Thursday, 06 May 2021

W Weekly Update

6-13 March

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Weekly update


13 March
Armenians are increasingly distrustful of key public institutions, results from a newly-published public opinion survey show. According to the poll was conducted last month by the Center for Insights in Survey Research at the International Republican Institute (IRI), a Washington-based “international democracy-development organization.” According to the survey, the majority of Armenians have a “very” or “somewhat” favorable opinion about only six institutions: the army (73%), the police (63%), the Human Rights Defender’s Office (60%), local authorities (56%), the prime minister’s office (54%), and the Armenian Apostolic Church (52%). At the same time, the majority of respondents reported holding a “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable opinion about seven institutions: political parties (73%), the National Assembly (64%), the president’s office (60%), courts (57%), the Constitutional Court (55%), the cabinet of ministers (53%), and the prosecutor’s office (53%). These statistics suggest that trust in public institutions has fallen considerably in recent years. For instance, in a September-October 2019 IRI poll, only four institutions received a “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable rating from the majority of respondents: the courts (57%), the prosecutor’s office (55%), political parties (52%), and the Constitutional Court (51%). Notably, public distrust in political parties has surged by a whopping 21 percentage points between the two surveys.


12 March
In the aftermath of the recent war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, drone warfare is being touted as the latest breakthrough in military technology, a “magic bullet” that makes armored vehicles obsolete, defeats sophisticated anti-aircraft systems, and routs entrenched infantry, reported  That drones have the power to alter a battlefield is a given, but they may not be all they are advertised. Azerbaijan’s drones–mostly Turkish Bayraktar TB2s and Israeli Harpys, Orbiter-1Ks, and Harops–did, indeed, make hash of Armenian tanks and armored vehicles and largely silenced anti-aircraft systems. They also helped the Azeri artillery target Armenian positions. But the Azerbaijanis won the recent war by slugging it out on the ground, with heavy casualties on both sides.


11 March
In last year’s war, Karabakh’s Armenians lost three-quarters of the territory they used to control, and the safety of the remaining population now depends on a Russian peacekeeping mission whose mandate expires in 2025. In line with for many here, the fate of Karabakh and its Armenian population seems to be hanging by a thread. During the war, well more than half (estimates vary) of Karabakh’s roughly 150,000 people fled into Armenia. Since then, many have returned, though estimates vary widely. Armenia’s minister of social and labor affairs, Mesrop Arakelyan, said in January that 95,000 had returned. The Russian peacekeepers have been facilitating the return of residents, and say that thus far 52,712 have returned.


10 March
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has heralded joint transport projects with Turkey via Zangezur, reported “I must say that Turkish presses and all non-governmental organizations showed tremendous support to Azerbaijan during the war,” Aliyev said during his meeting with the delegation led by Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Akif Cagatay Kilic, adding that Azerbaijan highly appreciates the support. “The current situation in our region is new. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been resolved and is now history. Today we need to look towards the future and think about cooperation in the region, and one of the key objectives is to implement transport projects and to open the Zangezur corridor. I’m certain that we will achieve this through combined efforts,” Aliyev said, Azertaj reports. Turkey and Azerbaijan started having an appetite for ‘transport projects’ after the statement signed by Nikol Pashinyan on November 9 and the ‘specification’ of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border that followed. The Armenian authorities have agreed to ‘specify’ the border in Syunik Province. Moreover, the authorities aren’t refuting the existence of a certain document on Syunik Province. Simultaneously, Azerbaijan isn’t the legal successor of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan, but the legal successor of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan.


9  March
The prosecutor’s office says they don’t have any information about UNICEF Representative to Armenia Marianne Clark-Hattingh’s alleged espionage for Azerbaijan while in office. However, the prosecution said they are looking into the allegations, spokesperson for Prosecutor General’s Office Arevik Khachatryan told Armenpress. She added that they don’t have ground to initiate criminal proceedings for now. “The authors of these [allegations] reports, in case they possess information containing certainty and specificity, must turn over this information to law enforcement agencies. The prosecution is studying these reports,” spokesperson Arevik Khachatryan said. Marianne Clark-Hattingh's duties as UNICEF’s Representative to Armenia were terminated by the Armenian Government due to “failures in implementing her mandate and uncooperative conduct”. However, some news outlets began reporting that the real reason of her ousting is that Armenian authorities revealed that she was involved in espionage and collected intelligence for the governments of Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom.


8 March
As the situation in Armenia is getting more chaotic on a daily basis, baseless accusations are becoming a common practice. It is no longer possible to distinguish fact from fiction, said. Sadly, words like ‘traitor’ and ‘bought by Turks or Azeris’ are being used by Armenians to accuse fellow Armenians without a shred of evidence. We have all heard multiple times that the territories around Artsakh were given up by the former presidents long before the war and that Armenian traitors helped the enemy by disclosing our military secrets or urged soldiers to stop fighting during the war. These accusations have been repeated so often that a lot of Armenians believe them to be true. Never mind that no evidence has been presented, tarnishing the reputations of those they disagree with. If there were so many traitors during the war, how come not one such traitor has been arrested and convicted for treason?  Normally, traitors during a war are immediately arrested, convicted and shot by a firing squad.


7 March
A crisis was expected in Armenia after the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, and it did not take long to arise. According to it started as an arm-twisting exercise between the civilian and military authorities of Armenia but evolved to further consolidate Russia’s influence in the country. When former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan raised the issue of why Russian-manufactured Iskander missiles were not used at the beginning of the war, Pashinyan commented that the missiles “did not explode or exploded 10 percent.” While it is not easy to check the veracity of this statement, it may be assumed that any information must have been provided to Pashinyan by military experts. Pashinyan’s comment triggered a chain of events that led to the present turmoil in the country’s domestic policy.


6 March
A “new transport corridor will pass through Zangezur, a historic territory of Azerbaijan, and will connect mainland Azerbaijan with its integral part, the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, and Turkey,” Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said during a speech at an economic conference, reported Aliyev also declared that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been resolved and all United Nations Security Council resolutions have been fulfilled through its aggressive attack on Artsakh on September 27, which sparked a full-blown war. With such a provocative statement, calling Zangezur an ‘historic Azerbaijani territory’ and making reference to an imaginary corridor, the President of Azerbaijan deliberately undermines the implementation of the November 9 and January 11 trilateral statements,” said Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan, who, once again, stressed that “Article 9 of the November 9 trilateral statement does not mention the establishment of a corridor.” “Such rhetoric contradicts Azerbaijan’s obligations. It is a blatant challenge to international law, and in no way does it contribute to the stability of the region and threatens all states in the region,” added Naghdalyan.“The statements of the President of Azerbaijan that Azerbaijan has resolved the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by the use of force further illustrates who unleashed the war and who is leading the region through new challenges and further destabilization,” explained Naghdalyan.



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The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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