Thursday, October 15, 2020

Oil wealth and drones are driving the violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan

LA Times describes towns haunted by drones: 

“At the beginning of the 2000s, Azerbaijan wasn’t militarily strong enough to retake Nagorno-Karabakh,” Lee said. “But after a sharp rise in global oil prices and a decade of increased defense spending, including tens of billions of dollars spent on Russian, Israeli and other foreign high-tech arms, the military balance of power shifted by 2016.”


Azerbaijan spent more than $19 billion on weapons. That included a $5-billion order with Israel in 2016


Armenia has spent about $4.8 billion on its arsenal over the same period, and its reliance on Russia as its main weapons supplier means that its unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, capabilities are relatively lacking, because Moscow has not focused its defense development on drones, Lee said. Instead, Armenia has only a small number of domestic UAVs it has employed on the battlefield.


A new addition to Baku’s arsenal is the Bayraktar TB2, a drone purchased from longtime ally and North Atlantic Treaty Organization member Turkey