It is not enough to have a combat-ready army to succeed in the war. The second President of Armenia and First President of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), Robert Kocharyan, said this at a meeting with analysts, on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict—and posted on the ex-President's official YouTube channel
"It is important to have a combat-ready army only to start a large-scale war in the first month. In two weeks all the specialists will say: we must understand whether we have combat-ready reservists, whether we have enough weapons and ammunition to replenish, and depending on the intensity of the war, we must understand what the level of mobilization of the country from manageability stand point today. The war can last for a long time, it can last for months, it can last for years.
Now the fight against coronavirus has shown that there is no manageability of the mobilization resource. You can have a combat-ready army, and that combat-ready army exists, and it was created during many years and under the great attention and participation of all the authorities. And it is very good that the political figures have not yet entered the army and have not yet managed to harm with their activities. The army is still under the influence of professional circles. But I repeat, we must look at security in a slightly broader context. Then we have to correctly guess what processes are in front of us, where is our world going, are we doing our steps right or not? I might draw such a parallel. Little is said about it now.
The guarantee of our success in Karabakh was not only the struggle of the people, not only the readiness to fight, to die on the battlefield, but also three important circumstances: We realized earlier than Azerbaijan that the Soviet Union was collapsing. They do not talk about it now, maybe it has not even become a topic of discussion for political scientists, but we understood earlier. For example, at the end of 88, I was asking myself if the Soviet Union was going to collapse, what were we going to do, how was it going to happen? In mid-89 we were already asking each other what would happen if the Soviet [Union] collapsed. A huge contingent of internal troops was stationed in Karabakh, they were working against us, but also did not allow large-scale conflicts. Our boys were caught and handed over to Azerbaijan. They worked against us, but did not allow a large-scale conflict. What did we start doing now? We started to put all our efforts directly, apart from rallies, strikes, on the creation of detachments. From the beginning, in the mid-88, I spent more time on it than on my political activities.
At the same time, Azerbaijan hoped that they would destroy us with the help of internal troops, put pressure on us, impose the solutions they wanted on us. To some extent, they did it within the framework of the famous ‘Ring’ operation north of Shahumyan, south of Hadrut. But when the Soviet [Union] collapsed, it turned out that we have quite combat-ready detachments, which have gained some experience, Azerbaijan does not have; this played a decisive role.
Second circumstance: We concentrated power in Karabakh a year earlier than Azerbaijan. Year 92, August, the State Defense Committee completed its power from one point, military, civilian, we had entered the mobilization management. Azerbaijan entered this situation in September 93, approximately, when [former Azerbaijan president Heydar] Aliyev returned with his person’s standing, and it took several months before he was able to regain everything, during which all the liberated territories were under our control.
And the third: We were the first to move from the detachments to the formation of a single army. This large-scale activity also started in August 92, in a very dry way; Azerbaijan started it also a year later. We were faster in all these issues, they were lagging behind. And we, in fact, being much weaker in terms of resources, have solved an issue for which nations get a chance every 100 years, maybe every 1,000 years. It is the chance that you can lose everything, or you can make your dream come true. Now we did it, we did it because we were oriented at the right time.
Now is the time, the world is also entering a rather complicated process, and a proactive policy is needed here as well. Do you have that intellectual potential in Armenia today or not, what do you see? Do you see proactive steps now, with which we try to move forward, to orient ourselves correctly, not to fall into traps, maybe having some risk, but to advance our national interests within a reasonable framework? I do not see, if you see, say. That part that I told about Karabakh, as it was left out of scientific things, was left out of expert circles, to all this was added the will of the people. But if we did not make those decisions in time, if those orientations had not been, it is a big question how all this would have ended. And from that point of view, the Karabakh elite was oriented correctly, the leadership of the movement; it's not just about me, it's about a group of people," Kocharyan said.
According to him, if Armenia weakens as a state, if it does not become a factor as a state, the army also will not be able to maintain its combat-readiness for a long time.
"These two factors can only be strengthened by feeding each other. If emigration continues in your country, you will not be able to become a factor, becoming a conflict with Azerbaijan where the population is different because the long war eventually becomes a war of resources; we must realize that. A short war can be a battle of combat-readiness, of mobilization control, but a long war becomes a war of resources. You cannot have those resources if your resources are in a regress," Robert Kocharyan said.