Shall the Balance of Power be Preserved in the Region?

By Arthur Dunn

President Ilham Aliyev sets for his generals more direct tasks: “Azerbaijan exists in terms of the war. It has not ended yet, only its first stage. And Azerbaijani army should be prepared any moment to release the occupied territories “. The Supreme Commander-in-Chief is convinced: “Today Azerbaijani army is able to complete any set task”.

 

Baku not just purchases the advanced samples of armaments abroad, but also focuses greatly on accumulation of its own defense manufacturing. In 2005 the Ministry of Defense Industry was founded.

 

According to official information, dozens of military factories operate in the country, where they manufacture about 750 items of military products, including small arms, grenade launchers, mortars, air bombs, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles and armored fighting vehicles. All these factories have been completely upgraded with full substitution of machinery, equipment, production infrastructure. For this they purchased 163 units of technological equipment from Germany, the USA, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Ukraine, Turkey, China, Russia, Belarus and South Korea, as well as more than 5 thousand of various tools.

 

Accelerated development of the defense industry is one of the most important priorities not only in economic and investment programs, but also within the concept of national security of the country. Military-export potential of the country is enhancing, which allows Azerbaijan penetrating the international armament market as a supplier, instead of just a buyer. And all this in general, as Baku considers, gives the country an option to play a more significant part in maintenance of peace, stability and security in Caucasian region. Azerbaijan is aimed at sooner resolution of the Nagorny Karabakh conflictа.

 

Against the background of this forced militarization of the country the official Baku’s policy at the moment, according to Ilham Aliyev, as follows: “Strong Azerbaijan is able to communicate with weak Armenia in any language. We just prefer the negotiations to preserve stability in the region, as Azerbaijan is a stabilizing state in the region. Azerbaijan has great influential power in the region. Without the consent of Azerbaijan no initiative can be accomplished in the region, no project. That is why to preserve stability and solve the issue peacefully, yet we prefer political ways. We’ll try to resolve the conflict peacefully. The talks go on. But military potential enhances our positions”.

 

Baku demonstratively leads the policy of isolation of Armenia from regional processes, which together with accumulation of military power and economic potential of Azerbaijan, as Ilham Aliyev considers, soon shall allow solving the matter of occupation of a part of the country’s territory: “МWe shall achieve what we want and restore historic justice”.

 

Armenia has concerned about the reports of Russian Mass Media about the oncoming billion supplies of offensive arms to in Baku. Moscow was blamed that it does not still have logical foreign policy in relation to the countries of South Caucasus. By this, official Yerevan restrained from emotional comments. 

 

Against this background some experts suggest, that still there is logic in armament by Russia of two rivals, which both are its strategic partners. For example, an expert of Russian Center for Strategic Studies, PhD in military science Vladimir Zakharov considers: “Supply of armaments in Azerbaijan was performed after allocation in Armenia of missile systems Iskander-M and the volley fire systems Tornado-G”. Thus, the billion commercial deal with Baku is aimed primarily at preservation of the balance of power in the region, which has lately shifted in favor of Armenia”.

 

Some other experts note that Nagorny Karabakh conflict differs seriously from Georgia-Abkhazia and Georgia – South Ossetia confrontations: “De facto two states supported by Moscow fought with Georgia, considering that the USA and the EU in the essence ignored the intention of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to become independent. For West this was the conflict of Russia and Georgia with a complete set of stereotypes – imperial ambitions of one state impede the development of young democracy in the other. And within Nagorny Karabakh Azerbaijan is fighting not only separatists, but also confronts Armenia as a recognized state, which is supported by West. It’s enough to say the USA finances social projects of NKR, as well as NATO follows its interests here. Armenian issue is not of routine also in France, even at the level of the President.  In its turn, Baku also has its lobbying resources, especially in Great Britain. 

 

Azerbaijan also can’t ignore Russian factor, moreover that the both countries have access to the Caspian Sea. Evidently Moscow now has plenty of levers of political influence within confrontation in Caucasus. Repeated meetings of Russian Presidents with the leaders of the two conflicting states are noticeable.

 

Current line of Baku in relation to Yerevan is an element of a psychological war against the enemy. It is addressed also for domestic public. This way they enhance the spirit of the nation and it’s easier to explain the need in huge budget funds to the spent on strengthening of the defense capacity of the country.

 

 

28.02.2014

 

 

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