Boxer’s Strong Record on Armenian Issues Has Long History

Sen. Barbara Boxer

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s decision to delay Senate Foreign Relations Committee consideration of Matt Bryza’s controversial nomination as U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan is the latest chapter in a 20-year history to ensure a balanced U.S. policy toward the Caucasus region, which respects the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno Karabakh.

Her years in the House of Representatives fighting for Armenian Genocide legislation are well documented.  In 1991, with a newly independent Armenia and a Karabakh independence movement in full swing, Sen. Boxer became among the first Congressional Members – if not the first, to travel to Armenia to personally assess the situation there and advise her colleagues about the plight of the fledgling democracy.

Her pursuit of convincing answers to crucial questions for Matthew Bryza, President Obama’s nominee for the ambassadorial post in Baku – from cross-examining Bryza during the July 22 hearing to submitting detailed follow-up written questions – has its roots in her keen knowledge and understanding of the issues and the region.

So, when she placed a hold on a vote for approval of Bryza’s nomination, she was truly dissatisfied at the answers the nominee gave to her questions and that of other senators in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Long before Bryza slithered his way into upper echelons of the Azeri government and cozyed up to the Baku elite, Sen. Boxer was on the trenches advocating assistance to Armenia, security for Nagorno-Karabakh citizens, advancement of US-Armenia relations and recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Realizing the devastating effects of Azerbaijan’s 20 year blockade of Armenia and Karabakh, Sen. Boxer has been a vocal advocate for Section 907 restrictions on U.S. assistance to that country.  In 1999, when the Section 907 came under attack from the Clinton Administration, the Azerbaijani lobby, and the oil industry, she fought back against efforts to weaken or repeal this much-needed law, Sen. Boxer was adamant: “We believe that Section 907 made sense when it was enacted and that it continues to make sense today. To waive it in the absence of any progress toward a lifting of the blockade would reward the Government of Azerbaijan for its intransigence and remove a major incentive for good-faith negotiation from one side in the conflict.”

Learning of the Azerbaijani destruction of the 1300 year old Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, in 2006, Sen. Boxer pressed then U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan nominee Anne Derse on the topic and US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Reno Harnish, for not visiting the site of the destruction despite efforts by the European Union to address this matter.

Similarly, in successive nomination hearings for U.S. Ambassador to Turkey nominees James Jeffery and, now, Francis Ricciardoni as well as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominees Dick Hoagland and Marie Yovanovitch – Senator Boxer consistently took her Senate oversight responsibilities seriously – asking tough questions about U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s blockade of Armenia.

Senator Boxer questioned Hoagland during the confirmation process, and voted in Committee against his nomination, which was eventually the subject of two “holds” by Senator Menendez and later withdrawn by President Bush. She noted, at the time, referencing Ambassador John Evans’ statement in February 2005 properly characterizing the Armenian Genocide as “genocide,” that: “I agree with Ambassador Evans’ statement. Not only should we not play word games with a matter as serious as genocide, we should also not play political games with issues of genocide.” The ultimate failure of the Hoagland nomination was due, in large part, to his denialist response to a written question about the Armenian Genocide submitted by Senator Boxer.

Bryza’s responses to questions from Boxer and other Senate leaders are unsatisfactory at best and reveal his inability to represent US interests in the region, without his conflict of interests and prejudices getting in the way.

Boxer should be praised for her leadership on delaying the Bryza vote and acknowledged for her continued support of Armenian-American issues in Congress. She should also be called upon to oppose the nomination and ensure that the right person is representing US interests in the Caucasus.

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15 Comments

  1. Dave said:

    Nice, but I am not convinced that any elected official is willing to “go to the mat” for Armenian Americans. We have been fooled before. Remember?
    That is why we have to constantly pressure and reward or punish our elected officials. That’s the only way.

  2. Robert said:

    You forgot to mention the most important and significant point…that she’s arogant (remember the US admiral) and bought off by the Armenian diaspora!!

    • jack said:

      You forgot to mention the most important and significant point…that you are a dirty turkish propagandist and paid by turkish blood money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • jack said:

      The Turks are a human cancer, a creeping agony in the flesh of the lands which they misgovern, rotting every fiber of life … I am glad that the Turk is to be called to a final account for his long record of infamy against humanity..

    • jack said:

      William Ewart Gladstone, a 19th century British Prime Minister was quoted in the same book as saying:
      Let me endeavor, very briefly to sketch, in the rudest outline what the Turkish race was and what it is. It is not a question of Mohammedanism sim­ply, but of Mohammedanism compounded with the peculiar character of a race. They are not the mild Mohammedans of India, nor the chivalrous Saladins of Syria, nor the cultured Moors of Spain. They were, upon the whole, from the black day when they first entered Europe, the one great anti-human specimen of humanity. Wherever they went a broad line of blood marked the track behind them, and, as far as their dominion reached, civilization disap­peared from view. They represented everywhere government by force as opposed to government by law.—Yet a government by force can not be main­tained without the aid of an intellectual element.— Hence there grew up, what has been rare in the his­tory of the world, a kind of tolerance in the midst of cruelty, tyranny and rapine. Much of Christian life was contemptuously left alone and a race of Greeks was attracted to Constantinople which has all along made up, in some degree, the deficiencies of Turkish Islam in the element of mind!

    • jack said:

      Voltaire characterized the Turks as:
      “tyrants of the women and enemies of arts”
      “to chase away from Europe these barbaric usurpers”

    • jack said:

      Do do not see barbaric turk CAN NEVER EVER join any civilization as long as it’s idea of “restricting freedom” are as above. Do you not see why turk cannot rise above it’s traditional cesspools and become normal human because you kind operates on you barbaric mongol ideas of the world? I forgot you’re not capable of seeing it. after all you are a turk. cursed by the civilized world.

    • jack said:

      Same old knuckle dragging turkish baboons. All this time in civilization absolutely NOTHING to show for. ZERO, ZILCH NADA.

      Sorry monkeys, don’t intend to insult any of you. LOL

    • john said:

      you just can’t miss a opportunity to show your rotten mulish nature . DO YOU?!?

  3. Nairian said:

    Ara Khatarourian, you have to be commented for this article as well as the dignified U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. We thank you dear Senator Boxer for your ethical stand on Armenian and Artsakh issues. We wish and hope that more Senators and Congressional people would have your moral and ethical stand for our sacred and just causes.

  4. jack said:

    The Turks are a human cancer, a creeping agony in the flesh of the lands which they misgovern, rotting every fiber of life … I am glad that the Turk is to be called to a final account for his long record of infamy against humanity.

  5. manooshag said:

    Hye, Senator Boxer, your stance against a Turkey which uses Genocides to gain its goals: lands, properties, the victims’ culture (as if of Turks), and then ‘arrogantly’ uses all the wealths to advance themselves – too, denies what the world recognizes as the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation. is The dedication of those who join you, otogether, in the effort to bring recognition of the Turkish Genocides against the Armenian nation since the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries that shall also be supportive of the efforts to end the cycle of Genocides. For, if the nations of Europe had brought the Turks to justice to face their crimes against the Armenian nation – gained all the reparations due and owing to the Armenians – ALL of the Genocides that followed shall never have been. Despots shall have known that the civilized nations would never tolerate any Genocides – ever. Today, Sudanese deny the Darfurian Genocide; (ala Turkey). Sadly, today the Turk is attacking the Kurds via fighter planes, chemical warfare… Is this not ‘upgrading’ Genocide via newer technologies – as only the Turks’ Ottoman mentality uses against humanity… Arrogance – is another label for the Turks’ bullying, Genocides unended Manooshag

  6. john said:

    “robert”

    Can’t control yourself from going into your usual turkish donkey call, huh?

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