This is step two. The money that the Azeri government pays for the refugees is going to go to paying for Yerevan apartments (and infrastructure that the residents will use) that the Kocharian clan has been building--and building with aid money (Millenium Fund, World Bank, the usual suspects) that it pays to "foreign" companies that are supposedly "investing" in Armenia, but, in fact, are people like, say, Kocharian's cousins starting construction businesses in Russia, getting contracts in Armenia, and starting building in Yerevan. Again, Once Kocharian and Sargsyan get the compensation money from Azerbaijan, they'll move the refugees into these apartments in Yerevan, and pay their own clansmen for them. And that is how Kocharian, Sargsyan, and their Gharabagh clan are going to wind up with the money intended for refugees: indirectly, through the apartments. So there are actually three steps.
1. They built the apartments using front companies.
2. They are on the verge of signing an agreement with Azerbaijan that will displace refugees and oblige Azerbaijan to compensate for the displacement.
3. They will move the refugees into the apartments and pocket the money from Azerbaijan.
That is the scam that Bruce Tasker has identified, and a scam it surely is. And the amount of money involved here is about $3-4,000,000,000 dollars. Consider that average Armenians live on anywhere from $100 to $400 a month. The average income of the people living in the regions surrounding Gharabagh is, I don't know, realistically speaking--air--nothing. I would be surprised if they made $20 a month. The water they get from the well, the fruit they pick from the trees, and the house, well, what the house is worth is strictly the physical comforts it affords, strictly its use-value, nothing else. If you want to feel better about the real estate bubble bursting in the US, go to a war buffer-zone: Electricity is something your parents told you about when you pointed to this strange thing they said is called a "lightbulb," and the only running water is in the river. And the winters are cold. Twenty dollars goes a long, long way in places like buffer zones.
And these are the people that Kocharian and Sargsyan are stealing $4 billion dollars from--and possibly much more. Can you imagine? Can you imagine what utterly shameless reptiles these two are? Their lizard eyes shifting, their crocodile teeth tearing into the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, swallowing whole and slobbering, just so Sargsyan has something to back-up his otherwise lamely executed swagger at Monte Carlo.
Pashinian talks about how Sargsyan wanted to show people in Armenia what a stud he is by talking to Aliyev at the NATO summit in Bucharest, but ended up embarrassing himself and the European delegates with him when the Azeris said that there is no "subject or purpose" to the talks. The Armenian side then had to deny that they had ever made a request for talks. What an incompetent ass this man Sargsyan is. He then chased after Aliyev to St. Petersburg to try to beg a moment from him, because what is his dignity (and Armenia's, in parentheses) worth next to the opportunity to swagger at Monte Carlo?
I'll let Bruce Tasker point out the unfolding evidence for the reasoned prediction that he has made and has been trying to get people to acknowledge for a long time now. Recent events are fast proving him right. Below is a clip from an e-mail that he sent me. He is quoting this article from RFE/RL, written by Elizabeth Fuller. The text in bold is direct evidence for the verity of step 2 of the scam: compensation from Azerbaijan for internally displaced persons.
Elizabeth writes: “Sargsyan’s approach differed slightly from that of his predecessor, Robert Kocharian, in terms of unspecified "nuances." Then Elizabeth refers to a fundamentally important point that “The written text of the Madrid Proposals has not been made public” Followed by the standard Minsk Group line: “These principles include the phased redeployment of Armenian troops from Azerbaijani territories around Nagorno-Karabakh, with special modalities for Kelbacar and Lachin”(No reference to civilian displacements) . And importantly, today Bryza adds that: " International financial assistance would be made available for de-mining, reconstruction, resettlement of internally displaced persons in the formerly occupied territories and the war-affected regions of Nagorno-Karabakh."
Then the article quotes Bryza as saying: “withdrawal will not happen unless the Armenian side feels it has secured from Azerbaijan a concession of comparable magnitude. Similarly, Bryza continued, on the Azerbaijani side there is a political risk to giving to Armenia what Armenia needs to agree to give back the territories”.
Bruce Tasker is not optimistic about whether Kocharian/Sargsyan's plans will be thwarted and whether Armenians will get the just government that they deserve. I am hoping that LTP, Pashinian, and the Opposition will do the right thing.
UPDATE: See here for a .pdf of Arpineh Galfayan's essay about Tasker's work in Tesaket, the journal of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, based in--Armenia.
UPDATE: Someone put this article up on Khosq.
By the way, the link to Bruce Tasker's website is on the right, like always.