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BAKU: Azerbaijan misusing military budget - paper

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  • BAKU: Azerbaijan misusing military budget - paper

    Azerbaijan misusing military budget - paper

    Gun, Baku
    29 Jul 06

    Excerpt from report by Eltac Isazada in Azerbaijani newspaper Gun on
    29 July headlined "Our tank has set in motion" and subheaded "While
    Azerbaijan is spending its military budget on construction and repair
    work, cash-strapped Armenia is spending money on more up-to-date

    Azerbaijan's military spending is rapidly growing. While our military
    budget totalled 330m dollars just a year ago, the inflow of oil money
    into Azerbaijan has made it possible to double this figure. Our
    military spending reached 660m dollars after it increased by another
    60m dollars a while ago. It is expected to total at least 1bn dollars
    next year.

    But in general, our military budget is not fulfilling its true
    functions in Azerbaijan. It has become a political tool. The
    authorities justify the growing military spending with the Armenian
    occupation of Azerbaijani territories.

    These days we often hear the commander-in-chef, the defence minister
    and other officials saying that our military spending will
    increase. Even President Ilham Aliyev has openly said that the rise in
    military spending is connected with Armenia. Aliyev has repeatedly
    said on his visits to Azerbaijani regions and during the opening
    ceremonies of military facilities that Azerbaijan's military budget
    will increase and equal Armenia's overall state budget.

    In recent years, the additional funds allocated to the military have
    been spent more on some construction and repair work, not on improving
    our army's defence capability and on the purchase of military
    hardware. And some of the budget funds are spent on the purchase of
    tables, chairs, cupboards and other equipment for our soldiers and

    As one can see in the draft military budget, 73 per cent (194m manats
    [230m dollars]) of the additional funds allocated to the military will
    be spent on the purchase of equipment and hardware. For instance, 200m
    dollars of this year's 660m-dollar military budget will be spent only
    on the purchase of equipment.

    [Passage omitted: it is impossible to improve the combat readiness of
    an army by carrying out construction work in military bases]

    Azerbaijan's Defence Ministry recently purchased nearly 1,000 Kamaz
    trucks, pieces of sanitary-medical and communications equipment from

    One more interesting point is that most of the arms and military
    hardware the government buys from abroad were produced back in the
    1950s and 1960s. Even Armenia, which is at war with Azerbaijan, and
    neighbouring Georgia are ahead of us on this issue. Unlike Azerbaijan,
    these two countries buy more up-to-date weapons and military hardware.

    Under the UN quota, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uganda recently bought
    T-72 tanks for at least 900,000 dollars each, says military expert
    Uzeyir Cafarov. But the technical capabilities of the tanks purchased
    by Georgia and Uganda were better than those purchased by Azerbaijan.

    While Georgia and Uganda bought T-72-II and T-72-III tanks, Azerbaijan
    bought T-72-I tanks. As for Armenia, this country purchased Category A
    T-80 tanks, which have greater capabilities.

    Under the UN quota, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan can have 220 tanks
    each. The prices of weapons and ammunition differ depending on their
    military and technical capabilities. Therefore, these three countries
    are free to buy weapons and military hardware that are of the same
    kind, but differ in terms of their capabilities.

    This means that international law allows us to spend a lot of money on
    the most up-to-date weapons. The Armenians are making proper use of
    this opportunity. But Azerbaijan is spending funds on the cheapest
    weapons under the pretext of saving budget money.

    In other words, even if Azerbaijan's military budget grows larger than
    Armenia's overall state budget, there is little hope that this will
    help improve the combat readiness of our army. Because in fact,
    Azerbaijan is spending its growing military budget on the construction
    of military facilities and new centres [as given], as well as on the
    purchase of cheap and old weapons, while cash-strapped Armenia prefers
    more up-to-date weapons.

    [Passage omitted: experts say Azerbaijan should reconsider this