a ceasefire between Artsakh (Karabakh) and the Azerbaijani Republic in order to save the Azerbaijani Republic from total fragmentation and to prevent the establishment of Lezgistan, Avarstan, and the Talish-Mughan Republics. These facts prove again that Russia is the covert enemy of Armenia and Russia cannot be trusted.
The interests of Iran and Armenia are in line this time to develop an economic, geopolitical, and tactical partnership. This partnership can be the avant-garde (avant-garde is a French word, which means advanced or innovative) for setting the foundation in extending this venture to the rest of the Caucasus, and eventually to unite the Caucasus as a bridge between Europe, Middle East, and Asia.
The USA, the EU, China, and other interested powers must understand the current Russo-Turkic strategies to keep their control in the region; however, the Iranian government has been patiently waiting, and there is no more room left for Iran to give in. The Iran Deal is what makes sense, and it has turned a problem into an opportunity for peace and economic development in Iran, in the Caucasus, and in the Middle East.
The rise of Iran means the fall of Turkey and Israel as consumers of USA and EU resources without any contribution in return. Iran, on the other hand, has proven to be a provider and a contributor in the region; therefore, Iran can be a global partner in the energy and in many other sectors of the world economy. Despite the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the anti-American announcements of Iran’s Islamist leaders, Iran’s economy adhered to the American model that had been introduced during the reign of the last Shah.
Hence, we need to overcome the challenges of dealing with the perception that we have of Iran’s past, and look for opportunities for peace and investments. The USA, as the world leader and one of the leading negotiators to Iran’s Nuclear Deal, can and should help create business opportunities for trading with Iran. No one ever complained about making extra money, and trading with Iran can help you make a lot of it. Let’s talk business and world peace, and make the world a safer place for all.

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