Boghos Mardirossian: Armenia needs a stronger diplomacy in the region

Boghos Mardirossian: Armenia needs a stronger diplomacy in the region

Boghos MardirossianAzad-Hye special

Mardirossian is a known family in Kuwait. In a small community of several thousand, it is not difficult to spot a family with seven boys. Now the boys are grown up and one of them has made the journey to further education and career fulfillment. Boghos Mardirossian is the youngest of the seven brothers and the one who has chosen a different path to follow:

We had the following interview with him.

Could you inform us about your academic life?
I am a graduate of political science and international relations from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Before that I attended the Collegio Armeno Moorat ? Raphael (known to the Armenians as Moorad Raphaelian School).

What kind of involvement you have in Armenian affairs?
In 2006, I was elected as Temagan (member of the Legislative Council of the Armenian Community) in Kuwait. I am also member of the Media and Cultural Committee of the Prelacy. I am prolific writer, researching journalist and author. Besides my everyday work, I follow up Armenian topics in the media.

What do you think about the current level of awareness in Kuwait and in other GCC countries about Armenian related issues?
The Armenian community is highly respected by the local population in Kuwait and the rest of the Gulf countries, due to the existing warm and honest relationships. Lately there were many subjects in the Kuwaiti media related to Armenian occasions, such as the Genocide commemoration, Christmas celebrations, etc. 

What kind of publicity the community is getting?
Generally, the media is highlighting on Armenian subjects related to the history of the community and its peaceful presence and contribution to the public life in the last 50-60 years. The memories of several prominent Armenians from the business and industry sectors about old Kuwait were featured. A representative of one of the newspapers (Al Qabas) visited Armenia and saw in her own eyes how all the population of Yerevan headed to the Genocide monument on 24th April. On another aspect, the role of the Armenians in the Lebanese political life has also come into the spotlight. Our Archbishop Dr. Goriun Babian (who represents all GCC countries) appeared in many occasions in Kuwaiti local daily newspapers.

The media is trying to highlight basic information related to the Armenians and their community in Kuwait and in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the Turkish and Azeri Ambassadors are trying to ruin the hardly-earned Armenian reputation. Their tactic is to present the Armenians as vicious enemies of the Islamic World, especially through distorting the facts related to the liberation of Nagorno Karabakh, by describing it as an attack against the Muslims, while it is a known fact that what happened in that region is an act of self defence following the Azeri invasion. The people of Karabakh did not want to be subject to a foreign rule, which has silently put an end to the presence of the Armenians in another neighboring area called Nakhichevan (now autonomous republic inside Azerbaijan), during 70 years of Soviet rule.

Has the Media and Cultural Committee achieved its short-term goals in Kuwait?
Most of the short-term goals have already been achieved, including for example the invitation of high caliber speakers such as Giro Manoyan (Head of the Armenian National Committees worldwide), who gave a lecture in Kuwait few weeks ago and was interviewed extensively by the local media. In recent years we managed to publish many articles and interviews on Armenian issues (especially on April 24) and about the small but very active Armenian community in Kuwait. We succeeded in organizing seminars and round table discussions with the participation of many distinguished personalities. Kuwait is a small country with huge potential. We should organize our presence in the GCC countries on a higher level and create a set of networking circles, especially with the local population. The Armenian community in Kuwait has a potential to enhance the political and economical relations between Armenia and Kuwait. We should not ignore the role of Kuwait in the family of GCC countries and in the Arab and Islamic Worlds. Armenia (as a country) and the Armenians (as community) need to increase the relations with the public media in Arab and Islamic Worlds.

Have the relations with the GCC counties progressed after the opening of an Armenian Embassy in Abu Dhabi?
On economic level, the relations with the GCC countries, especially with the UAE have progressed (although not at the desired volume). On political level, however, I am afraid to say Armenia is lagging behind. For example, few months ago, most GCC countries supported an anti-Armenian resolution in the United Nations Security Council only because it was suggested by Azerbaijan and lobbied by their ally Turkey. Unfortunately, the Azeris are trying to hijack the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) with their extreme and one-sided approach and are trying to influence on all members of that organization to vote as a single block, all in favor of Azerbaijan in the international arena. In the example of the above mentioned Resolution, about 39 countries voted against Armenia, most of them Islamic countries. The anti-Armenian resolutions of the OIC have started from Morocco conference in 1994 (when the Azeris, already defeated on the battleground, tried to secure diplomatic victory against the Armenians) and continued until this year?s conference in Senegal, when again an anti-Armenian article was included in the final communiqu?, without considering the real facts.

What is the response of the Armenian Government against these anti-Armenian attempts and why did the Islamic countries vote blindly in favor of Azerbaijan?
Azerbaijan is using the advantage of Islamic solidarity and the lack of information from the Armenian side. I think the focus of the Armenian foreign policy since 1994 has been on Europe, thus ignoring the importance of the Islamic World. We should not forget that in international politics countries move on their national and not religious interests. We have witnessed this in relation with Iran and Saudi Arabia. For example, due to national security concerns Iran did not support Azerbaijan (which has the same religion and even the same Shiite doctrine) in its conflict with Armenia. Another example is the recent development of relations between Saudi Arabia and Russia, while in the past, there were resolutions in the OIC supporting the Chechen cause. Now all these have been forgotten and Russia is occupying even a seat as observer in the same organization.

I think we need at least to neutralize anti Armenian propaganda in OIC countries and present the Armenian point of view in a way that it will clearly show that the religious factor is not the issue at stake in Karabakh (this of course applies to the Armenian Genocide as well). We need to learn how to strengthen our diplomacy using certain media tools. We are neighbors with the Arabs for thousands of years and it is our right to seek better understanding and enhance our image in the Arab World, especially that our presence does not have a mere historical value, it is also part of the present day life. The presence of big Armenian communities in Arab and Islamic countries should help in this direction. Official Armenia should not think about Diaspora as a potential economic power only. The Armenian communities in the Middle East have lot to offer. Unfortunately, the number of diplomats who understand this in the Armenian Foreign Ministry is very limited. The challenges are enormous, especially that Turkey and Azerbaijan are combining their efforts – the first with its centuries long political traditions and networking power and the other with its newly acquired financial resources and aggressive attitude ? with the aim of creating difficulties to the newly established Armenian statehood. I do not want to see the Armenians losing on political and diplomatic front against the Azerbaijan-Turkey alliance after securing the win on the battlefields in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh). We should not lose any more on the diplomatic front. Let us remember how we lost Nakhichevan, Kars and Ardahan. In the modern, free and continually changing world, we have accumulated considerable economic and political credit, but unfortunately the diplomatic and political cooperation between Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora is not on the same level as it is between Azerbaijan and Turkey.


Boghos Mardirossian in few lines

After graduating from the University of California with a degree in Political Science / International Relations, Mardirossian worked in International Financial Markets with IFBG (Kuwait) and Henyep (London, UK) offering brokerage services to individual investors, professional traders and institutions. He works with individual clients, money managers and system developers, advising them and helping them to execute complex trading strategies. His highly regarded research and analysis covers the soft commodities such as coffee, sugar, cocoa, etc. The Kuwait's print, broadcast, online media and small businesses have come to rely on Mardirossian's accurate and animated forecasts, analysis and speculative opportunities.

Mardirossian uses leading indicators to anticipate market direction and forecasting Futures, Forex and commodity markets. He teaches the new traders how to identify low risk market turns without missing the trends, how to know good market momentum, how to capitalize on a trendy early, before traditional indicators show and finally how to enter and exit trades.

Mardirossian has written technical and future commentary for years, but over the last few years has specialized in writing about commodities such as metals and soft commodities along with keeping an extensive database of historical volatility. He has lectured nationally and internationally on market cycles as well as other subjects and has been a featured speaker at many futures conferences over the years. He has appeared as guest on several investment shows and given numerous seminars and lectures to investors, corporations and individuals throughout Arab World. He appears frequently on various financial sites and is quoted extensively in local Kuwaiti English and Arabic publications.

He is active in the Armenian Community of Kuwait, as member of its Legislative Council and media representative of the GCC Prelacy. Boghos Mardirossian is an author of very interesting and unique book called ?Kuwait and Armenia Relations: The common destiny of small states in International Relations?. This book has been published by Kuwait University Future and Strategic Center. Mardirossian has participated in many political research studies in Kuwait University. He is married for over 10 years, has two children and resides in Kuwait.

  1. It?s a known fact that Turkish and Azeri government?s have an ongoing campaign to ?isolate Armenia economically, politically and socially ( and they are pumping millions of dollars into the ?infowar? campaign against Armenia as their prime Objective is to discredit Armenia in the international community and vandalize our history.  Examples of these are: Turkey?s 13-year blockade of Armenia and, more recently, the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline which circumvents Armenia; proposal to build a new rail line that would connect Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan which would go around Armenia; Azeri computer hackers sabotaging Armenian web sites, which, they claim, spread lies about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, they also sabotaged the Armenian State Television and the Armenian Assembly of America sites ? claiming that they want to provide an accurate picture of events in the disputed enclave. We also had similar tactics used against Armenia during the Eurovision contest 2008, where Azerbaijan wanted to protests Armenia?s Eurovision song contest entry and similar protests where made in 2007 with Andre?s participation.


    To tackle the ongoing deliberate and systematic destruction of Armenia?s reputation, there needs to be a coherent approach, a program of raising awareness and a strong marketing campaign in our respective GCC states. Just like we are tirelessly fighting for the recognition of the Genocide and lobbying various international organizations, we need to concentrate the same efforts on enhancing Armenia?s reputation around the world, especially the Arab world. This campaign needs to be developed in conjunction with the Armenian Government who need to use every possible political tool at their disposal to highlight the dirty tactics used by Turkish & Azeri governments at highest levels such as UN, EU, NATO and the Armenian Diaspora. Financial support has to come from Armenian Government (first), private sector and members of the community, but not everything involves money as we can use our local skills, knowledge and own time to achieve this.


    Perhaps the Legislative Council (Temagan) of GCC, together with Armenian Embassy can draw up one unified/common policy document setting out the principle of this project and each community can adopt different marketing strategies relevant to each of GCC state e.g. developing partnerships and good ties with the local media, identifying events with sponsorship opportunities, inviting government officials to Armenian community events, organizing lectures and seminars on various issues, creation of new and active use of existing websites, creation of local lobbying organizations, responding to local events with official statements from Legislative Council/Armenian Embassy etc. Important initiatives have already been taken such as the opening of the new Embassy in the UAE,  Taste of Armenia UAE, articles in UAE Gulf News and Kuwaiti press, and there can be many more if there is a strong will and commitment by all stakeholders to create a movement which will effectively challenge fabricated and baseless Azeri/Turkish propaganda (contradicts historical facts) which is using religion as its final tool to damage already prospering relations between Armenia and the Arab/Islamic countries.


    Socrat Arakelyan


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