Posts Tagged Nagorno Karabagh

Israel fans embers of conflict with more Caucausus arms sales

News that Israel has sold Azerbajan $1.6 billion in arms probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to any one.

The sale to Azerbaijan would include drones, anti aircraft and missile defence technology. Israel made a string of excuses for arming the small country in a volatile region, but aside from the arms trade profits, Israel was no doubt trying to create another ally for itself on Iran’s border. Israel has already sold drones to Azerbaijan. It isn’t specified what drones the new contract would include, but presumably would include Heron and Searcher drones described in discussions last year.

In September 2011 Armenia is said to have shot down an Azerbaijan drone over disputed Nagorno Karabakh.

Only a few years ago, Israel made huge arms sales to neighbouring Georgia, but sales were cancelled part way along in the wake of a brush fire war between Georgia and Russia, which involved the shooting down of a Georgian drone over Russian territory. It is alleged that Russia made clear to Israel that if it continued to arm Georgia, then Russia would make further deals with Israel’s arch enemy Iran.

Subsequently Israeli and Georgian institutions became involved in litigation, and Israel began selling drone technology to Russia. The story is long and complicated.  Ali Abunimah wrote a provocative analysis of the events, at the time.

Allegations emerged recently from documents leaked by Wikileaks that prior to the Georgian conflict, Israel had provided Russia with secret codes for the Georgian drones in return for codes for sold to Iran by Russia.

Israel appears to be trying to gain diplomatic and military advantage by its arms sales in the Caucausus, but the result is the destabilisation of the region. No more so than with the sale of drones which, as a new war technology, are inherently destabilising.

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Canadian parts used in shot down drone

The Armenian Weekly recently reported that parts supplied by a Canadian company were found in a drone shot down over Nagorno Karabagh Republic in mid-September, 2011.

The part was a GPS antenna manufactured by Canadian firm Novatel, based in Calgary Alberta, which has offices in Texas. Novatel produces some products specifically directed at the UAV market. It was associated with a GPS splitter provided by GPS Source of Colorado. There isn’t any indication whether the Canadian parts were delivered from Canada or the US.

Drones are highly technological devices often put together from parts from many different firms around the world.

The Armenians and officials of Nagorno Karabagh complained to US officials that use of the parts might violate US arms export laws.

The drone is believed to be one manufactured or delivered as part of an Israel/Azeri joint venture, involving Elbit Systems.  It is believed to have been operated by Israelis.

An article in TFMetalsReport.com suggests that the drone was shot down by Russian forces, which wanted to send a message to Israel to stay out of Russian dominated areas or face sanctions.

Clearly there are many companies and countries complicit or directly profiting from arming states which are in a state of conflict with their neighbours.

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