My show will focus on the historical backgrounds of peoples and nation-states of the Middle East. Discussion will be guided in the spirit of open-mindedness and fairness to include all peoples of the Middle East many of whom have been mired in conflicts for decades, and some, for centuries. After obtaining more hands-on experience and familiarity with the equipment, I will invite guests for the show and will also include one or two songs.
|About the Host||Contact|
Armenia and Georgia are the two adjacent and oldest Christian nation-states in the world. Both states were at various times under domination of the Persians, the Romans, the Russians, and the Ottoman Turks. As modern nation-states, they enjoyed only brief periods of independence until Tsarist Russia and later the Soviet Union integrated them into the empires. In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia regained its independence. Centuries earlier, Armenia had been a larger country, but as Realpolitik and geopolitical exigencies prevailed, the Armenian state dwarfed and many of its people were absorbed into adjoining emerging nations.
Mr. Shahen Coachcharyan, left, was born in Tehran, Iran in 1949. At age 13, his father chose to migrate back to Armenia which then was one of the fifteen Soviet semi-autonomous republics because as with Jerusalem, everyone eventually “returns home.” Today, Shahen has chosen Las Vegas as his home but travels to Armenia frequently to visit his extended family and friends. You can listen to the entire interview through our audio attachment and podcast service. (Soon to be made available.)
There were many atrocities in what was then the Ottoman Empire against the Armenian population. But one must remember that the acknowledged “Armenian genocide” took place nearly a decade before the establishment of the modern Republic of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, photographed below-right:
Today, Armenians persist and prosper in many countries of the Middle East some of which are Egypt, Syria, Iraq, as well as Iran:
Many pundits have recently talked about splitting up Iraq into different sections so we could “accommodate” different ethnic and religious populations of Iraq. The great majority of such individuals hail from the West who mean well but who are totally unaware of the history of the Middle East or the scheming hands of the former Communist superpower, the Soviet Union, which by the way, today has morphed into a non-ideological yet aggressive superpower under Vladimir Putin.
There are individuals as CNN correspondent, Tim Lister, who certainly mean well but who simply jump into the crisis-management debate and offer their ideas without having devoted much thought to what they propose. In the final analysis, one would come to realize that their suggestions had lacked adequate data as well as rational thinking. What their suggestions end up resulting in are far greater and more sinister crises in the future.
Then there are far more responsible folks such as honorable Prime Minister of Israel throwing his support for fragmentation of Iraq in the hope that at least one Middle Eastern nation would end up being friendly toward Israel. With all due respect to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the creation of an independent and separate “Kurdistan” would lead to a long dreamt-for Communist state that Joseph Stalin and his henchmen planned and put together in 1945 after their invaded northern Iran. Such a new state would continue to support the Palestinian extremists just its creator, the Communist Soviet Union and its successor-state, Russian Federation, have done so.
Since the rise of the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917, the Communist leaders from Lenin onward have made a commitment, at the very least; to spread their influence throughout the Middle East the way they did in Eastern Europe. Or, at the most, to take over the whole region the way the Russian Tsarists did in the Caucasus and Central Asia in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, the Russians were successful in overthrowing the legitimate governments of several Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, Egypt, Iraq in the 1950s, and Afghanistan in 1980. With others, such as Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia; they were unsuccessful thanks to the might and persistence of the Free World under the joint leadership of the United States, Great Britain, and France. Egypt bounced back into the Western orbit after the death its pro-Soviet junta leader, Jamal Abdul Nasser, who had overthrown the Egyptian monarchy.
In Iran, President Harry S. Truman had forced the Soviet Communists out of the country in 1947 with the threat of nuclear attack, the Soviets withdrew but installed two puppet Communist regimes in two of Iranian provinces as they withdrew. They called they called one of them the “Democratic” Republic of Kurdistan. Today, in the Iraqi Kurdish-populated areas, there are two prominent Kurdish political parties whose leadership consist of the descendants of former Soviet-based Iranian puppet Communist regime in its Kurd-populated province. They are still Communist-oriented despite their reticence. Their quiet is a tactical decision so they would not alarm the United States.
As you recall, after Liberation of Kuwait in 1991 by the United States and her Allies, Saddam Hussein began an all-out war against his own people in the north and the south. As a result, the United States established no-flying zones over the Kurdish-populated areas in the north and the Shia-populated areas in the south. The tasks were known as Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch respectively. After twelve years of shooting at our planes and pilots, who kept a vigilant watch in those two areas, President George W. Bush got fed up this cat-and-mouse game that was putting our pilots in constant danger. After 9/11 terrorist attack in New York, President Bush gave Saddam 48 hours to leave. That actually was the primary reason for the invasion of Iraq and it was to serve also as a means to free its long-suffering people once and for all.
By 2012 when President Obama withdrew the American forces from Iraq, the country had become a democracy, just like post-World War Two Japan and Germany, and there were no threats hostile takeover. However, in Germany and Japan, we had kept our troops to assure long-term stability, but when President Obama withdrew the American troops from Iraq, it was far too early; there emerged a power vacuum and the nascent Iraq armed forces and law enforcement were unable to fight it off.
President Obama may have felt keeping a foreign country occupied is contrary to our values and principles. However, as a veteran of the United States Army I can assure you that the United States and its military are very different from other countries of the world. For one thing, we never had any colonies overseas and what we inherited as a result of wars, we granted those countries independence soon afterward such as the Philippines and Mexico. Even presently, many years after having invaded, occupied and turned into democracies such countries as Italy, Japan, Germany, and South Korea we are still heavily present in those countries and they refuse to allow us to leave! This is unheard of in the history of mankind when the occupied refuse to allow the occupier to leave!
But perhaps I am blowing my own trumpet. As a result, I invited a former 82nd Airborne Army paratrooper, Specialist Russell Long, to relate what the U.S. Army had instilled in him during his basic-training. Russell stated that Army drill sergeants and cadres had focused and constantly instructed them on a set very noble core values and principles. What he professed resonated with my own experience in basic-training as a field artilleryman at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Therefore, one can conclude that there is nothing to be afraid of about the United States armed forces and it behooves us to redeploy our troops back to Iraq in order to make sure Iraq continues to be a democratic country like South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Germany. Indeed, no place needs the Enlightened Western presence more the Muslim countries of the Middle East.
During this episode, I talked about importance of the Middle East from a historical, geographic as well as political background. We all know from our early school textbooks that from the dawn of history, the Middle East has been known as the “cradle of civilization.” Unfortunately, today, it is also known as a cradle of violence and mayhem. I discussed the content of three maps on the Middle East. Map 1, below, is the boundary of what academics refer to as the Middle East proper. The landscape includes the Asian portion of the Middle East as well as the northern shores of Africa whose inhabitants are mostly of Arabian as well as native Berber descent. The only non-Muslim member country in the Asian side of the Middle East is the Jewish State of Israel that was founded in 1949. After many centuries of persecution at the hands of ancient Egyptians, the Romans, and the experiences Jews endured in Europe during pogroms as well as the Nazi concentration camps, the State of Israel was created to accommodate the remaining refugees from Europe as well as Russia. It is should be noted, however, that Middle Eastern Jews or Sabras, have lived among other Middle Eastern peoples in the Middle East since biblical times that included the periods under Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Map 2 was discussed in reference to countries that border the Middle East proper and whose populations are overwhelmingly Muslim. Turkey, technically considered a European country, is included because the greater portion of its real estate lies in the Asian Middle East and because its population consists generally of people whose faith is that of Islam. Georgia and Armenia are also included because prior to their annexation by Russia, they were part of the Middle East culturally.
Finally, with Map 3, below, displays territories beyond traditional Middle East and its adjacent lands whose population is either greatly of Muslim faith or at one time it was so. As a result such “extraterritorial” regions remain culturally tied to the rest of the Middle East. One would notice Spain and Portugal that both fell to invading Muslim forces between 711 and 788 AD. Today, although totally Christian, the Iberian peninsula is replete with prior Muslim icons and heritage. Also, in this map great portions of Russia and mainland China are included since those two countries each hold a sizable number of Muslims: about 15% in Russia and about 2% or 50 million people in China.