A 1992-1994 Karabakh war veteran who is one of the leaders of Armenia’s radical opposition movement today believes that the Armenian side should not have agreed to halt military operations after four days of fighting sparked by Azerbaijan’s aggression and should have given a “final solution” to the problem during the escalation earlier this month.
Jirair Sefilian, who currently heads the New Armenia Public Salvation Front, an extra-parliamentary group seeking a regime change in Armenia, told media in Yerevan today that the verbally agreed ceasefire with Azerbaijan was, in fact, a repetition of the 1994 mistake when a truce agreement did not bring peace to the region.
At the same time, Sefilian, a 48-year-old Lebanese-born political activist and former military commander who led the Shushi Military Company during the first Karabakh war, believes that the current generation of servicemen has surpassed theirs.
“I was not mistaken in my prediction that the future generations would surpass us. What happened was really heroism. Facing an enemy that was ten times larger, our boys did not leave their positions,” he said.
More than nine dozen servicemen of the Karabakh Defense Army and volunteers who joined regular troops at the frontlines were killed in fierce battles with attacking Azerbaijani troops on April 2-5.
Sefilian argued that President Serzh Sargsyan should have announced a national mobilization as thousands of Armenians were ready to enlist for military service. Yet, he claimed, Azerbaijan took advantage of Sargsyan’s avoidance of an all-out war.
“In any case, I think violations of the truce will recur…They will enter our territory, we will do the same. But the fact that initiative will be our enemy’s is to our detriment in the long term. For a year and a half the adversary had waged a situational war against us, as it pursued the goal of physically and mentally exhausting us,” said Sefilian.
The oppositionist, who has for years pushed for the resignation of the current government, argued that Sargsyan had better resign himself “because the uprising of the Armenian people is a matter of days.”
“It would be better to have his removal from power without an uprising, without a powerful blow from the people. Otherwise, our people may offer a surprise in the rear like our soldiers amazed the world at the frontlines,” Sefilian concluded.
Interestingly, these days calls for continued hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh until the region’s “liberation” have also been made by some political activists in Azerbaijan as well.