Political analyst Aleksandr Iskandarian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Azerbaijani threats to rebuild its army with expected oil revenues and win back Nagorno-Karabakh should not be taken seriously by the Armenians. “A barking dog doesn’t bite,” he says. “He who has adequate military potential and hopes to resolve a problem by means of war is not busy issuing threats and attacks instead.” Iskanadarian claims that “there is, in essence, no oil left in Azerbaijan.”
“Aravot” backs opposition arguments that Armenia is weakening its bargaining position by viewing the Karabakh conflict as a territorial dispute. The paper says Yerevan should accentuate the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination and argue that they can not live safely under Azerbaijani rule.
“Official Yerevan is simply looking for excuses to drag out the signing of a preliminary document on Nagorno-Karabakh,” alleges “Iravunk.” The paper says the United States has hit back by threatening to accuse the Armenian leaders of corruption and incompetence. It adds that Armenia is unlikely to sign any Karabakh peace deals at least until this fall which will see politically “explosive” local elections. “The [governing] coalition will simply implode.”
Opposition leader Aram Sarkisian assures “Iravunk” that Armenia has greater “democratic potential” than Georgia or Ukraine. “As for the unification of Armenia’s democratic forces, it will definitely happen very soon,” he says. Sarkisian also claims that the members of Armenia’s ruling clique has finally become convinced that President Robert Kocharian will have to stand down by 2008 and are now locked in a bitter succession struggle. “Kocharian, for his part, has realized that transferring power to his [preferred] successor would be more difficult in case of regular elections than now.”
“Aravot” expects the local election races, which are set to start in May, to be reduced to “yet another settling criminal accounts.” The paper says the incumbent community prefects and their rivals are “ready to go for each other’s throats.” “It has long been known that all it takes to get elected in Armenia is not enjoying popular trust but having armed squads and the government’s go-ahead.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also worries that the local polls could accelerate “the return of feudal order to Armenia.” “When one listens to Yerevan’s current prefects the impression is that those people booked their communities and take offense when other candidates dare challenge them there,” says the paper.
“There can be no revolution without [independent] television,” writes “Ayb-Fe,” the weekly publication of the banned A1+ channel. The paper says opposition politician Aram Karapetian, mindful of this fact, has approached three private television stations with takeover proposals. A Karapetian spokesman is quoted as saying that only one of those channels is considering the offer.