BAKU, Azerbaijan, November 14. The 31st Summit of the League of Arab States was held in Algiers, the capital of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, on November 1-2, 2022 for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world, Trend reports.
At this difficult time for the world community, when, along with the epidemic, the world is shaken by a series of bloody conflicts, food and energy shortages, the leaders of 22 Arab countries gathered to discuss all these problems.
It's a fact that the Arab world is currently going through difficult times: civil wars in Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Libya, internal political turmoil in Lebanon and Iraq, the Palestinian problem, conflicts in North and West Africa, as well as numerous economic problems caused by rising energy and food prices, made it necessary to hold this long-delayed summit, where Arab leaders could express their vision for solving these problems, exchange views and resolve the differences among themselves.
For the first time in the organization's history, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Chairman-in-Office of the Non-Aligned Movement, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Chairman-in-Office of the African Union, President of Senegal Macky Sall and some others were invited to address the Summit as special guests, which demonstrates that Arab leaders see their and the world's problems in close cooperation with these organizations and the Movement (which includes most of the Arab states) whose authority and influence in the world remains quite high.
As is known, Azerbaijan has had observer status with the League of Arab States (LAS) since 2006, thus contributing to the successful development of relations both with this influential organization and each Arab country. No doubt, Azerbaijan's growing influence in the international arena after its election as chair of the Non-Aligned Movement in 2019 and winning the second Karabakh War, has resulted in Arab countries' increasing interest in mutually beneficial cooperation with Azerbaijan in various fields.
Azerbaijan's success as chair of the Non-Aligned Movement in addressing pressing global issues, including the equitable fund distribution to the world's poorest countries to combat coronavirus, has helped the Movement to regain its significance in the international arena.
Azerbaijan-Arab world relations have always been of utmost importance, given the common historical, cultural and religious ties. Back in Soviet times, a large number of students from Arab countries studied in Azerbaijan, where they retained good memories and felt at home, without any discrimination. Many in the Arab countries remember that the national leader Heydar Aliyev, during his years in the Politburo in 1983-1987, was in charge of relations with the Arab countries and did a lot for their all-around development.
Attaching importance to the development of ties between Azerbaijan and the Arab world, as well as the fact that the head of state chairing the Non-Aligned Movement had for the first time received an invitation from President of the Algerian People's Democratic Republic Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President Ilham Aliyev arrived in Algeria.
The date of the Summit coincided with the bank holiday of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria – Revolution Day, which is celebrated as the beginning of the armed struggle against the French colonialists for the independence of the country. According to the protocol adopted in Algeria, President Ilham Aliyev laid a wreath at the Martyrs Memorial. The monument is erected in Algiers in honor of the fallen in the 1954-1962 War of Independence.
The head of state then visited the National Museum of Moudjahid, where he familiarized himself with the history of the Algerian revolution. Afterward, President Ilham Aliyev attended the opening ceremony of the Summit, where he delivered an extended speech.
It has probably been a long time since LAS Summit participants heard a speech of such a level from a foreign leader, in which such a profound analysis of the situation in today's world, prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Arab countries, the role of the Non-Aligned Movement in the current stage of world development, as well as the situation in the South Caucasus region was given.
Referring to the situation in Azerbaijan and the region in the post-second Karabakh War period, President Ilham Aliyev drew some historical parallels between the Algerian War of Independence and the Karabakh wars, noting that both nations faced unprecedented brutality and barbarity killing numerous Azerbaijani and Algerian peoples.
The head of state highlighted the problems of post-Karabakh conflict reconstruction in Azerbaijan. He noted that the "Great Return" program which will ensure the return of nearly one million Azerbaijani refugees to their homes, is being implemented without any international assistance. The minefields on liberated lands pose a significant problem to the restoration of nearly 300 settlements destroyed by Armenian occupants.
While making a speech at the 31st Arab League Summit, President Ilham Aliyev condemned the double standards of the modern world. The Azerbaijani president noted that for more than 30 years Azerbaijan has been a victim of this policy when some powers were ignoring the fact of the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories. President Ilham Aliyev also noted that during the times of occupation Armenia completely destroyed 65 out of 67 mosques and grazed pigs on the ruins of sanctuaries, which is "a reflection of the Islamophobic essence of the terrorist Armenian state".
In his speech, President Ilham Aliyev did not fail to share his impressions and feelings after visiting the National Museum of Moudjahid and reminded of the times of French colonialism, when in order to keep Algeria in their hands the colonial authorities waged war against the local population for almost 100 years. As the President of Azerbaijan said: "Mass atrocities committed by France against the people of Algeria, something the world should never forget".
President Ilham Aliyev praised relations between Azerbaijan and the LAS countries, as well as the role played by the Arab world in the Non-Aligned Movement. Taking this opportunity, he invited the heads of Arab states to participate in the Non-Aligned Movement Summit to be held in Baku in March 2023.
The focal point of the Azerbaijani president's speech was an assessment of the modern world situation, and the selective implementation of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. He underscored that four UNSC resolutions regarding Azerbaijan, which required Armenia to liberate the occupied Azerbaijani territories, were ignored and not implemented, remaining on paper for 'almost 30 years'.
Such a brilliant and memorable speech by the Azerbaijani President at such a high-profile forum could not fail to attract the attention of both friends and foes of our country. The echo of President Ilham Aliyev's Algiers speech kicked the hornets' nest of Azerbaijan's enemies.
The first to raise their voices were some French parliamentarians, "intensively" preparing for 15 November 2022, when the French Senate (at the initiative of the Armenian lobby) will discuss an anti-Azerbaijani resolution. These "advocates" of freedom and democracy, who love to mix the principles of the Great French Revolution "freedom, equality, fraternity" with racist and Islamophobic statements, suddenly became concerned about the image of France, which, in their opinion, "suffered" from the truth expressed by the head of the Azerbaijani state, touching on atrocities by the French colonial authorities in Algeria during the Algerians' struggle for independence.
These diaspora-paid Armenian lobbyists, who are not satisfied with their own agenda of attacking Azerbaijan and Türkiye, have finally realized that the truth about their country's colonial past is totally out of proportion with their image as "defenders" of Christianity in the East, which they hide behind while talking about events in the distant South Caucasus.
It is no secret that the French colonial authorities first brutally suppressed the peaceful Algerian protests for independence, and then launched a bloody, all-out war, using aircraft, tanks and punitive forces. Then, defeated and forced out of Algeria in 1962, the French authorities even abandoned the Algerian collaborators who had fought on their side to their fate, denying them the right of asylum in France.
And now, having heard the whole truth about all the "machinations" of the French colonialists in Algeria from the head of Azerbaijan, the French parliamentarians are afraid that their voters, among whom there are Muslims, will demand an account of their selective approach towards Turks and Muslims and the reasons that prompted them to discuss events in the distant South Caucasus, when there are many problems in France itself, including rampant racism and xenophobia.
These gentlemen are now silent about what happened back then in Algeria, which as a French colony underwent barbaric destruction and genocide only because the Muslim Algerians did not want to be more obedient slaves to the colonialists. Indeed, we would like to remind these "zealots" of false Christian morality of the words of the Bible, which they like to trumpet every time they talk about the "poor fluffy" Armenian people, subjected to "aggression" by bloodthirsty "Turks": "Judge not, that ye be not judged: for with the judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you measure, it will be measured to you".
The truth of President Ilham Aliyev's statement provoked an extremely negative reaction from the Armenian side, which got used to snatching significant political and financial dividends by fawning over wealthy Muslim countries. Having long played on the historical past and a certain antipathy towards the Ottoman Empire in the Arab world, Armenian politicians managed to inflame anti-Turkish sentiments in the Arab countries, which created tension in bilateral relations.
Taking advantage of the fact that many of the Armenian diaspora from the Levant and Iraq successfully settled in the influential Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf, where, due to their knowledge of the Arabic language and cunning, Armenian politicians have always regarded the Arab world as their backyard. Meantime, the Armenian diaspora coped with pitting Arabs, Kurds, Iranians, Sunnis and Shiites, using the divide-and-conquer principle to their advantage.
Thus, President Ilham Aliyev's speech at the LAS Summit in Algeria opened the eyes of many Arab leaders, who had hitherto believed in the "sincere sympathy" of Armenian leaders for Muslims and Arabs. For a long time, under the cover of false slogans about brotherhood and "respect" for Islamic values, Armenian diplomacy assured the representatives of Arab and Muslim countries that they "value" the tolerant attitude towards Armenians living in those countries and therefore "cherish" Muslim values and shrines, including in the occupied Azerbaijani territories.
However, after the liberation of these territories, representatives of international organizations and Muslim countries were convinced of the "truth" of the Armenian admonitions when they visited these territories and saw with their own eyes that the occupiers had literally swept away everything that reminded them of the presence of the Azerbaijani population there.
Armenian propaganda has long assured the Armenian people that, with a small exception (meaning Türkiye), most Muslim and Arab countries are 'sympathetic' to Armenia and do not 'support' Azerbaijan. However, they were silent about the fact that since the 1994 OIC summit in Casablanca, OIC member countries at all their summits and meetings unanimously adopted resolutions unequivocally condemning the occupation of Azerbaijani territories, demanding the withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces and recognizing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, including the Karabakh region.
President Ilham Aliyev's historic speech at the LAS Summit in Algeria so alarmed the Armenian leadership, fearing that official Yerevan immediately tried to reject the Islamophobic accusations made therein. Fearful that President Ilham Aliyev's brilliant speech with specific facts of the occupiers' barbaric attitude towards Azerbaijani Muslims and the Islamic religion would open the eyes of the Arab public, end the Armenian monopoly on its "exclusive" role in the Arab world and change the attitude of Arab leaders towards the occupying country, the Armenian leaders immediately tried to deny all the facts presented and publicly assert their unfailing "brotherly" feelings towards Muslim peoples, while using all available platforms both at home and abroad.
The first to do so was Armenian President Vahagn Khachatryan, who has no influence on Armenian politics at all, playing the role of a "wedding general" to avoid repeating the fate of his unsuccessful predecessor A. Sargsyan, who instantly lost his high office after attempts to oust Prime Minister N. Pashinyan. Using the opportunity of the UN climate conference in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh, the Armenian president went there to repair Armenia's sharply damaged image in the Arab world.
Armenia has "excelled" in environmental terror, deliberately polluting the Kura and Araz rivers with mining waste. However, the Armenian president was never concerned about climate issues. He immediately tried to meet the Arab leaders, who were still recently at the LAS Summit in Algeria, to explain himself and change their minds after they had heard the whole truth about the Armenian "love" for Muslims.
Prime Minister of Lebanon Najib Mikati, whose government depends on the support of the Armenian parties Dashnaktsutyun, Hnchak and Ramkavar, was the first to fall for Vahagn Khachaturyan. During his conversation, the Armenian president tried to persuade the Lebanese premier (a Sunni Muslim by faith) that the "sympathies" for Islam are traditionally strong in Armenia and that all the claims he made against the Armenian side regarding Islamophobia have no basis at all. But he was silent about one fact: there are simply no Muslims left in Armenia, they were all expelled back in 1988, their cultural heritage monuments have been destroyed and the only remaining mosque in Yerevan exists only as an object of worship for Iranian friends.
Khachaturyan's next interlocutor was Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid, whom he attempted to deceive by playing on the Kurdish origin of his colleague and repeating the well-known arguments of official Yerevan that the Karabakh conflict arose from the Armenian minority's struggle for "the right of a nation to self-determination", thus hinting that Iraqi Kurds have the same rights, calling for the collapse of the Iraqi state. Such ill-informed and dangerous statements by the Armenian president could hardly please official Baghdad, which is struggling to contain the separatists in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In an attempt to play on anti-Turkish sentiments, V. Khachaturyan repeated old Armenian accusations against Türkiye. The official head of the Armenian state did not calm down and granted an audience with LAS Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who tried to assure him that all the Azerbaijani mosques in the liberated lands were allegedly destroyed during the Soviet era. Armenian propagandists should be reminded that since 1985, the USSR has pursued a policy of "perestroika", which ended all persecution of religion, including Islam. Many religious sites were returned to communities and restored, including in Azerbaijan, where many mosques and sanctuaries were still in operation even during the Soviet era.
Prime Minister Pashinyan decided to keep up with his protégé and understood the threat to Armenia's interests from President Ilham Aliyev's truth which opened many eyes to the real attitude of official Yerevan towards Islam and Muslims. Pashinyan's recent speeches have shown that after the Azerbaijani president's speech in Algeria, the Armenian side has literally gone into hysterics and lost all orientation in space, afraid of losing all its ties with the Arab and Muslim countries, which they cover themselves with as a shield when they need it. Apparently, the advisers explained to Prime Minister Pashinyan the danger that Armenia might finally be left alone and that no influential diaspora would help it.
Feeling that the ground is slipping away and Armenia is losing its last foothold in the Muslim world, the Armenian leader began to be hysterical and babble gibberish which causes nothing but laughter.
Armenian propaganda attempted to comment unsuccessfully on President Ilham Aliyev's speech by claiming that he was stirring up anti-Armenian sentiment among Muslim countries but missed the mark as always since there was nothing against the Armenian people in that speech, but only stated facts and evidence of crimes committed by the Armenian military and political leadership who unleashed a bloody conflict.
It is certain that the echo of President Ilham Aliyev's Algiers speech touched Armenian politicians so much, causing them to go into a "Saint Vitus dance" that the truth about their atrocities had once again become public and that all Muslims in the world would understand the truth happening in the South Caucasus for more than 30 years. But no matter how psychotic the Armenian leaders are, they will not be able to hide the extent of the barbaric destruction and desecration of Muslim holy sites in the formerly occupied Azerbaijani territories.
It is not for nothing that President Ilham Aliyev's speech shocked his Arabian colleagues so much that Armenia's image among Muslim states has fallen to the bottom of the barrel and no amount of meetings and speeches will raise it anymore.