Armenian aide calls for systematized fight against terrorism

Ayots Ashkhar, Yerevan
3 Sep 04

Text of Vaan Vardanyan report by Armenian newspaper Ayots Ashkhar on
3 September headlined "International terrorism threatens everybody"

An interview with the president's advisor on security issues, Garnik
Isagulyan.

[Garnik Isagulyan] The fight against international terrorism should
be systematized. First of all, superpowers should accept that it is
inadmissible to use such groups in the fight against each other. When
they get out of hand, they start acting against their former sponsor,
i.e. a boomerang effect takes place.

The second important problem is to prevent the phenomena that feed
international terrorism. First of all, this envisages the strict
registration of people who have served in special units of the armies
or other structures of different countries. Because if such people
fall under the influence of any ideological or religious sect, they
become very dangerous.

And finally, stable cooperation is necessary between the special
services on all issues related to terrorism - ranging from information
exchanges to joint actions. No country of the world is insured against
terrorism today.

[Ayots Ashkhar correspondent] Let's take Armenia. We are going to send
sappers and drivers to Iraq. Do you not worry that as representatives
of other nations, they might be taken hostage as well?

[Isagulyan] We have only expressed our readiness to take part in the
reconstruction of Iraq, sending there sappers and drivers who will
not participate in the armed actions by the coalition forces against
local groups. Certainly, one may object to this in the sense that even
journalists of different countries have been taken hostage. But this
is being done mainly against the countries whose armed forces have
participated in the war. For this reason, they traditionally demand
the withdrawal of their armed forces from Iraq as a condition for
releasing the hostages. I think that Armenia's top leadership took
these conditions into account when taking such a decision.

Although it is not right to say that we are absolutely insured against
danger. That's to say, countries that are hostile to us may try to plan
any terrorist acts and then justify them by the fact that Armenia has
sent troops to Iraq. But I do not think such a danger is realistic.

[Correspondent] Does it mean that Armenia is more protected than the
powerful countries of the world?

[Isagulyan] No, it does not. Our privilege is that we are comparatively
a monoethnic country. If in Russia they link terrorism mainly to the
Chechens, it is very difficult to differ them from representatives of
other Caucasus nations living in Russia. This complicates the work of
the special services because they cannot arrest all the dark people
in order to expose just one terrorist.

In Armenia it is easier to notice and register foreigners entering
Armenia. Of course, this does not mean that we are in a perfect state
and are simply insured. Our special services should be very attentive
in this matter. Over the past 15 years, the national security system
in Armenia has not reached a flawless level. On the contrary, there
was an outflow of professional personnel, and it is difficult to say
that those who came instead are quite professional. We should pay
special attention to the national security service. Because today,
as well as in the future, much depends on the ability of this service
to ensure national security.

[Correspondent] And finally Karabakh. For many years, Azerbaijan has
been trying to present Karabakh to the world community as a centre
training terrorists. How "fruitful" is such propaganda by Azerbaijan?

[Isagulyan] Neither the special services of Azerbaijan, nor Azerbaijan
itself are at a level where their "information" and reports would
mean anything to the special services of superpowers.

The world community differs Karabakh from other unrecognized countries.
Although the world community's attitude towards Karabakh may be
compared with their position on Northern Cyprus and Kosovo. That's
to say, the world accepts the NKR as a well-governed territory with
all the attributes of a state, where the situation is under control
and normal elections are conducted. This is a country which has taken
the path of democratic development, not a territory where some groups,
which have unclear goals, have become masters, while the same cannot
be said for Azerbaijan.

Under the Soviets, there was a brunch of the KGB in Baku and a special
training centre where representatives of "Islamic" countries were
trained. I do not think that this fact is so imperceptible that it
does not lead to certain conclusions in the world community.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress