Washington Post Blinded by Love Affair with Bryza

Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

The Washington Post’s editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, has taken a page out of the Aliyev propaganda manual in his Sunday piece about US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza and how the Armenian lobby (special interests) is blocking Bryza’s appointment, despite his alleged qualifications for the job.

Of late, official Baku in its framing of the Karabakh conflict, has opted to compare the national wealth of both countries as an indication that Azerbaijan is a force to be reckoned with, often whitewashing the entrenched Western oil interests that have been lurking in Azerbaijan since its independence 20 year ago.

Calling Armenia “oil-poor” Hiatt blames the Armenian lobby and Armenia for it’s current land-locked reality, failing to mention that Turkey and Azerbaijan shut their borders with Armenia in protest of the Karabakh war and continue to hold the Karabakh conflict resolution as a precondition for any “good neighborly” relations.

“And one reason peacemaking has failed is the dogmatism of some diaspora groups that can enjoy, from afar, the luxury (and fundraising magic) of sustained grievance. A fervent, at times even counterproductively so, diaspora is not unique — ask Cuba, Israel or Latvia — but it has been particularly debilitating for minuscule, resource-poor Armenia,” Hiatt points out in his ill-thought out piece to promote Bryza.

Hiatt also singles out the Armenian National Committee of America for mounting a campaign against Bryza, who the author deems highly qualified for the job. He cites a barrage of support Bryza has received from former State Department officials and numerous think-tanks, some of which are notorious in their support of neo-conservative agendas, which ultimately benefit the deep pockets of corporations with interests in countries like Azerbaijan.

The argument that Azerbaijan is rich and Armenia is poor, thus the Armenian lobby should shut up and let Bryza’s nomination go through is so circuitous in its logic that one wonders why Hiatt has taken on such a keen interest in promoting an ambassador, whose actions and statements call into question his qualifications to represent this country in Azerbaijan.

This is not the first time the Washington Post has blindly defended Bryza. Under Hiatt’s leadership, the paper’s editorials have reeked of one-sided support for Bryza and condemnation for those opposing him, especially the ANCA. Hiatt seems to harbor disdain, if not outright hatred for the group.

Hiatt treats the arguments against Bryza, as expressed by senators Barbara Boxer and Robert Menendez last year during his Senate nomination hearings as not making sense and essentially blames the two senators for holding Bryza’s fate hostage to what he calls “special interests groups” that are, in Hiatt’s mind, doing a disservice to Armenia by opposing Bryza’s nomination.

Hiatt conveniently brushes over some of the important concerns of the aforementioned senators and rightfully highlighted by the folks at the ANCA during Bryza’s nomination process. For example, the senators extensively questioned Bryza on his failure to act promptly and effectively when Azeri forces began destroying Armenian monuments in Djulfa. As ambassador, Bryza was barred from visiting Djulfa by Azeri authorities and, frankly, never really attempted to make another visit there. Nor, did he question the validity of this action during his so-called exemplary service as US ambassador.

Furthermore, Hiatt conveniently discounts Bryza’s entrenchment in Azeri political circles and his often blatant advocacy for the government, that even according to the State Department, continues to torture and stifle opposition forces and silence free expression by dissenting circles. The Washington Post editorial page editor couches the ANCA’s concerns over Bryza’s Turkish wife’s connections with the Aliyev regime as ethnically motivated.

He neglects to mention that Bryza’s wife, Zeyno Baran, has served on the editorial board of the Azeri Government funded “Azerbaijan Focus,” a journal published by the Center for Strategic Studies Under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. She was joined on that board by Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, among other high-level Turkish/Azeri officials.

Hiatt asserts that Bryza is a beacon of democracy and peace building, yet his tepid response to Baku’s continued warmongering demonstrates that he does not want to ruffle his friends’ feathers and further contributes to Baku’s combative approach to the peace talks. In fact, during his year-long tenure as ambassador, Bryza has been known to cherry-pick incidents and comment on them, before the bodies tasked to address those issues have had an opportunity to assess the veracity for validity of events. By doing so, he has done more to advance official Baku’s propaganda than protect US interests in the country.

“The biggest losers in all this won’t be Americans or Azerbaijanis (who, by the way, enjoy about twice the per capita income of Armenians), but Armenians — poor, isolated and once again victims of a power play that has nothing to do with their well-being,” Hiatt concludes.

Hiatt’s concern for Armenia’s economic well being is touching. But to equate Bryza’s nomination with the end of Armenia’s economic woes is shortsighted at best and a cheap and uneducated conclusion for an editor of such a venerable publication.

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.

24 Comments

  1. Berge Jololian said:

    Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s genocidal-border blockade of Armenia for the past two decades is a double-edge sword, and works against the interests of the US State Department and the oil oil consortium companies. The only viable route to access, control and export Caspian basin oil and gas from Central Asia *is* across economically blockaded-Armenia.

    On August 8, 2008, the Russian Federation made it clear to the failed-policies of the US State Department, by attacking Georgia and threatening the BTC pipeline (which is operating as a prototype barley supply 1% of Europe’s needs pf 40%. The Russian Federation will not allow Georgia – under any circumstance – to act as a transit route for energy supplies destined to Europe. So, by imposing a hostile-border blockade on Armenia, Turkey has become a dead-end corridor for the NABUCCO pipelines project, and Azerbaijan’s blockade of Armenia does not leave Azerbaijan with a viable oil & gas pipelines export route to the West.

    It is time for the US State Department to revise its failed policies in the Caucasus and genuinely invest in Armenia; and restrain Turkey-Azerbaijan genocidal policies against Armenia. Just as the US SD has been investing in Georgia at the tune of US $2 billion per year, the US SD needs to relieve Armenia from Turkey’s on-going genocidal intents and invest US $4 billion per year to strengthen Armenia – if the US and the EU would ever like to have a drop of oil or gas from Central Asia energy reserves.

    The failed-US-State Department has left Armenia with no options but to seek protection from the Russian Federation and Iran. The US SD need to understand that its policies to crush Armenia will never work – it has been tried for 20 years – It is time to win Armenia over to the Western camp without the US SD supporting Turkey and Azerbaijan’s genocidal policies. The US is not the only country in the world that has interests.

  2. Basil said:

    Coming from Old Europe, it is obvious that just like here everybody in the US is bought, because the only interest politicians and journalists harbor is $$$ – however, since the average IQ seems to become less and less every year and hardly anyone can be called “well educated”, you can buy pieces of shit like this guy and make him talk blatant nonsense and noone will give a crap. Journalists here at least try not to talk shit when being used as a mouthpiece. No matter whether or not Boxer and Menendez are bought, which I hope they are not, instead being dedicated to a just cause, at least they never argued in asuch an incoherent and superficial way.

  3. Harutik said:

    Dear ARA KHACHATOURIAN

    You can complain about Washington Post or Bryza only when the CIA infiltrated organization you work for halts its attacks against the Armenian state as well. As a mouth piece of the ARF, Asbarez would also do well to stop publicly airing Armenia’s dirty laundry and start reporting real news…

    • Avery said:

      Armenia’s dirty laundry, such as it is, is being aired by a whole lot of sources, including News.am, panarmenian.net, Hetq.am, lragir.am, etc.
      Read this: http://asbarez.com/96681/airing-armenia%E2%80%99s-dirty-laundry-in-public/

      {The question that attracted most attention was the one asked by Parliamentarian Zaruhi Postanjyan from Armenia, a member of the opposition Heritage Party. She told Pres. Sarkisian: “Since an authoritarian regime has been established in Armenia and all elections from 1995 on have been rigged,” wouldn’t it be preferable if he organized special and fair elections and then “resigned”?
      As the Turkish President of PACE, Mevlut Cavusoglu snickered at the question, Pres. Sarkisian calmly responded that he was well aware of Ms. Postanjyan’s views…. }
      Can anything top a member of RoA’s Government airing dirty laundry in front of the notorious Anti-Armenian Denialist Cavusoglu ?

      Someone by the name of Georgi Vanyan is openly advocating and proselytizing for Azerbaijan right in the middle of Yerevan, including demanding that Artsakh give some of our historic Armenian lands to AzeriTurks.
      JWs have descended on Armenia en mass, advocating non-violence to one nation that has no history of aggression – while assiduously avoiding any large presence in Azerbaijan and Turkey, two countries that have a demonstrated track record of aggression and extermination of peaceful indigenous populations.

      My side (whichever the side is) are the true patriots: everybody else is suspect.
      ARF is either infiltrated by CIA or KGB, depending on which side is doing the review.
      Levon Ter-Petrossianis is either a KGB agent or an agent of the West.
      Robert Korcharian the same.
      Pres. Sargsyan is a Western agent because he signed the Protocols, but he is also a Russian agent because he has “sold the country to the Russians”.
      Putin is a Western agent because he allowed G.W. Bush to place US air assets in Kazakhstan, right next to Russia’s soft underbelly: what more proof do we need ?
      Maybe they all are working for the Global Illuminati.

      Instead of tearing each other apart, how about expending our finite energy and resources on the entities that pose an actual existential threat to Armenia and Artsakh.
      No matter how bad you think an Armenian leader or party is, can anyone imagine they would be capable of exterminating their own Armenian people ?
      Turks and AzeriTurks are not only capable, but have done it: let’s spend our energies on making sure they are in no position to do so again.

    • Hrachik said:

      Dear Harutik , I do not belong to Dashnaktsutyun or any other political party and never will, I do not believe in that. Yet when any publication enlightens public of shortcomings and wrongs in any state and ours (Armenia) unfortunately is not an exception, I think they are doing the right thing and for the good of the country that you love. It is not news to anyone that allot can be improved and perfected there, that allots of work and “ cleaning” is needed to make it country good for all its citizens and not for only 5% like it is now. Hiding wrongs and mistakes are not the solution the opposite is. I understand your wounded pride and all that, but your concern as hard felt as they be I don’t think are positive or constructive. I for one stop counting how many young man lose their lives do to sick mentality and standards in the arm forces of Armenia, this next to many other shortcomings. True caring and patriotism starts from being honest about all the problems and not by hiding them.

    • MK said:

      Harutik,whoever you are you are talking a load of rubbish,you do better to read history and reflect on reality.

    • Avetis said:

      I agree. Our problems are our internal matters that we need to work out amongst ourselves in an objective, rational, constructive and patient manner. Armenia’s one thousand year old damage will not be fixed in a single lifetime. Constantly harping about our problems (which are natural growing pains), and blowing things out of proportions has in fact a counter-productive effect. Moreover, it gives our enemies, Turks and Western intelligence services alike, the opportunity the co-opt our organizations and subvert our statehood.

      Armenia needs sociopolitical evolution not a Western funded revolution.

      News organization such as Asbarez should report news and not stories about legal matters Armenians in Armenia get tangled in. On the other hand, organizations like Radio Liberty, Hetq, ArmeniaNow and Lragir need to be shut down because they are propaganda outlets indirectly funded by the CIA.

  4. Alex Postallian said:

    Isnt this the same Bryza that couldnt pay for his marriage to a turk,and the officials ofAjerbaijan did so in Constanople.He got his wife a job in the state dept,was she qualfied or not.A tainted diplomat(pardon the nomer),who cant be impartial,and a man on the take.

  5. Kiazer Souze said:

    The Washington Post gets the Mark of the BEAST-666 and labeled as NIMRODS. The Washington Post is nothing but used up Toilet Paper with lots of stains.

  6. Nejteh said:

    If you knew Fred Hiatt’s background , you would not be surprised for the opinions he expresses. These are the same guys who defended Turkey and fought the Armenian Genocide claim because Turkey and Israel were allies. Now they have suddenly become enamored with Azerbaijan,as Israel has developed closer ties with Azerbaijan. So the determining factor in this case is to see to where a particular country stands in its relations with Israel . So let us call a spade a spade and know who our real enemies are.

  7. Hamasdegh said:

    There are certain facts pointed out in Hiatt’s article that I find difficult to argue for or against .The issue of senate confirmation, or ” the placing of hold” on presidential appointments is a fact or life in US politics. So is lobbying and this has become a well entrenched feature of government working in Washington DC. It is also a fact that an Ambassador is just a bureaucrat and carries out his/her job on guidance received from the State Department. What is outrageous in this article are the tendentious insinuations that this writer choose to proffer in his writing(s). If we were to follow his logic being “poor” does not give you the right to have a place in the world ! Being “oil poor” does not give you the right to aspire for better things vis-a-vis the rest of the world.On that basis US should treat the Arab countries more favorably than dishing out billions of dollars in aid to Israel and supporting its occupation policies.It is obvious that Fred Hiatt is not defending only Bryza for purely partisan, and obvious reasons, but pushing stealthily the agenda of Israel here for the close relations the latter has developed with Azerbaijan. So is he not indulging in “lobbying” , pure and simple? Lobbying seems ok when it comes to defending Israel’s interests but it is anathema if other minority or activist groups use the same instruments or techniques of politicking to advance their own interests. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander too, unless you have an agenda of your own. This is where “corruption” starts, Mr. Hiatt!

  8. Shant Hagopian said:

    Lets not forget that senatorial approval is one of the few checks that the people have on the extremely broad power the executive has in foreign affairs. The power approve (or deny) presidential appointments is a constitutional prescription. Questioning that process is a stab to the foundations of our democracy. The Armenian community has been very vocal and active in assuring that the representatives from the US are unbiased. If the author of the article truly believes that the Armenian community erred in vocalizing our concerns in the only arena they can be heard, then his criticism was channeled to the wrong place. He should really write an article directed to Madison, Jerrferson, Washington and the rest of the constitutional convention of the late 1700s.

  9. Lily said:

    This Mr. Hiatt needs to be fired from his job, Mr. Hiatt is just so ignorant because all he is talking about is oil! we get it, but let me tell you what he doesn’t understand is that, that’s because he thinks old ways that oil is important he isn’t getting the point that in 20 years no one is going to be using oil at all, it will be more energy efficient. Plus he calls Armenia poor, lets take a look at Turkey and Azerbaijan they are poor as hell, one because if they don’t even have any support from the Europeans with trade they will be locked down killing each other. Just to add, I’m totally positive that the Turkish gov and their lobbying organization has paid him (Hiatt) fairly well in money. If I had met this Mr. Hiatt I would tell him he is like a whore who is sold for 400 dollars.

  10. Avetis said:

    I agree with Harutik. Our problems are our internal matters that we need to work out amongst ourselves in an objective, rational, constructive and patient manner. Armenia’s one thousand year old damage will not be fixed in a single lifetime. Constantly harping about our problems (which are natural growing pains), and blowing things out of proportion has in fact a counter-productive effect. Moreover, it gives our enemies, Turks and Western intelligence services alike, the opportunity the co-opt our organizations and subvert our statehood.

    Armenia needs sociopolitical evolution not a Western funded revolution.

    News organization such as Asbarez should report news and not stories about legal matters Armenians in Armenia get tangled in. On the other hand, organizations like Radio Liberty, Hetq, ArmeniaNow and Lragir need to be shutdown because they are propaganda outlets indirectly funded by the CIA.

  11. Ara said:

    Dear Harutik yev Avetis,

    I think no Armenian one would like to hurt the Republic of Armenia. At the same time it is a fact that today in Armenia on the one hand there is very high level of poverty and extreme poverty and on the other hand there is small number of very rich families owning most of the wealth and income of the country. Also many of these very rich Armenians are part of the parliament and government. In Armenia there is significant amount lack of rule of law and corruption. Faced with sever poverty and lack of rule of law/corruption large number of Armenians are leaving the country generating national security problems.

    The difficulty that we, in the Diaspora, face is that if we criticize the ruling class and the oligarchs in Armenia about poverty and lack of rule of law, then we will tarnish the image of Armenia in the world. But if we keep quiet and do nothing, then the poor in Armenia and those who suffer from lack of rule of law and corruption will blame us that we are not doing anything to help them and that we are become accomplice to the ruling class in Armenia.

    How could we not criticize and not put pressure on the rulers of Armenia, when poor Armenians are suffering because small number of rich Armenians controls the wealth of the country and the imports of essential goods? How could we keep quiet, when the ruling class of Armenia blatantly violates the basic democratic rights of ordinary Armenian citizens? How could you keep quiet and look at the eyes of poor Armenians who are suffering because of small number of rich Armenians with significant amount of political power?

    Finally who is a better Armenian or who loves Armenia more, those who try to support the poor people in Armenia and criticize the ruling elite who contribute to the existence of such a high level of poverty and lack of rule of law or those who keep quiet and do not put pressure on rich and powerful Armenians who hurt large number of poor Armenians?

    • Alex Postallian said:

      Ara,excellent analysis of the situation in Armenia.but what can be done to remedy it.the donations,are the poor benifiting,or are we filling some crooks pocket.I reiterate,what can the diasporia do to help eliminate,some of the problems.I think we need another catalyst like Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian.

  12. MK said:

    It is the oil interests which is blinding both the Washington Post and its bias writer Hiatt and pro Turkish Bryza,instead of supporting justice,human rights,and self determination of the Karabakhi people.
    His dismal failure to act promptly and effectively when Azeri forces began destroying Armenian monuments in Djulfa,Nakhichevan.

    His wife Zeyno serves on the editorial board of the Azeri government-funded “Azerbaijan Focus,” a journal published by the “Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.” She was joined on that board by Azerbaijan’s foreign minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, and Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, among other high-level Turkish/Azeri officials.

    No he hasn’t earned any respect,I suggest he retires in Baku or Ankara,as USA doesn’t need such clowns,as for Hiatt he needs to go back to the drawing board as his ability to write an editorial is nothing but a disgrace for the paper.

  13. Avetis said:

    @Ara

    You people have gone way beyond merely “criticizing” the government. You people are in fact engaging in a very dangerous, very destructive Western funded and organized psychological warfare operations (psyops) against Armenia. Besides which, when you attack the government you are attacking the nation; if you are attacking the nation you are attacking the people. You are taking Armenia’s natural growing pains and you are using it to attack the already embattled nation thereby further weakening it in the eyes of our enemies. With your constant doom and gloom you are creating mass hysteria and demoralization throughout Armenian society. If you care about Armenia do everything in your powers to work with the government and not against it. Be constructive, rational, objective and patient. If the current regime falls, it won’t be Armenian patriots taking over. Maybe that is what our diasporan organizations that have long been penetrated by CIA operatives want. I can only hope that you are engaging in anti-Armenia psyops out of ignorance because the other alternative is treason.

    • MK said:

      Dear Harutik yev Avetis

      Blind patriotism doesn’t get you anywhere,its a very dangerous preoccupation,wake up and see how the country is being robbed by these crooks.

  14. Haroutik said:

    Dear MK

    Your hysteria, obsessions, irrationality, stupidity and political ignorance will only destroy Armenia…

    @Avetis

    Don’t waste your time with these types. These people are hopeless. Their grandfathers were faithful servants of the Ottoman empire, they are today the faithful servants of the American empire. Thus, they are in reality Armenia’s enemies. It’s sad that they don’t even see it. Read our history closely. You will run into their types throughout our tragedies…

*

Top