‘We had to choose between a very bad scenario and a tragedy’ — head of Armenian Defence Forces HQ
Head of the Defense Forces HQ of Armenia Colonel-General Onik Gasparyan has issued a statement presenting the details regarding the course of the war in Karabakh.
Discontent with the trilateral agreement stoping the 45-day-long Karabakh war that was signed on November 10 has not abated in Armenia.
Accusations are voiced not only against the PM who signed the document but also against the military leadership. In particular, opinions are expressed regarding a ‘possible incorrect and unrealistic analysis’ of the situation and defense possibilities of the country.
Regarding this, the head of the Defense Forces HQ presented some details — on the situation before the war, the course of military action, and decisions made. He said that difficult terms of the agreement were accepted as a result of a comprehensive assessment of the situation: “we had to choose between a very bad scenario and a tragedy”, he noted.
Situation before the war
Onik Gasparyan said that he was appointed head of the Defense Force HQ on June 8.
On June 12 he had already presented an analysis of the military and political situation in the region and possibilities of the Armenian army to the Prime Minister, and several days later to the Security Council.
Based on the analysis, Gasparyan presented suggestions that were directed at the increase of the level of military security of Armenia. The idea was that from now on Armenia’s adversary was not only Azerbaijan but Turkey as well.
“Correspondingly, Armenia cannot effectively confront the united military potential of these states, and it is necessary to direct all political and diplomatic potential at avoiding or at least postponing the war”, says Gasparyan in his statement.
In this regard, the head of the government asked: “What can we do if we don’t manage to avoid the war?”
“I answered that if the war was imposed on us we have to cause large damage to the adversary in a short period of time and make them refuse further action. I mentioned that we have to avoid prolonged war in every possible way, considering our resources. We discussed and approved numerous suggestions, completion of which had to significantly increase our military potential: this included purchase of weapons, military equipment, and overall provision of military actions”.
Gasparyan says it was then that the question of creating large volunteer corps was decided upon.
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On the course of war
On the fourth day of the war, during a Security Council meeting, Onik Gasparyan presented losses of the Armenian side and assessment of the defense forces. He warned that in two or three days it would be necessary to take measures to end the war, otherwise military resources of Armenia would be exhausted soon, and the Armenian side would have more unfavorable conditions for the negotiation process:
“I gave such assessments many times during 24/7 work with the PM, as well as at the meetings of the Security Council. All attempts and suggestions to stop the war at a certain stage were declined by Turkey and Azerbaijan, we were forced to continue military actions, trying to cause heavy damage to the adversary and make them go the negotiations table”.
On the decision to stop military actions
Gasparyan says the agreement was accepted on very difficult terms as a result of a comprehensive assessment of the situation.
Facing a choice between very difficult conditions and tragic consequences, they had to choose “a very bad scenario”:
“This was the worst day of my life, this was my personal tragedy […] But realization of the fact that as a result of this decision we managed to retain a large part of Artsakh and the main military potential of the defense army says that we don’t have the right to despair. We have to unite, rise, and get ready to continue the fight”.
Gasparyan considers that as the head of the HQ and the direct leader of the army, he bears responsibility for all successes and failures of the Defense Forces.