Integration could be free in the CIS alone

Agency WPS
May 24, 2004, Monday


SOURCE: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 21, 2004, p. 5

by Vladimir Mukhin

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov’s official visit to Armenia
started on May 20. He met with Armenian leaders, held the talks with
his counterpart Serzh Sarkisyan, at which the parties discussed the
issues related to the prospects of developing the bilateral military
cooperation. As of now, Russian minister’s contacts with the Armenian
military continue in the framework the ordinary meeting of the Council
of Defense Ministers (CDM) of the entire CIS.

Armenia is among few CIS states with which Russia has close military
and military-technical contacts. First of all, the sphere of military
cooperation concerns the issues of Armenia’s antiaircraft defense. As
far back as 2001 the antiaircraft defense units of Russia and Armenia
assumed joint combat duty and are performing this mission so far. The
troops are involved in joint staff command exercises and war games.
Most importantly, the Armenian antiaircraft missile defense units and
the 102nd military base of Russia and a squadron of 30 MiG-29 fighters
ensure security of the air space at the southern boundaries of the CIS.

At the meeting of May 21, the issues of creating the joint antiaircraft
defense system of the CIS will be given the foreground. In the
framework of the CDM defense ministers of the CIS will discuss the
functioning of the Unified Antiaircraft Defense system, founded
in 1995, consider the draft target program on joint counteraction
to air attacks. Nevertheless, the facts evidence that not all the
states are ready to give their active support to the integration in
the sphere of air defense, initiated by Russia. Turkmenistan, Georgia
and Uzbekistan are not taking part in the regular exercises over past
9 years, although they maintain bilateral contacts in this sphere.
These countries also maintain bilateral relations with Ukraine,
Russia’s rival in the sphere of military-technical cooperation.

Russia also has problems with other allies. For instance, Kazakhstan
is no more oriented at supplies of Russia-made weapons for its own
army and intends to invite Western states to participate in a tender
for supply of antiaircraft missile systems and radar installations.

Besides, almost all of CIS states (exclusive Russia and Belarus) are
granted multimillion aid for development of their defense from the
USA and NATO. While Yerevan and Moscow are discussing new directions
of military-technical cooperation, the Pentagon has already initiated
supplies of communications facilities to Armenia to the amount of $7
million. The USA has been involved in similar upgrade programs for the
armies of Georgia, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Azerbaijan. If many CIS
states are not involved in joint military maneuvers inside the CIS,
they regard NATO-led exercises as prestigious are a involved in them
on a regular basis.

In particular, Cooperative Best Effort-2004 military maneuvers, the
largest over entire CIS’ history and involving NATO and CIS member
states have been scheduled for this summer in Azerbaijan. Even
Armenia will take part in the exercises, General Charles Wald,
ECDC deputy commander convinced Armenian leaders. At his insistence
Armenia decided to send its troops to Iraq. As is widely known,
while the coalition troops are eliminating their presence there,
CIS states have plans to expand their presence in Iraq, supposedly
as a sign of gratitude for U.S. military assistance. The spokesmen
for Georgia and Azerbaijan announced that in addition to Armenia.

There’s no need to guess why this is happening. All military contacts
in the framework of the CIS require spending, whereas NATO and the
USA are commonly sponsoring military activities on their own.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS