Armenian ‘Combat Readiness’ to Neutralize Azerbaijan’s Growing Military Budget

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia is taking ‘asymmetric steps’ in response to Azerbaijan’s growing military spending, seeking a higher efficiency at a relatively low cost, according to a senior defense official in Yerevan.

Earlier this month Azerbaijan said it sought a nearly 90 percent rise in its military spending from this year’s level — to stand at $3.1 billion next year.

If approved, Azerbaijan’s military budget will also be more than eight times as much as the Armenian government’s request of some $385.5 million for its military spending in 2011.

Armenia’s first deputy defense minister David Tonoyan on Monday explained in an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service that “asymmetry in military art implies inflicting unacceptable damage on the enemy with little force and fewer capabilities used.”

Tonoyan said as far as Azerbaijan is concerned, Armenia has developed “a strategic system of checks” that he said has stopped Baku from breaking the current peace.

“Armenia is doing what it has done since 1994. In fact, already for 16 years our armed forces are engaged in checking hostilities,” the Armenian defense ministry official said.

“I think all states concerned with the region’s security should be aware of the contribution that our armed forces are making for keeping the peace,” Tonoyan added.

He stressed that by increasing its military spending Azerbaijan does not necessarily increase the “combat-readiness” of its armed forces.

According to the official, a number of European countries comparable to Armenia by their territory and size of the population have military budgets several times exceeding Armenia’s.

“But it does not at all mean that these states’ military possibilities are higher,” Tonoyan said.

“It is at least naïve to expect a victory by only increasing military spending and purchasing arms. The outcome of a war is decided by much more important factors and the lessons of the Karabakh war should be learned [by Azerbaijan],” said Tonoyan.

“It is already several years that we have witnessed preparations [in Azerbaijan] to solve the Karabakh conflict militarily. I think it is a matter of concern not only for Armenia, but also for the international community,” he said, adding that “regardless of its outcome a war would have catastrophic consequences for the entire region.”

The defense ministry official said that Armenia has a clear vision of a security environment for itself and the region, as well as “a realistic evaluation of the existing threats and a clear direction for neutralizing these threats.” He did not elaborate on that.

Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-led defense alliance of other seven former Soviet countries. The treaty calls for a collective defense action should any of its members suffer an aggression. Karabakh is not, however, legally considered to be Armenian territory.

As Moscow’s closest ally in the South Caucasus Armenia hosts a Russian military base and is also capitalizing on the offer of Russian-made weapons at cut-down prices or free of charge.

A new Russian-Armenian defense agreement signed in August extends Russia’s military presence in Armenia till 2044 and commits Moscow to supplying Yerevan with “modern and compatible weaponry and special military hardware.”


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  1. Armenian said:

    We’re treading on a dangerous road, here. History has proven that all armies who have undermined, and underestimated their enemy have been defeated. Although it is important to note that we won against outstanding odds, we did so without the cockiness and excessive self-confidence the government seems to be displaying today. Never underestimate them, especially when they are capable of committing gross crimes of barbarism, and Medieval style attacks on innocent Armenians like axing one to death in their sleep, or burning a man alive.

  2. bk said:

    You want to know what will cause the Azeris to really get worried? The Armenian diaspora. Armenia and NKR have to recruit solders and whatever man or woman power from the Diaspora. When the enemy knows that there are 10 million Armenians ready to die for their country they will not dare. Armenians of all ages arise!!! Unite!!! One country!!! One destiny!!! One purpose!!!

  3. ZARMAIR said:

    The Turks and their brethren Azeri’s are cowards. The Genocide is a proven case to that point. The well armed and German trained Turkish Army of WWI scored its only victories against unarmed women and children. God forbid if there is another Azeri aggression it will be their final one. This time the Armenian Army will reach Baku, and again the West will plead on the Azerbaijan’s behalf for mercy…

  4. stephen Bekian said:

    I think armenia should give the Azeries a premptive strike on it’s pipelines ,that would shock the Azeries and

    it’s allies , come on Armenia be like Israel , and stop loafing around ………….

  5. ismet şahin said:

    Asymmetric war is kind of another war. For Armenian people have one way for their future that is peace. any calling for war don’t ever never bring benefit for any peoples. We have to wish from or push to the gowerments that they have to process of solving a problem to find any solution in peaceful manner. All of the peoples have need foods for their life. They don’t need any bomb.