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Why here?: U.S. Embassy vigilance call over Libyan violence raises some eyebrows in Armenia

Why here?: U.S. Embassy vigilance call over Libyan violence raises some eyebrows in Armenia
US Embassy in Yerevan - Photolure
US Embassy in Yerevan - Photolure

What looked like a pro-forma statement from the United States Embassy in Yerevan reminding U.S. citizens “to maintain a high level of vigilance and good situational awareness in light of recent attacks on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya” did not go down well with some members of the Armenian public who consider their Christian country a place free from radical Islamic manifestations.

Perhaps in view of this discontent the U.S. Embassy in Armenia had to update its original release, stressing that it had “no specific information to indicate that these events will affect security in Armenia” and that “the U.S. Embassy in Armenia is observing normal working hours”. But discussions among Armenians online and in local media still went on about why Armenia got into the list of some 40 countries where the vigilance calls were issued.

Official Yerevan did not react to the statement from the U.S. Embassy.

Some theories as to why Armenia is among the countries where alert warnings have been issued for U.S. citizens center round neighboring Iran, which is an Islamic state that maintains good-neighborly relations with Christian Armenia.

In particular, Yerkir.am sees close ties between Armenia and Iran as the main factor. It says that thousands of Iranian tourists visit Armenia and that nationals of the Islamic Republic may pose a threat to the U.S. Embassy and U.S. citizens here, especially that Washington has not had an embassy in Tehran for more than three decades now.

Another theory also refers to the large-scale military exercises of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization to be conducted in Armenia on September 15-19. The war games involving some 2,000 troops and to be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin may also be taken as a potential threat by the United States, writes Lragir.am.

And finally some experts do not rule out the possibility that the United States is sending a message to Armenia, warning this South Caucasus nation surrounded by Muslim countries like Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran that it may itself be affected by the rising tide of Islamic violence.

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