New York Times Betrays Its Own Investigation and Gets It Wrong on Karabakh

Screengrab from the New York Times


A mere two days after publishing an expansive and informative exposé about foreign powers buying influence with US-based think tanks to affect US policy, The New York Times published a sloppy article by long-time Azerbaijani collaborator, Brenda Shaffer, who by using official Baku’s vernacular sounds the alarm for supposed plans by Russia to engineer another “land grab” in the region—this time in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In The New York Times article, “Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks,” correspondents Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams and Nicholas Confessore diligently combed over hundreds of pages of documents to detail how foreign—among them Azerbaijani–monies to think thanks are adversely impacting academic research and are influencing US foreign policy.

It seems the Times frowns upon foreign powers influencing US policy, but its editorial board does not mind publishing pieces by known lobbyists who use their years of entrenched advocacy for foreign governments to advocate issues that official governments cannot and influence public opinion.

That’s exactly what Shaffer does in her piece, “Russia’s Next Land Grab” to convince the Russia-weary readers of the Times to beware of a supposed land grab that will adversely impact Baku’s interests.

Prof. Brenda Shaffer

Shaffer, who has been described by the Azerbaijani press as a “well-known Azeri government lobbyist,” last year vocally defended Aliyev’s re-election, which was panned by most observers including the State Department. Throughout her career as an “academic,” Shaffer has been a fixture at Azerbaijan-centric conferences and symposiums, always advocating on behalf of the Baku government and its oil riches.

The New York Times described Brenda Shaffer as “a professor of political science at the University of Haifa and a visiting researcher at Georgetown.” What the paper neglects to say is that Shaffer is also a visiting professor at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy and has spent almost two decades lobbying for Baku by presenting testimony to Congress and speaking and international conference organized by some of the think thanks that were at the center of the New York Times investigation.

The premises she presents to convince readers that Russia’s “land grab” of Karabakh is imminent, are assertions that Russia’s interests in Armenia make Karabakh the natural choice for such a move, claiming, with substantial evidence, that Russia masterminded the Oct. 27, 1999 attack on the Armenian Parliament.

She also claims that the meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Sochi was a plan devised to move a military mission to Nagorno-Karabakh, a fact that was not reported by either party to the meeting. In fact, if such was the case, the US and France would not have welcomed Putin’s efforts to broker peace. It turned out that Putin’s meeting with Armenia’s Serzh Sarkisian and Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev did not differ much from a meeting held last week between the presidents and Secretary of State John Kerry in Newport, Wales on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

By publishing the Shaffer piece The New York Times deflects the real reasons hampering a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict—Azerbaijan’s continued threats of war, violation of the cease fire and inciting anti-Armenian hatred—and blames the villain du jour, Russian President Vladimir Putin for the unrest in the Caucasus.

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  1. Satenik said:

    They would betray their own mother , so no surprise there. You are doing a great jocb though exposing their double dealings and hypocracy.

  2. haig said:

    “On July 31, Armenians began a coordinated, surprise attack in three locations. Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham H. Aliyev, and defense minister were outside their country during the attack and Mr. Aliyev had not yet agreed to attend the summit meeting”???
    She had a party befor writing this piece!!!

  3. Samuel Darbinian said:

    In this days there have been discussions about Ukraine crisis, territorial integrity plus Islamic jihadist cri-

    me & the Right of Nations Self Determinations, circulating all around, ironicaly it become coincident
    with the election of Turkish new president Erdoghan, who dedicated his best to save & protect his minor cosine Elham Alieve.
    Turks traditioaly accustomed to lie distortion & every cheap opportunity hallucinate them , as far as they have extra petrodollars they will have ready experts in the market, to satisfy there desire.
    Prof. Shaffer’s article in the New York Times Propaganda Media, claims Russia interested of Karabakh , may be she doesn’t remember possibly soffering from mental disorder that her employer dady
    Heidar Alieve begging Russians to convince Karabakh Armenians be lenient in punishing Barbarian turks & pleading save them, prof. Shaffer may be needs go back school. save herself from confusion,

  4. mike said:

    I am wondering whether the author of this great piece or ASBAREZ or readers in America will send it to the New York Times. It should appear there as a corrective.

  5. Serj said:

    No surprises here.Before reading the article if one checks out the author one would know what kind of pro-Azeri article it would be. Considering extremely goood relationsip between Azeris and Israel and Israel’s refusal to recoginze 1915 genocide. A teacher from University of Haifa?????????????

  6. Armenian said:

    This is why the Times’s readership has dramatically decreased over the years; people can see through their BS, and would sooner pay for tabloids promoting yellow journalism like the National Enquirer than to purchase a subscription from anything that comes out of the journalistic concubine that is the NYT office. They are incredibly desperate and are quick to take any and every form of charity, regardless of where it comes from. The Azeri Embassy knows this and is quick to pounce on the opportunity.

  7. Hrant A. said:

    Russia has no desire to “grab” Nagorno Karabakh. It is a shame to attempt to blur the inalienable right of a people to self determination with unfounded theories. This is another agent of Azerbaijan spreading falsehoods. The New York Times should immediately call Ms.Shaffer to task. Armenians worldwide beware of the disinformation campaign.