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Letter to the Editor, Times-Dispatch:
(in regards to the letter printed in Aug. 17 issue in the Correspondent of the Day section, http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/letters-to-the-editor/2011/aug/17/tdopin01-correspondent-of-the-day-ar-1242683/ )

As an American, I am concerned about foreign aid given to dictatorships like that of Azerbaijan that are not only undemocratic but work with enemies of the United States. I am also concerned about misinformation spread by supporters of Azerbaijan here in the United States.

A case in point is today’s letter to the Times-Dispatch by Tarana Musayeva, which appears to be a variant of a form letter sent by Azerbaijan’s supporters recently to other American newspapers like the Baltimore Sun or the Beacon-News.  Musayeva and the authors of the original form letter conveniently overlook the fact that Afghan, Chechen and other Muslim fighters or mujahideen joined forces with Azerbaijanis in a bloody war attempting to crush the legitimate right of self-determination of the Christian Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. This region, majority Armenian in population, was forcibly annexed to predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan as part of a divisive Soviet nationalities policy advanced by Stalin.

Meanwhile, whatever one thinks of American policies in Afghanistan or Iraq, it cannot be denied that Armenia has sent troops to join US and NATO forces in both countries.  While American foreign policy should not necessarily be linked to cultural and religious commonalities, it should be noted that Armenia has had close relations with the West since medieval times. Yet as a small country in an often politically unstable region, Armenia has no choice but to attempt to maintain good relations with its neighbors, including Iran. It is unfair and incendiary, though, to claim without substantiation that Armenia is involved in illegal arms and drug trafficking.

Consequently, US aid to Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia should be maintained at their current levels. Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act of 1992 should also be maintained because of the continuing blockade of Armenia and Karabakh by Azerbaijan and the latter’s ally Turkey.

Sincerely,

Aram Arkun
Henrico

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