'We didn't prepare for 5th generation war in time' – Armenian ex-MoD
Former Minister of Defense of Armenia David Tonoyan gave an interview with Armenian outlet Mediamax, analysing the situation in which the country’s Armed Forces found itself during the second Karabakh war.
“We did not manage to prepare for a ‘contactless’ war with the use of 5th generation weapons”, he said, noting that there had been an ‘insufficient assessment of the risks of direct involvement in military operations of Turkey, the massive involvement of mercenaries and the complete blocking of supply routes’ to Armenia.
David Tonoyan resigned on November 20 – 10 days after the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan signed a trilateral agreement on the cessation of hostilities. He was replaced by main adviser to the prime minister of Armenia, Vagharshak Harutyunyan, who in 1999-2000 had already served as defense minister.
David Tonoyan spoke about his sensational statement “new war – new territories” which caused outrage in Azerbaijan back in March 2019, about readiness for war and about his personal shortcomings in the course of the hostilities.
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“The statement ‘new war – new territories’ was a response to Azerbaijan about the intention to solve the Artsakh problem by military means.” This is how the former Minister of Defense commented on the accusation that his statement played the role of a trigger for the start of the second Karabakh war.
He made the comment in March 2019, right after the Pashinyan-Aliyev meeting in Vienna. The minister was then on an official visit to the United States.
“As Minister of Defense, I say that I have paraphrased the formula ‘ territories for peace into the formula ‘new war – new territories,’ Tonoyan said then.
The minister also stated that the Armenian side would not yield anything to Azerbaijan.
“No matter how much Aliyev and some Armenian politicians repeated, this statement could not have been the reason for the failure of the negotiations and the start of the war. By the same logic, the war could start any day, since the Azerbaijani leadership was constantly talking about a military solution to the conflict. Moreover, for decades the world has ‘ignored’ President Aliyev’s statements that Yerevan is a historic Azerbaijani territory”.
“We didn’t have time to prepare for a ‘contactless’ war using 5th generation weapons,” Tonoyan said during an interview.
Meanwhile, in April 2019, the minister said that “if necessary, we can create chaos behind enemy lines.”
The former minister argues that the creation of such units and their training in operations on enemy territory, the replenishment of weapons with high-precision missile systems and other undertakings could lead to conceptual changes in the army:
“In my vision of the development of priorities in the defense and Armed Forces […] I noted that a large-scale process of rearmament of the Armed Forces […] had begun, but we were at the beginning of the road.”
All statements, according to the minister, were made taking into account the predictability of possible enemy actions and regional developments:
“The Armenian side yielded in an unequal confrontation in all respects. But this does not give anyone the right to play with the national dignity of our people. This psychologically exhausting political nightmare should be stopped and instead of imposing an inferiority complex on people, mistakes should be analysed, lessons learned and worked out. We paid a very high price, thousands of young people gave their lives for the Motherland and the protection of our interests, and defeatist speeches defile their memory.”
“During the war, I did not manage to overcome the ambiguity in the organization of the command vertical between the Prime Minister – the Ministry of Defense – the General Staff and the resulting obstacles. In particular, in those issues related to mobilization, the role and functions of the Security Council, functions and official relations between the Armed Forces of Armenia, the Defense Army and the President of Artsakh, the organization of self-defense in Artsakh and the evacuation of the population.”
Tonoyan explained that according to the new 2015 Constitution, during a war, the Minister of Defense is actually excluded from the planning and conduct of hostilities, since these powers are vested in the Commander-in-Chief and Chief of General Staff:
“Nevertheless, as I said in my message of November 20, I am ready to bear my share of the responsibility.”
About the statement of the chief of the General Staff
David Tonoyan also commented on the statement of Chief of General Staff Onik Gasparyan, who, on the fourth day of the war, at a meeting of the Security Council, warned that in two or three days it would be necessary to take measures to end the war, otherwise Armenia’s military resources would soon be exhausted and the conditions for the negotiation process would become less favorable:
“The Armenian Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces sincerely and selflessly did more for the sake of victory than they could. And the analysis of the General Staff, made on the basis of cold calculation, was agreed upon with me.”
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