Saturday, October 04, 2014

Azerbaijan's Drone Build-Up

Flush with Caspian Sea natural gas wealth, Azerbaijan has for a number of years been building up its military capacity, especially vis-a-vis rival Armenia.  Here is the latest:
Heightened tensions with longtime foe Armenia over breakaway Nagorno Karabakh and mediator Russia’s Ukrainian adventure appear to be pushing Caspian-Sea energy power Azerbaijan ever more strongly toward a military strategy of self-reliance.
The strategy comes via two approaches: first, a build-up in Azerbaijani-made military equipment, including drones co-produced with Israel; and, second, a new defense troika with longtime strategic partners Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and neighbouring Georgia, a NATO-member-hopeful.
Nor is this a strategy just left to paper. On Sep. 11, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Yaver Jamalov announced to reporters that Azerbaijan plans to export 100 drones, co-produced at a local Azerbaijani-Israeli plant, to “one of the NATO countries.” The remarks headlined the country’s first international defense-industry show, ADEX-2014, held on Sep. 11-13 in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku.
Some of the background here is Russian support for Armenia in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.  Based on what happened in Ukraine, Azerbaijan fears that Russia could similarly attempt to formally impose a pro-Armenian settlement there.

(Oh, and yes, my last "historical Muhammad" post is still coming.)

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