Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ted Kennedy passing, Doug Frantz, Marc Grossman updates

First published in August 29, 2009

Washington Briefing
by Emil Sanamyan

Senator Kennedy’s leadership on Armenian issues recalled

Armenian-Americans this week remembered the longstanding leadership and support of Senator Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass.). Senator Kennedy died on August 26 after months of battling with cancer. He was 77 years old.

Throughout more than four decades in the U.S. Congress, Senator Kennedy actively supported Armenian-American concerns, including U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide and independent Armenia's security and development, the Armenian National Committee of Massachusetts recalled in a press statement.

These efforts included securing the Senate Judiciary Committee's passage in 1989 of an Armenian Genocide resolution; Senator Kennedy worked together with, among others, Vice President Joe Biden, who at the time was a senator and chairperson of the committee.

Senator Kennedy championed the 1991 passage of a resolution that condemned Azerbaijan's anti-Armenian pogroms that resulted in the expulsion of more than 300,000 Armenians and was followed by Azerbaijan's aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh.

In later years, Senator Kennedy played a key role in the passage and maintenance of U.S. sanctions against Azerbaijan, known as Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, as well as the 1994 passage of the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act, which came in response to Turkey's closure of its border with Armenia. [The same year, he hosted a reception for the president of Armenia at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.]

Speaking on April 21, 1999, at the annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide held on Capitol Hill, Senator Kennedy argued that "if people here in the United States had paid attention to the Genocide in the early part of this century, we would not have had, perhaps, the tragedies in World War II" and later genocidal campaigns in former Yugoslavia and Africa.

During the April 24, 2000, commemoration at Trinity Church in Boston, Senator Kennedy stressed that while "the persecution of the Armenian people and the atrocities committed against them will never be forgotten . . . the continuing leadership of the Armenian people throughout the world today, and the birth of the Armenian republic provide an example to us all of what the human spirit at its best can achieve."

In a June 5, 2006, letter, signed together with Senator John Kerry (D.-Mass.), Senator Kennedy raised concerns with the Bush administration's early recall of Ambassador John M. Evans from Armenia over the ambassador's comments on the Armenian Genocide; the letter demanded an explanation for the move.

A member of America's most prominent political family, Edward Kennedy will be remembered as a strong and effective champion of liberal values. In the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama came at pivotal moment in a tough primary race.

Senator Kennedy will be buried beside his brothers at the Arlington National Cemetery on August 29.

Former editor Doug Frantz probing nuclear smuggling for Senate committee

The former Los Angeles Times editor who stirred up controversy in the Armenian community is now working for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee led by Senator John Kerry (D.-Mass.) According to the committee website, Douglas Frantz was hired by the committee early this year as chief investigator to probe financing of nuclear smuggling and other illegal activities.

Mr. Frantz caused controversy in April 2007 after he reassigned a major story on the Armenian Genocide resolution, initially assigned to Times journalist Mark Arax, to another writer. In an e-mail that was later made public, Mr. Frantz alleged that Mr. Arax had a "position on this issue" that caused a "conflict of interests." (Mr. Frantz's new boss, Senator Kerry, is a strong supporter of Armenian Genocide affirmation.)

Mr. Arax had in turn alleged that Mr. Frantz himself may have had a bias on the issue, having spent years working as a reporter in Turkey and that he was "heavily involved and invested in defending the policies of Turkey."

In subsequent months, a number of Armenian-Americans, including the Armenian Reporter's editorial page, called on the Times to take "decisive action" in the case. Mr. Frantz resigned in June 2007.

Mr. Frantz was initially expected to become the Istanbul-based Middle East bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal. But he instead joined the then newly launched (and since closed) Condé Nast Portfolio magazine as senior writer and authored a book on the black market in nuclear technology.

For his part, Mr. Arax also left the Times in June 2007. Last April he published his third book, this one about life in California.

Former U.S. official: Karabakh settlement up to Armenia and Azerbaijan

The Karabakh "conflict should be solved in Baku and Yerevan, not in Washington or Moscow," Marc Grossman, former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs told Azerbaijani officials on August 24, Azerbaijan's APA news agency reported. Mr. Grossman was speaking at an event organized by Azerbaijan's president's office in Baku.

Mr. Grossman suggested that as mediators all third countries could do was to organize venues for Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders to meet, as they have.

According to an Azerbaijani government statement on August 22, the former senior American diplomat arrived in Azerbaijan for a five-day tour that included meetings with senior officials and visits to colleges and the main oil terminal.

Since leaving the government in 2005, Mr. Grossman has been a board member for Turkey's Ihlas Holding and vice-chair of the Washington-based Cohen group, a lobbying firm. He was the State Department's number-three official between 2001 and 2005 and ambassador to Turkey before that.


Solidus said...

Dear Mr.Sanmanyan, You’ve forgot to add to the first part of your post the necessary information required for making your stance unbiased. The required information are as follows:

-- The number of Azerbaijani
people expelled from Armenia, Karabakh and the regions around Karabakh accounts for 1.5 million.

-- Azerbaijan didn’t need to make any aggressions against its own property but on contrary the Armenia made aggressions against Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and as a result Azerbaijan’s territories are occupied by Armenian troops. And that is why the United Nation’s Security Council has condemned Armenian aggression into Azerbaijan with 4 consecutive resolutions.

-- Armenian in defiance of International laws and The Madrid Principles, continues to occupy Azerbaijan’s territories.

Mr.Sanmanya, you are no Journalist who is supposed to have an unbiased approach to the issues for the sake of bringing about a situation in which animosities could be set aside and resolutions could be found for conflicts in a peaceful manner. You’re acting mostly like a mouthpiece of a government.

Emil Sanamyan said...

Thanks for the comment, Solidus. I would note, however, that the figures and arguments you presented are incorrect or at least debatable.

I suggest you study the demography of your country prior to the conflict and read the UN resolutions you refer to.

Happy New Year.

Solidus said...

Mr.Sanmanyan, I thank you for your suggestions.

I took heed of your advice and studied the United Nations’ Security Council’s 4 resolutions concerning the Karabakh conflict and I’m again assured that the arguments I presented in my previous comment are true. I would also like to suggest you study the resolutions if you make time.

By the way, Happy New Year sir.

Emil Sanamyan said...

Hi again, Solidus:

nowhere in the four resolutions ( is Armenia charged with any kind of aggression.

In fact Armenia is urged to "exert influence" on Armenians of Nagorny Karabakh to pull their forces from Azerbaijani districts around NK. So indirectly Armenia is recognized as party contributing to peaceful settlement.

But any Armenian withdrawal was always made conditional on overall cease-fire, which Azerbaijan continuously refused to uphold making resolutions' implementation impossible. See a recent commentary by the then Russian mediator Vladimir Kazimirov who eventually succeeded in mediating the current cease-fire about that period

Make no mistake both sides committed human rights violations and atrocities in the Karabakh war. Azerbaijan's own aggression against Nagorny Karabakh was documented by Human Rights Watch in this publication just as Armenians were charged by the same Human Rights Watch elsewhere.

It is to the sort of aggression described by HRW in the report referenced above that Congress, including the late Sen. Kennedy reacted, passing sanctions against Azerbaijan. And that is what I was referring to in my story.