“Today’s discussions in parliament will be heated but there will be nothing extraordinary because the overwhelming majority of parliamentary forces will clearly vote for both the 2005 budget and the dispatch of troops to Iraq,” forecasts “Aravot.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” expects “an unprecedented manifestation of coalition agreement” in the National Assembly. The paper claims that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) decided to vote against the Iraq mission under pressure from its Diaspora branches. But the Republican and Orinats Yerkir parties will not begrudge their coalition partner for going against the government line because they “know where that party’s money comes from.” Besides, Dashnaktsutyun’s 11 parliamentary votes can not make a difference anyway. It is therefore worth “saving a whole party from bankruptcy.”
“A revolution in Armenia should not be ruled out, but it is unlikely to happen at the moment regardless of the fact that there are prerequisites for that,” Hrant Khachatrian, a parliament deputy from the opposition Artarutyun faction, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Khachatrian sees nothing wrong in the ongoing tussle for the leadership of the opposition camp. Complete opposition unity is needed only in the run-up and during national elections, he says.
“Iravunk” links the latest pro-Western tilt in the Armenian opposition discourse, notably Artashes Geghamian’s surprise U-turn on the Iraq operation, to opposition expectations of spillover effects of the “orange revolution” in Ukraine. The paper claims at the same time that only President Robert Kocharian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian will benefit from Armenia’s participation in Iraq’s “post-war reconstruction.” It says the two men not only put the Armenian community in Iraq in danger but will also risk turning Armenia into a new target of Islamist terrorism.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says renewed international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict seem to be part of a “program of driving Russia out of the region.” The paper says Karabakh mediators are now trying to combine the so-called “phased” and “package” strategies of conflict resolution.
“Yerkir” says whatever the mediators offer to the conflicting parties next year, opposition groups in Armenia and Azerbaijan will accuse their governments of agreeing to “defeatist” solutions and make a case for regime change. External forces too may try to exploit the issue in a bid to influence political developments in the two countries. “In Armenia they are frantically forming parties with the so-called Western orientation, while in Azerbaijan they are looking for forces oriented toward Russia,” says the paper.