I can hold both worlds, but this world won't hold me...

NASIMI
The great Azerbaijani poet and philosopher




Analysis of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act


SOME WORDS FROM THE AUTHOR

Our green planet is so large and unique that it is not up to single creature to take up governing it. At first sight, it looks like nature has divided everything fairly and proportionately among the people so they could reasonably share things among themselves, benefit from what they possess, save unused resources for "rainy days." But in reality, the human being is insatiated, he wants more, more than is plausibly needed. It does not only concern food, but finds its good reflection in strife for power and dominance over others. This is the point where the great planet grows sizably smaller, the people give up sharing with each other, trying to grab each other's holdings instead. This is exactly where wisdom and justice fall well behind the personal interest, and money starts "talking" loudly. This is when the strong pushes the weak, and it does until the latter becomes so small and faint that there is nothing to push more already.

INTRODUCTION

This paper focuses on ethical issues in the US Congress in the context of "dirty hands." As the country number one in many respects, the USA has a great role in the world politics, processes going on all around the world, and any other developments that may be the case in terms of fair attitude and treatment. The USA has a fabulous tradition of taking an active part in the above-mentioned spheres of human activity, and I personally encourage such participation.

It is not a secret that the United States of America claims to be the personification of democracy, and the shield-holder of human rights-- nor is it strange that this country pays its greatest attention to these issues also outside the USA. Trying to build relevant institutions in various parts of the world, the USA is seen to act as a protector of democratic values that were created and further developed by the humankind. Now, let us seek to answer such a question: is that really so, or does it seem so? I hope the below will enable us to find meaningful answers to this strict and straightforward question.


WHAT IS THE US CONGRESS EXACTLY DOING??

Winter, 1992.. A year of wars and ethnic conflicts in many areas of the world-- Bosnia, Somali, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan. Each of these given areas has a lot to talk about. I will be touching upon Azerbaijan-- my Motherland, a tiny country which is hardly visible in a world atlas.

Ask me if this has anything to do with the US Congress. However unfortunate it is, this does. Despite the different geographic locations, Congress did not miss the opportunity to act as a judge in the international court in the matters pertaining to Azerbaijan and its domestic issues. The US Congress adopted Section 907 to the FSA (the Freedom Support Act) which imposes an embargo on Azerbaijan until the government thereof lifts all blockades to, and relieves the pressure on, Armenia and the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. In nature, the FSA bears a kind and noble purpose of helping out newly independent countries- in the former Soviet Union in particular. By doing so, Congress de facto deprived Azerbaijan among all other twelve former Soviet republics of the right to get the US aid on the governmental level. It predicted the US foreign policy makers bad precedent of taking sides in conflicts which might have deep historical roots. Not caring about the actual situation and with no appropriate analyses of the ongoing ethnic conflict, Congress acted very hastily under the full pressure of Armenian lobbyists who continuously insisted on enactment of such a clause to the FSA. This, in my humble mind, is extremely unethical at least because:

  • - as implied above, one of the conflicting sides was ultimately and unambiguously supported, while the other side was punished severely;
  • - the punished side was not ever considered to be aggressor by any world organization such as the UNO, OSCE, etc.;
  • - the war was going in the territory of the punished side-- such territory had been recognized by series of countries in the world, including the USA itself, after the immediate collapse of the USSR which led to independence of respective countries;
  • - as already stated, no researches or analyses had been carried out prior to enacting this clause. To put it in simple terms, the activity of Congress was directly manipulated by Armenian lobbyists and served to the latter's political interests that are totally unjust and inequitable.
Thus, all these reasons considerably undermine the relevance and acceptability of Section 907, and point out the reality that decisions taken by the Congress do not at all lie in the truth and objective portrayal of particular situations, but reflect the ambitions of those who act according to the principles of "the early bird catches the worm," or "I'm smarter than anyone else." Once again, this is unethical-- not mentioning the incorrectness of the political decisions which may bear historic significance and responsibility from the part of the decision-maker.

For the sake of true honesty, and willing to realize that the people in Congress are unbelievably ignorant of anything-- even up to the extent of not knowing how to spell the names of the countries concerned, I personally expected that Congress would in the future attempt to take a fair position towards Azerbaijan. Congress had a real opportunity to alter this mistake last year, in 1995, when the Clinton Administration decided to reconsider and relieve all existing US bans on each affected country in the world. The people of Azerbaijan had no doubt that Section 907 would be definitely lifted-- there were very good reasons for such assumption since the country had opened its doors to America and the Western nations, the US investment was being put into the economy of the country through a number of transnational oil companies, bilateral cooperation was reaching the top level, two countries were exchanging expertise in scientific fields, elements of democracy were gaining strength, the republic was steadily, even though slowly, moving toward market economy, etc. However... in spite of all these positive changes that had been happening in Azerbaijan, no slightest changes were seen in the face of the US Congress. There were exactly the same scenario, the same actors, the same prompters. Congress again proved out to be "loyal" and "obedient" to what strong and well-organized circles showed them to do and how. The ban remained in force-- this frustrating news shocked all Azerbaijanis everywhere in the world. "How come?!" the people thought, "What else has to be done so the US will quit treating us so ugly?? Is the US foreign policy completely based on the activity of the Armenian lobbyists? Why not just be impartial after all? We are being killed, we are being kicked off from our homes and lands, and we are found guilty?! So the Caspian oil is too good to miss, but the life of innocent refugees is not important?! Where is democracy, justice, and respect to human rights that this country is claiming to carry?!" No answers could be found to the above questions of the people who had naively anticipated something good from the US policy-makers. In the absence of answers to so many questions, one more question arose: Can't the United States of America do a favor to anyone it wants to do without necessarily hurting Azerbaijan? Of course, it can. Who cares if Armenia is getting one of the greatest US aid in the world? They have tough conditions too, there are refugees there too due to the outflow of resources for the purpose of undeclared war inflicted to the neighboring country, and terrible domestic policy of their government. Let them have it. Why then discriminate another country only because the preferred one hates it? Once again, Azerbaijan was cruelly discriminated among twelve newly independent nations within the former Soviet Union. Enjoying the status of super-power, especially after getting rid of the USSR which the US always considered to be the communist evil, the United States of America could not but feel absolutely free to take irresponsible actions with no due regard to the international organizations. The Security Council of the United Nations has adopted several resolutions (No. 822, 853, and 884), condemning the Armenian aggression and demanding immediate withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories. These historical documents were, in simple terms, completely disregarded by Congress that imperturbably adopted Section 907. Thus, Azerbaijan is officially considered by the Security Council of the UN to be the country facing aggression, but at the same time, Congress denies humanitarian aid to it-- not mentioning the fact that the volume of the US aid to the aggressing country gets maximally increased. By the way, while speaking about the war, I would like to say a word about how the US aid is being utilized in Armenia. As an aggressor-country, Armenia delivers a lot of food supplies as well as military equipment to the front-line where its troops are deployed. There are hundreds of evidences and proofs of many kinds justifying the presence of the US humanitarian aid on the plain fields where battles are going on. Armenian soldiers, dizzy of their successes due to the well-mobilized and well-equipped army, do not hesitate to open cans containing American food right on the battleground, and eat it when he feels hungry. So now you can imagine where Congress directs Americans' money. This is the money that Americans are required to pay in the form of tax under the law, and that money finds its way all around the battlefields where innocent civilians are being massacred. This happens due to the notorious policy of the US Congress that demonstrates virtual political prostitution with respect to such vital issues as the human rights, democracy, and peace. Again, this is extremely unethical to punish the country which is facing aggression, and has more than one million displaced people-- women and children, while encouraging an aggressor by supplying so-called humanitarian aid to it.

Let us think on why Congress is so easily manipulated by ambitious political circles? This is because some Members of Congress become elected due to the well-organized lobbying activity of those circles-- their activity includes many things, e.g. a productive and active participation in pre-election campaign for respective nominees, fund-raising activity for this purpose, going homes to praise the candidates, etc. By doing so, they bring those candidates to the posts, and expect them to do a "favor" to them. For example, US Rep. George P. Radanovich (R-California) is one of those antipodes. Upon his election to Congress, he made a statement like "I support Karabakh, you have a friend in Congress." At first sight, nothing seems wrong with it. But if take a more careful look at what is hiding behind these words, one can get certainly scared. He is not the only "happy-boy," there is a big list of anti-Azerbaijani spirited Members of Congress who are working day and night with their Armenian counterparts (mainly ANCA which stands for the Armenian National Committee of America), seeking how to hurt Azerbaijan-- that is, the worse for Azerbaijan, the better for Armenia. Just recently, on January 26, President Clinton signed foreign aid bill, which contained the provision weakening the ban on Azerbaijan, meanwhile providing $85 million earmark for Armenia. However, some Congressmen-- Pallone, Visclovsky, John Porter, again Radanovich and 43 other members of the House hastily cosigned a letter urging President Clinton "not to exercise any waiver and to continue to uphold the existing law." Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is Chairman of the Foreign Operations Committee, and one of the four individuals by whom the respective document must be signed before the aid goes to Azerbaijan, angrily declared about his intention to oppose such a waiver. These politicians have only one goal-- to serve their Armenian bosses whom they own a lot. They do not care about justice, human rights, fair treatment, and determination of any nation in terms of democracy. They are political prostitutes-- I think this is a very good terminology which got into the political dictionaries thanks to the US Congress. Representative Ron Wyden, who "looks forward to working with the Armenian-American community," also has his name in this list.

Congress does not feel satisfied with what it has done so far, and continues its efforts in the direction of point-blank and limitless intervention into the domestic issues of Azerbaijan. The President Kocharian of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which has neither de facto, nor de jure been recognized by any unit of the international law, and/or by any country (even Armenia has no guts to officially recognize this "sister" (nation), paid a visit to the USA. The US officials gave him a status of "a special guest." He held a meeting with a large group of the US Members of Congress at top levels. The Members of Congress seemed to be competing with each other in "being nice" to him. They did not care that "the United Nations and the Security Council, explicitly and unequivocally, agreed that Nagorno-Karabakh is, and must be an integral part of Azerbaijan." (Yashar Aliyev, the 48th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations) This is also a part of the primary state policy of the United States. Already spitting on such state policy, they gave a mouthful of promises to their "special" guest, praising him for his will to keep on the same track. Once again, this is unethical to talk to and prioritize someone who is leading the occupational army which kicked off innocent civilians, "...looting and torching vacant villages in their wake." (Steve Levine, "When the Victim Becomes the Bully, Armenia: Winning is Bad for its Reputation," Newsweek, Nov. 29, 1994) It's very heart-breaking to go further with more facts and details....


CONCLUSION

So, what is going to be the future for the Azerbaijani people? Endless war? Continuous occupation of their historical lands? Humiliating and unjust sanctions imposed by the US Congress, and supply of foods to killers so they could eat properly and drink as much Coke as they want to get energy for further holocaust of innocent people? Instead of playing its positive role in this conflict, Congress, as the major policy-making tool of the USA, is instigating the war by taking sides and discriminating others. How long will this political prostitution last? Is there any cure for that?

I don't know..





Niyazi Mamedov

Master of Public Administration
Worked as translator for British Petroleum


Used with exclusive permission from the author.
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