This is part one in a three-part series about the 2020 Artsakh War.
“Do not be afraid of losing. Winners are not afraid of losing. Failure is part of the road to success.”
Yes, our dignity and pride are damaged; yes, we have been sold and harmed; yes, we are depressed and confused; yes, we have been betrayed and insulted; yes, our bloody wounds will fester for a very long time, causing unspeakable anguish.
At the same time, we must acknowledge that we cannot treat or cure this ailment by whining on Facebook, staging virtual protests producing sweat on the forehead and foam in the mouth; by being impressionable to agents provocateurs who have sold out to foreign agitators; or by enduring the squeaky cries made by the domestic scum in Armenia who seek to exacerbate our problems.
Ultimately, we are talking about the defense and salvation of the nation and the homeland, not conducting an evaluation of some religious cult that can commit universal suicide in a state of ecstasy.
If we can look at the events of the last two months with cold judgment and an unbiased view, and not as participants but as third parties, then we can firmly draw the following conclusions:
Armenia has not lost its homeland, or a part of it, but has returned the enemy- occupied territories of Artsakh, which the enemy has been asking for and demanding for more than 25 years.
The Armenian population of three million people, with their Diaspora and the status of being “resolutely alone” in their defense, fought heroically for 44 days – against Turkey with a population of 90 million and comprising NATO’s second largest army; against 10-15 times more military equipment (according to various military experts) possessed by Azerbaijan; against the weapons of Israel, Ukraine, Belarus; and against the Turkish- Pakistani Islamist mercenaries. And after enduring assaults from such a massive power imbalance, as a result, the majority of the Armenian territory of Artsakh was preserved. Artsakh still maintains its right to self-determination and still keeps aflame the aspiration for recognition as an independent republic.
The enemy is well aware that it has paid a high price for its Pyrrhic victory. It is not so much the loss of its material, financial and human resources that were several times greater than the “losing” side, but the fact that Azerbaijan now has to tolerate and submit to another country’s military contingent on its territory (Russia), and give up a large part of its sovereignty to another country (Turkey).
Vivid proof of the vile and cowardly behavior of the Azerbaijani government is that during the war, it kept its own people in a total information vacuum, forbidding independent journalism, shutting down all social media and not allowing any foreign correspondent to be sent to the battlefront to cover the military events. Even now, more than two weeks after the signing of the armistice, Aliyev is not informing the international community nor his own people about Azerbaijan’s casualties or lost military equipment.
Yes, Armenia came up short in this battle. But it is not the end of the war yet, only a return to the status quo of 30 years ago. The score, in football language, is 1:1. The opponent equalized the score in the return match, bringing out 77 or more players against our 11 heroic football players, all with the silent and conspiratorial participation of an infamous international referee (or referees). This is the stark reality, and even then, the score is still the same. There still must be another decisive confrontation before the final outcome of the entire war is decided.
After the invasion of its territory by a third country, Azerbaijan irrevocably added itself to the list of former CIS countries that suffered territorial losses after independence, in particular Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, and together with Belarus comprise the list of countries whose internal authorities must obey like puppets the instructions given by the rulers of this or that country. Azerbaijan is unique in that it has the exclusive honor of losing both its sovereignty and its territory to overlords.
Throughout the history of civilization, during wars (in most cases) the adversaries, no matter how much they were at odds, showed a certain respect and virtue towards each other, the captives of the enemy and the civilian population. In this case, the enemy camp, as it did 100 years ago, behaved like nomadic barbarian tribes. Their chieftain behaved like a bloodthirsty savage, ordering the bombing of peaceful cities and inhabitants with the intent to once again commit genocide; destroying schools, hospitals and civilian infrastructure; torturing and dismembering prisoners of war and noncombatants alike; deliberately destroying or damaging traces of the Armenian patrimony in the form of centuries-old churches and cemeteries; and even using cluster bombs on civilians and white phosphorous to destroy the environment – both outlawed by international rules of warfare.
And this is so, even when the Armenian side safeguarded and medically treated their prisoners of war; and never permitted itself to damage the enemy’s towns and villages, houses of worship or historic landmarks. Moreover, the morally upright Armenians did not even target high-risk Azeri objects of military-strategic importance (the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Yevlakh railway junction, the Mingechevir reservoir), which could have created unmitigated natural disasters for the entire region. Perhaps they should have! While the enemy camps have spared no effort to lie and deceive themselves, their citizens, and the international community about Armenia and Artsakh using false accusations, false history, false propaganda, and anti-Christian and anti-Armenian screeds, the Armenians did not stoop to the enemy’s level. Armenian soldiers and civilians alike displayed their ethical values, uncommon bravery, chivalry, national pride, and unwavering Christian faith. In this existential battle, Armenians demonstrated to the world that they are a people of honor, dignity and fairness, and that they will never willingly surrender their God-given right to live on their indigenous lands in liberty.
And if, after all this, the Artsakh War of 2020 is still considered the victory of the enemy, then I am definitely a professor of Chinese hieroglyphs. Before moving on in future articles to the second and third parts of this evaluation, where I will try to address the problems inside Armenia and the issues of the future, I end my message with this thought: “When the loser smiles, the winner loses the delight of victory.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mikayel Sukiasyan is a Yerevan-born economist. He and his sons have served in the Soviet and Armenian Armed Forces and while they signed up for deployment in the 2020 Artsakh War, they were never called.