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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 2,797 2,367 2,100 139
GNI per capita
 US $ 950 790 570 143
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Armenia

Update No: 338 - (25/05/10)

The Caucasus astray
The Armenians are in the eye of the storm. The Caucasus will never settle down until they agree to a deal on Nagorno-Karabakh, their enclave in Azerbaijan, the corridor which they occupied in the course of the protracted1989-94 war with the Azeris.

The recovery of the Lachin corridor is still a casus belli, as far as the Azeris are concerned. They are expending vast sums to build up a huge army to exact revenge. They have them aplenty thanks to their vast oil earnings, which the Armenians lack. But of course their Russian allies do not lack funds, a point that for some reason has not got home in Baku.

The commemoration of the Armenian holocaust 95 years on
When Hitler was dismissive of the Armenian holocaust in 1915 as being eminently forgettable, he could not have been more wrong. He is in part responsible for that very fact. The holocaust he initiated of the Jews has given everyone with a conscience a horror of holocausts of all kinds, whoever may be the victims.

On April 26 in Yerevan, Armenia's capital, hundreds of thousands laid flowers at a monument to the victims. Partly as a result of the calamity, Armenia has a vast diaspora; there are more Armenians in the US than in Armenia itself. Across Southern California, on the same day, Armenian families marched, prayed and paused to remember lost great-grandparents, great-grand-uncles and great-grand-aunts —loved ones who were deported, starved, arrested and executed almost 100 years ago.

The Turkish government does not recognize the genocide, and a long-debated resolution that would call for the United States to officially acknowledge the killings faces opposition in Congress. Turkey is of course a very important partner of the West.

Armenia forever in the US
But the battle against their original homeland did not dissuade American Armenians from pushing for recognition. In the desert outside Lancaster, a group of Armenian youths braved the afternoon heat and walked 15 miles to pay tribute to ancestors who died in the Syrian desert almost a century ago. In Glendale, youths organized a 30-hour fast, while in the San Fernando Valley, a bike-a-thon was planned. An annual march in Little Armenia also took place, along with a protest outside the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles.

Caravans of cars draped in Armenia's red, blue and orange flag could been seen outside the Armenian Martyrs Memorial Monument in Montebello, where several thousand people lined up to place red and white carnations at the foot of the stone tower.

Ara Kassabian, 44, of Glendale walked alone with a mix of sadness and anger as he placed his bouquet on the bed of flowers. He lost a number of great-aunts and great-uncles in the massacre. "I come to show my presence," Kassabian said. "To show that this will never be forgotten or swept under the rug."

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, along with a host of other politicians, took turns on the microphone to show their support for Armenians. "Yes, it's true that Turkey should acknowledge the genocide," Villaraigosa said to those gathered in Montebello. "But so should the United States of America."

Many Armenians were once again disappointed with President Obama for refusing for the second year in a row to declare the mass killings a genocide in his annual statement. He called the event "a devastating chapter" and "one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century."

But the U.S. administration depends on its connection to Turkey. Straining those relations could put U.S. supply routes to Iraq and Afghanistan at risk and complicate other issues, such as Middle East peace initiatives and relations with Iran. Geopolitics to the fore!

Behind the scenes progress is afoot
Nevertheless, there is far too much at stake for there not to be attempts at resolution of this ancient feud. Last year international mediators for Nagorno-Karabakh quietly brought the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan together to talk on the sidelines of a conference in Prague.

Last year, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Azerbaijan and Russia to try to reduce the simmering ethnic and energy tensions in the region. He made progress with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on a new north-south Russian-Turkish gas pipeline that would supply Israel and other countries. That, plus renewing a contract for Russian gas supplies to Turkey, should help reassure Moscow of its continued energy influence.

But when Mr. Erdogan, on his visit to Azerbaijan, gave in to the demand that Turkey not reopen its borders with Armenia until Nagorno-Karabakh is resolved, he reignited flames in Armenia. Some speculate that the normalization process is now at risk.

This region is too small, the stakes too high, to separate politics from energy. Both will have to be handled at the same time, if perhaps on different tracks.

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