BY STEVE DADAIAN
The regime in Armenia is looking to blame everyone except itself, a regime democratically elected by its citizens and with the sworn constitutional duty and responsibility to lead protect and defend the nation.
But what it did in fact draws into question whether those responsibilities were undertaken.
We were all taken by surprise to hear the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declare that he surrendered to Azerbaijan and Turkey on November 9. Yet no explanation has been provided.
After experiencing the devastating effects of drone attacks in April 2016 the government of Armenia perhaps should have concentrated their defense acquisitions these last few years on anti drone and surface to air missile defense systems instead of purchasing and showboating Sukhoi Fighter jets. Where was Armenia’s Belladonna air defense systems and jamming devices?
And where were the vast majority of the Armenian Army and its reservists and emergency conscripts? Where was the emergency national draft and martial law announcement that would order an immediate national military conscription? Why did the Armenian government not field the 80,0000 to 100,000 soldiers needed to defend the homeland? Most importantly, where was the resolve seen in a unified Armenian Diaspora not translated to fielding the needed Armenian soldiers on the lines of defense in Artsakh?
Wasn’t this the same Armenian nation that from 1941-45 sacrificed fully one fourth of Soviet Armenia’s population, a full 300,000 casualties to protect the Soviet Union and Russia from the onslaught of Nazi Germany? That war wasn’t to protect any Armenian real estate. This war in 2020 was however.
History has taught us that when we are faced with survival versus destruction we often can and do win. In the self defense and later the liberation of Artsakh, cobblers, machinists and farmers of Artsakh faced soviet and Azeri attack helicopters, fighter bombers, T- 72 tanks, Chechen and Afghan mujaheddin and Grad rockets launchers with only hunting rifles and the weapons captured from the enemy. They then liberated more than half of the Karabakh Oblast that had fallen and went on to liberate Shushi, establishing a protective buffer perimeter and forged a democratic independent Artsakh. Azerbaijan at the time was a country of over 7 million when those heroic actions occurred, and Armenia was sleeping in the dark with no heat or running water reeling after the devastation of the Spitak earthquake. And yet, with little but a fledgling post soviet national government and no real army they were able to marshal volunteers to protect their Artsakh sisters and brothers.
And looking at it from the other side didn’t the great Soviet Union lose a war against Afghanistan in the 1980s? Didn’t the richest and strongest power the world had ever seen, the United States of America, lose a war it bitterly fought for over 10 years in Vietnam, though ironically never losing a single battle?
Years ago I read a study published in the Journal on Conflict Resolution that found in the 122 wars and military interventions conducted since World War II in which the United States, Soviet Union , China, Britain or France fought a weaker adversary, the bigger states lost 39% of the time. Armenia proved that itself in 1918 and again in 1994.
It is still unclear why and how the Prime Minister of Armenia decided that enough was enough after 44 days of battle and losing a reported 1,200 soldiers from a population of 3,000,000. What was the analysis then that couldn’t be made on the day before the war. Why did the Prime Minister, two weeks into the war, call on village and town mayors to create volunteer militias to go off and fight in Artsakh instead of issuing appropriate orders as the commander in chief for general martial law and call up a universal emergency draft for all able bodied men from age 18- 50? Wouldn’t that call have brought up several hundred thousand men and women to the national defense? Was this only a voluntary war for Armenia or was this a war of national survival. It would have taken 80,000 to 100,000 men at arms to properly defend Artsakh President Arayik Harutunyan said in a speech on November 11. Why were those soldiers not provided?
Why did the surrender end up giving back areas not even fought over such as Azeri settlements of Kazakh in Armenia and a swath of land across Zangezur in Armenia proper to create a protected land bridge connecting Nakhichevan and Turkey with Azerbaijan? And all the while the Armenian government was proclaiming Hakhteloo enk! Japan had two atom bombs dropped on them before they surrendered in WWII and even they gained in many ways better terms than what was accepted by Armenia’s Prime Minister.
The Armenian nation is entitled to the answers to these questions. President Harry Truman had a plaque on his desk that read “THE BUCK STOPS HERE” referring to the ultimate responsibility the leader of a state has and must accept. The citizens of Armenia should determine if there is such a plaque on Armenia’s Prime Minister’s desk.
Steve Dadaian is a member of the National Board of the Armenian National Committee of America.