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CIA Confirms Armenian Ownership Of  Lands 10/30/2003
CIA Confirms Armenian Ownership
Of Karabagh and Lands in Turkey
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
The Central Intelligence Agency publishes each year a report called "World
Factbook" which contains comprehensive information on the geography,
population, government, economy, communications, transportation, and the
military of more than 200 countries and territories. The Factbook can also
be read on CIA's web site:
Even though no secrets are disclosed in this public document, it is still
interesting to see how the CIA presents certain facts and issues regarding
Armenia, Karabagh, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. In the chapter on Armenia, the
Factbook provides the following "background" information:
"Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt
Christianity (early 4th century). Despite periods of autonomy, over the
centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the
Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman. It was incorporated into
Russia in 1828 and the USSR in 1920. Armenian leaders remain preoccupied by
the long conflict with Muslim Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily
Armenian-populated region, assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by
Moscow. Armenia and Azerbaijan began fighting over the area in 1988; the
struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the
Soviet Union in 1991. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, Armenian
forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also a significant portion of
Azerbaijan proper. The economies of both sides have been hurt by their
inability to make substantial progress toward a peaceful resolution."
It is interesting to note that the CIA devotes more than two-thirds of the
"background" information on Armenia to Karabagh, indicating CIA's special
attention to that region. By stating that Karabagh was "assigned to Soviet
Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Moscow," the CIA is confirming the Armenian
position that Karabagh was historically a part of Armenia. Finally, by
referring to the territories surrounding Karabagh -- but not to Karabagh
itself -- as "Azerbaijan proper," the CIA reinforces its acknowledgement
that Karabagh is not part of Azerbaijan.
Even more interesting is the following paragraph under the title of
"disputes": "Armenia supports ethnic Armenian secessionists in
Nagorno-Karabakh and militarily occupies 16% of Azerbaijan -- Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) continues to mediate dispute;
border with Turkey remains closed over Nagorno-Karabakh dispute; traditional
demands regarding former Armenian lands in Turkey have subsided; ethnic
Armenian groups in Javakheti region of Georgia seek greater autonomy, closer
ties with Armenia."
The above paragraph contains three false assertions: 1) Armenia does not
occupy 16% of Azerbaijan. Karabagh Armenians (with support from Armenia)
liberated themselves from the tyranny of Azerbaijan; 2) the Armenians of
Karabagh are not "secessionists." They seek self-determination -- a right
recognized by the United Nations; and 3) Contrary to the CIA's assertion
(which were also made in the earlier editions of the "World Factbook"),
Armenian demands for their historic lands from Turkey have not "subsided."
The Treaty of Sevres recognized the territories occupied by Turkey as
Armenian lands. The borders of a much larger Armenia were drawn by Pres.
Woodrow Wilson. It is comforting that the CIA acknowledges that these
territories did belong to Armenia by referring to them as "former Armenian
lands in Turkey."
In another CIA document ("Resolving conflicts in the Caucasus and Moldova:
perspectives on next steps"), a distinguished panel of exper ts contradicted
those who say that time is on Azerbaijan's side in the Karabagh conflict.
The panel members made the following very interesting observations:
"Some observers see substantial strengths in the Armenian position, since
the Armenians occupy the territory and over time their possession may be
consolidated in de facto terms. Although Azerbaijan has the economic
advantage, economic indicators may not be a deciding factor for at least
three reasons:
      1)  Azerbaijan's relative economic strength is also its vulnerability
since the Armenians understand that another war will interfere with
petroleum transport, undermine regional investment, and compromise
Azerbaijan's economic momentum;
      2)  Many Armenians have concluded on the basis of their troubled
history that they cannot safely reside in territory controlled by
Azerbaijan, and they are consequently resolute;
      3)  Armenians are prepared to sustain high levels of suffering. The
rhetoric of Azeri hard-liners may therefore accomplish little beyond
reducing Armenian's capacity for compromise. One of the difficulties in the
conflict is that both parties regard time as being on their side. In each
case, this is a fallacy. Yet it is difficult for either party to see around
a long history of mutual grievance and mistrust."
Armenians should make it clear to the whole world that their demands for
their historical lands in Turkey, Karabagh or elsewhere, are as valid as
ever, and not "subsiding!"
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