January 25, 2008 Friday

Military experts believes that Armenia will help Karabakh separatists
buy weapons from Russia

by Safarov, Allahverdiyev

TO NAGORNO-KARABAKH; Where do separatists in Karabakh hope to buy air
defense complexes?

Movses Akopjan, Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, said that separatists intended to buy a
new air defense system this year. According to Akopjan, "every square
meter of the Karabakh skies is under control at this point" and three
air defense complexes are constantly on guard. "Military hardware has
to be upgraded though, and we upped arms spendings this year," he
said. Russian media outlets claim that Akopjan refused to identify
the country the separatists planned to approach for new air defense
complexes or even their type. Foreign media outlets in the meantime
already reported two shipments of these kinds of weapons from Russia
to the region, namely to Iran and Armenia. It was announced once that
Russia had plans to sell upgraded S-300 complexes to Iran for the use
against American or Israeli aircraft if and when they tried to take
out Iranian nuclear sites. To quote from a RIA-Novosti report,
"Russian AF Commander General Vladimir Mikhailov said Russia intended
to help Armenia with the development of its national air defense
potential. According to Mikhailov, Russia will have servicemen of its
102nd Military Base help the Armenians with air defense complexes."

The Armenian air defense system of several echelons includes long-
and medium-range complexes (S-125, S-75, Kub) and shorter-range ones
(ZSU-23-4) not to mention portable or shoulder-fired launchers (Osa,
Igla, Strela). New missile complexes the Armenian Armed Forces expect
will enable them to neutralize Azerbaijan's superiority in aircraft.
Rauf Rajabov, 3rd View Chief Editor and military expert, referred to
hard proof that the military hardware the separatists were about to
buy would be Russian indeed. "On the other hand, Nagorno-Karabakh is
controlled by Armenia whose military doctrine plainly states that
security of the Republic of Armenia includes security of the occupied
territories, i.e. Nagorno-Karabakh. It allows for the appearance in
Nagorno-Karabakh of air defense systems Armenia itself is getting
from Russia," Rajabov said.

Rajabov dismissed the possibility that the separatists would buy air
defense complexes from Iran. "Iran itself needs defense from the
American strikes that may occur before May. The Iranians themselves
need a shield, in other words. Tehran is buying air defense complexes
from Russia to secure its own objects. It's therefore unlikely that
it has anything to spare for Karabakh separatists. Moreover, the
territory of Azerbaijan is occupied by the Armenians, not Iranians,"
Rajabov said. The expert added that neither could separatists hope to
buy anything from European countries. "No European country will go
for a deal like that," he said. "Judging by what we hear from the
Armenian military, it is Armenia that may be behind all of that."

Source: Ekho (Baku), January 22, 2008, EV

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress