Oops! LA Times Confuses Armenia with Hostile Neighbor Azerbaijan

Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in Around the World, Blog, California Politics, Featured Post | 0 comments

Oops! LA Times Confuses Armenia with Hostile Neighbor Azerbaijan

The Los Angeles Times might want to invest in an atlas.

Yesterday, the Times reported that nine California state lawmakers are on a special interest junket to Sweden and Norway. The trip is funded by the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, a nonprofit that functions as a front organization for special interest groups.

While the Times is to be commended for covering the junket, it could use some help with its world geography. In the last sentence, Patrick McGreevy writes, “Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) is leading a separate delegation of lawmakers to the Republic of Azerbaijan.”

Except Perez isn’t in Azerbaijan. He’s been leading lawmakers around Armenia.

The mistake could be considered a major insult to both countries, who have maintained hostile relations since a six-year war ended in 1994. The war between neighboring Eurasian countries was fought over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. According to Armenian news outlets, the California delegation visited the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, “where they were greeted by the President Bako Sahakian and other cabinet members.”  The war with Azerbaijan was among the issues California legislators discussed with their counterparts.

That also might explain why Armenia invited California lawmakers in the first place. The fight between Azerbaijan and Armenia has included a competition to woo California lawmakers. In 2011, Azerbaijan hosted state Senators Ellen Corbett, Curren Price, Mark DeSaulnier, Joe Simitian, Ted Lieu and Bob Huff, on a junket.  In January 2013, Huff returned the favor by welcoming the Consul General of Azerbaijan to the State Senate Floor, a move that was greeted with protests by those friendly to Armenia.

According to the International Herald Tribune, Armenia is a largely Christian country,  while Azerbaijan is mainly Muslim. In June 2012, Azerbaijan accused “Armenia of violating its border and shooting dead five of its soldiers, a day after three Armenians were killed in the same area,” according to BBC News.

Americans struggle with international affairs and world geography. Following the Boston terrorist bombings committed by Chechen immigrants, the Czech Embassy issued a statement from its ambassador clarifying that Chechnya and the Czech Republic are different countries.

“The Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities – the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation,” the statement read.

Last Saturday, a Columbia University professor who is Sikh was attacked by a mob who called him “Osama” and “terrorist,” according to the New York Daily News.

A copy of the original LA Times story is here.

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