Monday, September 3, 2012

Playing the Patriot

Let's first enumerate a few simple, incontestable facts: in 2004, during a NATO seminar in Budapest, Ramil Safarov, a lieutenant in the armed forces of Azerbaijan, hacks a sleeping Armenian co-student to death, with a hatchet.  In 2006, he is condemned to a minimum of 35 years in jail by a Hungarian court.  In August 2012, he is handed over to Azerbaijan, under a European treaty that allows signatories' citizens to sit out their sentences in their home countries.  Despite assurances to the contrary, once in Baku, he is given a hero's welcome, pardoned, and promoted to the rank of major by the Aliyev regime.  Armenia promptly cuts off its diplomatic relations with Hungary; its president, Serj Sargsyan, issues an uncharacteristically blunt statement a few days later, asserting Armenia's readiness for war.  The plot thickens  when, almost simultaneously, it is revealed cash-strapped Budapest could be the recipient of a token of oil-rich Azerbaijan's generosity in the form of a multi-billion dollar loan.