By Edmond Y. Azadian
It looks like Azerbaijan’s caviar diplomacy is paying off in certain political quarters. The Azeri government has been always eager to shed Armenian blood. The world witnessed the Azeri government pardon and promote an Azeri soldier Ramil Safarov, who had killed a sleeping Armenian soldier, Gurgen Margaryan, in Budapest in 2006, while both were participating in a NATO training program.
In 1920, 30,000 Armenians were massacred in cold blood by the Azeri militia and the mob led by Jahanshir Bahbut Khan, who in turn was later assassinated by Missak Torlakian in Istanbul.
As the Soviet empire was crumbling, the Azerbaijani officials took advantage of the ensuing chaos to organize pogroms of Armenians in Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad and Khanlar on February 26-29, 1988. Azerbaijani authorities, with the collusion of Soviet forces, organized a rampage in the Armenian quarter of Sumgait, called Operation Ring, brutally massacring the Armenians.
Incidentally, the Armenians in Azerbaijan had been amongst the affluent classes, because they had excelled in the fields of education, science, industry and the arts. In a few months, a community numbering 400,000 was expelled from the country, leaving behind their homes, institutions and churches to be looted by the mob.
To cover up these atrocities and to counter the adverse publicity, the Azerbaijani government has been trumpeting the “Khojaly genocide” of 1992. Initially, the Azeri victims of Khojaly numbered slightly more than 100, however, as the propaganda grew louder, the casualties climbed to the current 600. The event has been politicized and Azerbaijan does not miss any opportunities to use it against Armenia.