Flashpoint Region: Supply of Weapons to South Caucasus | StratRisks
S ource: Experts Club
A peace initiative on Syria of the UN and the League of the Arab States special representative Kofi Annan brought no results. Neither government forces nor the armed opposition agreed to it. The confrontation between them was renewed on even a larger scale and was followed by increase in death numbers. Along with civilians soldiers, officers and generals and their families are fleeing Syria. Turkey only has received more than 33 thousand Syrian citizens. Situation was exacerbated by destruction of a Turkish fighter by the missile defence of Syria. Turkey is a NATO member and Ankara along with Washington demanded adequate measures against Damascus. Syrian President Bashar Assad said his country is in a state of war.
Against this backdrop, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed informaiton voiced previously by the US that Russian cargo ship Alaid carried air defence systems and military helicopters to Syria, for Bashar al-Assad forces. This means that Russia will again veto new international efforts against the Syrian regime.
In this conditions, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper published an article by Vladimir Mukhin under the heading “Caucasus-2012 – combat readiness being boosted!”, which can be perceived as yet another threat to countries that demand to stop the bloodshed in Syria as well as the Assad government’s resignation.
Having said that planned command-staff exercises of the Russian Army under the code name “Caucasus 2012″ are beginning at military bases in the south of Russia and Armenia, the author of the article notes that though military exercises are considered planned, they are directly related to aggravation of economic, geopolitical and military problems in the Caspian region, Iran and Syria, as well as the Karabakh conflict.
According to the press service of the Southern Military District of Russia, exercises will begin at the training ground “Sernovodsk” located in the Stavropol Territory and will last for several months. The main purpose of the exercise is to develop objectives for hidden control of armed forces using modern information technologies and electronic means.
After Stavropol exercises will start in those parts of the Russian army, which are deployed in the occupied regions of Georgia – “South Ossetia” and Abkhazia – as well as in the 102nd Russian military base in the Armenian city of Gyumri. In Armenia, the main attention will be paid to development of coordinated action of the Russian and Armenian armies in order to achieve a common goal.
According to the Armenian Defence Minister Seiran Oganian, during manoeuvres the troops will be brought into high combat readiness. Culmination of collective rapid reaction forces will take place in September. Due to the fact that Azerbaijan and Georgia treat the transfer of large units of Russian paratroopers to Armenia with great suspicion, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued information about the exercise in April – the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper notes. According to the newspaper, naval manoeuvres that unfolded on the Caspian Sea in recent days seem rather large-scale too.
According to the commander of the Caspian Flotilla Rear Admiral Sergei Alekminsky, 15 surface ships were involved in tactical exercises. Their crews should improve solving of some problems of defence against underwater threats and sabotage of a group of ships. Also attention is paid to issues of protection of oil and gas pipelines, blocking drug transfer routes from Afghanistan and so on. The Rear Admiral Alekminsky does not rule out that in the view of the existing situation the Russian Navy will have to solve larger problems through involvement of special purpose units, artillery, missiles and precision-guided weapons.
In the coming months the Caspian Flotilla will increase with new ships with modern equipment, which will include Buyan class corvettes Volgodonsk and Dagestan. The latter is equipped with missile system that uses several types of high-precision missiles against targets at ranges up to 300 km.
Recently, several trains with tanks and other types of modern military equipment were demonstratively brought into Makhachkala.
“The Russian military and political leadership devotes considerable attention to strengthening of the country’s defence in the Caspian Sea region and the Caucasus. There can be no talk of demilitarization of the region. Moscow intends to defend its interests here by various means, including force “- Vladimir Mukhin is categorical on the pages of the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newsapper.
Acouple of weeks ago the same newspaper published an article by Sergei Konovalov “Syrian direction of the Russian troops” which, it is obvious, like the article by Mukhin, was written on instructions of the chief military body of Russia. It demonstrates that threats and demonstration of military power became part of the policy of the Russian government. And that the civilized world cannot accept.
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