Ilham Aliyev’s "missile message" to Nikol Pashinyan

Mon 11 Jun 2018 11:13 GMT | 15:13 Local Time

Text size: bigger smaller

New missile systems in the arsenal of the Azerbaijani army change the alignment of forces in Karabakh.

This is an axiom that the world armies prefer to keep the doors of their weapons arsenal closed, reports. But it happens that the new samples of weapons that have entered the armament of the army are unveiled quite consciously for the opposite side of the predicted, real, ‘frozen’ or ‘smoldering’ conflict to ponder over the alignment of forces and make conclusions.

And now Azerbaijan sends an unambiguous "missile message" to neighboring Armenia.

Earlier official sources disseminated information that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attended the opening of the military unit of the Ministry of Defense's Missile Forces. The disseminated images featured a neat barrack, a clean dining room, training classes ... And, of course, the military hardware, which is in service with this new unit.

That's where the main sensation is. Journalists and experts immediately determined: the images feature the Belarusian missile launchers (MLRS) "Polonaise" and the LORA (Long Range Artillery Missile) operational missile system of Israeli production. The weapon is very, very serious.

The range of the Polonaise MLRS acquired by Azerbaijan is 300 kilometers, the range of attack is 80 meters. As the military emphasize, "this complex is designed to strike means of nuclear and chemical attack throughout the depth of the enemy's operational system, ground elements of reconnaissance and strike systems, the main groupings of troops stationed at air bases, air defense facilities, control centers, radio electronic facilities, rear facilities, etc. In addition, the complex destroys the location of the enemy flotilla in the coastal areas, blowing up the warships of the flotilla. " Belarusian experts have already noted: it is a question of the modernized version of Polonaise.

LORA has similar characteristics. Its maximum range is more than 300 kilometers. Moreover, these weapons are point-like - the deviation of the missile from the target does not exceed 10 meters. According to the characteristics, it is comparable with the American ATACMS and the Russian Iskander-E OTRK, once gifted to Armenia.

To say that this is a very bad news for Yerevan means to say nothing. The simplest tools, like a compass, a ruler and a geographic map, are enough to understand that the strike will, in fact, affect the entire territory of Armenia, including not only the Vorotan cascade of the hydroelectric power station or the Metsamor nuclear power plant, but also the house 26 on Baghramyan street. That is they in Yerevan can "rattle the tongue" and threaten to "strike at oil facilities in the vicinity of Baku" with the "Iskanders" donated by Russia, but now it will be necessary to take into account the risk of retaliatory strike of a far greater range and power.

Besides, in Yerevan they cannot but think about who controls one or another weapon. The Iskanders, the pride of Armenian weapon begging, were first demonstrated at the parade in Yerevan in September 2016. Earlier these complexes were transferred to the Russian military base in Gyumri. Formally, they were presented at the parade as a weapon of the Armenian Armed Forces, but even the mechanics-drivers of the hardware, through wearing an Armenian camouflage, turned out to be entirely of ‘Slavic nationality’ - in mono-ethnic Armenia! .

Moreover, earlier the "ringleaders" and "contractors" from the base in Gyumri already told in social networks that the Iskanders will be brought to the parade in Yerevan. This, of course, is a good reason to recall that the actions of servicemen in uniform without insignia, and even more so in someone else's form, are a violation of the rules and customs of war. And at the same time it is necessary to wonder how far Russia is willing to go in its "arms leasing", if there is little information to think about in the form of a Malaysian "Boeing" shot down from the "Buk-M1" air defense system provided in the same "leasing". But the question whose management the coveted Iskanders are under is worth to be voiced, especially after the creation by Armenia and Russia of "joint allignment of troops" and, in fact, Yerevan's loss of its "military sovereignty". But Azerbaijan, which did not sign bonded agreements and did not give up its sovereignty, does not need to ask someone’s permission. On the star buttons of Polonaise and LORA will be the hands of Azerbaijani officers.

Armenia also received a diplomatic "slap in the face." Polonaise MLPA was supplied to Azerbaijan by Belarus, which is part of the CSTO and the EEA, formally an ally of Armenia. It's hardly a sensational news. The purchase of Polonaise was spoken of, including in the media, even since the visit of Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister, Zakir Hasanov, to Belarus. In Armenia, the alarm was periodically raised, but then they came to the conclusion that there is nothing to worry about, Moscow will not allow to offend its "outpost". But, apparently, they were wrong. Ironically, the Polonaise appeared in the media on the same day when President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko congratulated President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Belarus. And that's how it coincided: on the same day a delegation of Armenian military men left for Minsk.  But not for the purchase of  Polonaise since this requires "live money",  as no one in Minsk was going to donate them to Yerevan. The Armenian delegation intends to participate in the meeting on air defense issues. "Being an ally of Armenia within the framework of the CSTO, Minsk delivered modern powerful armament to Baku, which in fact is in conflict with Armenia and periodically threatens with the resumption of hostilities," Sputnik Yerevan reports furiously. In a word, a diplomatic "slap in the face" turned out to be very loud.

There is even more information to think about the LORA. Armenia made a very serious bet on "cooling relations" between Israel and Turkey, but now they receive a second blow from Israel. First, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) refused to discuss the "Armenian resolution", and now a new Israeli-made missile system appeared in Azerbaijan’s arsenal. And it is unclear what was more disappointing for Yerevan.

And most importantly, everything happens on a very revealing political background. The World Football Championship opens in Moscow, and it has already been announced that President Ilham Aliyev will be present at its opening. In Yerevan, they announced: Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan is leaving for Moscow. His meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin was also announced. It is not specified whether negotiations between Aliyev and Pashinyan will be held in Moscow, but the heads of state can "come across". But one thing that raises no doubt is that before the Moscow diplomatic round, Nikol Vovaevich has something to think about, starting from territorial losses in the Nakhchivan direction and ending with new missile systems in Azerbaijan's arsenal. And if you consider that Nikol Vovaevich's state is becoming less stable, it is clear that the Polonaise sounds very minor for him.

Of course, there is hardly any doubt that Nikol Vovaevich will try to discuss the "weapon news" from Azerbaijan with his Moscow interlocutors. And not simply to discuss, but also to solicit another "weapon gifts" for Armenia.
But here it is useful to think about the "price of the issue" already in the capital.

In fact, Baku, of course, seeks to build good-neighborly and constructive relations with Moscow. Azerbaijan refrains from explicitly anti-Russian or, if you like, "Russophobic" steps, does not close Russian schools, and members of the Azerbaijani government do not allow themselves statements in the style of "Cyrillic or Zibilitsa". But in return, Russia makes "weapon gifts" to Yerevan. It is unlikely that the Kremlin does not realize that this weapon is directed against Azerbaijan. So yet unused on the front, it is already doing a great damage to bilateral relations.

And now there is one more component of the "issue price". In fact, the acquisition of Russian weapons by Azerbaijan is a well-known fact. Even the Azerbaijani-Russian intergovernmental commission from the Russian side was headed by Dmitri Rogozin, who in the government of the previous convocation was in charge of the military-industrial complex, and not, for example, the agro-complex or oil and gas sphere. Similarly, it is known that the Russian gunsmiths' nervously reacted to this business in Yerevan, demanding that this trade be stopped (of course, they did not mention the fact that Armenia received Russian weapons as a present). Until recently, Moscow’s response was 'nothing personal, just business'. Azerbaijan pays live money for weapons, many countries sell it, so why do not we earn some money?

But then new tunes began to sound. The head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, during his regular trip to Yerevan promised: Russia will not supply weapons to Azerbaijan in the same volumes. And then, the United Russia deputy, Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on CIS, Eurasian integration and work with compatriots blacklisted in Azerbaijan Konstantin Zatulin said that Russia was supplying obsolete weapons to Azerbaijan. "We understand that after the outbreak of 2016, which was initiated by one of the parties, serious reservations were formed in Armenia's public opinion regarding the supply of Russian arms to Azerbaijan," and then assured: "I want to draw attention to the fact that Russia has  made conclusions, connected with the balance of arms in the region, and supplied Armenia with the most advanced types of weapons." Finally, in the media, there was also a "leak" from the Belarusian media that Baku has some complaints about the quality of Russian weapons. Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan soon denied this ‘leak’, but the statements made  by Zatulin and Kosachev clearly turned out to be from ‘a word is not a sparrow’ series.

Perhaps both Kosachev and Zatulin wanted to do better, and they wanted to calm down their "outpost" using such statements, at the same time to threaten Azerbaijan with a finger. And Azerbaijan made the conclusions but hardly the ones counted on in the Kremlin. In the end, Baku buys weapons for living money, and Russia is by no means its only seller. So now viewing the photos of the Baku official chronicle with the Belarusian and Israeli missile complexes, the Russian gunsmiths are probably counting the money floated past the factories of Tula and Izhevsk as a result of such "parliamentary diplomacy". And another detail. Here it is necessary to add the market value of the weapons that Moscow donates to Armenia or pays for it through loans from the Russian budget and could also be sold in the arms market for the same real money.

So Moscow should analyze the Baku ‘weapon news’ not only through the interests of its whiny outpost.




Most read articles

More from Politics

In The Region

Editor's Picks

Azerbaijan Cuisine

Explore the food of Azerbaijan - from sherbet to succulent kebab, from baklava to fragrant pilaff

Follow us

Find us on Facebook

Real estate

Virtual karabakh