On Sunday, September 22, 2019, during his one day visit to Los Angeles and in a much anticipated public gathering, Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is due to meet with the Armenian community of Southern California at Grand Park in Los Angeles, hosted by the City and County of Los Angeles.
Armenia must not be allowed to enjoy this great honor by the City of Los Angeles and the reasons pile up.
Armenia’s Nazi past, glorifying its Nazis:
While many European nations have a Nazi past, most of them have condemned that past and its participants, and try to avoid any glorification of Nazis. Not Armenia, which considers its veterans Nazi “heroes.”
Armenia has never condemned its own collaborators who aided and abetted the Nazis, who actively participated in their horrific crimes. More so, Armenia continues to glorify them, teach their legacy to Armenian children, declaring them “National Heroes.”
In 2016, amidst significant Nazism glorification fanfare, attended by Armenian officials, a statue was unveiled in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital city. The statue was of Garegin Nzhdeh, an Armenian nationalist and a revolutionary fighter, who also happens to be a Nazi collaborator.
The following facts, in all likelihood were missed by the Los Angeles City Council and the County Board of Supervisors:
During World War II, Nzhdeh and his friend General Dro founded the infamous Armenian Legion, of approximately 30,000 men, who were made available to perpetrate Nazi atrocities. The Armenian Legion, as part of the German Wehrmacht, fought in the Crimean peninsula, the Caucasus, and Southern France, actively assisting the Nazis by rounding up Jews and other ‘undesirables’, as well as organized death marches of Jews to the ghastly concentration camps.
Beyond Nzhdeh’s appalling statue, a square and a metro station in Yerevan are also named after this Nazi war criminal. Shamefully, his legacy and that of his fellow Nazi collaborator General Dro is taught in Armenian schools, making Armenian youth believe that they fought for the country, and any sins they committed are ultimately inconsequential, or worse, justified! Furthermore, Eduard Sharmazanov, Armenian Parliament’s Deputy Speaker, called Nzhdeh “a national hero,” a “patriot” who “fought for Armenian independence.”
Los Angeles Mayor Mr. Garcetti, who is Jewish on his mother side, and the Los Angeles City Council that includes Jewish members, should be concerned with the fact that the Nazi Nzhdeh and Dro are heralded as great Armenian heroes in Armenia. Moreover, for a government – Armenia – asking the world to recognize massacres perpetrated against Armenians in 1915, during the Ottoman Empire rule, as genocide while celebrating Nazi war criminals, is nothing but an oxymoron.
Anti-Semitism thriving in Armenia
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that 1.3 million out of 2.2 million adults in Armenia hold anti-Semitic beliefs, making Armenia the second most anti-Semitic country in Europe. In 2018, a Pew Research Center survey found that 32 percent of Armenians would not accept Jews as fellow citizens and that Armenia has a “Jewish Problem.”
Armenia’s Engagement in Aggression, Occupation and Ethnic Cleansing
During the years 1991-94, Armenia’s armed forces occupied one-fifth of Azerbaijan’s territory, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and forcibly expelled more than 800,000 Azerbaijani civilians from their homes and land. Coupled with 250,000 Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia itself, the number of Azerbaijani refugees soon reached one million people, who, till today, are unable to return to their lands and homes.
The aggressive and unlawful military occupation of Azerbaijan’s territory was accompanied by massacres against Azerbaijanis, the largest of which took place on February 26, 1992, in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly, when Armenian armed forces invaded the town and massacred 613 Azerbaijani civilians including around 300 children, women and elderly.
Four U.N. Security Council resolutions, adopted in 1993: 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993) and 884 (1993), reaffirm the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, demand an immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from all of the occupied regions. Unfortunately, to-date, Armenia did not fulfill these legally binding U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Promoting its aggression and in order to conceal its illegal occupation policy, Armenia created the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” (“NKR”) in Azerbaijan’s occupied lands. No country in the world recognizes the “independence” of the “NKR.”
The sovereignty, territorial integrity and borders of Azerbaijan have been recognized by all members of the international community, except Armenia. On many occasions the United States has unequivocally stated, that it supports Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity of and does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state.
Armenia Is a Bad Actor
Armenia is a close ally of Russia and Iran, also supports Syria.
According to the disclosed US diplomatic cables, revealed in 2008, the Armenian government has been complicit in the illegal arms re-sale to the Iranian military, which, in return, transferred the weapons to the Hezbollah Brigade terrorist group, operating in Iraq; in return, they used the weapons to kill and injure U.S. troops.
Besides, Armenia helped Iran to skirt US and international bank sanctions.
By its own choice, Armenia became a military outpost of Russia. It is the only country in the greater post-Soviet periphery to do so. Armenia is a member of the Kremlin-run anti-NATO Collective Security Treaty Organization and signed a lease, extended to the year 2044, for a 5,000-strong Russian military base and a unified Russo-Armenian air defense system.
So obvious is Armenia’s anti-Western position that in 2015 its former president Serj Sargsyan openly declared that Armenia will “coordinate its foreign policy with Russia,” thus rendering its ties with Washington insignificant. This message was echoed by Mr. Pashinyan, the new Armenian leader, who just recently, at Russia’s orders, dispatched nearly one hundred military personnel to join the Russian military in Syria, to aid the Assad regime and strengthen Moscow’s political and military presence in the region.
So the question is, why would the Los Angeles City Council and County allow Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who prefers to side with Russia rather than the United States and is clearly a bad actor, to hold a rally in an open public space on US soil with their sponsorship and participation?