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It has been over 60 days since the Armenia-Azerbaijan war ended on November 10, with a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement. With a few exceptions, the ceasefire has held, which is by itself a major achievement, considering how devastating the 44-day-war was, with military casualties of over 6,000 on both sides. Also, during this time, many ethnic Armenians have returned to Nagorno-Karabakh, and Azerbaijan has started implementing measures to demine and rebuild the liberated areas to enable hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis to return to their villages, towns and cities after nearly 30 years of forcible displacement.

Nevertheless, some hotheads in Armenia still harbor feelings of revanchism, hoping to restore the pre-war status quo, which would require the reinvasion of the city of Shusha, Hadrut and other liberated areas, not to mention an even more devastating and costly war for Armenia. They have even started spreading rumors on Armenian social media that with snow melting in spring, Armenia will start a new war against Azerbaijan. Considering that over 90 percent of Armenia’s military capacity has been decimated during the war, these hotheads hope that Russia, which has 2000 peacekeepers in the region, will come to their aid in a new war. …


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Pro-Trump protesters storm past police into the Capitol. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

At approximately 3 p.m. Washington time on January 6, elected members of Congress were forced to hide in their Capitol offices wearing gas masks as thousands of Trump supporters invaded the historic center of American democracy.

As of Wednesday night, a San Diego woman had been shot and killed, and three other people died of medical emergencies. Seventeen police officers were injured, and 52 people arrested.

Just before the mob stormed the Capitol, President Donald Trump spoke at a rally nearby, telling angry supporters, “We are going to walk down to the Capitol.”

Trump did not march with his mob, of course. Instead, a s the violence unfolded, he was hiding out-of-sight in the White House, tweeting mixed messages to the rioters that earlier he had incited to march to the Capitol. …


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Former national security adviser Michael Flynn exits a vehicle as he arrives for his sentencing hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

I was in an elevator in the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco with former California Gov. Pat Brown during the 1964 Republican Convention. Also in the elevator among about ten others was a reporter who asked Brown what he thought of the Barry Goldwater-dominated GOP Presidential Convention being held in the city’s cavernous “Cow Palace.”

Brown’s reply became famous: “The stench of fascism is in the air.”

He is long gone, as is the object of his political scorn — Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona. But Goldwater did what no one predicted he could following his electoral burial by President Lyndon Johnson. …


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Expanded map of Russian peacekeeping mission as of Dec. 13, 2020

The November 10th ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan experienced the most significant test a few days ago. On December 12, Azerbaijani troops responded to a couple of instances of Armenian irregulars, who are still hiding in the liberated areas, firing on Azerbaijani troops killing four Azerbaijanis. According to Armenian side, 6 Armenian soldiers were wounded.

After this incident, on December 13 Russia extended the area of its peacekeeping mission to include new areas. It caused much uproar in Baku as apparently such expansion was done by Russia unilaterally. …


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Rep. Kevin McCarthy ‘s status as House Minority leader is supposed to be important, strategic and an inspiration to the entire national Republican Party.

The Grand Old Party has produced historic leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, William McKinley, Dwight Eisenhower, Earl Warren, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, among others. But McCarthy just proved he is not among those giants.

The representative from Bakersfield added his name to those of 125 other Republicans in Congress in support of the stupidest case ever presented to the United States Supreme Court.

The case must have been written with crayons by sixth graders in some rural Texas schoolhouse. It complained that Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin conducted the Presidential election under rules that differed from those in Texas and therefore 10 million votes should be thrown out. …


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An Armenian priest holding a rifle in an attempt to frame the conflict with Azerbaijan in religious terms. The photo was advertised by Armenian Foreign Ministry starting from the first day of the 44-day-war: https://twitter.com/armenia/status/1310165919344320513/photo/1

The 44-day-war between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended on November 10 with a Russian-brokered ceasefire and a new geopolitical configuration for this strategic region located between Russia, Iran and Turkey. The region is the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road and new East-West, North-South transport links. It is a crucial area for the United States and the world at large.

During the war, we saw myriad attempts to frame this conflict as a Christian-Muslim war. Such propaganda came primarily from Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who labeled the conflict as a war between Christian and Muslim civilizations. It also came from some Armenian organizations and their allies in the U.S. and Europe. To back up these claims, the Armenian propaganda machine and its supporters constantly promoted the hyped-up claims about “Islamist jihadists” from Syria fighting on the Azerbaijani side. The Armenian side or their friends have not been able to provide a shred of credible evidence buttressing these claims about Syrian mercenaries. …


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Yogi Berra, the baseball Hall of Famer, is more famous for things he said over the years than playing baseball. “It’s Deja Vu all over again” may be the best example.

Laughingly, or sadly, it reflects what President Trump has been doing since voters rejected four more years of his show. Trump’s landslide wipeout in the Electoral College votes — 306 to 232 — is exactly what Trump-defined as a “ landslide” victory in 2016.

This same situation occurred in another national election in 2006, though not here in the United States. It was in our southern neighbor Mexico.

The 70-year-long quasi-dictatorship and world-class corruption of the ruling political party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), was soundly ended in 2006 by the popular Vicente Fox-led political party of the center right, the free market PAN party. In fact, the PRI ran a pathetic third — so pathetic that it was beaten by the upstart leftist Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD) led by ultra-leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO. …


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My grandfather was a wise man. He was a lifelong construction worker, a union man. His “dichos,” or sayings, influenced my childhood and made me what I am today.

He was a staunch Democrat, a supporter of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman until Dwight Eisenhower ran for President. He switched back to the Democratic Party with Catholic John F. Kennedy, then voted for Barry Goldwater in 1964, and Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972, his last election.

Even though he mostly voted Republican after 1964, he remained a Democrat.

When I asked him why he bounced around so much politically, he answered with one of his life’s…


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President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and President Vladimir Putin of Russia sign on November 10, 2020 the Armenia-Azerbaijan-Russia joint statement. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia refused to sign it publically together with the two other leaders, opting for a private signing.

On November 10, Armenian, Russian and Azerbaijani leaders agreed to a ceasefire in Karabakh and a peace deal. If fully implemented, this deal will end the 30-year-long conflict, which is in fact Europe’s most intractable conflict.

First, briefly on the conflict background: Since the early 1990s, Armenia has occupied nearly 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory, ethnically cleansing all the occupied areas of their indigenous Azerbaijani population. As a result, over a million Azerbaijanis today are displaced in their own country, living as internal refugees/IDPs (internally displaced people). The UN Security Council and General Assembly condemned this illegal occupation, demanding Armenian forces to be withdrawn from the occupied areas of Azerbaijan. Armenia simply ignored the resolutions, and great powers did nothing to force Armenia to comply with the international law. Peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan during the last 26 years, mediated by Russia, U.S. and France, led to nowhere, primarily because of Armenia’s intransigence to release any occupied area from its occupation and its demands to establish a second Armenian state at the expense of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory. Finally, a series of provocations by the current Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, led to increased tension and outbreak of violence on Sep. 27, which turned out to be the worst armed confrontation between the two countries since the 1994 ceasefire. Azerbaijan responded to Armenia’s attacks. …


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Scene from Barda, Azerbaijan that was hit by dozens of Armenian missiles on October 28, 2020 killing and wounding many civilians. First responders carrying the body of one of the victims.

It was the first time I ever used my smartphone to record an interview. I play the interview in my head now and then because I was stunned when the young woman I was interviewing, a recent university graduate, told me this:

“All children of our village slept with our shoes on so we could run to a bomb shelter when the Armenians started shooting. One night, the shooting started and we ran as fast as we could. …

About

Raoul Lowery Contreras

Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of 15 books and over 1300 articles. He formerly wrote for the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.

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