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Armenia did nothing to improve gay/minority/women’s rights, getting $2.6B

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EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi said he has brought a financial package “as a present” to Armenia, claiming “they will have growth, they will have jobs, and a stronger and more resilient economy.” (Photo: en.armradio.am)

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While Europe is known to systematically apply double standards when it comes to the State of Israel, the Jewish state is not the only victim of such treatment. It was just recently reported that the European Union will be offering Armenia an aid package, which includes 2.6 billion euros over the next five years. 

According to Eurasia News, “The aid is part of a package for the EU’s six post-Soviet Eastern Partnership countries, though Armenia’s share far outweighs what many other countries will receive.” For many, this highlights Europe’s double standards.     

Ukraine, which has a population of 44 million compared to the fewer than 3 million in Armenia and which has also had a bloody conflict over the Crimea, is getting 1.9 billion euros. 

Azerbaijan, whose lands were illegally occupied by Armenia over the course of 30 years in violation of international law, is only getting 140 million euros. 

One must ponder the wisdom in Europe giving so much money to Armenia compared to other post-Soviet states. Although the European Union claimed this was their reward for holding elections, the mere existence of elections alone is not sufficient to merit so much financial aid. 

After all, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the mullahs in Tehran, Hitler and so many other tyrants originally rose to power via elections.  

Thus, what matters is not whether Armenia holds elections, but rather the policies promoted by the Armenian government and whether they are in accordance with international norms for human rights, minority rights, women’s rights, and gay rights. And when it comes to all these points, the Armenian government has failed miserably. 

During a recent visit to Karabakh, I witnessed firsthand Armenia’s destruction of the Karabakh region. 

According to Human Rights Watch, during the Second Karabakh War, “The Armenian forces carried out indiscriminate attacks, launching unguided artillery rockets and firing heavy artillery shells and ballistic missiles on population centers, including in some places where there were no evident military targets, causing civilian deaths and injuries. The Armenian military also used banned cluster munitions in populated areas, resulting in dozens of civilian casualties.”

In Sultanya, an entire village was left in ruin. All that remained was a monument to Soviet soldiers, which was also in horrific condition. In Shusha, I saw that a palace that belonged to an Azerbaijani national poet was destroyed by the Armenians, as was the local newspaper, the local bank, and numerous other sites within the city. Although there were Armenians who lived in Shusha, they lived among the ruins instead of rebuilding the city.  

In other cities like Fizouly and Aghdam, the Armenians destroyed everything, leaving these cities as ghost towns. 

In Aghdam, the Armenians did not even spare a historic tea house and the Bread Museum, which was a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There was also a mural that lay in ruins, surrounded by debris. A local mosque was left without a roof on it and was terribly damaged inside, only to be rebranded as an Iranian mosque.  

As we traveled across Karabakh, we saw nothing but ruined homes, uprooted trees, and burnt agricultural fields. In fact, the fires left by the retreating Armenian military were so bad that some of them were still raging on during our visit. On top of that, the roads were left in terrible shape, thus causing numerous car accidents, and making people sick. The bus that we traveled in also got into an accident, leaving us in a landmine infested area for several hours, until we were rescued by the Azerbaijani military and government.   

However, due to the accident, we did not make it to a local river, where Armenian pollution has literally killed off all the rare fish living in it and rendered the water unusable, both for drinking and agriculture. In fact, when the Armenians retreated, they did not even have mercy on their own cows. They slaughtered them all, leaving the corpses for the Azerbaijanis to clean up. 

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Considering this, one must ponder, what does Europe got to gain by giving so much aid to Armenia? It appears that during all the years that Europe invested in Armenia, they did absolutely nothing to promote women’s rights, gay rights, minority rights, the environment or even rebuild Karabakh following the First Karabakh War for the benefit of their own settlers.  

Interestingly, the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the main beneficiaries of Europe’s aid package to Armenia. According to Armenian Infrastructure Minister Suren Papikyan, 600 million euros will be directed towards the creation of a new north-south highway to the Iranian border, which Iranian companies are also seeking to take part in constructing. 

In other words, European funds are being utilized to strengthen Armenia’s link to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is presently ruled by a cruel hardline dictator known as the “executioner of Tehran.” Considering this is the case, European money is just being used to make Armenia into an even greater proxy of Iran than it is today. Like all proxies of Iran, they do not really do much to help make life in Armenia better for its citizens. Thus, the Iranians and not the average Armenian will benefit from this aid. 

Indeed, Europe giving so much money to Armenia is against its vital security interests and once again highlights how Europe has a double standard, where they are merely supporting Armenia because they are Christians who fought against a predominately Muslim country. There is no other explanation for them giving Armenia so much money if bigotry does not stand behind such double standards. For when it comes to every value that Europe stands for, whether its minority rights, women’s rights, gay rights or human rights, Armenia is a failed state.

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

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