Iran and Turkey Detente

The Guardian is reporting about the recent diplomatic flurry between Iran and Turkey. The question I have is the following: what does this mean for the landlocked Armenia? Is Iran, after so many years of staying neutral in the Armenian-Azeri conflict finally going to be un-neutralled, thereby entering a coalition with Azerbaijan and Turkey who have no qualms about their wish to see Armenia cornered into a neo-dhimmitude? The first salvo in this direction, or at least the warning shot of an impending deterioration in relations between Armenia and Iran could have been the reports coming out of Iran this past week that Armenia is not keeping its end of the bargain vis-a-vis Iranian gas deliveries into the the country. Or am I being an alarmist? Report can be accessed here.

Is Iran dropping Russia for Turkey?

The famous Chinese strategist, Sun Tzu, wrote in his book, The Art of War: “If an enemy has alliances, the problem is grave and the enemy’s position strong; if he has no alliances, the problem is minor and the enemy’s position weak.”

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is currently witnessing how the US, which he sees as the enemy for his nuclear ambitions, is working hard on building alliances, including with Russia. Khamenei is not happy.

So much so that Iran recently cancelled a deal with Russia to launch its communication satellite, and turned to Italy instead. This is in addition to recent complaints from Tehran regarding delays from Russia in the delivery of the S-300 anti-aircraft system. Until recently, Tehran kept its complaints away from the cameras and behind closed doors. But now that Khamenei sees the Russians as disloyal, his regime is not shy about airing its criticism publicly.

The Iranian government has decided to take the initiative and to look for a new partner to replace the Russians. Judging by the recent flurry of visits between Tehran and Ankara, it seems that Khamenei has found a willing partner in Turkey.

Unlike Russia, Turkey does not have a veto in the UN security council. However, its stock in the Middle East and the Islamic world is certainly rising. Its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is being seen more and more as a credible defender of Islamic and Arab issues. Many people on the Arab street respect his leadership, as he was elected in a genuinely democratic elections. The same can not be said about Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, or King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who received their posts undemocratically.

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Published in: on November 18, 2009 at 11:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Remembering Jugha

Recently I finished reading Robert Bevan’s captivating if sad work The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War, a somber meditation into the nature of ethnic conflicts but on a level rarely discussed in the literature on ethnic conflicts. His work is primarily dealing with the destruction of age old (usually) architectural edifices as a method of erasing the very historical memory of an unwanted ethnic group with previous existence in those lands. The book was part of a class I teach at a Texas university on nationalism and ethno-political conflicts. What makes however the book special and gripping is the author’s background. Bevan is a trained architect who writes for popular architecture related magazines in English speaking countries about … well, architecture. His passion about buildings and all things architectural brings to bear on his scholarship. Where a sociologist or a historian looking at ethnic conflicts would simply mention the destruction of this or that building as part of an ethnic conflict or war Bevan sees the destruction of buildings, apart from the destruction of human lives, as an end in itself for the destroyer, a deliberate rather than a collateral damage. Bevan argues that the destruction of human lives in wars and ethnic conflicts either is preceded by or follows the destruction of their architectural and broader cultural heritage, and in many cases it both precedes and concludes an ethnic conflict. Why destroy buildings and other cultural artifacts? The simple answer is that they are symbols and communicate a certain message about the culture a product of which these buildings and artifacts are, an uncomfortable reminder to the “triumphant victors” of their victims and their culture, both naturally deemed hostile. But lamentably, this symbolization and subsequent destruction have been the part and parcel of ethnic conflicts since time immemorial, inseparable from the human experience.

While reading Bevan’s book I was inevitably reminded of the destruction of the medieval Armenian cemetery in Jugha, presently in Azerbaijan. Azeri soldiers at the command of their superiors without as much as blinking an eye would embark at destroying and erasing the last vestige of the Armenian civilization in that territory as if the Armenians had never as much as existed there, as if Armenians had never as much as created anything, something to celebrate their faith and commemorate their dead. I was also reminded of something that is much more actual – the destruction, perhaps not yet on a physical level but certainly on a metaphysical level, of Armenian churches in Georgia. These churches physically are there, but the spirit that indwells those churches has long been departed, exorcised by Georgian nationalists.

Published in: on December 11, 2008 at 7:05 pm  Comments (1)  
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Freddy vs. Safarov

Via Blogian. I just discovered some cartoons depicting the cowardly murderer Ramil Safarov who murdered his Armenian counterpart while the latter was asleep and decapitated him. The two were attending a NATO organized language training school in Budapest. I have no idea what the accompanying article says, since I am not a Hungarian (any out there who can transalate this for me I would greatly appreciate) but the cartoons (and again cartoons, what the hades is happening to this world, cartoons are taking over the world) tell it all. For more info on the heinous murder here.

Published in: on February 27, 2006 at 10:03 pm  Comments (151)