Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Drone Downed Over Karabakh

Karabakh's military says they shot down an Azerbaijani spy drone:
"Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that broke away from Azerbaijan after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, said it shot down an unmanned Azeri drone over its territory on Sept. 12.

"The unmanned aircraft was downed to prevent similar reconnaissance flights over the disputed area, which have become more frequent along the border in recent days, the Karabakh Defense Army said in a statement on its website today...

"Oil-exporting Azerbaijan is using energy income to acquire modern weaponry, including unmanned planes from Israel, with whom the Caspian Sea nation started joint production of drones, President Ilham Aliyev said in April. Today’s incident marks the first time an Azeri spy plane has ever been shot down over the majority-Armenian populated region.

"The Azeri Defense Ministry has previously not denied Armenian media reports that some of the drones produced with Israel are being used to monitor Nagorno-Karabakh."

According to RFE-RL, this is the first such aerial target shot down since the end of the Karabakh War in 1994. However, if these unmanned spy drones have only been in service since April, this might not represent as much of an escalation as some fear.

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