Karabakh | 26.06.12 | 11:32

Map: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev believes
Armenia will lose if hostilities resume over the disputed region
of Nagorno-Karabakh.

"I have no doubt that Armenia will flee the battlefield if the active
phase of the war starts," Aliyev said in remarks broadcast on the
state television channel AzTV on Monday.

"We have every opportunity to regain control of our territory,"
he added, reports Bloomberg.

The Azeri leader's statement came as Armenia went into three-day
"command-and-staff" exercises simulating the country's combat-readiness
and response to a possible aggression by Azerbaijan.

Earlier this month Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan said that
on June 25-27 top military and civilian officials across Armenia will
practice "the launch of the state-military state system at a time of
war and the organization of resistance to aggression".

The defense chief implicitly linked the drills, the first of their
kind, with unfolding preparations for the military exercises of the
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led defense
pact of a number of ex-Soviet countries, including Armenia, that will
be held in Armenia in September.

CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha met with Armenian President
Serzh Sargsyan on June 25. The presidential press service said during
the meeting Bordyuzha briefed the Armenian leader on the course of
preparations for the exercises of the CSTO's Collective Rapid Reaction
Force due next fall.

Meanwhile, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported that at least one
former Armenian paramilitary organization that had participated in the
1992-1994 war with Azerbaijan said on Monday that it started recruiting
new "volunteers" and asked the Armenian military to authorize their
deployment on frontline positions.

Smbat Ayvazyan, the head of the Metsn Tigran (Tigran the Great)
militia, linked the move with this month's upsurge in fighting along
Armenia's border with Azerbaijan and around Nagorno-Karabakh.

Ayvazyan said no official reply had come from the Ministry of Defense
yet, but added: "They have asked for a meeting with us to discuss how
we imagine the course of further action and what steps could be taken."