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Armenian Genocide: Time For The Global Community To Recognize The Biggest Massacre of 21st Century?

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Joe Biden has pledged to officially recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide if elected to the White House, a move past presidents including serving US President Donald Trump has avoided for years. 

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Successive US Presidents refrained from calling the 1915 incidents as Armenians genocide until former President Barack Obama referred to the tragedy as “Meds Yeghern”, or “Great Crime” in the Armenian language which was followed by Trump administration.

In December 2019 both chambers of Congress passed the Armenian Genocide Reaffirmation Resolution in a near-unanimous fashion labelling the 1915 events as genocide which the Trump administration distanced itself by not formally recognizing the event citing the adverse impact on relations with Turkey, a key NATO ally.

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden pledged to make human rights a top priority and recognize the Armenian genocide if elected president in his tweet.

Former President Barack Obama during his Presidential campaign had promised to recognize the Armenian genocide if elected saying that the tragedy was a fact supported by evidence rather than an allegation, opinion or a point of view, but ultimately had failed to label the tragedy as genocide.

Turkey‘s ambassador to Washington Serdar Kılıç rejected the claims made in US President Donald Trump’s statement on the 1915 events saying that the statement was made in accordance with domestic political considerations which lacked validity and objectivity and were based on a subjective narrative which Armenians try to turn into a dogma.

He added that more than 500 thousand Muslims who were massacred by Armenian rebels in the same period found no mention. The ambassador’s response came after Trump issued an annual commemoration of the 1915 events on April 24, again using the Armenian term “Meds Yeghern” to describe the tragedy.

US President Donald Trump in a statement had said, “On this day, we bear witness to the strength and resiliency of the Armenian people in the face of tragedy.  We are fortunate that so many Armenians have brought their rich culture to our shores and contributed so much to our country, including decorated soldiers, celebrated entertainers, renowned architects, and successful business people.

We welcome efforts by the Armenians and Turks to acknowledge and reckon with their painful history. On this day of remembrance, we pay respect to those who suffered and lost their lives, while also renewing our commitment to fostering a more humane and peaceful world.”

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Friday not only decried Armenian genocide as crimes against Armenian ethnic identity and human civilization but also demanded an apology from Turkey in a message after laying flowers at a genocide memorial in the capital Yerevan.

He added that Turkey must recognize the crimes as genocide and Ankara must provide financial compensation and restore property rights of the descendants of those killed. Pashinyan said Armenians “are still facing the challenges posed to our people at the outset of the twentieth century.”

Washington has avoided holding Turkey culpable for these atrocities because, during Cold War, the US claimed that it was not in its national interest to do so and also because Turkey was a NATO ally, strategically located near the Soviet Union.

After the cold war, the US used the narrative War on Terror to once again highlight Turkey’s importance in dismantling ISIS and other Islamic fundamentalists from the region. However, the relationship has soured after Ankara called the statement issued by US President as political theatre because of Turkey invasion of Syria and purchase of a Russian S-400 missile system.

Armenian Genocide 

The first state-sanctioned pogroms against Armenians called the Hamidian Massacres of 1894–1896 during the regime of Abdul Hamid II were the prelude to the Armenian genocide from 1914 to 1924. The violent Hamidian Massacres resulted in deaths of thousands of minorities who were protesting against discrimination in the Ottoman Caliphate.

The systematic mass murder and extermination of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians by the Ottoman regime between 1914 and 1923 is commemorated on April 24 every year as the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian Genocide is believed to be a part of a larger conspiracy to wipe out Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire including Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. The Armenian genocide is also called as the forgotten genocide and the first genocide of the 21st century which had caught the Nazis attention who emulated the same against Jews in Germany in the following decades.

Armenians were an educated and wealthy community that had faced resentment, harassment and persecution in Asia Minor region during the Ottoman rule and were subjected to discriminatory treatment such as payment of higher taxes.

A strong nationalistic desire identifying Turkey for the Turks and based on homogenous “Turkishness” and Muslim faith saw Christians as an inimical and treacherous population that bore allegiance to Russia with similar religious affiliations than the Ottoman Empire that sided with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War-I.

The systematic state-sponsored obliteration of Armenians began in the Ottoman Empire in 1914 with a campaign of boycotting Armenian businesses and shops which quickly culminated into acts of violence and the murder of key Armenian politicians and persons of importance.

On April 15, 1915, 25,000 Armenians were slaughtered in Van province and while on April 24, 1915, 250 Armenian scholars and leaders arrested in Constantinople and sent to Chankri and Ayash were later murdered. The editors and staff of the leading Armenian newspaper of the time – Azadamart, were arrested and executed on June 15 in Diyarbekir.

Around 600,000 Armenians were massacred within nine months since the genocide began and another 400,000 died because of the ill-treatment, abuse, starvation and excesses and privations due to their deportation into Mesopotamia.

Additional 200,000 Armenians were forcibly converted to Islam to give Armenians a new Turkish identity and strip them of their historical past as the first Christian state in the world.

Armenian families including small children died on their journey after they were forced to walk for days without food, water and shelter with some even naked in the deserts of Syria and Arabia. Women and girls were subjected to widespread sexual violence and abuse and were also trafficked into sexual slavery.

Several historical Armenian artefacts of religious and cultural value were also destroyed and the displaced Armenians were not allowed to reacquire their property and belongings after the genocide. This came to be known to the rest of the world outside Turkey as the Armenian Genocide.

The Ottoman Empire said it was dissolving the Armenian political umbrella when petitioned by the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople and Zohrab, an Armenian deputy in the Ottoman Parliament on behalf of the Armenians.

The Smyrna disaster of August 30, 1922, witnessed thousands of Greeks and Armenians killed or drowned in the seaside town after Turkish soldiers and civilians torched their neighbourhoods forcing them to flee to the harbour.

On April 24, 1919, prominent figures of the Armenian community who had survived the atrocities held a commemoration ceremony at the St. Trinity Armenian Church in Istanbul. Following its initial commemoration in 1919, the date became the annual day of remembrance for the Armenian Genocide. This year marks 105 years since the beginning of the genocide.

Turkey has maintained that the crackdown against Armenians in eastern Anatolia was the result of Armenians revolting against Ottoman Empire and siding with invading Russian troops and has objected to the word “genocide,” referring to the incident instead as Olayları, a Turkish word meaning ‘Events of 1915’ wherein both sides suffered casualties.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint panel of historians from Turkey and Armenia as well as international experts to tackle the issue and.  At the same time, Ankara has imprisoned and harassed anyone who has dared to write about the Armenian Genocide.

Turkey and Azerbaijan openly deny the occurrence of the genocide and in the past Ankara has threatened governments with economic and diplomatic consequences whenever they have officially extended recognition to the Armenian Genocide.

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India Bets Big On Nikki Haley To Emerge As Vice Presidential Candidate Under Trump

Nikki Haley has echoed some of the same arguments Donald Trump has made on national topics such as cancel culture, defunding police forces and statue removal, although the tone and frequency between Trump and Haley differ dramatically.  

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India has pinned hopes on Nikki Haley to become the US Vice President (VP) should Donald Trump get re-elected this November. Haley, a first-generation Indian American, is expected to strengthen Indo-American relation and also attract a lot of voters including women and minorities.

According to the reports, there is speculation that Trump might switch out Vice-President Mike Pence for Nikki Haley as his running mate in the hopes of boosting his lagging approval numbers among the broader electorate.

Despite resigning as US Ambassador to the United Nations, Haley has been active in politics. She has been fundraising for Republican congressional candidates as well as in the Senate and gubernatorial arena.

She has set up a non-profit organization to boost her policy priorities and has continued to pen editorials on foreign policy. And Hailey has retained a small, tightly knit orbit of advisers.

The former governor of South Carolina, Haley is one of the people who left the Trump Administration on good terms. She has even promised to campaign for the President for his re-election bid.

Haley has echoed some of the same arguments Donald Trump has made on national topics such as cancel culture, defunding police forces and statue removal, although the tone and frequency between Trump and Haley differ dramatically.

According to experts at EurAsian Times, Haley’s recent moves can be seen as a carefully executed plan to stay involved in key Republican policy circles and the national discourse. Haley has fundraised for almost a dozen Republican Senate candidates, many of them in tough re-election races, and has been a special guest at Republican Governors Association (RGA) events.

While Haley has dismissed reports about her running for VP, her being an influential person of colour could help Trump win constituencies he is currently losing.

India pinning hopes on Nikki Haley

The US Presidential elections are a spectacle observed globally and India would be hoping Trump wins and Haley gets elected as the VP. Haley enjoys nationwide popularity amongst Indian-Americans and her election as VP could lead to stronger ties between Washington and New Delhi.

She has natural links to India with her parents having emigrated to the US in the 1960s from Punjab. Haley has often pointed out that India is an example of a free government and recently even applauded New Delhi’s decision to ban 59 Chinese applications and for standing up to China.

With an Indian-American at the helm of affairs, New Delhi would see it as an opportunity to get closer to Washington. It could lead to India benefitting in the areas of trade, defence and investment and would be a huge blow to neighbours China and Pakistan.

US Presidential elections are scheduled to take place in November and will be contested between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. While Biden’s re-election does not mean that India and the United States will have weak relations, having Trump in the White House and Haley as VP would definitely lead to stronger Indo-American ties.

Armaan Srivastava. Views Personal

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Americas

Russian T-14 Armata Tanks Now On Sale; Hopes To Challenge US’ M1 Abrams

The T-14 is part of the Armata’s heavily tracked standardized platform, which serves as the basis to develop the main battle tank, an infantry fighting vehicle, an armoured personnel carrier and other armoured vehicles.

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Russia’s T-14 Armata tank will be up for sale from 2021. This was announced by Denis Manturov – Industry and Trade Minister of Russia. He said that they are already receiving requests for the deadly T-14 Armata tanks from several foreign customers.

Russian Technicians Keeping INS Vikramaditya Battle Ready Amid Flaring Regional Tensions

The T-14 is part of the Armata’s heavily tracked standardized platform, which serves as the basis to develop the main battle tank, an infantry fighting vehicle, an armoured personnel carrier and other armoured vehicles. It has fully digitized equipment, an unmanned turret and an isolated armoured capsule for the crew.

“Russian producers are ready to offer potential buyers both air defence systems, such as the S-300 and the S-400 and advanced aircraft and helicopters,” explained Dmitry Shugayev, Head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation.

“We are preparing the MiG-35 light fighter for sale and are promoting the latest T-14 ‘Armata’ tank,” he added.

The Armata T-14 was first demonstrated during the Victory Day Parade in May 2015 in Moscow. The actual production of the tanks was delayed. The first nine T-14 Armatas were originally planned to be handed over to the Russian Ground Forces (RGF) in 2018. This date then got pushed to 2019 and then to 2020.

Russia hopes that the T-14 Armata tank will give a tough competition to America’s M1 Abrams that destroyed thirty-seven of the Soviet-designed T-72s during the 1991 Gulf War.

T-72s remain Russia’s primary battle tank, supplemented by turbine-engine T-80s and four hundred more advanced T-90s. According to Sébastien Roblin, an expert on security and militarywhile Russia may finally have a 125-millimetre sabot round that can threaten Western main battle tanks at the range, only its handful of new T-14s tank are capable of actually using it.

Experts claim that the 2A82 gun could be retrofitted to numerous older T-90s and T-72s so far appear not to have materialized.

Despite Russia’s defence spending, the Russian military has continued with the production of the new tank. The production is overseen by Rostec Corporation, the Moscow conglomerate that specializes in consolidating strategically important companies in Russia’s defence sector.

It has undergone field testing in Syria. Although the extent of testing and the results are still unclear, a Russian media outlet suggested that “one Armata was completely destroyed.” There’s no confirmation on that but it might not look good to its buyers.

“It [the T-14 Armata tank] is expensive because it is still undergoing extra trials and modernization after the defence ministry requested additional technical solutions in order to begin serial supplies starting from the next year under the existing contract,” said Manturov in April this year.

He further said that next year, when serial supplies of these tanks to the defence ministry are launched and an export certificate is obtained, they will begin to work with foreign clients. “Preliminarily, bearing in mind that we cannot provide all the documentation to our foreign clients. We do have preliminary orders,” he added.

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Americas

US-China Tensions: US Wants India To ‘Match Its Weight By Actions’ In The South China Sea – Experts

Tensions between the US and China increased when the US deployed two aircraft carriers in the South China Sea with a clear message to Beijing that it doesn’t welcome China’s belligerence in the region.

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Amid inflating tension between the US and China, the US administration is keen that India should play a vital role in the South China Sea and match its weight by actions.

Kulbhushan Jadhav Will Not Be Hanged; Could Be Swapped With India: BBC Report

Recently, the US deployed two aircraft carriers in the South China Sea with a clear message to Beijing that it doesn’t welcome China’s belligerence with its neighbours and increasing the regional tensions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry, in response, accused the US of deliberately sending its ships to the South China Sea so that it can demonstrate its strength and accused the US of trying to create a rift between the regional countries.

China Fighting India With ‘Sticks & Stones’ Cheaper, But Confronting The US Can Bankrupt China: Experts

This is not the first time that the US and China have been engaged in muscle-flexing in the region. Experts say that the situation is slightly different this time as the coronavirus epidemic has drastically increased tension between the two nations.

The South China Sea which lies between Indonesia and Vietnam is spread over about 3.5 million square kilometers. China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have claims over the waters which is believed to be high on natural resources.

Russian Technicians Keeping INS Vikramaditya Battle Ready Amid Flaring Regional Tensions

After the vicious India-China border dispute, there have been talks that India could play an active role in the South China Sea. India considers the South China Sea as a neutral place and believes that this neutrality should be maintained as these waters do not belong to any particular country.

Experts believe that India has come close to the US due to degenerating ties with China, but it is not correct to assume that India will play a very big role in the South China Sea. Experts say that – the US views India as a massive regional force and wants New Delhi to challenge the Chinese aggressively, something the Indian government is not too interested in.

Russian T-14 Armata Tanks Now On Sale; Hopes To Challenge US’ M1 Abrams

Experts recall that when Obama came to India in 2015, New Delhi said that it was committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and Beijing was quick to denounce the Indian statement.

After that, India never directly mentioned the issue by taking the name of China. On various occasions, India has talked about China’s expansionism but without naming it directly, which clearly suggests that New Delhi does not want to offend Beijing.

Russian Technicians Keeping INS Vikramaditya Battle Ready Amid Flaring Regional Tensions

Recently as EurAsian Times reported, India permitted Australia to join the annual trilateral Malabar naval exercise involving India-Japan-USA. With Australia joining in, this could cement the QUAD alliance which Beijing considers as an anti-China grouping.

The decision to allow Australia to be a part of exercise comes at the heels of Chinese hostility in Galwan Valley, South China Sea (SCS) and the Strait of Taiwan. According to experts, the addition of Australia could re-activate the Quadrilateral Alliance (QUAD) between Australia, India, Japan and the US, which New Delhi had been avoiding so far.

OpED By Nitin J Ticku. Views Personal

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