Are We Ready for What Comes Next? People Have the Right to Know.

Are We Ready for What Comes Next? People Have the Right to Know.

By Dr. M. Mkhitar Moradian

The situation in the Republic of Armenia (RA) is far from stable and safe. The large presence of the Azerbaijani army on the borders of Syunik and the repeated statements by Aliyev indicating intentions to occupy that region are imminent threats that require preparations. However, unless the government is keeping plans against these threats secret, it appears they have none. In fact, Pashinyan is effectively using these threats to impose unbelievable concessions on the Armenian people to the benefit of Azerbaijanis and Turks. He continues to utilize the threat of war as a scare tactic to concede to Azerbaijani and Turkish pressure. So, let’s review the options available to the Armenian people to save not only the country but also their dignity. It is clear that the RA needs a security guarantor, especially now that, thanks to the Pashinyan regime’s heedlessness and unqualified leadership, the Armenian armed forces probably don’t have much of a chance against the well-equipped and well-supported Azerbaijani forces. Regardless of how brave our military personnel are, in the 21st-century warfare, bravery alone is not sufficient to win wars. It appears that the options for a security guarantor are as follows: EU/West, Russia, Iran, and some even mention Turkey. Here are some facts regarding the actions of these countries in the past five years in the region. Let’s analyze.

The EU/West lacks military presence in the region; instead, they deploy monitors to report on the positions of neighboring countries’ forces along Armenia’s borders. The question arises: Why? If the EU/West want to become the main allies for Armenia, then why not defend their new ally? It seems the EU/West are not interested in getting involved in another conflict. The Ukraine war has proved to be quite costly for them, and it is far from over. Their primary objective, seemingly pursued through the Pashinyan regime, appears to be the expulsion of Russian forces from the South Caucasus and weakening their positions. However, this strategy hasn’t quite unfolded as expected, has it? The EU/West recognized Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan, and then the Pashinyan government followed suit. Subsequently, the Russians argued that if Armenia had given up on Artsakh and its people, then they had to deal with Azerbaijan, and they did. One of the concessions the Russians got was to remain in Artsakh until further notice, while they remained silent when the Azerbaijani Army committed genocide against 120,000 Armenians of Artsakh. It appears the EU/West were outmaneuvered by the Russians, at least for now, since they don’t have the same leverage on Azerbaijan as they have on the Pashinyan regime. They haven’t been able to stop the flow/sale of Russian gas to Europe through Azerbaijan either, at least that’s what the rumors are. With very few choices left, the EU/West are promoting a peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan, possibly forcing Armenia to make concessions on a corridor between Azerbaijan and Nakhijevan or even part of the Syunik land. The EU/West are hoping to avoid conflict so that Russia is left with fewer excuses to keep its troops in the South Caucasus.

Russia is the main force in the neighborhood; they consider the South Caucasus their backyard, and it is hard to believe that they will leave the area. However, the war in Ukraine has caused tremendous hardship for them, and they ended up making unexpected deals with Turkey and Azerbaijan, such as allowing Azerbaijan to commit genocide against Artsakh Armenians, while failing to fulfill their contractual obligations. Blaming the Pashinyan regime for surrendering Artsakh to the Azerbaijanis has tied their hands to protect the people of Artsakh. Although this justification is widely considered unreasonable, it places the Russians in a more favorable position than conceding to Azerbaijani demands. Nonetheless, their purpose appears to be maintaining military presence in the South Caucasus, whether it be to protect the ceasefire and the people of Artsakh for three years or to break it and allow genocide. Some say that Russia is punishing Armenians because of the Pashinyan regime’s unfriendly policies toward them, which targeted Putin himself. Although this may be true, it has also resulted in the loss of the Armenian people’s trust in Russia. It seems like a long-time ally and a friend has found more important new friends and forgotten about us, but have they? Russians usually demand absolute obedience from the time of Tzars to the Soviets, and the new Russian Federation is no exception. Unless there is a formidable big power on the other side, like Turkey supporting Azerbaijan, they may be reluctant to negotiate. But the Armenians have never had a formidable power supporting us except Russians themselves. We are surrounded by enemies and throughout centuries, like it or not, Russians have been the only choice we have had as an ally. The question is: Have we lost their support?

Regarding allies, whether one believes it or not, today the only ally that has the same interests as us is Iran. They not only have the same interests, but the Syunik region serves as their only road to the North and Europe via land. Iran is the regional rival of Turkey, and it is probably safe to say that they consider Azerbaijan as a threat, if not an enemy. Azerbaijani’s close ties with Israel and their land claims on Iranian Azerbaijan are excellent reasons for us to align Armenia’s interests with Iran. It is probably also safe to say that Iran is a major deterrent of Azerbaijani’s attack on Syunik. Iran has amassed forces on the border with Armenia and Azerbaijan and has offered to send forces to defend Syunik. Nothing in politics is as simple as that. The EU/West’s allies are strongly against any Iranian involvement, and Pashinyan’s other allies, Turks, and Azerbaijanis, vehemently oppose this idea. Interestingly, Russians are also opposed since they want to be the main player in the region, not Iran. It is worth mentioning that Israel would love to instigate a regional conflict in the South Caucasus involving Iran, not only to weaken the Iranian regime and return a favor but also to cut them off from the North and Europe. While Iranians are doing their best to protect Armenia’s territorial integrity, even more than the Pashinyan regime does, the odds are not in their favor to be the main ally for Armenians and to play a crucial decision-making role in the South Caucasus.

Just a couple of lines about Turkey and its intentions. Turkey has always been and remains the Armenian people’s enemy, starting from the Ottoman Empire’s perpetration of genocide against our people to Turkey’s extensive support for Azerbaijan in 2020, fighting on their behalf to occupy Artsakh and commit a second genocide against us. So, after all such atrocities against Armenians, if there is anyone who would trust the Turks, then I have nothing to say.

The situation is critical, and there are not many choices to make. Respect must be earned, not given. Regrettably, Armenians have not been able to garner the respect they deserve from any party. We have been forced to give up our country to the Russians a few times, mostly to save what is left of it. How can we save our country, particularly Syunik and possibly Gegharkunik today? A promising start would entail our people taking matters into their own hands, rather than relying solely on the government, especially Pashinyan. The culture that has dominated since the second independence in 1991 until today has to change. We have to realize that how we live and survive is not working well, if at all; we need to change fundamentally. Armenians have been hardworking, respected, and very successful and prosperous throughout the world; there is no reason why we should not have the same culture in our country. The resources that the Armenian diaspora has are unique and perhaps only second to the Jews and Israel. These resources have not been utilized well at all in the past 30+ years; only sending financial assistance is not going to solve any fundamental issues. Unfortunately, the Armenian governments have not created any effective and working conditions for diaspora large involvement. What makes matters worse is the Pashinyan regime’s determined attempts to alienate the diaspora and portray them as unwelcome meddlers in Armenia’s affairs, a possible Turkish demand. Their ridiculous office of the high commissioner for diaspora affairs is a comedy show and has to be abolished and replaced by the diaspora itself.

The diaspora can help change the culture, earn the respect we all deserve, and create a prosperous future. It is time to strengthen the values that could result in a strong, respected, and successful nation. We need to start advocating patriotism, love for our country and for each other, expel traitors, create a strong army, expand on education, science, and technology, integrate Christianity into society, forget about the Soviet times, and start working hard to build our country. Many Armenian diaspora organizations have been successful in upholding and strengthening these values for over a century. Organizations such as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), Armenian Relief Society (ARS), Homenetmen, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), other smaller political parties, and other societal, scientific, and medical groups are untapped resources that could be game-changers for Armenia today. Some, such as the ARF, have acted as governments in many Middle Eastern countries and did a much better job than what Pashinyan’s regime is doing today. The time has come for the diaspora’s extensive involvement in Armenia’s affairs. Thirty years are long enough to realize that our brothers and sisters in Armenia who sacrificed their lives, endured extreme living conditions, fought for freedom, died for our country, and did everything they could need help. It is our duty in the diaspora to answer their calls, bypass the government’s limited and short-sighted plans, and get involved. We are capable, and we can do better; after all, Armenia belongs to all Armenians.