October 16, 2013 - 18:58 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Experts are concerned that the Nagorno Karabakh conflict might be rekindled in the worst way with the OSCE Minsk Group mediatory efforts so far unsuccessful, journalist Piotr Smolar said in an article published at Le Monde French daily.
"Regional observers post unprecedented escalation of tensions, giving rise to armed conflict-related concerns. And not only shootouts are meant here: Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of accommodating Syrian refugees in Karabakh to perpetuate its presence in the republic. Arms race on both sides also gives rise to increased concerns, with Baku having a clear advantage due to significant oil-procured financial resources," the article says.
"In 2003, Azerbaijan allocated $163 million to military expenses. In 2013, the budget grew to $3,7 billion, with extensive range of weaponry purchased. In 2012, Israel agreed to supply 60 drones to Baku," the article said.
"Later, Azeri President Aliyev offered to buy $ 3 billion worth of weaponry, including combatant ships and submarines, from South Korea. Seoul however decided against the deal, unwilling to be involved in escalation of tensions. At the same time, Armenia increased its military budget by 25% to reach $250 million," the article said.
"The recent International Crisis Group report warned of a "potentially explosive" situation in the region. Baku has increased threats of a new war, with air strikes mentioned as a preliminary stage of any attack. Azeri task will lie in reclaiming a so-called buffer zone created around Karabakh during a blitz operation," the article said.
"Yerevan chose the Russia-led Customs Union over the EU associated membership and free trade zone. Yet, the decision was not prompted by Russia's pressure or economic gains, but rather the small country's safety concerns. Russian military presence in Armenia, weaponry supplies, the idea of close ties with Moscow – these are the guarantees of protection from Azeri aggression," the article said.