Prof. Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian, Los Angeles, 5 August 2022
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
Like most observers, I was expecting an Armenian victory over Azerbaijan in the 44-Day War in 2020. The rout devastated many people and my mind kept searching for a reason (s) for the death, destruction, and the loss of large swathes of territory to Azerbaijan.
The combined forces of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Pakistan, terrorist jihadist, Syrian and Libyan mercenaries, and the Israeli UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) remote pilots fought against the fledgling Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) assisted only by Armenia.
In addition to allied forces, Azerbaijan used illegal weapons against the unsuspecting Artsakh Defense Forces and the civilians of a number of towns and cities in contravention of international rules of engagement.
For a tiny republic with a small population, a war casualty of 3,822 soldiers and civilians is a shuddering national loss.
Hopes for victory were based on the fact that the Armenian generals had for many years assured the public of the well preparedness of the Armenian forces against Azerbaijan. One general had even claimed a few years earlier that if war were to break out with Azerbaijan, the Armenian army would chase the enemy all the way to Baku.
What factors contributed to defeat?
- The Armenian Defense Forces used vintage Russian weapons, hardly functional.
- Azerbaijan deployed invincible Israeli and Turkish suicide drones.
- Azerbaijan used illegal weapons.
- Insufficiently trained Armenian volunteers were sent to the front line.
- The Armenian generals were “businessmen” and not true military leaders to serve out of love of country. Instead, they pursued personal gains.
Following the war, there were frequent media reports about the arrests of Armenian military officers for high treason, often betraying their country for money. It was expected for a country at war to have some traitors. However, the frequency of treason headlines, indicated an epidemic of treason in Armenia and Artsakh.
Continuing my research, I discovered another reason as to why Armenia/Artsakh had lost the war so miserably. Below is a list of recent headlines to give you an idea about the endemic of treasonous activities in the Armenian Armed Forces.
The California Courier:
“Armenian soldier accused of espionage, high treason,” June 2, 2022
“Artsakh Soldier Arrested for Treason,” June 23, 2022
“Two Armenian Soldiers Arrested After Spying for Enemy,” June 23, 2022
“Armenian NSS detains former head of missile troops and artillery,” June 23, 2022
“Armenian army officer charged with treason,” July 7, 2022
“Another Armenian army officer arrested on charges of treason,” July 21, 2022
“16 Armenians Arrested as Members of a Second spy Network,” March 17, 2022
“The Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said last week during an online press conference that more than 50 Armenian servicemen faced treasons charges,” July 7, 2022
“Armenians accused of treason gave geographical coordinates to foreign special services,” August 11, 2022
“Colonel arrested for violating rules of combat duty during Artsakh war,” August 11, 2022.
“High treason by Armenia citizens, espionage by foreign nationals exposed,” August 18, 2022.
The above list of headlines for treason arrests in a single newspaper in a span of two-and-a-half months is just the tip of the iceberg. If you were to search on Google “Armenian Army Officer Charged with Treason,” you would be inundated with further news reports on National Security Service (NSS) arrests and indictments. There is no question about it: treason, and espionage, selling out one’s country to the enemy for money, has been an epidemic in Armenia and to a lesser degree in Artsakh.
Treason or high treason is defined as the committing of a crime that seriously threatens the safety and security of one’s country. Treason and high treason are used interchangeably nowadays. In the past, high treason was against a monarch, while treason was against an official or a government. In both cases, the act is a serious crime subject to capital punishment in most countries.
The arrest and the indictment of the traitors by NSS had the same story and procedure. Let us take “Armenian army officer charged with treason” (The California Courier, July 7, 2022) for an example:
“NSS has accused the above career army officer, who possessed information on the command staff, size of the armament, kind and quantity of military equipment, the manpower as well as the location of some of the military units, had been recruited by foreign intelligence service through the social network such as “ok.ru.” For example, the army officer was promised $4,000 in exchange for sending photos via Whats.App.
How can Armenian soldiers in the front line fight with confidence if they know that traitors have betrayed them by providing vital military information to the enemy?
What should be the ultimate penalty for those found guilty of high treason? Usually, the conspirators are hanged for selling out their country. I say let us banish them to Azerbaijan or to Turkey where they will be treated as dirty rats for betraying their own country.
Is treason in Armenia/Artsakh a widespread character defect? If it is, then we have an army of traitors. What can be done? Ideas have changed the world; ideas may also help the homeland provided minds are kept open:
- NSS should primarily operate on proactive basis in finding subversive activities going on with those officers who may betray the country before the damage is done.
- NSS should prosecute for high capital punishment any treasonous activity to discourage anyone from engaging in treason, in the betrayal of the homeland.
- Teach children at an early age in school, like playing chess is done in primary schools, through the carrot approach –the rewards, the honors to be gained by being a patriotic citizen of the homeland. Psychologically speaking, since sometimes negative incentives work as well (the stick approach). Teachers should expose children at an early age to the dire consequences of selling out one’s country to the enemy. Parents also have the critical role to play in bringing up their children to be patriotic, self-sacrificing, to advance the homeland for the benefit of all.
- Military training should emphasize the temptation to sell out one’s country to the adversary as being strong. Giving lip service to treason will not do.
A search for Azerbaijan’s reports of treason on the Internet produced not even one case. Most, if not all, of the cases pertained to the treason of Armenian officers even when the search specified “Azerbaijani treason cases.” This anomaly is perhaps due to Azerbaijan’s clampdown on the press reporting cases of treason for a show of solidarity of the Azerbaijani people and army with their leader, President Ilham Aliyev.
In view of the plethora of treason cases reported in the aftermath of the Second Artsakh War, it’s obvious that one of the critical reasons Armenians lost the war was treason by their own servicemen, officers and retired army brass.
When the incidence of treason is so frequent, it sags our spirits. It also indicates that some of the above listed agents are not doing a sufficient work in raising patriotic children to become loyal citizens. The Spartans knew quite well that it was not numbers, but the quality of soldiers that brought home victory. We should always remember: Nature hates vacuum and wherever patriotism is absent, treason thrives