2020 November 11
- 1 Daily news and anti-corruption report
- 2 the map
- 3 Opinion by OP: what were the options?
- 4 soldiers share their message
- 5 Samvel Babayan's audiotape leaked? / how the ceasefire decision was made
- 6 Pashinyan reveals more details about Shushi and the war // two battles for Shushi; how it unfolded
- 7 calls are made to establish internal stability
- 8 the opposition and former regime allies organize a demonstration, demand PM's resignation
- 9 Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister:
- 10 Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan's speech / details revealed / issue with morale / calls for citizens to return
- 11 Prime Minister's spokeswoman:
- 12 Russia and Turkey
- 13 foreign response
- 14 "this document was imposed on us" / CivilNet commentary: Tatul & Arshaluys
- 15 Stepanakert today
- 16 You can help Artsakh & Armenia
Daily news and anti-corruption report
Nov/11/2020 wrap-up: \\ War in Artsakh (Karabakh) \\ postmortem \\ map \\ Artsakh President & Pashinyan reveal details & problems: morale, equipment, Shushi battles \\ the "real traitors" \\ opposition demands army & police to join against Pashinyan \\ foreign response \\ bigger picture
[this thread is being brigaded] Your Wednesday report. 18-minute read. 4482 words.
This is the map where the Russian peacekeepers will be stationed. The actual Artsakh will be slightly smaller than this. It's a bit over half of the original Artsakh that was before the 1990s war:
Opinion by OP: what were the options?
Russia has long offered the so-called Lavrov Plan: give away 5 adjacent regions to Azerbaijan in exchange for Azerbaijan not starting a war. No Status for Artsakh. Critics argued that it would likely change nothing and weaken Armenia's future defense efforts. It was rejected by Serj Sargsyan and Nikol Pashinyan.
Today, now that everyone is an armchair expert with a time machine, it's easy to blame the government(s) for not capitulating those 5 regions in exchange for "possible peace" years ago.
What else was on the table? Serj Sargsyan offered 5+2 regions to Azerbaijan in exchange for Azerbaijan recognizing Artsakh's legal Status. Azerbaijan has always rejected it. They also rejected it during the Pashinyan administration. This is why Pashinyan said all the negotiation avenues were exhausted.
Ask yourself: if someone approached you last year and wanted 5 regions of Artsakh in exchange for not attacking you, would you agree to hand them over?
The same offer to give away 5 regions, according to opposition figures today [unverified], was made at the beginning of this war when Azeris had captured a smaller part of the south and "things weren't looking too bad" yet. Pashinyan refused to give away 5 adjacent regions in exchange for ending the war.
Ask yourself: how would you accept the news of the government giving away Kalbajar, Agdam, Lachin, Jabrayil, etc. at the time when Azeris were still in the south-western district of Fizuli in the early days?
Some disagree with the govt's decision to sign the Agreement and stop the war, calling it treason. Others accused allies of the former regime of leaving the outpost and returning home, and playing political games.
A soldier says there were organizational problems in the military.
"I'm in Stepanakert but I can see the political games in Yerevan. Nikol, if you think it's best for all of us if you leave, then do so with honor. But I condemn the 17 opposition parties for demanding his resignation now. It's political games."
"To those who are now [rioting], I know very well who you are. I know how you went to the front line and whispered in the soldiers' ears that it's all a conspiracy, and that everything has already been sold out, and encouraged them to leave."
"The troops did not retreat. A few sons of **** ordered them to retreat. I was present. They forgot about the war and began fighting for power. Shushi battles began and our **** commanders left. Boys stood until the end without commanders.
Be united, people. Those 3,000 rioters should come here to Artsakh. We don't accept any Agreement. Let's calm down and understand how this happened."
November 8: A Russian soldier located in Armenia accused Vladimir Putin of "only making muffled noises" and turning Russia from an "empire" into a "third-world country", and asked for his resignation.
"They expected us here, and we did nothing. The elderly were being killed and churches were being bombed. When Georgia attacked Ossetia, Russia took action. Why not here? Just give us an order. ISIS is not in Syria. ISIS is in Karabakh," said the Russian soldier.
Samvel Babayan's audiotape leaked? / how the ceasefire decision was made
There is an audio piece in which Artsakh's now-resigned General and Security Councilman Samvel Babayan discusses the possible options. The date and full context unclear:
Samvel Babayan says: Once again, let's say we use 20 Smerch missiles to destroy all Azeris in Shushi and take the city back. Now what? The [Armenian] troops and the public are incapable of continuing the war.
In my opinion, we should negotiate with Russia and ask for 10 days after which we promise unconditional capitulation. Because this isn't just about people. Let's say we remove Stepanakert [context unclear]. From Fizuli front to [unintelligible] there are 30,000 troops. We must ensure their safe exit. Can we secure it, or should we leave them to their fate, possibly to die? [rhetorical statement]
If Russia accepts that no one stays in Karabakh and everyone leaves, within those 10 days we will pull out the troops. We can't fight against NATO troops. Yesterday I tried to conduct an operation with 4 battalions but we only had 4 Howitzer artillery units. If the artillery can't do its work, how can you advance with infantry? It's impossible. This is the situation.
I don't understand the 5+2 [region giveaway] option because no one stays there either way. It's better to bring peacekeepers and change the situation. I've been saying it since yesterday.
We ask for 10 days to remove people and the soldiers. Nothing else. There is no 5+2. If any civilian wants to stay there and live under Azeri rule, let them do so.
Today we need to have a final discussion with Russia to begin our pullout. Today our army has just a few GRAD missile units and Howitzers. We have personnel shortage to operate them even if we obtained hundreds of these units; many operators died from drone and artillery attacks. The infantry cannot attack without artillery; it would be a meat grinder.
The military leadership is weak and the army is demoralized. But we can change things if we ask Russia for normal weapons and if they agree to give it to us.
Pashinyan reveals more details about Shushi and the war // two battles for Shushi; how it unfolded
I'll address the most important topic now, the thing that I said I wouldn't be able to reveal earlier, regarding the front lines.
The biggest sin attributed to me is giving Aghdam, Lachin, Karvachar to Azerbaijan. In fact, this is not about handing over Artsakh, but rather saving Artsakh, because the document was signed at the time when Shushi had already fallen, and the Army leadership reported that our military resources were in a rather problematic state and the war had to be stopped. Artsakh government also shared that opinion.
This agreement, according to military analysis, gives the lands that we would not have been able to save either way. We had a situation where capital Stepanakert was defenseless. It would fall, followed by Martuni and Askeran, leaving thousands of soldiers encircled. There would be a total collapse. This is what the agreement prevented.
Stepanakert's defense was symbolic at the time; there weren't enough resources, according to military command. Many soldiers have come forward in support of this agreement, regardless of how bitter the reality is.
As for "Shushi treason" accusations. After Shushi fell, there was an unsuccessful attempt to retake it. During the second attempt, one of our groups managed to infiltrate it, but overall, the situation did not change.
These two operations led to contradicting reports in media about Shushi being fallen or not fallen. (this might be why Pashinyan wrote "Shushi battles continue" on November 9 while others reported it being fallen).
These rumors about Shushi conspiracies have reached political levels. BHK leader Tsarukyan claimed there was a conspiracy around Shushi and that on October 28th, when Shushi was still ours, I refused to introduce Russian peacekeepers, and that allegedly I wanted to give Shushi before introducing troops. This is complete nonsense and it's proven by facts. I even publicly agreed back on October 22nd and 25th. [BHK says the peacekeeper offer by Russia was made in September, not October. It's unclear if it was related to peacekeeping suggestions rejected by Azerbaijan]
If they talk about conspiracies and reasons, then let's establish the fact that when BHK Tsarukyan was released from jail, he promised to create and personally lead a volunteer battalion. He published the video
with NIVA vehicles, men in camo outfits, etc. but it doesn't appear that we saw them near Shushi, let alone led by Tsarukyan. Maybe that's why Shushi fell? Our brigade that had infiltrated Shushi perhaps could have taken Shushi if they had help? I say this symbolically, as a theory.
It's possible that TSarukyan formed that group not for defending Shushi but for use within Armenia (coup). If that's true there needs to be an investigation.
Once again. Had the war continued, Stepanakert and likely the rest of Artsakh would have fallen, and thousands of soldiers would be encircled. Have no doubt that we acted in your best interests by signing it.
calls are made to establish internal stability
RAK party (Ramkavar Azatagrakan) urges people to refrain from divisive actions. The memo says the government had no choice but to sign the agreement. It praises the soldiers who fought to defend Artsakh.
The Armenian General Benevolent Union has urged political unity "because there are still challenges ahead of us."
Assembly of Armenians of Europe has joined the call for internal stability.
Serj Tankian has called to stability. "it's not the time to fight for power."
the opposition and former regime allies organize a demonstration, demand PM's resignation
Opposition parties, mainly members of the former regime, BHK, ARF, HHK, etc. have organized a demonstration in front of Opera square. They demand Pashinyan's resignation, calling the Agreement "treason".
The police warned them that mass gatherings are prohibited during an Emergency Situation (Martial Law). The police began asking the crowd to disperse. 129 people were taken to the police station; 41 released shortly afterward.
NSS took BHK Tsarukyan for questioning. Former President Serj Sargsyan, ex-NSS chief Vanetsyan, and several other high-ranking participants were also invited/taken for questioning.
The rally continued. The opposition parties and demonstrates marched to the Parliament building. They want an emergency session to cancel the Agreement.
The police discovered an attempt by someone to smuggle grenade launchers, grenades, rifles, and large quantities of ammo from Artsakh to Armenia.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034555.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034561.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034560.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034573.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034578.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034585.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034586.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034601.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034596.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034595.html , https://youtu.be/q6b5-Sp2zaA
Opposition LHK party is in Parliament. They are collecting signatures to launch a Parliamentary session to discuss the situation. Opposition BHK wants to discuss Pashinyan's resignation. They asked the ruling QP party to join the session.
Opposition figure and General Seyran Ohanyan supports the signing of the Agreement that stopped the war. Nonetheless, he attributed the failures to the govt and asked for its resignation.
Opposition ARF has called for the army and police to join them against the govt. "We need a peaceful change of government."
Kocharyan's friend Vitaliy Balasanyan has urged the law enforcement not to stop the demonstrators.
Opposition ARF party gave an ultimatum: either PM resigns by 00:00 am, or a Parliamentary session is held to discuss his resignation. "Otherwise we will hold a rally and remove him". The demonstrations ended for now.
A lawyer, who opposes the Agreement, says it's not a binding agreement and still has to be approved by Armenia's Constitutional Court.
Opposition Arthur Vanetsyan: It is better to give away Artsakh completely than to sign such an agreement. Pashinyan should have prevented the war, to begin with.
Opposition Hrant Margaryan: "those who give lands deserve to be buried in the land". Another protester called for Pashinyan's family to be burned.
A protester was arrested for using a smoke grenade in front of the Parliament building.
The prosecutors have prepared a felony case against the "organizers of the illegal demonstration", citing the law that bans mass gathering under Martial Law.
Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister:
We assure you that the amount of information that has been published by PM Pashinyan and other officials at the moment is the maximum that can be made public for now. Rest be assured that no details of this whole process will be hidden from the public.
At the same time, everyone, including our political team, must be ready to take their share of responsibility. We will not allow criminal units to seize power and will use all legal means to stop them.
Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan's speech / details revealed / issue with morale / calls for citizens to return
President Arayik: I'm giving you the details so you will stop looking for "traitors" and "those who gave away lands". I will tell you who the real traitors are.
I raised the first alarm on October 3rd when the enemy captured Mataghis and Talish and endangered our entire north. PART of our troops in the "Yeghnikner" region routed. We didn't have the manpower to even defend the rear. Those who routed were not the regular Defense Army, they were volunteers and such. On that day I publicly announced that I'm headed to the front lines.
That day, we were supposed to go to the northern Yeghnikner region along with the best special forces from Artsakh and Armenia, but they refused to come. I begged them, but they refused. They left me alone. I say this because I'm forced to. Those troops were part of Armenian NSS's special forces. Only a few agreed to join us. Still, we were able to defend Yeghnikner in its entirety.
I've repeatedly announced that we have a shortage of manpower. One Russian military analyst recently said, "Do you want to defeat Armenians in Karabakh? They would need to mobilize 80,000-100,000 men. Otherwise, you will have to fight a long war. " I won't reveal how many soldiers we had, regardless of whether volunteers or reservists.
You left those 18-year-olds by themselves. Yes, there were many volunteers who fought until the last moment. Others stayed only a day.
Many of those who came from reserves stayed only a few days. Colonel Sahakyan was supposed to accompany several units; he says the troops refused to fight.
So who "sold" our homeland? We all did. Be betrayed our 18-year-old conscripts. All of us are traitors.
Those women who already began their howling against me or other politicians should look for their husbands in search of traitors. Of course, some were in front lines.
Those politicians who are trying to look for traitors today must present details of their sons', brothers, and their own participation. It's not about Facebook images. Where were you? You were supposed to be in the front lines.
Everyone claims they were in Omar (north). Yes, Omar was a heavy area for a few days, but we were able to recover it quickly. You lied about being in front lines by taking selfies in Omar.
Yes, we did have a problem with defending against drones and airforce but the main traitors are all of us for leaving soldiers alone.
So why did we sign the Agreement? Because in the end, our frontline defenders were under the threat of being encircled. When Stepanakert had no defenders anymore because they were all in the main front lines. Where were the volunteers and those who are looking for traitors today?
There were a few hundred men defending Stepanakert. Could they fight against 6,000 enemies? After Stepanakert, it was a few kilometers to encircling all our troops in Martuni, Karmir Shuka, etc. Ask our soldiers, who betrayed them? All of us.
We are thankful for everyone who helped. We lost because it was impossible to use 18-year-olds to fight against troops from 8 states. Yes, the main fighters were the young conscripts. I bow to them.
1,500 troops left Hadrut instead of fighting a small group of infiltrators. I went there and begged to fight and destroy the group to make it easier. I'm forced to reveal all this because now we are searching for "traitors" and causing division. We are all guilty. The troops left the Defense Army all by itself.
The rule of war is you have to replenish troops every time you have deaths or wounded, equally. We were having hundreds of casualties every day (death and wounded). How many new troops were being brought? Too few. Many were refusing to go. We have many bodies of our boys on the battlefield because we couldn't come into aid in time.
Dozens of times I went to the front lines. There was a need for it. I could feel the troops needed a morale boost. In the last days, when the enemy was in Stepanakert outskirts, we only had a maximum of 300 defenders. The front lines were stretched too long.
We evacuated Stepanakert in time to reduce civilian casualties. I was blamed for it, for possibly causing panic, but no patriotic fighter would feel panicked upon hearing the news of evacuation. We saved civilian lives.
Some of Stepanakert's men who are in Yerevan today, are looking for traitors in Armenia? They are the traitors. They should have stayed and fought instead of hiding in bomb shelters.
It's enough. I can open many parentheses, but do know that we all betrayed our soldiers by not standing next to them. There are no other traitors.
Dear Artsakh residents. Stay away from political fights. Don't join the political processes on the Yerevan streets. That does not suit the people of Karabakh. All of the Armenian people stood with you to help you, they suffered losses, donated, don't join their political intrigues. Be calm.
Return home. All your problems will be solved. The roads will be safe, I assure you. During these two days, we will solve the problem of infrastructure, water, electricity. We will try to solve the problem with gas. I want to assure you that we have all the resources.
We will live a better life here. No other country expects us. Return home. If you have social issues, contact the government. We will help with any problem. The permanent housing issue will be resolved over time.
Don't fall for provocations [Yerevan riots]. It's done to collapse our country completely. Stay calm. I assure you that Artsakh will remain Armenian. I can't answer many political questions; it's still being discussed. I'll give you details later.
By the way, why did I earlier thank Levon Mnatsakanyan? Because for several days, near Shosh and Stepanakert, we had no troops. Everyone was leaving upon being deployed. And in this time, Mnatsakanyan brilliantly used the scarce artillery units to give the enemy the illusion that we had troops across the entire defense line.
Everyone had routed from Shosh [Pashinyan also accused an unnamed General of routing from here]. Was our Stepanakert line protected? No. Was everyone ready to die to block the entry? Many were leaving.
That's enough for now.
Arayik met Artsakh Army leadership to discuss the situation.
Arayik congratulated ex-MoD Jalal Harutyunyan on his birthday. "I wish good health and a speedy recovery to our dedicated soldier, who has rendered great services to our homeland and people."
President's spokesman: don't move out of homes if you live in the Kalbajar region. The evacuation dates are not clear yet.
Prime Minister's spokeswoman:
All the political parties that claim they weren't aware of the developments on the front line, the technical equipment deficiency, the issue of troop mobilization, the diplomatic efforts that were being done, are being dishonest at best.
There were several meetings with opposition parties. They were given the details. Today they are endangering our state for the sake of political and financial gain.
Russia and Turkey
Russian army: "both sides have stopped shooting and remain in their positions. Peacekeepers are being deployed in the Lachin corridor and borders between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. All the peacekeepers are soldiers with experience in Syria. They will use drones and aviation during their duties. There will be 16 observation points."
Russia and Turkey are arguing over the location of the Turkish peacekeeping observation point (not peacekeepers, just a command office). Russia wants it completely outside of Karabakh, while Turkey wants it in one of the adjacent regions that are given to Azerbaijan. [update: they agreed to install one in Azeri territory]
Russian and Turkish Defense Ministers held three phone calls today to discuss Artsakh and Syria.
Four U.S. House Representatives: We will redouble our efforts to support Armenia & Artsakh against Azerbaijan & Turkey's outrageous hostility and to hold all those who committed atrocities against civilians in recent weeks accountable. The United States must not continue to passively ignore the threat Turkey poses to the stability of the East Med., the Middle East, and the Caucasus.
Four Dutch MPs have called for an arms embargo in Turkey, including for it's meddling in the Artsakh conflict and the recruitment of jihadists.
French Foreign Ministry: Nagorno Karabakh needs to have a Status. The negotiations must resume immediately. We stand by Armenia in this tragic situation. In particular, we will work to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance
U.S. Senator Edward Markey: it's a shame that the U.S. administration has once again yielded to Russia in foreign affairs, and this time at the expense of our friend Armenia, who was subject to attacks by Turkey and Azerbaijan. […] We must end military aid to Turkey and Azerbaijan for this illegal attack. We should be ready to provide humanitarian aid to Armenia and continue to help strengthen democratic institutes. My thoughts are with the Armenian people.
American Xilinx will stop the delivery of tech components for Turkish Roketsan missiles, after learning that Xilinx chips were used by Turks against the Armenian civilian population.
Garmin, Trimble Navigation, Viasat, Northorp Grumman, Beringer Aero, Rotax, Wescam had suspended the sales earlier.
"this document was imposed on us" / CivilNet commentary: Tatul & Arshaluys
A: what's new in this agreement compared to previous ones?
T: this is the worst agreement we've been presented since May-1994 when Russia brought us a document. This was not an offer, it was forced on us, and not accepting it would mean losing all of Artsakh.
During this war, our team of journalists did their best to communicate, without spreading panic, that the situation was terrible in front lines.
A: the opposition wants to cancel the agreement.
T: so the opposition is sure we can continue to fight and win? Will they join the fight? If yes, then where will it end; with the return of our lost lands or with our complete defeat?
It's a "capitulation" in the sense that it's a terrible outcome and we had to sign the document that was placed in front of us. We didn't negotiate. Should we lose everything and calm down, or should we try to save at least the minimal? This document saves that minimal. It could have been worse. We could lose everything.
A: then why does the opposition demand revocation of Pashinyan's signature?
T: it's a political fight. These politicians should have made those statements while being in Stepanakert with the opponent being a kilometer away. We need to stop with the "you're a traitor" talk. Those who were chanting it had never left the city to aid Artsakh. It's nothing new that Artsakh's topic is politicized. The best example is 1998's political events.
A: the document leaves many open questions. What does "soldiers stay where they are" mean. We have soldiers in Hadrut and Askeran regions.
T: Many details need to be clarified.
A: people are comparing the situation to the 1920 agreement between Turkey and Russia. That one also wasn't favorable to us.
T: I saw the damage done in the first few days of the war. It reminded me of 1920 when Turkey attacked and we lost 40,000 km2. Today we lost 5,000 km2.
It will be the Kelbajar, Aghdam, and Lachin. 5-6 days ago the enemy troops reached the Lachin road near Lisagor. 3 days ago Shushi fell and the reports of ongoing fights were false.
A: your thoughts on Azerbaijan connecting to Nakhijevan through a new road in Syunik, protected by Russia?
T: I know some people will associate it with "giving Meghri etc." but I think of it differently. I look at the bigger picture. I don't rule out that when the bigger document is eventually signed, in which region's other countries might be involved, maybe we can connect Yerevan to Iran through railway? That would be extremely important. The railways are in good condition from Yerevan to Yeraskh (near Nakhijevan), and from Ordubad/Julfa is also in good condition. It's a theory.
This can also result in Turkey removing the blockade from Armenia.
Also, if we're talking about long-term peace and all communication routes are opened, and Armenia gives Azerbaijan road access, then Armenia could use Azerbaijan to connect to Russia through the Dagestan region. It's worth thinking.
A: the agreement mentions refugees inside Karabakh and in adjacent lands. In adjacent lands, it will be Azeri refugees. Who will live in Karabakh? Will the Azeris also go there?
T: all the documents we've had so far clearly mentioned the return of refugees, for example, to Shushi. This has always been an active topic. It needs clarification.
Pashinyan administration should stay in power for now, secure the stability, then declare new elections. He won't get 80% again, but if we wins, he can return as PM again.
As someone who has always communicated with Azeri colleagues, I know for sure that no one should win or lose 100%. Those who achieve total victory, pave the road for a new conflict, just as it happened now with Azerbaijan getting its revenge. If Azeris try to get everything, there can be a new war in the future, and it could be Azeris who lose.
A: 2,000 Russian peacekeepers will arrive. How safe will be life after that?
T: depends on both sides' rhetoric and intentions. I think peacekeepers can establish peace. I think they will stay longer than the minimum of 5 years. But it's more important for two peoples to make peace with each other.
You can help Artsakh & Armenia
www.1000plus.am (soldiers' medical help)
www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)
www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/jsgyfm/nov112020_wrapup_war_in_artsakh_karabakh/?
Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams ֏ unless specified otherwise. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.
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