Yesterday Alexander Lapshin was extradited to Baku to face his fate.
A couple of months ago, Alexander Lapshin, a Russian Israeli blogger spoke out against Azerbaijan’s oppressive policies and for the independence of Artsakh aka Nagorno-Karabagh. Azerbaijan has already faced strong condemnation for its oppression of reporters and the ill treatment of their journalists. On the other issue, Artsakh is historical Armenian land that was given unjustly to Azerbaijan in the ‘20’s. It is now 100% Armenian populated and is fighting for independence. Lapshin saw this and spoke out.
In the middle of December an INTERPOL notice was issued for his arrest and extradition. He was arrested in Belarus. He was imprisoned for nearly 2 months waiting for his release. Finally the Belarus president, announced that he would extradite him. He added that he didn’t understand why there was a delay. It is also purported that Alexander was given an ultimatum to apologize and recant his words, which he did not. Lapshin filed to appeal the decision but to no avail. Yesterday he was extradited to Baku.
Globally, Armenians protested numerous times for his release, crying out for world attention. No change. Last Friday in Tel Aviv, Israelis protested in front of the Belarus embassy. Again to no avail. The pleas fell on deaf ears. In a bold statement, Nagorno-Karabagh President Spokesperson Davit Babayan said that Lapshin’s extradition is a “challenge” to Israel. Even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not done anything to change the situation.
In closing, I reflect on an event of recent days in the Caucaus region. A few days ago, an Azeri soldier was captured during an attempted infiltration operation into Artsakh (Karabagh). Upon learning of his capture, the Azeri army immediately disowned him as an inactive soldier. While his mother vouches that he is indeed an active soldier. If this is how they treat their own soldiers, then who’s to say how they will treat Lapshin.
Freedom should not be muzzled and free-speech will not be muzzled.
What will the Israeli government do? Is the risk of hurting the Azeri-Israeli relationship worth saving Lapshin?
Israeli Russian Jewish blogger, Alexander Lapshin did something brave, he crossed over from Azerbaijan to Artsakh aka Nagorno Karabagh and came out speaking for Artsakh’s Independence which automatically steps on Azeri toes. The Azeri’s were furious and wanted him arrested and extradited. In spite of the democratic façade, Azerbaijan is an oppressive regime and this is proof positive of that.
He is sitting now in a Belarus jail waiting for the next step. From what I understand Israel has intervened and he will not be extradited to Azerbaijan. This blogger has been saved from sure torture and probable death if he ended up in Azeri hands.
We must show our support and let our voices be heard for Alex Lapshin. He must be released. There is no crime in speaking the truth.
ISRAEL SHOULD NOT SELL AZERBAIJAN IRON DOME TECHNOLOGY
This past December Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev met in Azerbaijan to have discussions. Soon after we read the following headline in the news: Azerbaijan wants to purchase Iron Dome technology. Next day, it was a done deal.
When I read this headline, I asked myself do they realize the potential consequences of this deal? I marveled over this agreement for quite some time and concluded either Israel is extremely naive and careless or the political analysts don’t see beyond their noses.
This Technology is defensive but can embolden this regime
Can you guarantee the Iron Dome technology will not facilitate a war with Artsakh?
This Technology will be in Shiite hands.
Can you guarantee it won’t get in other Shiite hands?
In my strong outcry and numerous commentaries, I was reminded by members of the group, Israeli Armenian Solidarity, ‘Keren, it’s a defensive technology so you have nothing to worry about.’
I recall reading a couple of years ago after Operation Protective Edge, the UN told Israel to give Hamas ID Technology. I remember scratching my head when I read that, smirking at the absurdity. Why would Israel do that? Let Hamas not start wars and no one will need IDT.
So I came up with my follow up question. “Why doesn’t Israel sell this defense technology to Hamas?”
Don’t jump out of your seat! I know why. But can the reader start to empathize now why it’s a bad idea for Azerbaijan to buy this technology? Let me try to answer, but first let me give a little background.
We, who follow Middle East politics, know about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but is the public know about the Azerbaijan-Nagorno Karabagh conflict?
Let me explain it in a quick nutshell. Back in 1920’s about the same time Palestine was being discussed, the Caucus region was also discussed for drawing out borders. Stalin promised to give us, the Armenians our historic lands of Artskah aka Nagorno Karabagh and more to us. What did he do? Definitely not as he promised. Stalin divided up the lands in another way. He gave OUR historical lands to Azerbaijan.
There was bloodshed over the years including pogroms against Armenians who were living in Baku, reminiscent of the Hebron Massacre.
In 1991 when Armenia became independent of the Soviet Union about the same time we claimed Artsakh to be ours. At that point the Armenian population was very high. Today it’s one hundred percent and Azerbaijan does not want to let go of our lands. Hence our conflict.
The same way parts of Israel have been given to this false owners who dub themselves Palestinians, this territory land was given to Azerbaijan.
The ‘Palestinians’ or Hamas attack and break ceasefires – Azerbaijan the same. (We are in a ceasefire mode as I write today). Nearly every day Azerbaijan breaks the ceasefire, it is just too tempting from their high ground vantage point.
Muslim aggressors (Hamas and cronies) against Jews & in our case: Muslim aggressors against Christians.
As a side note but one that can not be neglected, there are many other parallels the most notable being: the Armenian and Jewish holocausts. Both of our peoples went through attempted annihilation. The Armenian Genocide in WWI and the Jewish Holocaust in WWII.
With that setting in mind, let’s go back in time a little – just a little. Last year in April 2016, Azerbaijan received a shipment of Israeli drones – THE VERY NEXT DAY, they started war with Nagorno Karabagh. The drones were used in kamikaze style and against the Geneva Convention laws. They killed civilians with these drones. Azerbaijan also committed war crimes by the horrendous murders and mutilations (including decapitations) Nagorno Karabagh soldiers. This is what I call the Hamas of the Caucuses.
Now fast forward to today, Azerbaijan wants the Iron Dome technology. Is an attack from Iran imminent? No. Azerbaijan will start a war with Armenians in Artsakh.
They want to finish the Armenian Genocide that their big sister, Turkey started a century ago. Israel I beseech you, Bibi and Likud, I beseech you to not sell Iron Dome technology to Azerbaijan. They will start a war with us.
Don’t be naive or careless. Rethink your analysis. You have been informed and God is awake and never slumbering. If Israel is to be a light to the nations as you are to be then stop being scared of saying no. Trying to wash your proverbial hands will not wash away the stains.
Knock, knock! Who’s there? Erdogan is knocking on Israel’s door. Shock! Surprise!! NOT! Turkey, with debacle after debacle now wants to restore relations with Israel. Oh really? After Erdogan’s military shot down a Russian jet, within hours Putin announced his first move, economic sanctions on Turkey, saying ‘We will not buy from you, rather we will buy from Israel.’
Stab and twist.
With Putin’s strong arm in Syria, the Russian military is coming out successful in efforts to obliterate ISIS/Daesh and frankly, Turkey is in the roost. Not only has Turkey been accused of aiding and financing ISIS/Daesh, who is one of the most evil & vile force in the world today, but Turkey is widely known to be connected to our enemy, Hamas. This factor must, absolutely be dealt with. Putin in a smart political move met with Netanyahu to show Erdogan and whoever else, this alliance is fortified. Now Erdogan wants to restore relations with Israel.
By the year’s end, the Israeli government will decide how to proceed with Turkey. What will the strategy be? Flotilla payoff? Unilateral or bilateral demands? Anything? BUT WAIT! Another door has been knocking in Israel for years!! Behind it the blood of over a millions Armenians is crying out to NOT BE forgotten. Israel needs jump on this opportune time and recognize the Armenian Genocide with no delay.
Why now? Clearly, Israel has the upper hand. What do we have to lose? Erdogan needs Israel…. Our way or the highway. And I boldly suggest they stipulate Turkey to finally come out and confess their dirty deed. Israel, in particular, the Holocaust people needed to make this announcement many years ago, but to our shame because of politics, i.e. Turkish & Azerbaijani relations we have NOT. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Grounds of politics LOCKED, on grounds of compassion UNLOCKED with a welcome mat. In recent months, the news over and over again exposed how the Grand Mufti who spurred on the king of the Nazis to burn the Jews was also a part of the Armenian Genocide, and when he became the Grand Mufti, it was he who went to Hitler and helped plot against the Jewish people. Do you see the connection? Of course then there’s the famous quote when Hitler said, ‘Who remembers what happen to the Armenians.’
It is clear that we are connected in more ways than one, with Azerbajian/Nagorno-Karabagh conflict (an Armenian populated region given by the soviets to the modern day Azeris) and the Israeli/’Palestinian’ conflict. Both a diaspora people who recently obtained a country again, respectively. And here we are again, shall we stand idly by?? With the outreach of Armenians visiting and building relations with Israel, Armenia has proven to be a good ally even though, through ignorance, we are on Azerbaijan’s arms vendor list.
Armenia is a thriving, ambitious young country whose numbers would have been exponentially greater had not their Genocide like for us, had our Holocaust not happened. Our histories’ similar, our plights’ alike and our conflicts unresolved… There have been many advocates: Rivlin, pre-presidential days was a strong proponent for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Edelstein has gone before the Knesset earlier this year, Israeli Greek Orthodox priest Naddaf is outspoken for this cause, in Nov Sassounian, an American Armenian editor brought forth a compassionate, logical plea, of course for years the Israeli Armenian Community has attempted to reach ear that will not hear, last week a delegation from Armenian visited Israel and finally we the people of Israel, stand up and ask for justice. Israel must put politics aside once and for all. Let us stand with the Armenian people whose motto is Never Forget and say Never Again our motto. The time is now to open the door and recognize the Armenian Genocide.
I implore the Israel government to take this opportunity and make history. Stop being embarrassed of what we haven’t done and make a wrong right and also to stipulate to Turkey in their time of desperation, that Turkey needs to confess what the Ottoman Empire committed against the Armenians. Let’s take it all the way…. Answer the door let the screaming blood of the dead be put to rest. The doors are knocking…. open them both and restore the dignity of the dead and demand from Turkey justice as we are a light to the nations. Why? Because righteousness and wisdom is our path…