Ali Ettefagh at PostGlobal

Ali Ettefagh

Tehran, Iran

Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East. He is the co-author of several books on trade conflict, resolution of international trade disputes, conflicts in letters of credit, trade-related banking transactions, sovereign debt, arbitration and dispute resolutions and publications specific to the oil and gas, communication, aviation and finance sectors. Dr. Ettefagh is a member of the executive committee and the board of directors of The Development Foundation, an advisor to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and an advisor to a number of European companies. Dr. Ettefagh speaks Persian (Farsi), English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Turkish. Close.

Ali Ettefagh

Tehran, Iran

Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East. more »

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'Genocide' Issue Merely a Frame

The Current Discussion: Today is "Genocide Remembrance Day "in the Armenian community, a particularly strained time of year for Turkey and Armenia. What's a realistic first step forward toward reconciliation for each of these countries?

Bad blood has always been part of human history, in folk stories or epic tales with two sides to an event repeated in, say, ancient Greece and their Trojan Wars. However, Greek society eventually graduated towards philosophy and rationalism to search for roots and causes of tales, myths, reality and behavior. About 12-13 years ago, the Turkish Republic emulated this historical graduation towards a search for rationalism and a rethink of its relations with Greece, albeit out of necessity to appease Greece during its (now aimless) EU candidacy talks. Those talks closed the book on differences and abrasion during the days of the Ottoman rulers. And it might now be time for Turkey to duplicate that realization for Armenia, and work towards yet another duplication of Entente cordiale and a change of heart about events that happened prior to the birth of the Turkish Republic.

Concurrently, Armenia must fast-forward to the 21st century, where all Armenians must understand that the history of the region is dotted with violence and atrocities: the invasion of Persia by Turkic or Arabs, Crimean Wars, The Russian Civil Wars, and two World Wars. All conflicts eventually end, and Europeans have managed to set aside the seas of blood between them and converge their common values into a framework of co-existence. History proves that insisting upon a certain version of tales told eventually fades away.

To this regional observer, however, the genocide issue seems to be a mere frame and a probable starter for Armenian émigrés from Anatolia to revisit their more contemporary sufferings in living memory and the losses that they experienced during the Turkish civil war in 1960s and 1970s. This is likely to be the hidden agenda of an eventual a la Turca mock-up of an Entente cordiale.

And what can Mr. Obama, the hyper-advertised Zeus but really a beleaguered Messiah, do about an age-old conflict in far and away places as part of his charm offensive in Islamic lands? Precious little in all probabilities, for the true and fundamental reason that such steps do not yield votes in Kansas for an American politician. Thus it might be best left to the locals to let them solve their problems and let Europeans nudge the sides towards a discussion table and a forum to chew the fat.

As the world has observed in Palestine and the Arab-Zionist conflict, the Pakistani Picnic, the Darfur case, the Bosnia stalemate, the Rwandan carnage or the Cambodian cull, the Washington spin on the issue tends to trump facts as the hype rises to headlines and skewed interpretations via lobbies and spin meisters transform it all to a Friday night high school football skirmish, away from reality and truth. Hence, the American president might be well advised to skirt Herculean motions and shallow multi-tasking endeavors, especially where it deals with history far from the attention span of the electorate.

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