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Armenian-Azeri Fighting Continues To Intensify

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The Armenian military suffered two more casualties and claimed to have killed at least three Azerbaijani soldiers early on Friday in what appears to be a further escalation of fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

The upsurge in truce violations prompted serious concern from James Warlick, the chief U.S. negotiator in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. In a Twitter post, Warlick urged the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to “stop the violence along the Line of Contact and commit to negotiations.”

Armenia’s Defense Ministry said the two soldiers, Lieutenant Karen Galstian and Private Artak Sargsian, were shot dead and another serviceman, Hovannes Avanesian, seriously wounded in an Azerbaijani attack on its positions in the northern Tavush province bordering western Azerbaijan. It said that Azerbaijani forces failed to seize any of those outposts and were forced to retreat.

Karabakh Armenians Claim More Azeri Attacks

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Nagorno-Karabakh’s army said on Tuesday that its forces repelled fresh incursions launched by Azerbaijani troops overnight at eight different sections of “the line of contact” around the disputed territory.

The Defense Army claimed to have thwarted the commando raids and inflicted “losses” on the enemy. It also reported that one of its soldiers, Suren Pilosian, was killed by sniper fire from Azerbaijani army positions at one of those sections close to the Iranian border.

As always, the Azerbaijani military denied attacking Karabakh Armenian positions, saying that the Armenians themselves repeatedly violated the ceasefire over the past 24 hours. It also said that it suffered no casualties.

NKR Foreign Minister Received Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office

January 19, 2015 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Karabakh No Comments
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18:36, January 19, 2015

On January 19, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Karen Mirzoyan received Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk. 

During the meeting, the sides discussed a range of issues related, in particular, to the current situation on the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan, and the monitoring conducted by the Office of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.

The parties touched upon the January 14 planned monitoring of the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan, halted because of a shot fired from the Azerbaijani side.

OSCE Karabakh Monitoring Halted Due to Shooting from Azerbaijan

January 14, 2015 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Karabakh No Comments
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13:48, January 14, 2015

On January 14, in accordance with the arrangement reached with the authorities of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, the OSCE Mission conducted a planned monitoring of the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan in the Hadrut direction near Horadiz.

From the positions of the NKR Defense Army, Field Assistants of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Khristo Khristov (Bulgaria) and Jiri Aberle (Czech Republic) participated in the monitoring.

From the opposite side of the Line of Contact, Field Assistant of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Yevgeny Sharov (Ukraine), as well as Personal Assistant to the Personal Representative of the CiO Simon Tiller (Great Britain) and staff member of the Office Peter Svedberg (Sweden) participated in the monitoring.

Armenian Army Ordered To Step Up ‘Preventive’ Actions

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Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian has ordered the Armenian military to launch “preventive” offensive operations in response to what the authorities in Yerevan say is the latest upsurge in Azerbaijani armed incursions, which reportedly left one Armenian civilian dead on Sunday.

“We must fight against [Azerbaijani] sabotage and reconnaissance actions, carry out training exercises for enhancing the combat readiness of all army detachments, punish the enemy during its sabotage and reconnaissance actions and, in some cases, attack without waiting for the enemy to act first,” he told senior military officials at a meeting in Yerevan on Monday.

Armenian Top Brass Discusses Karabakh Escalation

Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and Armenia’s top army generals met on Thursday to discuss, among other things, skirmishes with Azerbaijani forces that appear to have intensified since the start of the new year.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said the meeting touched upon ongoing efforts to boost the combat readiness of Armenian frontline troops. It said Ohanian, the chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff, Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, their deputies and the heads of ministry departments also mapped out further training activities for military personnel.

A ministry statement added that Khachaturov presented a report on Azerbaijani armed “provocations” of the past week and Armenian “steps taken in response to them.” It gave no details.

U.S. ‘Troubled’ By Fresh Armenian-Azeri Fighting

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The United States has expressed concern at the latest upsurge in ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and called for the resumption of Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.

“We are troubled by reports of ceasefire violations as well as casualties in recent days,” Jen Psaki, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman, said on Monday. “These incidents do not correspond to the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents’ commitments to reach a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

“As an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair country, we do continue to urge … both sides at the highest levels to engage in negotiations that could lead to a peace agreement and adopt measures to reduce the likelihood of such events along the line of contact and along the border. That continues to be our focus,” Psaki told a daily news briefing in Washington.

2 Armenian Soldiers Killed Near Karabakh

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Armenia accused Azerbaijan of again heightening tensions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on Saturday after two Armenian soldiers were killed in what it said were overnight Azerbaijani armed incursions near Karabakh.

The Karabakh Armenian army said that Karen Grigorian and Vartan Mkrtchian were shot dead and another soldier, Volodya Harutiunian, wounded while repelling Azerbaijani commando raids at two sections of “the line of contact.” It said that “the enemy suffered losses and was pushed back to its starting positions.”

The Azerbaijani military was quick to deny attacking Armenian frontline positions. It said at the same time that its troops are “seriously preparing for the liberation of occupied territories.”

Journalist Tatul Hakobyan to Head Newly Formed ANI Foundation for Armenian Studies

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18:04, January 2, 2015

Tatul Hakobyan, who is a journalist and a specialist on the conflicts in the Caucasus, will co-ordinate the activities of the newly-established ANI Foundation for Armenian Studies.

“ANI is being set up at a time when a gap is being felt in objective and comprehensive publications on the domestic political life, demographics, the economy, border communities, the region, and Homeland-Diaspora affairs in Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). We aim to fill that gap with our work,” Hakobyan said.

ANI will prepare reports on current issues pertaining to Armenia’s domestic and foreign policy, economy, agriculture, as well as the Diaspora – including communities in the former Soviet Union – Armenia-Turkey relations, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The centre will organize conferences, round tables, releases of relevant books, and various other projects related to Armenian Studies.

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Featured Books

Book Reviews

John Balian’s “Novel Approach” Brings the Armenian Saga to the Masses – An interview with John Balian by Lucine Kasbarian

Gray Wolves and White Doves cover art

Armenians often wish for a tale about the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath that would make a blockbuster film and draw attention to their cause. John Balian’s new book, Gray Wolves and White Doves (CreateSpace/Amazon.com), may be that tale.

 Largely autobiographical, this atmospheric novel is presented through the eyes of an innocent young boy trying to make sense of the world as he grows up amid repressive conditions in Western Armenia/Eastern Turkey during the 1960s and 70s.

 This fast-paced, multi-layered narrative takes readers from Hanna Ibelin’s (a.k.a. Jonah Ibelinian’s) close-knit family life in the perilous Asia Minor region of Palu to terror and tragedy while en route to Syria’s Kamishli, to a bleak existence on the mean streets of Istanbul.

New Children’s Picture Book From Armenian Folklore

Teaneck, N.J. and Belmont, Mass. –  An Armenian folktale retold by Armenian-American writer Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Moscow-based artist Maria Zaikina debuts with Marshall Cavendish Children’s Publishers in April 2011.

The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale is from the ancient Armenian oral tradition and culture, which was nearly obliterated during the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in 1915. The author learned the tale from her father, editor and columnist C.K. Garabed, who would recite it to her at bedtime. He had learned it from his own grandmother, a celebrated storyteller from the Old Country.  The tale was first put to paper by Armenian poet Hovhannes Toumanian at the turn of the 20th century.

“We Need To Lift The Armenian Taboo”

Turkish writer and publicist Ahmet Insel labels the initiative of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party to pray namaz on the ruins of Ani as provocation.

In an interview with “A1+,” the publicist said the initiative was supported only by a small percentage of Turks.

“They offered namaz in Ani in protest against Christian rites carried out in Trabzon and Akhtamar. The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli said if Christians are allowed to pray inside museums, similarly he can pray namaz in Armenian churches,” said Ahmet Insel.

The Turkish writer arrived in Armenia to participate in a book festival. Presentation of Armenian version of Dialogue sur le tabou arménien (Dialogue about the Armenian Tabou) co-authored by Ahmet Insel and Michel Marian was held during the festival.

US Media Discusses The Armenian Genocide

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA –  KFI 640, a popular news/talk radio station hosted by Bill Handel on September 23 aired a live interview with Michael Bobelian, the writer of a new book titled  Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice

The book chronicles the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and recounts a people’s struggle for justice in the face of a century of silence and denial.

During the interview, which was aired during the prime morning time slot, Bill Handel addressed both the efforts within the United States to ensure that the US government appropriately acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s ongoing denial.

Handel, a well known and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, has discussed the Armenian Genocide during past shows.

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Commentary

Capitalism Run Amok Is Just Plain Capitalism

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16:37, January 17, 2015

By Markar Melkonian

The source of Armenia’s misery and humiliation, we often hear, is not capitalism per se, but rather “gangster capitalism,” “a broken system,” “capitalism run amok.”

The goal for the future, then, is to “fix the system,” to reform capitalism, to make it more like regular, pure, genuine Free Enterprise, the kind of capitalism that works. But what if Armenia’s actually existing capitalism already is genuine capitalism?

An economist once observed that the only existential meaning of “enterprise” in the term free enterprise is “whatever capitalists happen to be doing at the time”–and “free” is the accompanying demand that they be allowed to do it.

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

Yerevan Calling: A Weekly Roundup of Random Musings from Armenia

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13:05, October 3, 2014

Here it is dear readers, the debut of a weekly column I hope to maintain on a regular basis.

It’s sort of a catch-all of news snippets, irreverent commentary, and personal observations on what’s happened during the week here in Yerevan, and throughout Armenia.. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting, if not slightly diverting.

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Regards – Hrant

Oct. 2 – Protests Throughout Armenia: A Game of Numbers & Solidarity

Three separate protest rallies took place in Armenia today.

As Hetq reported earlier, business owners in the town of Sevan kept their stores and factories shut to protest changes to the so-called volume (sales) tax. Local residents flocked to the bread factory to wait on line for a loaf or two.

China: President Takes Action Against High Ranking Corrupt Officials

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21:31, July 30, 2014

Zhou Yongkang, one of China’s most powerful former leaders, is under investigation in the highest-level corruption inquiry since the Communist Party came into power in 1949.

Under current president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Zhou for “serious disciplinary violations,” as the officialXinhua news agency reports. Media has not yet, however, specified the allegations against him.

The probe is an attempt to show the length to which Xi and the party will go in order to combat abuse of power reportsThe Wall Street Journal. 

A commentary published in the officialPeoples Daily makes the point that regardless of  an official’s rank or supporters, punishment will result for violating laws or the party’s discipline. 

Armenian Gangs: Caught between an Archetype and a Cliché

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19:15, July 12, 2014

By Marineh Khachadour

“The whole thing started with a scene straight out of a mobster movie. It was around 6 p.m. when more than a dozen men from two organized crime groups opened fire on each other in a North Hollywood parking lot. Witnesses say nearly everyone was armed, and the shootout quickly went mobile. The men took off in cars, exchanging fire as they weaved through the Whitsett Avenue traffic.”

Stories such as this are not unique to Armenians in the American press, but this investigative report recently published in the LA Weekly is about Armenian Power, the Los Angeles based Armenian gang that operates in the heavily Armenian populated communities of Glendale, Burbank, and North Hollywood.