In an eye-opening piece reported by EurasiaNet, author Shahin Abbasov discusses Azerbaijan’s recent foray into weapons manufacturing and its desire to become a full-fledged arms dealer in the region.
The government-owned AZAD Systems Company plan near Baku will begin production on two Israeli-licensed drone aircraft soon.
“The initiative is seen as a critical strategic element in Azerbaijan’s ongoing efforts to regain control over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. ‘Having such aircraft is important for gaining military superiority over Armenia,’ said Uzeir Jafarov, a colonel in the army reserves. ‘It is an irreplaceable armament for intelligence purposes in Nagorno-Karabakh now, and, in case of conflict, for the precise identification of the location, readiness and number of enemy troops,’” reports Abbasov.
“Other motivations are also involved. Israeli arms interest Azerbaijani officials since ‘the country’s military needs are largely ignored by Russia, Europe and the United States due to the Karabakh conflict,’ according to an alleged cable prepared by the US Embassy in Baku in 2009 and posted on the WikiLeaks website,” added EurasiaNet.
“Azerbaijani diplomats and military officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told EurasiaNet.org that Baku wants to become more self-reliant in terms of weaponry. The chief concern among Azerbaijani military planners is that supplies of military equipment from Russia and/or the West could cease in the event that the Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia reignites,” explains Abbasov.
Read the entire report here.