“Aravot” comments that countries led by a “dictator or an illegitimate president” are very vulnerable in the international arena, in a further jab at President Kocharian’s controversial reelection. The paper says the U.S.-led war against Iraq illustrates this very well. “Would the U.S., whatever its political and economic interests, have ignored the opinion of UN Security Council members and the entire progressive world to invade a sovereign state had it not been governed by dictator Saddam Hussein?” The Americans, the paper says, do not regard Kocharian as a legitimate, democratically elected president.
The Dashnaktsutyun weekly “Yerkir,” meanwhile, attacks the U.S., saying that “once again” Washington and its allies have defied international public opinion and “knocked out the UN.” “Many peaceful civilians, who are not responsible for Saddam’s repressions, violence and illegal acts, have suffered twice: both from their authorities and U.S. strikes,” the paper says. “And this is only the beginning. The consequences will be more severe.” They will be felt by the entire world.
In a separate editorial, “Yerkir” says that Armenia’s leading political forces can still work together in ensuring that the upcoming parliamentary elections are free and fair. “And if the political forces really care about the country’s international standing and internal stability, they can hold the elections in such an atmosphere that would allow them to emerge from the elections united, not split and mutually hostile.”
But as “Ayb-Fe” reports, there have been more arrests and “persecutions” of opposition supporters taking part in anti-government rallies.
“Kocharian speaks of stability, but for him stability means reinforcing his grip on power,” opposition leader Vagharshak Harutiunian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “There will be no stability in Armenia as long as Kocharian does not go.” Armenia, Harutiunian says, risks finding itself in international isolation.
“Iravunk” believes that U.S.-Russian differences over Iraq may have serious implications for domestic Armenian politics as well. The paper also says that Stepan Demirchian’s newly formed Artarutyun bloc is able to make a very strong showing in the parliamentary elections which it says can not be easily falsified because there are now “numerous pro-government parties with conflicting interests.”