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USA Armenian Life
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Armenian-Lebanese Swing Vote In Metn
Helps Gen. Aoun Emerge As Parliamentary Leader Of Lebanon’s Christians

By Appo Jabarian
Executive Publisher / Managing Editor
USA Armenian Life Magazine

To read the complete article please scroll down or click on the following link:

High-Ranking Obama Official
Refuses to Acknowledge the Genocide

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Senior Contributor, USA Armenian Life Magazine

To read the complete article please scroll down or click on the following link:
RE: Samantha Power should resign

Letter to the Editor:

I am one of the many U.S.citizens demanding that President Obama’s genocide specialist, Dr. Samantha Power, resign her National Security Council post.

Last year, Power told us to trust her — that Obama would definitely fulfill his campaign promise to explicitly acknowledge the Armenian genocide on April 24. He did not do so.
Americans’ trust in both Power and Obama was clearly misplaced.

I would like to believe that Power did advise the President to use the G word; but since he didn’t keep his promise, her only option is to transparently resign by publicly declaring to the press that the President’s policy is totally contrary to the truth, to her convictions, to her belief, and will harm her moral reputation and authority as a historian, if she were to stay as the President’s advisor.

Short of resignation, Power is not to be trusted any more as an honest writer and should be
considered a hypocrite not deserving the prize she received for her book “A problem from hell, America and the Age of Genocide”. Notice, too, that Power has not given the American nation and specifically the Armenian nation the courtesy of an explanation since April 24.

To express our outrage with Obama and Power, all Americans and those citizens of Armenian decent and Armenian Organizations should send a barrage of letters, E-mails and make phone calls constantly.

I know that a diligent, conscientious and enormous work is being done by ArmenianOrganizations, this is not enough, we need to put much more pressure each and everyone of us; by staying passive, we are telling Obama and Power that it’s fine for them to break their promise to acknowledge the genocide.

And Armenian Americans are also, in effect, telling that it’s fine for them to oppose theCongressional Genocide resolution, whose prospects under this administration are worse than at any previous time.

If Power does not resign, she is complicit in Obama’s refusal to properly characterize theArmenian genocide. What will her excuse be? That, like a concentration camp guard, she is “just following orders”?

The right thing for Samantha Power is to resign and return to academic life where she may once again speak freely and honestly on the Armenian genocide and all genocides.

Kamer Minassian
Watertown, MA

RE: Samantha Power should resign

Letter to the Editor:

In my view Mr Hamparian somewhat misses the point (see his editorial in Armenian Weekly of 7th June 09) in his analysis of White House’s latest betrayal of the Armenians and Genocide Denialist stance: Actually he should give priority to another, in my view far more urgent, demand on his list, namely the resignation of Samantha Power as the intermediary who lured and deceived the Armenian voters and supporters worldwide.

If she was sincere and was not deceiving the Armenians, for example in her famous You Tube message solemnly promising Obama will recognise the Armenian Genocide, and really believed what she was saying then it follows that, as a matter of principle and her political integrity, she must resign.

In any case she has not delivered and must therefore answer for her failure.

She must be held accountable and the Armenians are the ones who should insist on this accountability. For Armenians to do otherwise would be to go along with corrupt power (pun intended)! ANCA and, of course the AAA and other Haykakan lobby groups, must make this their number one demand: Samantha Power Must Resign!

B. Nazarian,
London, UK

Armenian-Lebanese Swing Vote In Metn
Helps Gen. Aoun Emerge As Parliamentary Leader Of Lebanon’s Christians

By Appo Jabarian
Executive Publisher / Managing Editor
USA Armenian Life Magazine

Friday, June 12, 2009

The much talked-about 2009 Lebanese parliamentary elections took place on June 7 under the watchful eyes of both local, regional and international powers. The United States, Russia, the European Union and China anxiously followed the June 7 Lebanese parliamentary elections.

1.63 million voters constituting over 51% of the 3.169 million, cast their ballots in an election that is considered to have a major impact on Lebanon's international politics. Many foreign governments closely watched to see which Christian Maronite Lebanese party leader would emerge as the main parliamentary leader of the Christian Lebanese inside the national assembly.

Many wondered, would that leader be jointly formed by the ruling March 14 partners, the Phalangists’ and the Lebanese Forces’ leadership under Sami Gemayel and George Geagea; or March 8th opposition Free Patriotic Movement’s General Michel Aoun?

By Monday June 8 noon time, the answer was clear. Gen. Aoun emerged as the leader commanding over 27 seats in the parliament (21 before the elections), in major part, thanks to an important victory of 6 seats out of 8 in the Metn District, delivered by the Armenian Lebanese swing vote.

Only two ruling candidates barely squeaked through to victory as opposed to seven. One was a March 14 loyalist, Phalangist Sami Gemayel; and the second was an independent candidate, Mr. Michel Murr.

At approximately 2:00 AM Monday, a realist Sami Gemayel reached out to the Armenian Lebanese Tashnag supporters during a live speech on MTV Lebanon. He said that he marveled at how the Tashnag election machine worked so effectively, and delivered victory to opposition party. He said that “we need to learn from the Armenians,” the spirit of being so united and of being so organized.

In the May 22 issue of USA Armenian Life Magazine, this writer had underlined that “the overwhelming majority in the Lebanese-Armenian municipality of Bourj Hammoud and the entire Metn region always votes in favor of Tashnagtsutiun. And one can clearly tell how the Lebanese-Armenian vote may ultimately contribute to altering the U.S. Policy in the Middle East.”

Non-Existent Popular Mandate Vs. Parliamentary Victory
The March 14 political ruling bloc can claim a parliamentary victory. But on the streets it is far from having a popular mandate. Out of one million six hundred thousand (1,634,181) voters only seven hundred twelve thousand (712,902) voters cast their ballots in favor of the ruling March 14 candidates. In contrast, over nine hundred twenty one thousand (921,279) electorate cast their votes in favor of the March 8 opposition candidates.

The ruling March 14 political bloc is a fragile association between a small segment of the Maronite Christians, Sunnites, and other minorities including the Druze, some Shiites and some Greek Orthodox Christians. The March 8 opposition alliance is mainly formed by Christian Maronites, Shites, Greek Orthodox Christians, Christian Armenians and some Druze, and Sunnis.

The Story Behind The Story
The story behind the story is March 8th camp’s staunch opposition to March 14th leader Saad Hariri’s intention to help the country’s sizeable mostly Sunni Palestinian refugees acquire Lebanese citizenship thus helping boost the dwindling presence of the traditional Sunni Lebanese community. Both Christian Maronite and Shiite Lebanese majorities actively support General Aoun in opposing such maneuvering by Mr. Hariri. They are keenly aware that Hariri’s plans would tip the balance to their detriment and in favor of the Lebanese Sunnis.

That’s why the clear majority of the Maronite Lebanese defied Maronite Patriarch Sfeir’s 11th hour advice to vote against Aoun’s party. Gen. Aoun registered impressive victories in Kessrouan and in most of the Christian stronghold of Mt. Lebanon region.

Many Christian and Moslem Lebanese feel that Israel should respect the Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland. They blame Israel for most of the problems of Lebanon and the Middle East. They point to the key year of 1948 when the Zionist Jews from around the world began migrating to Palestine to create the state of Israel; and initiated a campaign to usurp Arab lands in Palestine and to systematically uproot its Arab inhabitants. A large segment of the Palestinian refugees were accepted into Lebanon.

Emergence Of The Armenian As An Important Lebanese Language
In order to reach out to the Armenian-Lebanese voters, the two major camps, March 8 and March 14, allocated sizeable budgets for media and billboard advertising in Armenian language.

During the entire length of the campaign, several political messages and slogans were also presented in Armenian in various parts of the country. Besides Arabic, English, and French, Armenian has been featured as the fourth most important language in Lebanon. Two out of four Lebanese major TV networks – The Future TV and Orange TV regularly feature programs in Armenian.

Lebanon Reinvents Itself As The Traditional Bastion Of Democracy In Middle East
Setting the election results aside, Lebanon has reinvented itself as the traditional bastion of democracy in the entire Middle East eclipsing both Turkey’s fledgling and Israel’s predominantly Jewish democracies. Neither Turkey nor Israel can boast to have inclusive democracies. Many observers agree that the sizeable Palestinian Arab minority in Israel is under-represented in the Israeli Knesset; and the minorities in Turkey are either not represented or terribly under-represented.

Armenian-Lebanese Hard-ball Politics Due To Incomplete Reinstatement of
Their Right To Accurate Representation In The Parliament
The siphoning off of the four Armenian seats out of six from the Armenian Lebanese majority by Mr. Hariri’s Sunni voters in Zahle, Beirut I, Beirut II, and Beirut III, Lebanon’s parliament is condemned by thousands of Lebanese both inside and outside the country.

Hopefully in the future that inequity may be solved by Mr. Hariri’s recognition that the Armenian Lebanese have the right to get reunited. Past experience has shown that even though the Armenian Lebanese Tashnag party continuously enjoyed the backing of over 75% (80% in 2009 elections), it has always reached out to the minority Armenian Lebanese Ramgavar and Hunchak parties by including a Ramgavar and a Hunchak candidate in its party list (Antranig Manoukian and Ara Yerevanian in the 1970’s).

The defrauding 2000 parliamentary election laws under the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, stripped the Armenian Lebanese Tashnag-leaning majority of the right to directly elect its real representatives. Therefore, the Tashnag party had boycotted the 2005 parliamentary elections.

It was after the 2008 Doha agreement that the traditional Armenian Lebanese Parliamentary Bloc was able to partially reinstate the Armenian Lebanese Tashnag-leaning majority’s right to genuine representation.

During this year’s election, that reinstatement process was partially completed, because Mr. Hariri once more interfered in the intra-Armenian Lebanese consensus-building process by imposing his hand-picked Armenian Lebanese individuals against the will of the majority by abusing the votes of his Sunni and non-Armenian Christian constituents who outnumber the Armenian Lebanese voters in Beirut I, II and III; and in Zahle. The Hariri-led Sunnis voted against the interests of the traditional Armenian Lebanese Parliamentary Block.

To its credit, even under these adverse political conditions and in order to create consensus among both Tashnag supporters and Ramgavar/Hunchak supporters, the Tashnag party has once more put its goodwill to good use by again including non-Tashnag individuals like Arthur Nazarian in its list. It is hopeful that in the future Mr. Hariri will show his goodwill toward the Armenian Lebanese community by letting the community create its consensus list, thus reunifying the various Armenian Lebanese political segments around a mutually acceptable list.

It’s also hopeful that the individual exploiters of the current discord between Hariri and Tashnag party abstain from self-interest at the expense of the majority; and re-align themselves behind the reunification of the Armenian Lebanese community.

The resuscitation of the all-inclusive Tashnag-Ramgavar-Hunchak coalition is a basic human right that the Armenian Lebanese community desperately needs and deserve. In the absence of goodwill on the part of the ruling March 14, the Armenian Lebanese majority has no choice but play hard-ball politics.

High-Ranking Obama Official
Refuses to Acknowledge the Genocide

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Senior Contributor, USA Armenian Life Magazine

Pres. Obama continues to disappoint the Armenian-American community. After breaking two promises in a row on key Armenian issues -- not acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and proposing reduced U.S. aid levels to Armenia -- he appoints Philip Gordon Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Dr. Gordon, a former Director of the Brookings Institution -- a think thank partially funded by Turkish sources -- has written several pro-Turkish books and articles. He has been an opponent of congressional acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and a critic of Greek Cypriot leaders rather than the occupying Turkish forces. Gordon served in the Clinton administration as Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council. During the last presidential campaign, he served as head of the Europe team in Obama's group of foreign policy advisers.

During his confirmation hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the end of March, Gordon was grilled by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on his views on Armenian and Cypriot issues. Several Senators pointed out that Gordon's answers contradicted Pres. Obama's campaign promises. Little did the Senators know that a few weeks later the President himself would not keep his word on these issues! Sen. Menendez submitted over two dozen questions which were to be answered by the nominee in writing after the hearing.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada) wrote a scathing letter to Gordon on April 7, expressing his dismay that the nominee, during his confirmation hearing, had used the word "tragedy" to refer to the Armenian Genocide. Sen. Ensign demanded to know if Gordon's position on the Armenian Genocide was consistent with those of Pres. Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton all of whom, as Senators and presidential candidates, had strongly acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. Furthermore, referring to the early termination of the career of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans for saying Armenian Genocide, Sen. Ensign asked if Gordon would "discourage Ambassadors or other Foreign Service personnel from using the term 'Armenian Genocide.'"

Sen. Ensign, not satisfied with Gordon's answers, surprised everyone by placing a hold on his nomination, temporarily blocking his approval by the full Senate. However, just as surprisingly, Sen. Ensign lifted his hold, paving the way for Gordon's Senate confirmation.

In the meantime, Gordon answered in writing all 28 questions sent to him by Sen. Menendez, even though his responses were evasive and non-responsive. Regardless of the nature of the question, he mindlessly repeated the same answer over and over again, using just about every word in the dictionary, except "Armenian Genocide," to describe the mass killings of Armenians.

Only one of Gordon's answers was particularly revealing, as he put the blame for the Armenian Genocide on the "officials and soldiers of the Ottoman Empire," thus inadvertently acknowledging that it was a state sponsored genocide. Here is the verbatim text of that particular exchange:

Sen. Menendez: "Who was responsible for the death of over 1.5 million Armenians during WWI?"
Philip Gordon: "This administration, like those before it, does not deny the facts -- 1.5 million Armenians were murdered, starved, or deported by civilian officials and soldiers of the Ottoman Empire, some of whom were sentenced to death for committing these crimes. The United States mourns this terrible chapter of history and recognizes that it remains a source of pain for the people of Armenia and of Armenian descent, and all those who believe in the dignity and value of every human life."

Gordon also disclosed to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Brookings had received a total of $700,000 from the following Turkish sources 2006-2008:

-- $200,000 from the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association;

-- $190,000 from Sabanci University;

-- $150,000 from the Eksiogullari Group (construction company);

-- $100,000 from the Dogan Yayin Holding Company (media-entertainment conglomerate);

-- $30,000 from Nurol Construction and Trading Company;

-- $30,000 from Hedef-Alliance Holding (Pharmaceutical Company).

A large number of pro-Turkish officials, such as Philip Gordon, can be found throughout the American government. Some of these Turkophiles are leftovers from the cold war era. Others, motivated by personal gain, serve in the government for a while, and then go to work at Washington Think Tanks, some partially funded from Turkish sources, or end up as lobbyists for Turkey.

Armenian-Americans will continue to face great resistance in their lobbying efforts from pro-Turkish elements in Washington -- regardless of which party is in power and who is president -- unless they can expand their political influence beyond Congress into the Executive Branch, Think Tanks and the media.

Seta Martayan

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