Former Deputy of White House, Chief of Staff for Operations under the USA President Barack Obama
SOURCES AND PRESS
American Blogger: Azerbaijan Exercises Falsifications By Propagating Image Of Victim
”The Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan”, an affiliate of Turkish lobbying organization, associated with Fethullah Gulen, an influential Muslim spiritual figure, sent invitations to Kansas Legislators to attend a meeting titled “Remember the Khojalu Tragedy.” American blogger of ”Defining the Narrative” carried out a personal research, ending up urging his friends in the Kansas Legislature not to be misled by the Azerbaijani propaganda, as long as the events in Khojalu were ”not a genocide by any stretch of the imagination,” unlike the Armenian Genocide committed by the Turks in 1915. He also warned that some of the photos presented during the event, could possibly be taken in other places, in Kosovo for instance, in 1999.
It’s noted in the article, that today Armenia is in good relations with pretty much everyone other than its neighbors -Turkey and Azerbaijan, who have blockaded the Armenians for 20 years following a war over Nagorno Karabakh which left Armenia in control of NK; Azerbaijan is unwilling to let it go. The Azerbaijanis and the Turks call the Khojalu battle everything from a tragedy, to a massacre, to genocide, the article reads. The loss of civilian life in a war-zone is indeed a tragedy, but this hardly constitutes a “genocide.” Especially, if the town of 6,000 had been warned beforehand to be evacuated, and a safe corridor was available for that purpose. Citing an excerpt from the Human Rights Watch 1993 report, the author points out to the fact, that indiscriminate attacks commenced from both sides. He also cites the British journalist Thomas de Waal, who noted that the events in Khojalu were a result of a spontaneous, rather than deliberately planned action. ”But the Azerbaijani websites such as ‘Azerbaijan.az’ serve as a propaganda tool to absolve Azerbaijan of any wrong doing, playing the victim, while placing all the blame for Khojaly at the feet of Armenia. Did I mention there were somewhere between 1000-3000 Jihadi mercenaries from Afghanistan and Chechnya fighting with the Azeri’s during the war?” the blogger writes. Also, making a research over the situation in Azerbaijan, the blogger writes that the country is run by an autocratic regime of a clan who controls just about everything including the banks, the oil, the government, education and the media propaganda machine. The clan run Heydar Aliyev Foundation propagates a favorable narrative to perspective international partners and allies. Also SOCAR (the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic) hosted a large-scale lobbying event in Baku. According to an article posted on the website ”The Washington Diplomat”, 317 delegates from 42 states, including 11 sitting members of Congress, 75 state representatives and three ex-insiders of White House – political strategist David Plouffe, former press secretary Robert Gibbs and ex-deputy chief of staff Jim Messina took part in the event. The article read that Plouffe, Messina and Gibbs were given five-figure sums to speak at the forum, praising Azerbaijan. All in all, $1.5 million were spent on holding the event. In its turn, CASILIPS (Citizens against Special Interest Lobbying in Public Schools) noted that the organizer of the event was Kemal Oksuz (“Kevin” Oksuz), who is a major player in the Gulen Movement in Azerbaijan and has connections in various states. On February 26, 1992, during the war in Karabakh, around 200 to 300 people (according to Human Rights Watch, and 600 according to the version propagated by Azerbaijan) were killed in unknown circumstances near the city of Aghdam. They have been deliberately withheld by the Azerbaijani authorities in the midst of the military actions. Population of the village of Khojalu, which was one of the firing points shooting at the blockaded Stepanakert (among five others) was kept in the village for months by force and was not evacuated by the authorities of Azerbaijan deliberately, in order to use them as human shields later. Residents of Khojalu coming out through the humanitarian corridor, that the self-defense forces of NKR had left open, freely passed more than 10 km and reached the Aghdam city controlled by the Azerbaijani troops. Later, not far from the positions of Azerbaijani troops dead bodies of the villagers were found. The exact death toll remains unknown as the official Baku publishes data contradicting each other. Parliamentary Commission investigating the tragic death of the civilians at Aghdam city was dissolved by the order of Heydar Aliyev, the investigative materials are kept secret.