03 August 2006

902) "Surrender of territories to Azerbaijan" David Simonyan - Strategic consequences for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh / Dogu Perincek:"We'll ...

REGNUM publishes the article of security expert David Simonyan (Yerevan), which reflects his vision of the future of the Karabakh conflict. The article is published in the author’s wording. . .

In the light of the continuing discourse on how to preserve the “favorable window of opportunities” in the Karabakh peace process, people in Armenia keep actively talking about the settlement principles that have reportedly been presented to the Armenian and Azeri presidents for discussion and possible signing. These principles stipulate that Armenian troops be withdrawn from the liberated territories and the territories, except for the Lachin corridor, be given back to Azerbaijan.

The article is about the importance the liberated territory has for ensuring the key element of Armenia’s national security – its military component. When speaking about Armenia, you should keep in mind two states, the Republic of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), who are fully integrated in military and economic terms. As you may know, military security is a condition of a state that allows it to exclude any damage to its vital interests that can be caused by threat or practical armed violence.

The given analysis is based on an axiom that is generally accepted among experts: for ensuring national security one should be ready for the worst scenario. And now, let’s more thoroughly consider the significance the liberated territory has for ensuring the military security of Armenia (RA and NKR).

The military conflict of 1991-1994 has improved the quality of the following elements of the military-strategic position of the Armenian states:

1. Frontline configuration

The present configuration of the frontline is optimal for the Armenian side. The southern flank of the Artsakh front is shielded by the Iranian border, the northern flank – by the hard-to-access Mrav mountain range. In the east – from the mountains of Mrav to the river Arax – the Armenian side has a well-fortified multi-echelon defense line.

Should the Armenian side give back the territories of six districts and keep only Lachin, the total frontline of the two Armenian states with Azerbaijan, including Nakhichevan, will get 450 km longer to 1,100 km. The frontline between Artsakh and Azerbaijan will lengthen by 150 km to 360 km. For you to have the full picture of how long a border Armenia will have with its conflicting neighbors, we should remind you that Armenia also has a poorly protected 268 km border with Turkey.

In order to effectively fortify the extended frontline the Armenian side will have to mobilize substantial human and financial resources.

First, the Armenian side will have to increase its army personnel (the Armed Forces of Armenia and the Defense Army of Artsakh (Karabakh)) and, therefore, to prolong the compulsory service term for privates and to enroll contract officers.

Second, after withdrawing troops, the Armenian side will have to undertake big expenses to create new defense lines. To carry out the above measures, the Armenian side will have to augment its military budget, but to do this, it will have to further curtail its scarce social financing and to face the ensuing negative consequences.

2. Depth of defense

The liberated territories have allowed the Armenian side to ensure the minimum defense depth and to solve several important strategic problems:

First, the present depth of defense has allowed the Armenian side to form a multi-echelon defense line. Should the first line be broken, the Armenian side will be able to resist on the following ones and to keep the enemy outside Artsakh until additional troops come from Armenia.

Second, the central densely-populated areas of Artsakh, including its capital, Stepanakert, as well as the settlements of the Goris, Kapan and Meghri districts of Armenia have become inaccessible for shelling by Azeri artillery and multiple rocket launching systems (BM-21 “Grad”).

Third, by liberating the Zangelan, Jebrail and Fizuli districts and moving the frontline over 100 km eastward, the Armenian side has liquidated the threat to the vulnerable, just 40 km wide Meghri district of the Republic of Armenia.

If the six districts are given back to the enemy and the frontline is moved back to the former administrative border of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, the Armenian side will lose the necessary depth for effective defense and will face bigger difficulties in defending Artsakh should a new war begin.

The new frontline will run just 5 km away from the district centers of Mardakert, Askeran and Hadrut and 18 km away from Stepanakert. If the Armenian side gives back the Karvachar (formerly Kelbajar) district too, the Martakert district will get vulnerable to possible military attacks from three sides.

Even fortified to the maximum, the new defense line will not be a reliable guarantor of Artsakh’s military security. As we know from military history, any well-fortified defense line (Mannerheim line, Siegfried line, Bar-Lev line) can be broken by the attacker, and only sufficient depth of defense can allow the defender to organize new resistance lines and by wearing the enemy out to stop his attack. For example, during the Yom Kippur War (1973), when the Egyptian troops overran the 157.5 km long and 15 km deep Bar-Lev line in Sinai in just six hours, it was exactly the depth of the line that allowed Israel to stop the Egyptian troops, to prevent them from going deep into its territory, to mobilize new forces and to turn around the situation.

Besides, if the border is moved, most of the settlements of Artsakh and the Sunik region of Armenia, first of all, Stepanakert, Kapan and Goris, will find themselves unprotected in the face of possible massive shelling by the enemy. If a new war starts, a sudden massive bombing of towns, district centers and villages by artillery and “Grads” will cause big casualties among civilians and heavy in destruction in Artsakh and Sunik. This may result in a mass exodus of people from the area.

3. Military communications

Efficient military communications, well-trained and equipped mobile troops, timely supply of arms, hardware, ammunition, fuel and other stuff and quick evacuation are really crucial in modern war. For the Armenian side, regular military communications would be really indispensable, should the enemy get big superiority during the first days of the war.

Let’s see in detail what military communications each side has:

Azerbaijan

The densely-populated areas of Azerbaijan are connected with the Artsakh front by two railroads: Baku-Yevlakh and Baku-Horadiz station and several motor roads: Baku-Shemakha-Yevlakh, Baku-Kurdamir-Yevlakh and Baku-Birmai-Bailakan (Zhdanovsk) as well as belt road Yevlakh-Barda-Agjabedy-Bailakan – quite a convenient road running along the frontline. All running via steppe, these roads will allow the enemy to quickly send mobilized troops to the Artsakh front and to get multiple superiority in personnel and hardware before the approach of the Armenian troops.

Artsakh

With the present frontline configuration, there are four motor roads connecting Armenia with Artsakh and the frontline: Vardenis-Mardakert, Goris-Stepanakert-Askeran-Agdam, Kapan-Zangelan-Jebrail and Meghri-Mijavan-Horadiz. If the war resumes, these roads will allow the Armenian sides to bring up quite big troops from Armenia to the Artsakh front in just a few days.

So-called belt roads – communications running along the frontline – are crucial for the frontline resistive capacity. They allow to quickly redeploy troops to wherever there is a danger of breach. At present the Artsakh Defense Army has two belt roads: Mardakert-Agdam-Fizuli-Jebrail and the North-South highway project to connect Mardakert-Stepanakert-Red Bazar-Hadrut.

If the six liberated districts are surrendered, the Armenian armed forces will control only one belt road – Mardakert-Hadrut and only one road connecting mainland Armenia with Sunik and Artsakh – Yerevan-Goris-Stepanakert. This road runs through a highly mountainous area with many passes.

If a new war starts, the Armenians will find it extremely difficult to keep the narrow Lachin corridor from the enemy’s two-side strikes, but even if they retain Lachin, the enemy will use its artillery and aviation to make it as hard as possible for Armenia to quickly transfer big military forces and material and medical assistance to Artsakh.

Meanwhile, the fate of Artsakh will depend exactly on how quickly Armenia will supply it with troops as the Defense Army of Artsakh may prove not strong enough to resist the onslaught of the greatly prevalent enemy.

Thus, you clearly see that the liberated territory is extremely important for keeping the military balance between the conflicting sides, while its surrender by the Armenian side will break it to Azerbaijan’s advantage and will strongly aggravate the military-strategic situation of the Armenian states – something neither peace agreements nor international peacekeepers will compensate for. This is especially dangerous as Azerbaijan is heavily swelling its military potential, particularly, by redoubling its military budget in 2006 — from $300 mln to $600 mln – while Armenia will hardly be able to keep pace in the coming years for the following reasons:

1. The state budget of Armenia is 3.5 times smaller than the state budget of Azerbaijan ($1 bln against $3.5bln) and this gap will continue to grow as Azerbaijan will increase its oil exports. Meanwhile, Armenia’s economic potential will not allow this country to allot as much money to the military as to keep the military parity with Azerbaijan.

2. Armenia can no longer hope for the big free military hardware supplies that it got from Russia in the mid 1990s and that helped it to keep military balance with Azerbaijan for the last decade. The key military partner of Armenia, Russia has begun to show more pragmatic policy in the last years, with no political or economic preferences.

Hence, only by retaining the liberated territory, carrying out military reforms and improving the state administration system as a whole will the Armenian side be able to offset the growing military potential of the enemy and, thereby, to keep the Azeri side from temptation to resume military actions.

Given the continuing variance of the sides concerning the status of Artsakh, any change in the present configuration of the contact line will not stop the conflict but will simply create another, much more conflict-prone situation in the sphere of security.

Should Azerbaijan, whose leadership keeps saying that it will never put up with the loss of Karabakh, agree to sign peace agreements, but will later prove not content with the return of just six districts and will make up its mind to get back the whole Artsakh by war, Armenia will get in a serious danger.

Turning to advantage the change in the military balance and the consequent vulnerability of Artsakh’s whole defense system, Azerbaijan may use some convenient political moment to launch a blitzkrieg attack and to occupy Artsakh. In order to break the frontline, the Azeris will quickly concentrate strongly prevalent forces for one main blow – not a hard thing to do for them given the big quantitative and technical prevalence of the Azeri Army over the Defense Army of Artsakh and the facts that 70% of Azeri troops are deployed near the frontline and that Azerbaijan has better capacities for quickly deploying mobilized troops to the Artsakh front. The outcome of the war will greatly depend on its very first days, particularly, on the ability of the Defense Army of Artsakh to keep the frontline intact, which may prove quite a hard job.

Armenia will have very limited capacities to help Artsakh: it will not be able to use the vulnerable Lachin corridor for transferring big military contingents. If the frontline is broken and the Armenian troops fail to stop the enemy at Stepanakert, the Armenian side may lose not only Artsakh but also Sunik. If Azerbaijan occupies Artsakh, Turkey will certainly encourage it to try to make true the Pan-Turkic dream: to seize the Meghri district, thereby, linking Azerbaijan with Turkey and cutting Armenia from Iran. To this end, the enemy may strike from two sides – from Zangelan and Nakhichevan. After losing Artsakh, it will be extremely hard for the Armenian side to keep Meghri: the district is very narrow and lacks the necessary defense depth, while the motor roads connecting it with the rest of Armenia are quite vulnerable.

The liquidation of Serbian Krajina in Croatia in 1995 is one example of how real this scenario can be: Croatia broke earlier cease-fire agreements, mobilized its armed forces and suddenly attacked Serbian Krajina. In some few days they broke the frontline and occupied the region. As a result, Serbian Krajina stopped to exist and half million of Serbs were forced to leave their homeland and become refugees. This tragedy happened in the center of Europe in the presence of thousands-strong UN peacekeeping contingent and led to no sanctions against the aggressor side.

Conclusions:

1. One of the key factors keeping the military balance between Armenia and Artsakh, from the one side, and Azerbaijan, from the other, and compensating for Azerbaijan’s personnel and hardware superiority and capacity to increase its military potential is the present optimal configuration of the Artsakh frontline.

2. The existing military balance rather than the cease-fire agreement of 1994 is keeping Azerbaijan back from resuming large-scale military actions.

3. By giving back any part of the liberated territory, the Armenian side will give Azerbaijan a military advantage and will reduce its own military security. This may inspire the enemy – should there be convenient moment — to solve the Karabakh problem by war. That’s why it is absolutely inadmissible to surrender the liberated territory to the enemy.

4. Given the aggressive and genocide-prone Azeri-Turkish alliance, with its overwhelming military prevalence and open desire to destroy the Armenian statehood, the key security guarantee for Armenia and Artsakh must be the Armenian Army and the present territory of the Armenian states (42,000 sq. km.)


27.07.2006
http://www.regnum.ru/english/679147.html
© 1999-2006 REGNUM News Agency




Dogu Perincek:"We'll Never Consent To Attempts To Consolidate Some Part Of Azerbaijani Territories With Armenia"

"We'll never consent to the attempts to consolidate some part of Azerbaijani territories with Armenia," leader of Turkey's Working Party & chief coordinator of Talat Pasha Movement Dogu Perincek told. Attending the opening of the exhibition "Maps dividing Turkey", Perincek told journalists that it high time to challenge the maps aiming to divide Turkey. . .

"This map shows some part of the brotherly Azerbaijani lands as Armenian territory. We'll never consent to this, Karabakh will be liberated, Turkish lands will not be given to foreigners. The power to wipe out these maps exists in Turkey," Mr.Perincek underlined.

The chief coordinator of the Talat Pasha Movement stated that the West aims to distribute lands to the puppet regimes it uses in the Middle East. He underlined that even Turkish provinces of Ruze and Artvin were shown as Kurdistan lands on the map.

"If you remember, there was a project called "Armenia from the sea to the sea" on the eve of the World War I. They were instigating Armenians against us promising a great country to them. What is the result? It cost so many troubles for Armenians. They admitted later on that they were deceived. Such territorial claims will have the same result," Perincek underlined.

Turkish first Diaspora project Talat Pasha Movement was established on January 18, this year. Rauf Denktash, first President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is the chairman of Consulting Council of the Movement.

The Consulting Council has two Azerbaijani members-scientists-Arif Ajaloglu, professor of Bilgi University in Istanbul and Aygun Hashimova, professor of Dumlupinar University in Kutahya, APA reports.

30 August 2006
Today Az


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