Karabakh Army Reaffirms 2012 Buildup

Karabakh Army soldiers conduct military exercises earlier this year

BY LUSINE MUSAYELIAN

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)—The commander-in-chief of Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces said on Thursday that they have acquired significant amounts of new weapons and fortified their frontline positions this year.

“We have made some progress in this area, especially in the provision of new weaponry and ammunition to artillery units,” Lieutenant-General Movses Hakobian told a news conference in Stepanakert. “We have also begun delivering tanks to the army. That will also boost the army’s potential.”

Hakobian declined to give any details of the military buildup.

The general said in August that the “military potential” of his troops grew by 20 percent in the first half of 2011. He listed a “rearmament” of an artillery regiment and new anti-tank and air-defense weapons supplied to a dozen army battalions. “And we will receive more tanks — two more divisions — later this year,” he said.

Azerbaijan’s leaders regularly threaten to forcibly win back Karabakh. The Azerbaijani government has used billions of dollars in oil revenues for a massive military buildup over the past decade.

According to Hakobian, the Azerbaijani threats are taken seriously by the Karabakh Armenian leadership. “Statements by Azerbaijan are a cause for some concern given that behind these words are quite serious weapons and hardware which Azerbaijan keeps buying,” he said. “There has been a certain rise in their combat-readiness.”

Hakobian, who commanded some Karabakh Armenian units during the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan, reiterated his earlier statements that large-scale hostilities could resume “at any moment” and that the Armenian side is prepared for them. He described as “very tense” the situation along the main Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” east and north of Karabakh.

In particular, Hakobian spoke of a “worrisome” increase in Azerbaijani sniper activity which he said left 11 Armenian soldiers dead and 34 others wounded on the Karabakh frontline this year.

“We are determined to rein in the enemy and keep it from developing efforts in this direction,” said the general. “For these considerations we have equipped all of our positions in a way that allows us to safely carry out 360-degree observations.”

The Azerbaijani military has not yet released any casualty data for 2011. The Baku daily “Zerkalo” quoted an independent military expert, Uzeir Jafarov, as saying last month that 13 Azerbaijani soldiers were shot dead by the Armenians so far this year.

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8 Comments

  1. www.Voskanapat.info said:

    “The Azerbaijani government has used billions of dollars in oil revenues for a massive military buildup over the past decade.”

    Azerbaijani army was the main source of weapons acquisition for Artsakh army during the last war. They were running back to Baku so fast that had no time to destroy their own tanks left intact, fueled and fully loaded.

    The weapons their corrupt generals purchase now suggest that Azerbaijan is becoming a dumping ground for outdated Soviet scrap metal. Take for example one of the latest purchases – a shipment of mortars from Ukraine made in… 1940!

    As for quoting Azerbaijani “military expert” Uzeir Jafarov, please, consider the source! Mr. Jafarov used to work as a low level military recruiter and was court marshaled for taking bribes (but not sharing them upstream!) from families who paid for their children to serve in Baku, away from the Artsakh border.

    After loosing this luxury income venue he turned to the embassies of Britain, Germany, Norway, US, and France applying for a political refugee status, but didn’t get it and became a “military expert.”

    Anyway, as of December 7, 2011, there were 114 proved deaths in Azerbaijani army for 2011. Among the latest causalities were 7 Azeri Turk askers killed by Artsakh forces between November 23-26 and 8 askers burned alive in Baku in a car crash including Capt. Ramin Babaev.

  2. c said:

    they didn’t write the story, so pleas to consider the source aren’t going to do much, it’s from radio free europe….
    and the source of the jafarov quote is the azeri paper zerkalo, so it’s not really rfe’s problem either.
    it’s standard practice to quote both sides (azeris only get one sentence at the end),
    it’s not like anything directly from azeri ministers is going to be of higher quality.
    jafarov probably should be considered an expert on the mindset of the azeri military, it’s the same ilk.

  3. Albert Nercessian said:

    Armenia and the NKR need to thank France for approving the genocide bill by purchasing the excellent AMX-Lecrec tank from France that will easily defeat the Azeri T-72. Armenia should also buy the Matra Mica missle which is a cost-effective and versatile system that can supplement the S-300 and other missle defenses of Armenia. Armenia needs to be one step ahead of the Azeris.

    • Arman said:

      Hey Albert, are you interested in military technology? Have you ever browsed through the famous Jane’s military yearbooks?

  4. Albert Nercessian said:

    To counter the sniper threat, Armenia needs to install bunkers with periscopic sights to observe the front lines so that the snipers can’t get them. The use of armoured vehicles can also be useful.

    • bigmoustache said:

      they already have that, theyre a military give them more credit..
      what they need is a protocol, to make every soldier a marksman, like the marines.
      if youre a cook, engineer, supply, tank, you should be a marksman, constantly practicing. armenian fathers need to teach their children how to hunt and shoot at an early age

  5. Kajvardan said:

    If war starts Armenians will not hesitate to hit Azeri oil installations and pipe lines which will criple them

  6. armenian kid said:

    id be happy if we win easily and take most of their lands, and they all get lost to kazakhstan forever.

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