1 February 2021
Dr. Minas Kojayan of Keghart.org interviewed Mr. Hagop Nazarian. He is a construction engineer, a member of the Diaspora Armenian Scientists’ Association and honorary member of ADLP (Armenian Democratic Liberal Party-Ramgavar) Central Committee.
KEGHART : What observations would you make of both sides’ conduct of the Second Artsakh War?
HAGOP NAZARIAN (HN): From the first day of the war, we were told Azerbaijan was well prepared and had more and superior military equipment in addition to enjoying Turkey’s full support. Additionally, they had Syrian terrorist-mercenaries and Pakistani help. Early on, the Armenian generals had advised the government to stop the war but the war continued. There were several attempts for ceasefire but these were unsuccessful Finally, on the 44th day a new ceasefire was declared, and an agreement was signed by Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan. Mr. Pashinyan signed on behalf of Armenia. When the terms of the agreement were made public, it became obvious we had capitulated. While during the war Armenian army spokespeople were constantly announcing the combat gains of our side, on Nov. 9 it became apparent we were losing. Armenians all over the world were in shock. Especially significant were the loss of Shushi, Kelbajar, the Lachin corridor and the requirement of a passage from Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan through Armenia. We also learned from our soldiers and foreign correspondents that most of our troops serving on the front lines were young recruits and volunteers. The bulk of Armenia’s professional army had not participated in the fighting. In the southern areas, next to Iran, orders were given to our troops to evacuate making occupation by the Azerbaijan army easier. Was this a military maneuver or helping the enemy? If the latter, it is treason. Armenian soldiers on the front lines expressed their surprise when told they had been losing when they were under the impression they had been winning.
After signing the ceasefire agreement, Pashinyan stated he had no choice because had the war continued, some 25,000 Armenian soldiers would have been surrounded and eliminated and we would have lost Stepanakert and the rest of Karabagh. Pashinyan’s statement about Stepanakert and Karabagh as well as the loss of Shushi has been challenged by some Armenian volunteers.
KEGHART: Why did we lose the war?
HN: Based on the statements of front-line Armenian soldiers they fulfilled their responsibilities fully and honorably and that the fault lies elsewhere. Despite Azerbaijan’s technical and military superiority the Armenian recruits were able to prevent major Azeri breakthroughs for more than 40 days except in the southern sector.
Some of the factors that assisted the Azerbaijani army’s gains included:
a) Technologically-modern armaments and ammunition,
b) The effective use of drones and the unprotected skies over Armenian troops,
c) Poor management of Armenian troops by the Armenian government,
d) The refusal of Russia to assist the Artsakh army during 44 days of war,
e) The help provided to Azerbaijan by Turkey, Pakistan, Israel and the mercenary terrorists. Additionally, Azerbaijan had been preparing for this war for almost 27 years and had spent billions of petro-dollars. Azerbaijan and Turkey perpetrated war crimes when they murdered civilians as they targeted residential areas, hospitals and churches. They used white phosphorus and cluster bombs in violation of international law. Turkey considers the Armenian Genocide ‘unfinished business’. These attacks were propelled by their genocidal hatred of Armenians and Pan-Turanist goals.
KEGHART: What kind of future do you see for Armenia and Artsakh and what should be done to ensure their survival.
HN: Because the internal situation in Armenia and in Artsakh is unsettled and the final status of Artsakh has not been determined, the following immediate steps have to be considered:
a) Prevention of further territorial losses and the eventual recovery of lost lands.
b) Reorganize the Armenian army, introduce modern training methods and provide the latest weapons. As well, provide the latest drones and establish more effective intelligence-gathering methods and services.
c) Correct the unjust decision Stalin made and affirm the independence of Artsakh.
d) Plan and cooperate with the diaspora by using their capabilities.
e) Develop a modern defense industry so as to become militarily self-sufficient.
f) Develop partnership with friendly nations including, China, India, Greece, Egypt, and France in addition to Russia.
g) Prepare a new generation of devoted, patriotic and capable leaders.
h) Develop strong deterrents to discourage our enemies from taking hostile actions against us.
i) Demand foreign banks the return to the Armenian government all illegal money deposits made by Armenian oligarchs. These funds are to be used to modernize and strengthen the Armenian army, improve the economy, assist our war victims and rebuild destroyed buildings.
j) A strong international effort should be made to affirm the independence of Artsakh (then to unite it to Armenia).
KEGHART: What do you think of the passageway connecting Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan through Armenia?
HN: It’s one of requirements of the Nov. 10 ceasefire agreement. Its implementation will enable Turkey to realize its Pan-Turanic objective to expand into Central Asia. This project is detrimental to Armenia’s sovereignty, independence and security. It provides an easy access into Armenian territory.
KEGHART: What are the lessons we must learn from the war and what steps should be taken in forming a “new government in Armenia.”
HN: NATO member Turkey was able to penetrate the southern flank of Russia. Such moves are against Russia’s interest as well as Armenia’s. Through its mission, Russia was able to establish a foothold in southern Caucasus.
- Pashinyan government’s lack of experience, and its poor judgment–especially in military matters– contributed to our defeat.
- The silence of Western Europe regarding the war and the atrocities committed. European and U.S. foreign policy makers gave minimum importance to the war and even supported our enemies.
- By refusing to interfere in the war, Russia appeared to be punishing Pashinyan. Russia may have had a part in the planning of the attack on Artsakh.
- Iran, China, India, should be treated as strategic partners and be courted.
- We should not put our hopes on others to fight our wars.
- Azerbaijan’s main asset to finance the war was its petroleum reserves. Therefore, the pipeline to Europe is a military target. Why was the Azeri pipeline not bombed?
- Most probably the Nov. 10 ceasefire agreement has secret clauses that are even more detrimental to Armenia’s interests.
Our actions in the next few months will determine to what extent our losses are permanent and how we can recover our losses. The sacrifices of our soldiers made should mark a new beginning for an Armenia with a government of experienced politicians who will be able to navigate Armenia’s future in a safe and peaceful manner.