A Multidimensional Approach to Protecting Artsakh

Posted on April. 30. 2023

“Multidimensional problems require
multidimensional thinking.
To find simple, actionable, single-task solutions,
we need multidimensional thinkers
to strike at the heart of things.”
― Richie Norton
by Z. S. Andrew DemirdjiaN

The moment of truth is approaching surreptitiously to portend additional problems for the existence of the Republic of Artsakh. The trilateral agreement of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia of November 9, 2020 will expire in November of 2025. It will have many negative implications for Artsakh, if Armenians adhere to a wait-and-see attitude –for none of the political analysts is sure how President Vladimir Putin would help Armenians out of this pending calamity since his political sympathies seem to be with Azerbaijan.
Without advance preparation, Armenians may very well find themselves again between the devil and the deep blue sea. Once the Russian peacekeeping forces are withdrawn, President Ilham Aliyev will continue to resort to more cruel measures to subdue Artsakh. His honesty is suspect for he has many times violated the spirit of ceasefire agreements with Armenia.
Emboldened by the sweeping victory of 44-Day War and Putin’s tacit green light, Aliyev would resort to his bag of tricks to bring Artsakh under his total control. Even ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Armenians cannot be ruled out from Aliyev’s bizarre Gengis-Kahn-like behavior. If Armenia intercedes on or in behalf of Artsakh, this would mean another large-scale war.
Clearly, this is not a farfetched scenario, given the present humanitarian crisis of 120, 000 Armenians, laid in siege for nearly three months in their own ancestral homeland and the West is turning a blind eye to Azerbaijan’s inhumane treatment of innocent men, women, and children. A siege tactic in the 21st century on civilians sounds like an anomaly, perpetrated by an abnormal personality.
The future does not bode well for Artsakh, since most of the international community is hesitant to stop Aliyev’s brutal tactics to subdue the people of Artsakh through siege starvation, which is considered “a war crime of societal torture.”
Multidimensional approach is the concerted method to tackle problems from different angles at the same time –such as solving the survival of Artsakh facing of ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people of the region, recognition of its independence, and having security measures for a peaceful and prosperous existence in their ancestral lands.
Unlike unidimensional approach that puts all eggs in one basket, multidimensional approach avoids the opportunity cost of not solving a problem through various strategies and perspectives –concurrently.
It is crucial to appreciate the power of multidimensional approach. In ancient times, multidimensional approach to solving problems was practiced by the famous Greek physician called Paracelsus. To treat a patient with a sickness, he had to apply a “multidimensional approach” involving physiology, astrology, psychology, etc. in his attempt to find a cure, a solution to the problem. The patient had to be treated from more than one perspective.
In the 1960s, Ludwig Von Bertalanffy popularized the concept of multidimensional approach by calling it a “systems approach,” in which to solve a problem one has to tackle the various key elements surrounding an issue or a thing.
Central to Bertalanffy’s idea was the simple approach to any system, (be they biological, mechanical, or even conceptual) of Input, Process, Output, and Feedback. He wrote that a system is a complex of interacting elements and that they are subject to, and interact with their environments. Additionally, they can acquire qualitatively new properties through emergency; thus, they are in a continual evolution.
In the 1980s, systems approach was applied extensively in business, medicine, economics, etc, and in 1990s, with the advent of the computer, the basic multidimensional approach concept was used in multitasking method.
It should be noted that multidimensional approach is different than multitasking in one important way. While multitasking is ordinarily done by one individual facilitated by the computer, multidimensional approach is usually carried out by a group consisting of experts or specialists.
Multidimensional approach avoids switching plans; it is a steady approach to solving a problem by a group of specialists for the well being of, say Artsakh, the beleaguered people subjected to the cruel treatments by Azerbaijan. In this concerted approach, all plans and strategies are placed on the front burner, without one plan cannibalizing another one in terms of time and resources.
What to do before the coming of the storm? As they say, ideas have changed the world, ideas can also advance Armenia. In this article, multidimensional approach will be presented for a forum for possible ways to skin a cat and hopefully save Artsakh from bloodshed.
The multidimensional approach will have to consist of skillful diplomacy, readiness for defense, and enlistment of the Armenian Diaspora. In addition to siege removal by reopening the Lachin (Berdzor) Corridor, if possible, Armenians should undertake the following tasks concurrently:

  1. State Minister Ruben Vardanyan of Artsakh or someone in his government has to skillfully persuade President Vladimir Putin that keeping the Russian peacekeeping forces for another term of five years would be beneficial to Kremlin and for his image for keeping their foothold in South Caucasus. Besides, Artsakh needs more time to rearm, to rebuild itself.
    Although Lieutenant General Rustam Usmanovich Muradov of the Russian Commander of the Peacekeeping Forces in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) is a Lezgin of Daghestan, his middle and last names are Turkish: Usman and Murad. Regardless, he is seemingly showing affinity to Azerbaijan by not enforcing the mandate of the peacekeeping mission to make Azerbaijan unblock the Lachin Corridor. Replacing him with another objective commander would be of great help to the marooned people of Artsakh. Gen. Muradov has been acting like a unconcerned tourist about the plight of 120,000 people.
  2. Putin should be warned that pulling off the Russian peacekeeping forces from Artsakh would create a vacuum to be filled by some Western powers in the South Caucasus, such as by US, a supreme NATO member.
  3. Minister of State Ruben Vardanyan or another state official should try hard to reactivate the Minsk Group, which was created in 1992 to spearhead the OSCE’s (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Artsakh-Azerbajani conflict as it has been agreed upon in a previous conference.
  4. If possible, try to have the European Council President Charles Michel continue the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan through the skillful mediation of this diplomat. Artsakh needs time to rehab.
  5. If CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization ) fails to come to Armenia’s rescue, then Armenia would have no choice but turn to the West for assistance, such as to US, France, EU, even to NATO (which would shake the foundation of Kremlin with anger). For Artsakh’s existence, external assistance is imperative untill it becomes somewhat self-sufficient.
  6. Initiate alliances with other nations, such as with Paraguay, the first country in the world to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide in 1965, or court Argentina, India, etc., to strengthen Armenia’s political position for, unfortunately, Russia has left the Armenians in the lurch many times. Luckily, there are 195 independent sovereign countries in the world some of which may like to ally themselves with Armenia.
  7. Armenia and Artsakh should strengthen ties with Iran by cooperating on some local as well as international projects, such as allowing Iranian herders the right to lease lands in the Syunik Province (Marz) for grazing cattle, finishing the joint project of the transit route to the Black Sea, and co-producing automobiles and other machinery in Armenia.
  8. Replace all of the derelict Armenian military officers who served in the 44-Day War in 2020 and who have been taxed with negligence. In fact, they deserve the capital punishment for the war casualties and loss of land to the adversary on account of their negligence, complacency, and focusing on their personal gains.
  9. Start a serious training of women to serve in the armed forces. There are many young, patriotic women who would be ready, willing, and able to serve the motherland as courageously as their male counterparts.
    In 1948, after WWII, President Harry S. Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law, officially allowing women to serve as full, permanent members of all branches of the Armed Forces. In WWII, Jacqueline Cochran (1906-1980) received for her war efforts the Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Since then, the US has produced many women warriors as heroes of the subsequent wars.
  10. Begin dismantling the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant to get rid of Armenia’s Achill’s heel. Azerbaijan has many cruel military servicemen who may blow up the plant for the sake of getting a promotion and a medal from President Ilahm Aliyev, who has been proven to condone, and even encourage, such barbaric acts.
  11. Invite the Armenian Diaspora’s retired military personnel to help with the training of soldiers and strategy of war to protect the homeland.
  12. Request the Armenian Diaspora to establish a fund to support the armed defense forces of both Armenia and Artsakh. This kind of project is critical to the survival of Artsakh.
  13. Through crowd-funding activities designed by the Armenian Diaspora, purchase attack drones from either China or India until local production is established.
  14. Establish an R&D (research and development) department to either assemble or manufacture UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for combat and not for hobbies.
  15. Purchase anti-drone laser weapons and anti-molecular-nano weapons from China. They are very inexpensive, but can determine the outcome of a future aggression by Azerbaijan. A mini atomic bomb, based on Molecular Nanotechnology, for example, can be purchased for about $150! In the event, Azerbaijan begins to undertake a genocide, Armenians can justify the use of the bomb should the international community continue to act like spectators.
  16. Form a virtual “cabinet” consisting of Diaspora political talents, retired US Armed Force personnel, university scholars, journalists, etc. for advice on important national security issues.
  17. Offer “instant double citizenship,” without any hassle and red tape, to the Diaspora Armenians to beef up Artsakh’s population and entice the participation of Diaspora Armenians.
  18. Distribute part of Artsakh’s government lands to the locals as well as to the Diaspora Armenians free or at a nominal charge to boost up the population. The lure of land binds the locals and the expats to the property they own in certain places. In this way, Artsakh will be able to minimize the exodus from the homeland.
  19. Establish an auxiliary virtual cabinet to advise the heads of states of Artsakh on matters pertaining to the economy of Armenia and Artsakh.
  20. Begin a campaign for Artsakh’s independence recognition. Based on the UN requirements, Artsakh has had for almost 30 years now what it takes to become an independent sovereign state: a stable population, democratically elected government, a defense force, etc.
    Turkey and Saudi Arabia were among the countries that persuaded the President Bill Clinton Administration to separate Kosovo from Serbia by force by deploying NATO forces in 1999. Likewise, the Diaspora Armenians should enlist the US, France, or Russia to help Artsakh remain independent of Azerbaijan.
  21. Diaspora should train those Armenians who would want to volunteer to help the Artsakh people when another war breaks out with Azerbaijan. The basic orientation training would also serve as a motivator to protect the Homeland.
  22. The Diaspora should also concentrate on persuading some friendly nations to recognize the independence of Artsakh. While Argentina, for example, would find it difficult to justify sending troops to help Artsakh, its government, however, would be more amenable to recognize the independence of Artsakh from a dynastic dictatorship. After all, Argentina like many other nations does not depend on Azerbaijani oil and gas to prevent it from exercising its moral obligation to save a trapped people from genocide.
  23. The Diaspora’s active involvement in finding solutions to save Artsakh from the dictatorship of Azerbaijan should top its agenda of community service to help the people of the Homeland.
    Mind you, the small window of opportunity to save Artsakh is closing by the day. We all Armenians should rise to the occasion and assist besieged Artsakh, surrounded by armed forces aiming to capture it or force surrender.
    The suspense of what will happen when the five-year period is over, especially when Russia has been refusing to sustain Armenia against the aggression of Azerbaijan. The plot thickens; Armenians must plan ahead.
    With a wayward Russia, Armenians are facing a catch-22 situation. Despite Armenia’s loyalty to Russia, the big bear does not protect Armenian interests and rights. When Armenia tries to survive by looking to Western powers to come to the rescue, Russia not only frowns upon it but subjects the country to a brutal treatment by its nemeses in order to teach Armenians a lesson.
    The assumption that Russia is Armenia’s sustenance or savior has been recently shattered by the failure of CSTO to rally behind Armenia when it was attacked by Azerbaijani forces in September 13-14, 2022. As far as Armenians are concerned, CSTO proved to be biased and toothless.
    To add insult to injury, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently justified Azerbaijan’s war against Armenia during an interview on Russian television in early February of 2023 –for Armenia’s failure to sign a lopsided treaty with Azerbaijan. By all indications, Russia has become Azerbaijan’s staunch ally.
    To reiterate for emphasis, just focusing on the resolution of removing the siege on Artsakh is a narrow approach at the expense of other important problems to solve at the same time. Working on getting rid of the siege is important, but it should not be done at the expense of neglecting other issues to be also urgently solved.
    The preponderance of efforts is exerted toward Azerbaijan’s siege of Artsakh to the neglect of other opportunities which are essential for its long-term survival. It would be ideal for the Armenian Diaspora to have an international organization to facilitate the coordination of all of the multidimensional approach efforts to prevent Azerbaijan swallowing up Artsakh.
    A worldwide Armenian Diaspora organization would have had a vital function, as the nervous system, coordinating plans to avoid duplication of effort of the different parts of the national system of the Armenian communities around the globe. For systematic efforts, a superintendent body is required to make sure that plans are carried out with thoughtfulness, regularity, and systematically.
    Putting all eggs into one basket is a precarious approach. The shotgun approach has greater merit in the present case of Arsakh.
    A viable group should share interests and mission toward solving major pressing problems. Banking on Diplomacy, Defense, and the Diaspora working all three of them concurrently and cooperatively would sooner or later solve Artsakh’s existential problems of independence, security, and prosperity through a multidimensional approach.

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