November 23, 2005 - 17:28 AMT
British Experts Urge to Reckon with New Reality in Karabakh
One of authoritative world analytic centers for security and disarmament issues, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), based in London, has lately issued its latest yearbook - the Military Balance 2005-2006. The British experts specifically believe that the Nagorno Karabakh issue is a dominant one in the political life of Armenia and Azerbaijan, although there is no actual change of the positions of the parties. The OSCE Minsk Group does not have adequate opportunities to promote achievement of a final solution of the Nagorno Karabakh issue yet.
Baku puts a political emphasis on issues of refugees from territories controlled by Nagorno Karabakh that overstep the administrative quasi-borders of the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region. At the same time IISS experts specially underscore, «None of the parties reckons with the fact that reality in the disputed territories has changed. Political and social structures have been established there and elections were held June 19.»
As of the assessment of the political situation in Georgia and the conflict regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, British experts demonstrate surprising critical approach to actions of the Georgian authorities. The yearbook analytic part, which covers the overall military and political situation in the South Caucasus, indicates that the IISS experts have a steady concern over active militarization of the region (first of all due to actions of Azerbaijan and Georgia) and do not have illusions over prospects of settlement of available conflicts soon.
At the same time it should be recognized that yearbook quantitative data over the armed forces and the military equipment of South Caucasian states do not quite reflect the actual state of affairs. This in part can be explained by the fact that the Military Balance authors mainly base themselves on official documents. Azerbaijan (and in part Georgia) conceal exact data on arms and military equipment they have.
E.g. the number of tanks in Azerbaijan has remained at the level of 220 items (it is the maximally allowed figure for Azerbaijan according to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty) for several years, while it actually has no less than 500-520 tanks, reported IA Regnum.