By Eduard Abrahamyan
August 22, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On June 11, 2018, Azerbaijani state media reported the conclusion of a Belarus-Azerbaijan arms deal, displaying the procured battery-size Polonez Multiple Rocket-Launch systems (MRLS) produced by a Belarus-Chinese military industry company. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev inspected the equipment at the new brigade site near Perekeshkul, north-west of Baku. At least five launch vehicles were showcased, each equipped with eight 301mm A200-type high-precision rockets, with a firing range of about 200 kilometers. The new artillery brigade is also equipped with LORA (Long-Range Artillery System) all-weather capability precision ballistic missile systems, with a maximum firing range of 300 kilometers, manufactured by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI). The systems were subsequently showcased during a military parade in Baku on June 26.
By Emil A. Souleimanov and Huseyn Aliyev
July 5, 2018, the CACI Analyst
In late May, Nakhichevan-based Azerbaijani forces entered no-man’s land to the northwest of the exclave, formally part of Armenia, as deep as 10-15 kilometers. The territory was occupied without a single shot, and represents a physically larger portion of land than that acquired by Azerbaijan as a result of the April 2016 clashes. As the Armenian public was preoccupied with the toppling of the regime of Serzh Sargsyan and the Pashinyan government’s subsequent anti-corruption initiatives, the “silent occupation” of land in Armenia’s Vayotz Dzor province went virtually unnoticed. Since further advances into Armenian territory are likely to force Russia’s response, both sides remain cautious to avoid further confrontations.
By Fuad Shahbazov
June 28, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On May 29, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev officially inaugurated the first phase of the long-awaited flagship project Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), through which Caspian natural gas from the Shah-Deniz II field will be transported to Europe. The new project consists of several pipeline networks that pass through Georgia and Turkey (via the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, TANAP) and further through Greece, Albania and Italy (via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, TAP). As Shah Deniz Stage 2 is implemented, gas production will increase from 9 to 25 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year.
By Nurlan Aliyev
May 21, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On March 16, Sputnik Azerbaijan published information on Azerbaijani participants of the international sport competition Football for Friendship, financed by Gazprom. On the same day, the vice-president of the Italian Senate Linda Lanzillotta, visiting Baku, stated that Russia is behind protests against the construction of the Italian segment of the TAP pipeline. This is one example of how Russia’s means for exercising soft and hard, if covert, power coexist in the former Soviet republics. Yet soft power influences receive decidedly less attention in reporting and discussion on Russia’s relations with these countries and Azerbaijan is an illustrative case in this regard.
By Fariz Ismailzade
May 11, 2018, the CACI Analyst
The appointment of a new Prime Minister and the new composition of the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan have raised hopes for speedy economic reforms and liberalization of the national economy. New, young and foreign-educated ministers are expected to create more transparency and accountability in the system, create a more attractive business climate and further ensure the sustainable development of the country. President Aliyev’s new appointments have been welcomed by the public and foreign investors, and hint at the urgent need to deepen the pace of reforms.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.