Third Karabakh War becomes inevitable
    The region is on the brink of a major conflagration

    ANALYTICS  22 June 2024 - 16:19

    Samir Veliyev
    Caliber.Az

    Armenia, apparently sincerely believing in the support of its external allies, has become enthusiastic and is actively building up its military potential. Despite the crushing defeat and significant losses in the 2020 war and border clashes with Azerbaijan, the Armenian leadership has not abandoned its revanchist plans. On the contrary, it has embarked on a large-scale rearmament. However, these reckless actions could lead to the most tragic consequences for the "country of stones."

    But let's start from the beginning.

    French CAESAR self-propelled howitzers for Armenia

    Recently, French Minister of Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu announced on social network X that a contract had been signed between Yerevan and Paris for the supply of CAESAR self-propelled howitzers (SPHs). "We continue to strengthen our defence relations with Armenia. A warm and productive conversation took place with my colleague Suren Papikyan. A new important milestone is the signing of a contract for the acquisition of CAESAR howitzers," stated the French minister.

    According to information from open sources, Armenia will purchase 36 SPHs, and the estimated contract amount will be around 180 million euros.

    However, Yerevan's interest in purchasing French weaponry was not limited to just CAESAR SPHs.

    In June 2023, Emmanuel Dupuy, president of the Institute for European Perspective and Security Studies (IPSE), announced that France would supply Armenia with 50 VAB MK3 armoured personnel carriers. At that time, he also mentioned that the possibility of Armenia purchasing BASTION and SHERPA armoured vehicles from the French company ARQUUS was being discussed. And already in December of last year, it was officially announced that the first 24 BASTION armoured vehicles had been delivered to Armenia.

    At the end of October last year, the heads of the military departments of Armenia and France, Suren Papikyan and Sébastien Lecornu, met in Paris to outline new opportunities for cooperation and agreed on the sale of three GM200 radars produced by THALES to Yerevan. They also signed a memorandum of understanding for the future supply of French short-range MISTRAL air defence systems.

    Looking east: Weapons procurement from India

    The purchase of CAESAR SPHs from France is just one of Armenia's steps towards militarization. Yerevan has also signed multimillion-dollar contracts for the supply of various weapons from India.

    Recently, Yerevan signed a contract with New Delhi worth about $245 million, which includes the purchase of PINAKA multiple rocket launch systems, anti-tank missile systems, and ammunition. These purchases are aimed at strengthening the combat capabilities of the Armenian Armed Forces and are nothing less than an attempt to alter the balance of power in the region. According to available data, in August 2023, Armenia received the first batch of Indian towed artillery systems (ATAGS). The contract provides for the supply of another 84 of these howitzers worth $155.5 million.

    Moreover, Armenia is showing interest in acquiring Indian AKASH air defence systems, which could cost up to $720 million. There have also been reports that Armenia plans to purchase Indian TAPAS-BH-201 (Rustom-II) attack drones and anti-drone systems.

    What does this mean?

    All the facts we have listed indicate that Armenia is actively preparing for another war. Furthermore, it is the initiator of this war. It is worth recalling that in January of this year, President Ilham Aliyev emphasized in an interview with local television channels: “We are closely following all military-building efforts in Armenia, both with their resources and their partners' help. Therefore, I have sincerely and openly stated that if we see even the slightest threat to our security, we will immediately crush it no matter where it is and no matter how deep it is in the territory of Armenia. Everyone, first of all, the Armenian leadership should know and understand this.”

    President Aliyev has made it clear that Azerbaijan is firmly committed to defending its sovereignty. In May of this year, during a meeting with residents of Shusha, Aliyev once again warned the hotheads in Yerevan: " If we see revengeful forces raising their head again in Armenia, if France gives deadly weapons to Armenia and if we see that these weapons reach a critical level, then, let no one have any hard feelings. In any case, everyone knows what we are capable of, what our Army is capable of and how strong our determination is. No one can stand in front of us."

    The statements of the head of state clearly convey to Yerevan and its patrons that Azerbaijan does not intend to tolerate attempts to undermine its security. And these are not empty words. Azerbaijan has repeatedly demonstrated that it will decisively counter any threat. Operation "Iron Fist" in 2020, as well as the military clashes on the conditional border in 2021 and 2022, and the counter-terrorism operation in Karabakh in September 2023, vividly show how quickly and effectively Azerbaijan responds to military provocations. Thus, Baku remains vigilant and ready to defend its interests, regardless of where and from whom the threat originates.

    Refusal to consider constitutional amendments

    Armenia is not only trying to disrupt peace negotiations and engage in military provocations, but also continues its destructive activities in the political arena. Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated the necessity of amending the Armenian Constitution to eliminate any territorial claims against its neighbours. However, official Yerevan ignores Baku's legitimate demands, refusing to make changes to the constitution, thereby demonstrating its revanchist nature.

    What we have in fact

    Firstly, Armenia does not renounce its territorial claims against Azerbaijan and Turkey. This shows Yerevan's intention to continue undermining regional stability.

    Secondly, Armenia is actively arming itself and preparing for revenge. The facts presented above confirm this. The purchase of weapons from France and India, the search for new patrons, the deployment and expansion of the EU's spy mission in the country, as well as the intention to replace the Russian military base with a French one, indicate that a Third Karabakh War is becoming almost inevitable. It is only a matter of time. Pashinyan seems to have forgotten the lessons of the recent past. But the "Iron Fist" has become even stronger, and its power will once again be fully felt by Armenia's military-political leadership and army.

    Caliber.Az

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