On Sept. 18, Garen Yegparian published an article in Asbarez, which also appeared in the Armenian Weekly on Sept. 24. The title of the article was “Are They Trying to Telling Us Something?”
The basic tenet of the article is that:
– Azerbaijan is violating the ceasefire on a regular basis.
– The West is doing nothing but advising both sides with words of caution to avoid all-out war.
– Turkey is busy with a three-pronged war.
– Therefore, “Maybe it’s time they were shown the foolishness of their ways. … Perhaps a serious Armenian offensive, even in the direction of Nakhichevan, might be sobering enough to refocus all parties’ attention on reality.”
– The author further elaborates: “Of course, this should be preceded by a very terse ultimatum that the very next Azeri ceasefire violation will result in a disproportionate response.”
Advocating war is a reckless approach. Especially since Azerbaijan has numeric superiority in its defense budget, armed forces, and a determination to reverse their defeat in Artsakh. Furthermore, the internal cohesion of the Azeri ruling circle is much stronger compared to the 1980’s and 1990’s (internal rivalry and infighting was one of the main reasons for the collapse of the Azeri front during the last war).
Statements like the one mentioned above do not help our cause.
Finally, the article is closed with two false choices: “What do you think? Wait or loudly advocate a strong response? What’s the best way to effectively call Ankara’s, Baku’s, and the rest of the world’s bluff?”
My concern is that both Ankara and Baku are not bluffing. Each is trying to hurt us in their own ways. Turkey is testing us in Kessab and Aleppo by using proxies (similar to the tactics used during the Lebanese Civil War when they picked up our leaders), while Azerbaijan has adopted a low-intensity ceasefire violations approach. The low-intensity nature of this tactic ensures that the West will continue its words of caution.
Getting distracted by different causes is not a recipe for success. We cannot sustain multiple fronts. A casual review of our media reveals too many causes and directions that are diluting our capability. Case in point, re-building Kessab should not be on our agenda now when we have no plans for defending it. When a small band of “rebels” occupied it, we had a plan of evacuation and relied on Syrian regime forces for defense (ironically, at the time they were not there). This is not a politically correct statement, but it has to be mentioned.
“What do you think? Wait or loudly advocate a strong response?”
The answer is neither. First, get ready: Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum (“If you want peace, prepare for war”).
Please remember Khrimian Hayrig’s description of the paper ladle related to petitions.