My Enemy’s Enemy’s Enemy’s…

Garen Yegparian


You’re of course familiar with the aphorism “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” A logical upshot of this is also that “the friend of my enemy is my enemy,” “the enemy of my friend is my enemy,” and “the friend of my friend is my friend.” Laid out formulaically, we have:

E= enemy
F= friend
E x E= F
F x E= E
E x F= E
F x F= F

Lately, there’s been much laughter at some absurd contradictions that have come of this mindset in the context of what’s been happening in parts of the Near East— Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan, Israel/Palestine, Iraq, Iran. Inevitably, Armenians, given it’s our neighborhood, have been dragged into this, too.

The easiest situation to mock is U.S./Western support of the “rebels” in Syria. The Assad regime is supposedly an “enemy”, so the rebels fighting it become “friends”… (because E x E= F) Yet the rebels include extremist Islamists who hail from the al-Qaeda sector of humanity, who are well established as “enemies” from the Afghanistan and Iraq experiences. But, of course these people were formerly “friends” when fighting against the Soviet Union. So which is true?

It gets even better. That same extremist crowd is now becoming much better known as the ISIS—Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and of course even more recently as the “caliphate” reborn. The juiciest part is that ISIS is a (much denigrated) “friend” in Syria but crosses the border into Iraq and becomes an enemy to the U.S./West. Here’s more. Even though the U.S./West loudly denies supporting ISIS in Syria, Turkey has no such ability to deny its ties to these extremists, who are therefore “friends” of Turkey. Turkey is the U.S./West’s “friend” which means that ISIS must also be the U.S./West’s friend. (because F x F= F) Yet we already know that ISIS is and is not the U.S./West’s friend depending on which side of the Iraq/Syria side of the border we happen to be on. So which is true?

Turkey is also Hamas’ friend, therefore Hamas must be the U.S./West’s friend (because F x F= F). Yet we already know that Hamas is not U.S./West’s friend because Hamas is Israel’s enemy and Israel is the U.S./West’s friend (because E x F= E). So which is true?

The Kurds and Kurdistan, at least formally, are neither clearly enemy nor clearly friend to anyone. Yet because they oppose ISIS, they are friends to the U.S./West, Turkey (depending on the moment), the Shiite dominated Iraqi government (because ISIS is Sunni and opposed to the Iraqi government), and Israel (because Israel is opposed to Hamas which is supported by ISIS), because E x E=F. Here comes the fun: Israel is the “enemy” of Syria so it should be friends with ISIS (Syria’s enemy), but that’s not the case because ISIS is also friends with Hamas which is Israel’s enemy. Iran and ISIS are enemies (Shiite vs. Sunni) but Iran and the Kurds are enemies but so are the Kurds and ISIS, so we get a new equation, “E x E x E= unknown”.

Finally, we have the Shiite government of Iraq which has as “enemies” both ISIS and the Kurds (because they are selling oil independently of Iraq’s government and they want independence from Iraq), meanwhile ISIS and the Kurds are enemies even though both would like to see Iraq dismembered and by that logic should be friends, “E x E x E= unknown”.

I hope you haven’t tried to follow too closely, because something much worse than vertigo would afflict your brain! And, there are a few more examples, but I won’t bore you anymore.

Unfortunately, Armenians have been dragged into this cauldron of nonsense. We are enemies to ISIS because they see us as Christians and want to massacre us. Turkey is our sworn enemy. The Kurds are very slowly becoming our friends. Turkey is playing nice with SOME Kurds (in Iraq) while beating up on others (internally and in Syria). We have a fundamental commonality with Israel—the experiences of genocide and dispossession from our respective homelands. Yet, that same dispossession experience is shared with the Palestinians as well. But the Palestinians, at least those affiliated with Hamas, are friends with ISIS and Turkey, both of which are our enemies. Simultaneously, some of Israel’s supporters in the U.S. have covertly fought against us in the halls of Congress for years and have been very friendly with Turkey (even though that is slowly changing now). The Palestinians and Israelis are enemies. Speaking up in favor of one gets us in trouble with the other.

What’s worse, even though our primary concern should be addressing Armenian issues—the crisis in Syria and Iraq caused by Turkish/extremist Islamist actions, political issues in the U.S., liberation of occupied Western Armenia, etc., because of our commonalities with both Jews and Palestinians, we have come to “enjoy” internal discord as some Armenians argue in favor of Israel while others argue for Hamas in the latest round of bloodshed between those two entities.

I’ve got no solutions for this kind of absurdity which surrounds us. Do you?


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  1. AraK said:

    Excellent analysis as usual.
    The article makes you laugh but unfortunately it shows exactly the crazy world we are living in.

  2. Ruby Minas said:

    Bravo Garen for coming up with the above formula of Es and Fs.
    Since Hamas, Turkey, ISIS (how quickly they got oil, money and status) & Kurds are the friends of Israel’s zionist government (poor Israeli people, how many years they have to suffer in the hands of these insane zionists) it is obvious who is responsible for all these wars and bloodshed.
    It is almost 100 years from the Armenian Genocide but Israel does not want to officially recognize it, while Israel is playing hide and seek with Turkey as if they are threatening to expose them but the reality is they don’t want to be exposed themselves. Israel could recognize Gharabagh during the past 20 years after their independence but they did not!!! instead they started arming Azerbaijan in order to restart the war with Armenia.Israel is praying for the creation of Kurdistan since they can get oil much cheaper and I bet they will be the first one to recognize Kurdistan’s independance.
    Once the world turns against them even their iron dome cannot save them.

  3. Pingback: Politics And War – 7_27_2014 | Headline News

  4. Hratch said:

    ISIS is not considered a rebel force in Syria. They have hijacked the rebel banner primary due to the regime’s brutal response. The use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons tends to radicalize people. If ISIS is a ‘friend’, as you say, the West would have armed them by now. Because they are a terror organization, the West has been reluctant to send arms to the true rebels in fear of the weapons falling into the wrong hands. I have to give you credit though, your subliminal support of the regime is brilliant. I can understand how an unsuspecting reader can easily be manipulated by an author’s writing style

    Armenians are contradictory as any other race. We identify with Israel because both our peoples were subjected to genocide. On the other hand, we support Palestinians because they too have been persecuted and driven out of their homeland. While befriends Palestinians, we talk to Israelis about recognizing our genocide.So which is it and why is it so murky and grey? It’s easy to accuse others of inconsistency, but we’re all guilty of the same self serving motives.

    • Sur said:


      Congratulations! Your comments have consistently demonstrated that you are the only person on earth who is not thinking from a “self-serving” motive, specifically from an Armenian national interest motive. Its clear from your comments you are not motivated by selfish Armenian interests whatsoever. Good job!

      PS. ISIS in Syria, funded indirectly by the US through its Gulf client state, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, just put some Syrian soldiers heads on pikes in Raqqa. Your irrational hatred of Assad (irrational from a “self serving” Armenian perspective, of course), and your neoconservative rhetoric smell… gefilte fishy.

      PPS. No Armenian cares about what Israel has to say about 1915, except, maybe, a confession and an apology for the Young Turks and Talaat Pasha, the “renegade Hebrew”

      • Hratch said:

        The usual, the conspiracy theorists come out of the woodwork again!

    • Ruby Minas said:

      Hratch, you are so naive when you say the following:
      “We identify with Israel because both our peoples were subjected to genocide”
      We identify with Israel but unfortunately they DONT!!! otherwise would have recognized the Armenian Genocide long time ago. We are not in love with Palestinians but we are human beings and feel very sorry for the suffering of those people especially Israel’s cowardly bombings of the innocent children.

      • Hratch said:

        So I’m naive to say the exact thing you tried to say? I think now I’m naive and confused.

  5. PNGE said:

    Turkey has enemies right. However, you miss a point. The guarantee of Turkish existence in this region is not the Turkey politics or any diplomatic relations like Turkey-the US. The guarantee of Turkish existence in this region is highly skilled , well trained Turkish Armed Forces. I want to give a short sentence to give an idea to show how big Turkish army is. Turkish Armed Foces is the Second big army after the US Forces in Nato.

    So keep going guys 😉