Rachel Avraham
Rachel AvrahamCourtesy

As many have said over the years, history repeats itself. So are historical mistakes. One of the candidates for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize was Ruben Vardanyan. The irony in this case is that Vardanyan is behind several actions that did not advance any peace process at all. First, Vardanyan was part of the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In addition to this, he is responsible for much of the money that the Russian regime was able to launder and deceptively bring into Russia and thus circumvent the Western sanctions imposed on the country after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Second, Vardanyan supported separatist Armenian groups in Karabakh and contributed to the deepening of the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict. You can look from the side and think that this action is actually not bad, if you support the Armenian side in the conflict. But the point is that after the Azerbaijani security forces arrested Vardanyan, one of the charges he was accused of in Azerbaijan was sabotaging the Azerbaijani-Armenian peace process. How can a person who is accused of sabotaging a peace process between two countries and two peoples even can be on the waiting list to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize?

Thirdly, some of Vardanyan’s quiet political actions with Iran point to him being anti-Semitic. The reason for the last sentence is that Vardanyan is considered the person responsible for promoting the relationship between Armenia and Iran and is considered one of the most prominent people in the Russian-Armenian-Iranian axis, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine tends to be more and more active. He did not rule out cooperating with a regime that routinely chants “death to Israel” and attacks the Jewish state on a daily basis, both directly and via proxies.

Now I will return to the first sentence written in this section - why is this a historical mistake that repeats itself? Because in the past there was already a person who strongly resembled Vardanyan (in his public and political behavior and also in his support for terrorism) who won the Nobel Peace Prize and his name is Yasser Arafat.

A little over twenty years ago, Yasser Arafat was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate because of the Oslo Accords that he signed together with Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel at the time. Vardanyan's case is comparable to Arafat's case. Arafat was indeed a terrorist and the leader of a terrorist organization for many years, but thanks to the peace process of the Oslo Accords, he was able to simply work on the entire Western world.

After the Oslo Accords, Arafat continued his terrorist activities which took the lives of many Israelis and Jews, but during the Oslo Accords, Arafat knew how to moderate the messages he gave to the media so that his true plan would not be revealed.

Vardanyan, however is simply a shadow man who knows how to hide his many of his actions. Apparently, in recent years, the West no longer opens its eyes wide enough to see the truth.

Vardanyan and Arafat have more in common than you think. As already written, Vardanyan cooperates with the Revolutionary Guards regime in Iran and helps them transfer weapons and goods to Putin's Russia. In this action, Vardanyan helps Russia bypass the Western sanctions and obtain weapons for the war against Ukraine. But Vardanyan, in his action, also helped Iran and the Ayatollah regime to sell weapons and goods that, due to the Western sanctions on Russia, could not make these sales to Russia, thus losing money.

The money Vardanyan put into the state coffers of Iran from selling weapons to the Russians went to various terrorist groups in the Middle East, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis. All of these organizations have attacked the State of Israel since the October 7 massacre more than once and they are going to attack in the future as well. Arafat encouraged terror directly and deliberately and Vardanyan did it indirectly.

Vardanyan supported separatist terrorist organizations in Karabakh, and like him, Arafat was the head of a Palestinian Arab separatist terrorist organization. In both cases, the terrorist organizations do not act humanely towards the side from which they are trying to break away. They harm innocents and sabotage natural treasures to harm the other side.

In addition to that, it seems that just as Vardanyan damaged and sabotaged the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace process, Arafat also sabotaged the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Arafat cynically took advantage of the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians (which was promoted by people who wanted to live and were tired of wars) and channeled it for his real goal - to continue carrying out acts of terrorism against the State of Israel. As soon as he could, Arafat promoted terrorist attacks and pushed Palestinians to murder Jews, until in 2000, the Second intifada broke out, which stopped the peace process.

In addition to that, like Vardanyan who was part of Putin's close circle, Arafat also supported a dictatorial leader who started a war with a neighboring, small country, which he thought he would be able to subdue easily but in the end was dragged into a long and bloody war. Arafat supported Saddam Hussein who was responsible for the death of many Iraqis (his citizens who pay him taxes) just because they belonged to Shiite Islam and were not Sunni.

Hussein sent the Iraqi army to invade Kuwait because the heads of the country did not listen to his voice and instead of winning as quickly as he thought he started the Gulf War. In this action, Saddam Hussein harmed and caused the death of many innocent people, like Putin who invaded Ukraine.

Because of these reasons, I argue that Vardanyan, like Arafat, is a supporter of terrorism. It is not possible for a person like Vardanyan to be a Nobel Peace Prize laureate or even a candidate for the prize, because his connection to peace does not really exist.