Baku, Azerbaijan, May 12
By Sabina Ahmadova - Trend:
The resolution AJR 32 regarding the so-called "independence" of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region - currently under illegal occupation by Armenia -, discussed on May 5 and passed on May 8 by the California State Assembly under the huge pressure by the Armenian lobby, was received with outrage by various California media outlets.
Stressing that Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as part of Azerbaijan both by U.S. Government and the whole international community, the media outlets characterized the resolution as a noxious interference by the California Assembly in U.S. foreign policy, the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles told Trend.
Dan Walters, a renowned reporter for the newspaper "Sacramento Bee", which is the most widely read political newspaper in California, said in a video-blog that the California State Legislature is involving Californians' time and money into dabbling in foreign affairs. "Why should the Legislature be passing resolutions on this or that side of an international conflict," he asks. Referring to AJR 32, Mr. Walters says that "according to U.S. official policy, the Nagorno-Karabakh region belongs to Azerbaijan, which means that this resolution contradicts American foreign policy." Noting that this resolution will anyway have no effect on the conflict situation on the ground, Walters mentions that the Armenian lobby in California is putting much pressure on the Legislature to pass the resolution. "And the Legislature doesn't have the capacity to say "NO" to these people. It should say "NO" and stay out of these things and pay attention to the business of the people of California, and not to the people of the Caucasus many thousands of miles away," he concludes.
Even a newspaper published in the district of the resolution's main author Mike Gatto has expressed unease with the resolution. In an article published by "Crescenta Valley Weekly" the article's author mentions that both the U.S. Government and four resolutions passed by the UN Security Council recognize Nagorno-Karabakh belonging to Azerbaijan. The author also highlights the mass expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from Armenia as well as from the occupied regions of Azerbaijan by Armenia, and mentions the war crimes committed by Armenian forces against Azerbaijani civilians.
Referring to Azerbaijan's Consul General in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev, the author notes that this very divisive resolution is pitting the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of California against each other, "stirring ethnic tension and animosity in such a diverse and multicultural state as California." The article ends by stressing that other U.S. "states have taken the opposite course of California, instead affirming the foreign policy views of the federal government," and mentions in this regard the resolutions passed by Arizona Legislature on January 30, 2014 recognizing Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.
An analytical blog widely read in California's political circles named "California Political News & Views" also published an article on the issue. Titled "Sacramento Democtrats want foreign policy instead of Jobs" the article says: "The State of California is in a Depression-our real unemployment is in the 15% raise, taxes are high, businesses leaving the State, the pension system is collapsing. We have a $16.7 billion cash deficit... But Assemblyman Gatto has time to create a resolution giving California a foreign policy in re: Armenia and Azerbaijan!" The same blog has also published an article by Azerbaijan's Consul General in Los Angeles Aghayev entitled "California Legislature should not allow Armenian lobby to manipulate it into harming US foreign policy and national interests."
Two articles published by "Los Angeles Times" also highlight the issue. The articles' author Melanie Mason stresses that Nagorno-Karabakh is considered as part of Azerbaijan by the U.S. Government, "therefore the resolution diverges from the State Department at a particularly sensitive time, given the upheaval in eastern Ukraine." Placing comments under both articles, the LA Times readers have also expressed indignaton with the resolution suggesting to the California legislators to pay more attention to solving California's urgent problems instead of dealing with foreign policy.
The political blog specializing on ethnic separatism and conflicts "Springtime of Nations" also highlighted the biasedness of the resolution. An article published on the blog titled "California Assembly Passes Resolution Approving Ethnic Cleansing" lambasts the resolution. Informing the readers on the illegal military occupation and ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijan's lands by Armenia, as well as war crimes committed against Azerbaijanis civilians such as the Khojaly Massacre of 1992, the author notes that by passing this pro-Armenian resolution the California Assembly has only approved all these horrible crimes.