Neighboring Countries

New batch of US weapons reportedly sold to Azerbaijan – expert voices concern
/Feb 11/Panorama/

Political scientist Suren Sargsyan has published reports stating Azerbaijan has obtained new batch of US weapons amounting for197 million USD. According to Sargsyan, equipment classified as “planes and satellites” at the same value were obtained in September of the previous year.
“This comes to prove we are dealing with a recurring process, yet the matter is not addressed properly as no one is interested in it,” Sargsyan wrote on his Facebook page. To note, in 1992, the U.S. Congress banned non-humanitarian economic aid and weapons sales to Azerbaijan by adopting Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act.
Earlier, on February 4, Israel’s Defense Ministry lifted its ban on exports to Azerbaijan of “kamikaze” drones that are manufactured by an Israeli company accused of hitting Armenian positions in Nagorno Karabakh.
Aeronautics’ export license was suspended after a complaint was filed with the Israeli Defense Ministry.
The Times of Israel newspaper reported that the Defense Ministry returned the export license on Monday, leading the company to inform the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that the ban on Orbiter 1K sales to its “central customer ‘A’” has been lifted. “The company can continue to supply the UAV to the aforementioned customer as soon as possible,” Aeronautics said in a statement.

Almost 85 percent of Europe’s detained journalists in Turkish jails
/Feb 13/Panorama/

Of the 130 journalists detained in the Council of Europe’s member countries as of Dec. 31, 2018, 110 were jailed in Turkey, according to the 2019 annual report of the council’s Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists.

Press freedom in Europe is more fragile now than at any time since the end of the Cold War with journalists increasingly facing obstruction, hostility and violence as they investigate and report on behalf of the public, the report said, Ahvalnews reported.

Turkey remains the world’s biggest jailer of journalists with 110 imprisoned in 2018, while Italy saw the sharpest increase in the number of media freedom alerts reported throughout the year.

The report said that Turkey, along with Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, and Russian Federation had not responded to the any of the Platform’s alerts in 2018. As of 31 December 2018, there were 92 active alerts on Turkey, while 14 new alerts were submitted to the Platform during the year, it said.

US upset over Armenia’s military deployment to Syria
/Feb 13/AMN Al-Masdar News/

BEIRUT – The United States expressed their dismay over Armenia’s recent military deployment to Syria, despite the fact they were invited by the Syrian government.

“We recognize the desire of other nations to respond to the humanitarian situation in Syria, and we share the concerns about protecting religious minorities in the Middle East,” the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.

“However, we do not support any engagement with Syrian military forces, whether that engagement is to provide assistance to civilians or is military in nature,” they added.

“Nor do we support any cooperation between Armenia and Russia for this mission. Russia has partnered with the Assad regime to slaughter civilians and trigger a humanitarian catastrophe. Russia continues to protect the Assad regime and its atrocities on a global stage,” it added in a statement to Armenian media circulated by the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan.

The Armenian military’s deployment was part of a humanitarian mission that sought to assist the war-torn city of Aleppo.

USA’s tough response to Armenian mission in Syria predictable: political analyst
/Feb 13/Aysor/

The response of the U.S. side to sending Armenian humanitarian mission to Syria was predictable, political analyst, international relations expert Suren Sargsyan told, referring to the response of U.S. Department of State to’s question about the position of the USA on Armenian mission in Syria.

“We have sent humanitarian mission to Syria previously as well, but it was not followed with tough statement by the U.S. side. At the same time, we must take into consideration that the first tough statement from the U.S. came when our National Security Council secretary accidentally or on purpose stated that Armenia hails Russia’s actions in Syria,” Sargsyan reminded, adding that after it first tough response came from the USA with the second one registered today about sending Armenian mission to Syria.

The expert said that Armenia must currently work intensively with the official Washington to thoroughly explain the circumstance of Armenia’s presence in Syria, why it has sent humanitarian mission there and what it is going to do there.

“More intensive and consistent work must be carried out. Armenia must work in all directions and on all the levels via defense, foreign affairs ministries and other state bodies,” he said, adding that though the USA will not change its position but at least it will be edited, and the USA will not carry out any steps and actions.

“I would like to remind that some sanctions the USA imposed on Iran and Russia were agreed on involvement of these countries in Syrian crisis,” the political analyst said.

Sargsyan stressed that Armenia must show that its involvement there is of exclusively peaceful nature.

“The United States is a super power and taking into consideration this circumstance the Armenian side must not tense the relations with it but develop in different directions. This work is very important,” Sargsyan told

Infamous Israeli defense company Aeronautics signs new drone deal with Azerbaijan
/Feb 19/

YEREVAN – Two weeks after its export licenses were reinstated, the Israeli defense company Aeronautics has announced that it has signed a new contract with Azerbaijan, to whom it had infamously supplied its Orbiter 1K suicide drones, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The two-year contract is worth 13 million USD. Within the frames of the contract the company will ensure maintenance work for the Orbiter 1K drones sold to Azerbaijan.

In August 2017, reports emerged that Aeronautics Ltd., an aircraft manufacturer, was suspected of using the Orbiter 1K kamikaze drone to attack Armenian forces in Nagorno Karabakh during a demonstration for Azerbaijani officials.

Israel’s defense ministry probed allegation according to which Azerbaijan asked Aeronautics Defense Systems to demonstrate drone on Armenian military positions. The defense ministry received a complaint alleging that after a team from Aeronautics Defense Systems came to Azerbaijan seeking to finalize a contract for the sale of company’s Orbiter 1K unmanned aircraft, they were asked to deploy the aircraft, armed with explosives, on a military position of the Armenian army.

The existence of the complaint was reported on August 13 by the Israeli daily paper Maariv.

The company, however, denies the allegation that its staff conducted such a mission, stating that the company “never carries out demonstrations on live targets, and that was true in this case as well”.

According to Maariv, the two Israeli operators of the craft refused to hit the Armenian position, and after remaining firm in their refusal even after the Azerbaijani threats directed against them, senior representatives of the company armed and operated the unmanned aircraft themselves. Ultimately the drones are said to have missed their targets, and no damage was caused, but according to the complaint, one of them struck at a distance of about 100 meters (330 feet) from the position.

In early February 2019, the Israeli defense ministry has allowed Aeronautics Ltd. to again sell the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to Azerbaijan.

Armenian troops to Syria was PM’s decision
/Feb 19/AMN Al-Masdar News/

BEIRUT, LEBANON – The decision to send Armenian troops to Syria was Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s alone, the according to Irates publication said this morning.

“It [sending a mission to Syria] was actually one person’s decision—in the person of [PM] Nikol Pashinyan,” Irates wrote, as quoted by News.AM.

“But the MOD is attempting to smoothly get out of it by way of minister [Davit] Tonoyan and deputy minister [Gabriel] Balayan,” they continued.

“Nonetheless, the latter’s arguments do not dispel the rationale that the decision was made exclusively with the ‘this minute’s regimen,’ with the insurmountable priority of being liked by Russia, keeping its own power at all costs, and that those chapters will ever be ‘opened’, just as the new ones are opening the previous chapters—up to the most major accountability,” they would add.

The Armenian military was deployed to Syria alongside a large humanitarian convoy that was destined for the historical city of Aleppo.

The military helped the Syrian and Russian forces to demine several areas around Aleppo city and its countryside, while their doctors and humanitarian aid workers helped the local civilians.