armenia’s loss in war: what factors led to it and how to mitigate them?

The lack of Russia’s intelligence support (early warning information that Moscow apparently had, but may or may not have shared with Yerevan) and military support was just one of multiple factors that led to Armenia’s loss, in my view. What other factors contributed to this loss and how to mitigate them in future should be a focus of Armenia’s equivalent of America’s 9/11 commission. The latter could seek answers to the following questions among others:

Among factors that such a commission could, perhaps, examine are both long-term structural factors such as depopulation, which contributed to the decline of Armenia’s national power relative to its nemesis, and the failings of individual top decision-makers, including both current and former leaders. These include the failure to adequately adjust defense procurement policies after the April 2016 war, which saw Azerbaijan employ attack drones, with the government procuring long-range multi-role fighters capable of flying to Ankara in the wake of that war rather than ramping up purchases of attack drones and air defense systems. It may also be worth asking whether Armenia’s preparedness for the war would have been higher if the time and energy, which the current leader had spent trying to prosecute his predecessor, were devoted to increasing that preparedness. It may be also worth asking whether implemeting Pashinyan’s wish to politically ‘neutralize’ his predecessors Sargsyan and Kocharyan was worth alienating the Russian leader, who counted Kocharyan as his personal friend and signaled his discontent with his prosecution to Pashinyan.

Another question is: If the current leader of Armenia chose to toughen his negotiating position without a qualitative improvement of the armed forces, then why did he do so and to what effect?

One also needs to examine whether the intelligence community had failed to detect Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s preparations or it misinterpreted them or the political leadership ignored the intelligence. Also, given the detailed leak to Kommersant on Turkish preparations and participation in the offensive by Russia’s “military-political sources”, one wonder whether and how much the Russian military intelligence shared with the intelligence community of Russia’s military ally, Armenia, ahead of the offensive.

Another question stems from the following passage in a recent WSJ piece: “Turkish analysts say the idea that Moscow would remain impassive while Russian-equipped Armenian forces were getting trounced by Turkish-backed Azeri forces was unthinkable, even as of a few months ago.” So whatr’s changed in those months in Russia’s attitude and why?

Finally, if Pashinyan did limit or ban redeployment of major units of the national armed forces from the Republic of Armenia to Karabakh to assist in repelling the offensives, then that needs to be look into as well.

This is an evolving draft.

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