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January 22, 1990 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-22

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Page 4 Monday, January 22, 1990 The Michigan Doily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

The reality of the "civil war" in Azerbaijan:


420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. C, No. 76

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.

Troops out

protect the Catholic minority, the
British force in the north of Ireland
soon established itself as an army of
occupation, overseeing, if not directly
causing, the growing economic
disparity between Protestant and
Catholic households, the wholesale
imprisonment of Catholic youths, and
-the arming of Protestant paramilitary
forces. With damning evidence that
the British troops, the Ulster Defense
Regiment and the SAS, have been
following an illegal shoot-to-kill
policy, the British need now to take
steps to evacuate. A generation of en-
forced immiseration is enough.
Last week, four men held up a legal
bookmaker's shop in Belfast with toy
guns. Leaving with their haul, they
were met by plainclothes British sol-
diers. Eyewitnesses say the soldiers
did not attempt to arrest the robbers or
to warn them before shooting three of
them and finishing them off once they
had fallen. Two years ago in Gibraltar,
soldiers shot three members of the
Irish Republican Army from behind,
again without warning, again viciously
fimg a second round.
Insisting that extreme tactics are
needed to fight "terrorism," the
Thatcher goverment generally turns a
deaf ear to questions about the propri-
ety of such murders. British Secretary
for Northern Ireland Peter Brooke this
week said he did not see what could be
done about the army's conduct in

Probably nothing, as things stand in
occupied Ireland, where the police and
army are expected to police
themselves and no other has the
authority to challenge them. The
Thatcher government hamstrung an
investigation into the 1982 murders of
eight Irish Catholics, saying that
national security concerns overrided
charges against the police force,
members of which committed the
murders. Last summer, it was widely
reported that the police were
supplying Protestant paramilitary
groups with names and addresses of
prominent Irish nationalists. Danny
Morrison of Sinn Fein, the political
party which has represented the major-
ity of Irish Catholics for over a cen-
tury, was about to present evidence of
collusion when he was arrested last
month. The police ransacked Sinn
Fein offices at the same time.
Liberal Britons are asking for
civilian and judicial checks on the
army in Ireland, but an illegal
occupation cannot be brought under
the rule of law. Though a favorite
technique of imperialist forces,
military repression is neither a just nor
a possible solution to economic and
political inequities. If there is ever to
be an end to the "troubles," it will only
come when the extremists have been
disarmed, and the 10,000 British
troops have gone home.

Behind t
By Ann Maurer
Over the last ten days tensions have
peaked in the Soviet Republic of Azerbai-
jan between the Azeris and Armenians
who are locked in what the Soviet news
agency Tass calls "the bloodiest clash in
nearly two years between the two groups."
The groups are in a feud over Nagorno-
Karabakh, an enclave populated mainly by
Armenians, but which is controlled by
Throughout this ordeal, the areas have
been closed off to all Western reporters -
leaving Tass, Izvestia, and the Kremlin as
the only sources of information. This
blackout has resulted in a misinterpreta-
tion of much of what is going on. A cor-
respondent from Pravda, O. Shapovalov,
thinks he understands the events: "We
can't bring ourselves to pronounce it out
loud, but what is happening now in
Karabakh can unambiguously be termed a
civil war." This analysis needs analysis it-
When one thinks of war, the ideas that
come to mind are ones of two equal forces
battling, of two armies meeting face to
face, of the desire to win by defeating the
other force, along with many other im-
ages. But in the "civil war" between the
Armenians and the Azerbaijanis are any of
these factors present? As previously stated,
the only information available to the pub-
lic is from official Soviet sources, but
nonetheless any characterizations that sug-
gest "war" are completely absent from the
In war two forces meet and fight, one
force does not generally have to search for
the other. On January 15, Tass reported
that "mobs of heavily armed Azeris ram-
paged through Baku (the capital of Azer-

he smoke
baijan) Saturday night and Sunday in
search of Armenians." Doesn't it seem
odd that the Azeris have to "search" for the
Armenians when the Armenians are sup-
posedly so eager to fight?
In war the fighting is usually left to the
armed forces with innocent civilians safe
from the battle. On January 15, 1990, an
Azerbaijani journalist witnessed a crowd of
Azerbaijanis dragging an Armenian
woman and her child out of their apart-
ment. He also said that leaflets had been
distributed all over the square, listing the
names and addresses of Armenian families
so it would be easier to find them and
force them out.

dented. Two years ago, almost the same
thing occurred only with much less vio-
lence. The news agencies try to ignore this
and write the conflict off as ethnic or reli-
gious strife. They like to state that the
Azeris are predominantly Muslim and the
Armenians are mainly Christian thus im-
plying that religious differences are the
cause of the turmoil. As is obvious from
the facts, this is not the case.
The Armenians are not fighting the Az-
eris, but instead they are defending them-
selves from Azeri attacks. There is a dif-
ference, and this difference has been over-
looked in all of the coverage of the issue
thus far. The Armenian people want to


'in war two forces meet and fight, one force does not
generally have to search for the other. On January 15,
Tass reported that "mobs of heavily armed Azeris
rampaged through Baku in search of Armenians."
Doesn't it seem odd that the Azeris have to "search"
for the Armenians when the Armenians are suppos-
edly so eager to fight?'

Even Tass reported that "the terror began
with Azeri gangs going from house to
house throwing Armenians from their
apartments and building bonfires of their
In war, the fighting continues until one
force is defeated. It is rare that we hear of
one force fleeing during war. On January
18, the Kremlin reported that "Thousands
of Armenian refugees poured from the
southern republic of Azerbaijan, many
beaten or chased by angry mobs."
Although the questionable news sources
are portraying this conflict as a "civil
war," it is important for us to look closely
at all the facts. Conflict between the Ar-
menians ands the Azeris is not unprece-

gain control of Nagorno- Karabakh, but
are they willing to go to war to do it?
Could they really believe that they have a
chance of defeating the Azeris? The answer
to both of these questions has to be no.
There are 7 million Azeris living in Azer-
baijan and there are 170,000 Armenians.
The Armenians are not fighting. They
are merely trying to stay alive and to pro-
tect their people. It is important to under-
stand this fact and remember it when read-
ing the distorted media reports about the
conflict. Wars are waged in an attempt to
gain something, but the Azeris are waging
a war as an excuse to eliminate an un-
wanted ethnic group from their region.
They are persecuting the Armenians not
battling with them.
Ann Maurer is an LSA senior.


W'E ~FoviAD commove GRoUft4
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-11 L-




EY R t O 0

Why are we in Panama?

NOW THAT U.S. troops have
"successfully" captured and imprisoned
Noriega many U.S. residents will be-
gin to consider the long-term ramifica-
tions of our invasion of Panama and try
to decide whether it achieved its stated
political objectives. If the answer is
yes, they'll want to know if those goals
could have been met some other way.
If the answer is no, then they'll want to
know the President's real reasons.
Bush claims he ordered the invasion
to protect the lives of U.S. nationals, to
save the canal treaty, to end cocaine
traffic, and restore democracy. It
sounds good, but that's not what hap-
pened. More than 4,000 Panamians -
almost all civilians were killed - along
with dozens of U.S. soldiers. By sim-
ply confining U.S. personnel to their
bases instead, Bush could have guaran-
teed the safety of U.S. citizens in a
more effective (though less dramatic)
manner: many of the 12,000 U.S. citi-
zens Bush's troops "rescued" were
It's also clear that though neither
Noriega nor his supporters ever threat-
ened the canal, the Panama Canal
Treaty, negotiated by President Carter
and opposed by Republicans, may be
the next casualty of this invasion. By
declaring himself the official judge of
legitimacy in Panamanian elections and
government, Bush has set a precedent
for intervening ,very time a Latin
American leader offends him or his
multinational cronies.
It's no coincidence Bush attacked
just as Panama was due to name its
own administrator of the canal. Ru-
mour has it that Noriega's choicewas
unpopular in Washington, where
politicians want to keep control over
the canal even after they've lost the title
to it. The new head of state, President
Endarra, will have cause to think twice
before appointing a controversial can-
didate. Instead of saving the treaty, the
Bush administration has twisted the
document so that it takes on a meaning
Carter didn't intend. Panama was never
supposed to be a vassal state.
When discussing the drug an-
gle, as with so many of Bush's other
policies, it's hard to decide whether
he's being devious or just stupid. Most
of Panama's value to drug dealers

arose from the strict bank secrecy laws
which made the country ideal for
money-laundering. Economic sanctions
imposed by Ronald Reagan in March
1988 triggered capital flight in which
over 60% of the money was moved to
the West Indies, Uraguay, and
Switzerland. Now the remaining 40%
will have to be moved as well - but
there is no evidence that a bankrupt
Panama will slow drug traffic, which
changes routes with notorious ease.
Meantime, the country will be left in
Some of Bush's schemes are easier
to figure out. With the Warsaw Pact
falling apart, the war on drugs looks
like his best bet for selling exotic and
expensive new weapons systems to the
U.S. taxpayer. The Air Force's F-117
stealth fighter was specially selected for
use in the invasion as a showpiece of
new military technology. In a recent
speech in Cincinnati, Bush rejected the
idea that a "peace dividend" from re-
duced military spending should appear
in this year's budget. The U.S., he an-
nounced, "needs a ready and highly
effective defense force. If proof of that
were ever needed, we saw it last month
in the courage of our troops in
Panama." Plans for future military ac-
tion against drug producers in Colom-
bia, Bolivia, and Peru insure that Bush
can expect strong support for increased
defense spending under the guise of the
drug war.
All in all, it's difficult to tell whether
the invasion of Panama can be argued
to have done anything for the Panama-
nians. The problem with the new gov-
ernment is that it looks a lot like the old
government. President Endarra, a le-
gally elected civilian, was swornin on
an army base and relies on U.S. troops
to run the country for him. When they
leave, he'll be dependent on the Pana-
manian Defense Force, whose officer
corps ran gambling, prostitution, drug,
and protection rackets for Noriega. The
new minister of justice and his deputy
are guilty of atrocities and 'about
100,000 weapons are hidden in arms
caches around the country. "When the
gringos leave, I will remain behind,"
threatened one junior P.D.F. officer,
"and then we'll see what happens."
Looks like the U.S. army is in Panama
to stay.

Bush is my president

By Donald Unger
George Bush is my president. It is im-
portant to remember this; I am reminded
all the time. Two years ago a bare major-
ity of eligible Americans went to the polls
and gave him a bare majority of their
votes. That is to say somewhere just on
the high side of 25 percent of the possible
voting population felt that he was the best
we could do. This was called a "landslide."
And now we're stuck with him. These are
the recent rules of representative Democ-
racy, as dictated by the Republican party.
Less important that I remember this than
the fact that it has amply impressed on the
craven Democratic controlled Congress,
which has been given to understand - and
has accepted without a moment's hesita-
tion - that Bush is their President too.
Democracy, in this day and age, has noth-
ing to do with opposition, disagreement,
or debate; these things would be un-
seemly, indicative of an appalling lack of
respect for the heir to the throne of Grant,
Harding, Hoover, Nixon and Reagan.
Five years ago, more than eighty of el-
igible Nicaraguans went to the polls and
gave more than eighty percent of their
votes to Daniel Ortega. European ob-
servers certified the elections as free and
fair but the United States Government did
not. Having doled out money to opposi-

tion candidates to withdraw, the U.S. em-
bassy in Managua was deeply troubled by
the lack of options presented on the ballot,
and we continued to arm the contras.
Sometimes we put money in their right
hands, and this is known as "lethal aid."
Lately, we have been putting money in
their left hands, and this is known as
"humanitarian aid," as it is a well estab-
lished fact that any time the contras kill an
American nun or hydraulic engineer they
keep their left hands behind their backs.
That they kill Nicaraguans, of all ages,
occupations, and religious affiliations, on
a daily basis, and with both hands, and
that we have continued to pay them to do
so throughout the campaign leading up to
the elections slated for February 25 is not
relevant. That is an internal, Nicaraguan
matter. It concerns us only when the con-
tras kill Americans, and even then only if
they use their left hands to do so - which
would be a shocking breach of trust. That
these actions violate the Neutrality Act,
the United Nations Charter, the Charter of
the Organization of American States and
the United States Constitution - as did
the recent invasion of Panama - has not
been an obstacle to their taking place. Ge-
orge Bush is not at fault here. Congress
is, because the Democrats do not want to
be accused of "micro-managing foreign

We do not live in a land governed by
laws, save the laws of publicity. And Le
Atwater, the head Republican spin demon,
makes or breaks such laws without the in-
convenience of an opposition party to
slow him down. Democracy is "my gov-
ernment right or wrong" and terrorism
against civilian populations - which is
known as "pressing for democratic
change," when we fund it. Democracy
speaks from the belly of a Stealth 0
Bomber. Dissent is rude at best, unpatri-
otic under any circumstances, and probably
Communist as well. Checks and balances
have a similar Soviet smell to them. Im-
peachment, of course, is an antiquated
holdover from a bygone era, carrying with
it implicit assumptions of presidential ad-
countability, of equal justice under the
law. We know better, Congress knows
better. If the question were even raised,
Lee Atwater and Pat Buchanan would be
all over the air waves, raving about "a
cynical attempt to cripple another presi-
dency," which is what any criticism is
now called. And we accept this, of course.
I do. Presidential criminality is protected,
even encouraged. It would be gauche to
dwell on this. George Bush, after all, is
my president.
Donald Unger is a graduate student in

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To the Daily:
Your coverage of the vio-
lence that is taking place in
Soviet Azerbaijan has been
quite unsettling. In last Thurs-
day's issue, your headline read
"Unrest Continues in Arme-
nia." Azerbaijan is the actual
site of violence. Yet your head-
line leaves one with the im-
pression that the Armenians

fighting has broken out again
in Azerbaijan - armed Azer-
baijan mobs have attacked the
Armenian minority in Baku
and the outlying villages, and
thousands of Armenian men,

present crisis has noted these
facts, you still have failed to
expose the unwillingness of
the Soviet authorities in
Moscow and Baku to protect
the Armenian minority of

i doy cou think the President knew, and
how e do ou think his nose should be
com pa to his eyebrows?

of Azerbaijanis with the des-
perate acts of self defense o6
the part of the Armenian mj-
nority. Let's not be fooled.
There is a difference between
outright murder and self d4
fense. The Azerbaijans hav~e
chosen to attempt the blatant,
preconceived murder of a peo-
ple, more simply known as
genocide, as a means of sol~-
ing the issues at hand withi
their republic. The Armenians,
as a result, have been forced to
take arms or otherwise suffer
the same fate their ancestors
fell to at the hans of the Turks
during the massacres of 1915-
191 Thera rt,, , ,ent th

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