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The threat to Russia from the South and a demonstration of some possibilities of their reflection
Material posted: Publication date: 31-10-2014

In Armenia the largest for all history of existence of the 102nd Russian military base of the southern military district (YUVO) training and tactical exercises. Active phase of the exercises took place in the period from 13 to 19 October at the highland training complexes of Alagyaz and Gamhud.

In the exercises, which became the final "exam" for summer training, have taken part about 3 thousand military personnel. Also involved more than 500 units of military and special equipment with the involvement of MiG-29 fighters of Russian aircraft connection stationed at a military airfield Erebuni Yerevan under. The exercises he took part drones "Gunner-2", "Zastava", "Leer" and "Pomegranate".

The main purpose of the exercise is to test the combat readiness of the connections for bringing in the highest degree of combat readiness, improvement of the field training soldiers, developing practical skills of commanders of all degrees and headquarters in the planning and organization of management units of the military base during the preparation and conduct of various types of fighting and doing battle in high altitude conditions (from 2 to 2.5 thousand meters above sea level) happy and broke through the state border of the imaginary enemy.

According to official Russian military sources (in particular, the press service of YUVO) during the military exercises had taken place at around 1000 km marches with different types of armored and automotive vehicles. When making marches commanders of motorized rifle, tank, artillery and anti-aircraft units used modern navigation system GLONASS and satellite communication means.

During a training exercise was shot more than 30 thousand artillery shells, 300 thousand shots from automatic guns and heavy machine guns and about 900 rounds of ammunition from small arms.

A field collection made also the air defense units of the 102nd base, which fulfilled tasks on the conduct of the defensive battle in the mountainous terrain in terms of enemy precision weapons and jamming devices. Were conducted of fire (ZSU "Shilka", SAM system "Strela-10 and MANPADS "Igla") by land, air and moving targets in conditions as close to the fighting (with appointed positions, with a short stop, when driving in convoy).

The training was directed by the Deputy commander of the southern military district of the Russian Federation the General-Lieutenant Alexander Romanchuk, who praised the actions of the exercise participants. However, the final assessment of all indicators of combat training of divisions of the Russian military base to be put out of Commission first monitoring held in Armenia teachings.

Overall, one is struck not only the scale of the exercises, but increased compared to the previous academic periods, the level of their intensity (in 4.5 times for the year).

It should be noted that in the period of the exercise, the commander of the engineering troops of the Russian armed forces Lieutenant-General Yuri Stavitskiy was carried out inspection of the engineering divisions of the Russian troops under the command of the 102nd base engineering units. On the eve of the main phase of the exercises conducted tactical doctrines of divisions of troops of radiation, chemical and biological (NBC) protection on liquidation of consequences of emergency situations.

Note that exercises in Armenia were only part of the exercises, visits and supervision sessions held in the army's armed forces, which began on 6 October. The main part of the final exercises took place on the territory of the North Caucasus and southern Federal districts of Russia, as well as partially recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

On October 21, as part of the beginning exercises of forces and means of the United system of air defense of CIS countries in Armenia were involved in about 25 aircraft and helicopters, as well as more than 100 units of military and special equipment of anti-aircraft units.

In the beginning of the month in Yerevan on a working visit, Secretary General of the Organization of the Contract on collective security Nikolay Bordyuzha. During the visit he accompanied Minister of defense Seyran Ohanyan visited military strongholds located on the South-Western part of Armenian-Azerbaijani (Nakhichevan area) of the state border. In his briefing Bordyuzha noted that the overall situation is satisfactory, and the purpose of the visit is to draw up a corresponding report on the operational situation on the border. Welcoming this move of Secretary General of CSTO, Armenian defense Minister noted that such visits confirm that the CSTO leadership is interested in the situation in the countries-members of the organization, and that as a result of such visits formed common views for defining outbound from the situation of possible steps and determine their order.

Since the beginning of October from Makhachkala went to sea to perform the tasks of combat service detachment of ships of the Caspian flotilla composed of the missile ship "Dagestan" and small missile ship "Hail svijazhsk". Within three weeks, the squad visited the ports of Kazakhstan (Aktau), Iran (Bandar Anzali) and Azerbaijan (Baku). During the campaign there were conducted joint exercises with artillery firing exercises with naval forces of Kazakhstan.

From 14 to 20 October, the Commission for the management of the PUBLICATION was also performed final check of the Caspian flotilla. In the process of checking and command-staff exercise there were a number of tactical exercises of the scale, each of which was attended by about 1,5 thousand military personnel were involved in up to 20 ships and boats and more than 50 units of armored and automotive vehicles.

Simultaneously, since mid-September, military activity of NATO in the South Caucasus theater of military operations (TVD) was shown twice:

  • with September 13 within the framework of the plan of combat training of the armed forces of Azerbaijan on 19 September and was continued with the participation of the Turkish air force. The exercises involved 30 thousand servicemen, over 250 armored personnel carriers, 150 artillery pieces, 20 combat aircraft and 15 helicopters. The programme of exercises "Turas Hartely" participated 6 aircraft F-16 military transport aircraft C-130 Herkules, in 2 combat helicopter AH-1W Super Cobra and the air force Sikorski Turkey. During the exercise simulated coordination of joint military operations, defeat the purposes of aircraft and helicopters,
  • 14 October to 18 October in the Georgian port of Batumi visited the flagship staff ship of the 6th fleet U.S. Mount Whitney. While in Batumi, the Mount Whitney together with employees of Georgian Coast guard conducted a joint exercise routine. In the teachings, along with representatives of the coast guard priniali by the staff of the Batumi fire-fighting and rescue services.

Thus, it can be stated that the exercise conducted by soldiers of the 102nd base of the Russian armed forces in Armenia, become only one element of overall military activity in the South Caucasus theater of operations. Was held a kind of demonstration of not only the presence, but also power in the region, in close contact with their partners (Georgia and Azerbaijan) demonstrate a certain level of activity of NATO countries.

Overall, the southern Caucasus region is in the American geopolitical vision of the kind of rear of the greater Middle East, which is now, at least, restless. South Caucasus theatre is close enough to some other theatre, where many are now joining the fighting using heavy weaponry and aviation. The author also discusses the idea of obrisati on the Turkish-Syrian border "buffer" no-fly zone, which could be the camp of militants of the Syrian armed opposition (which, of course, "the magnet" will be growing "Islamic State"). Therefore, the teachings of the PUBLICATION and, above all, of the 102nd base in Armenia and the Caspian flotilla are not only a demonstration of strength and capabilities of Moscow in the South Caucasus theatre in contrast to the activity of NATO and counter-terrorism component, but also remind the combatants in the Great Middle East about Russian capabilities.

First of all, about the fighting ongoing in Iraq and Syria against the units of the "Islamic State". In the Armenian anxiously follow the progress of these events, because in both countries, despite the outflow of the last three years, saved the Armenian community remaining loyal to the ruling secular regimes in Damascus and Baghdad. Moreover, the Armenian leadership is making efforts for political and limited humanitarian support to the friendly Armenian ethno-religious minorities: Yazidis, who practice yazidism, as well as Assyrians and other Christians of the East who were in the combat zone and with cruelty persecuted by the militants of the "Islamic state".

Quite acute is the situation in Lebanon, where in the areas adjacent to the Syrian border, do not stop the clash of fighters from the Syrian Islamic radicals with the Lebanese army and Hizbullah. In Lebanon there is also a significant Armenian community. In addition, on October 1, the Armenian Parliament approved a technical agreement "On cooperation and assistance between the Ministry of defence of the Republic of Armenia and the Ministry of defence of the Republic of Italy in the framework of the UN Interim force in Lebanon" (it was signed by the Ministers of defense of Armenia and Italy on 3 June 2014 in Brussels). Under the agreement, from Armenia to Lebanon will be sent one platoon of 30 soldiers and two officers. Armenian peacekeepers will carry out the mission of the Italian contingent of the UN and to serve in the area of human settlements of Salma, Italsat and al-Mansouri (southern Lebanon), i.e. away from areas of clashes.

At first glance, it seems that everything that happens on a Large Middle East far enough from both Armenia itself and from the southern borders of Russia and its allies. But this is not true, to verify this, just look at the map. So:

  • from Yerevan to the Turkish-Syrian border, where the situation is strained to the limit by direct order of 500 km From some sections of the Armenian-Turkish border to the Turkish-Syrian border in a straight line is less than 400 km;
  • from Yerevan to the Turkish-Iraqi border, in a straight line, just over 320 km, and from the Armenian-Iranian border (Meghri) to the Turkish-Iraqi in a straight line and is less than 250 km.

For comparison: from Yerevan to Tbilisi on the highway not more than 280 km.

Thus, the proximity of the theater of military operations in Iraq and Syria to the South Caucasus TVD – evident. Be aware that in the military fighting aircraft is used and there is the possibility of using tactical medium-range missiles of a class "earth-earth", which may migrate from army arsenals in the hands of Islamic radicals, as we know, no boundaries. Among military personnel "Islamic State", as you know, many of the highest officers of the army of Saddam Hussein, many of which were trained in the military academies of the USSR / Russia.

Ankara's policy in the above-mentioned processes, to the extent possible, carefully monitored in Yerevan.

Ankara, which closely cooperates only with the Iraqi Kurds, there are serious problems with Baghdad and has not disappeared problem with Iran, which supports Bashar al-Assad and the Shiites in Iraq.

It is obvious that Turkey is extremely concerned about the activity in the region Kurdish military forces. Ankara has certain discrepancies in the issue of ranking priorities with Washington in this confusing situation. The greatest desire of the Turkish authorities is to overthrow the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In addition, Ankara is categorically opposed to arms supplies by the Americans to the Syrian Kurds.

In this situation, Turkey, which is viewed in Yerevan as one of the potential opponents, apparently, is preparing a new political project, associated with both the Kurds and the "Islamic State" (which, however, may at any time to wrap up the arms against the recent patrons). Detail of one of the projects of reconstruction of the region has recently been dubbed in the Turkish press, the mayor of Diyarbakir (the de facto center of Turkish Kurdistan) Osman Baydemir. According to his thesis, the Turkish Kurds are entitled to autonomy similar to Iraqi and Syrian. This process should be accompanied by the elimination of the Turkish border crossings with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Jordan. Recall that in December 2013 there was an information on mine action with the Turkish side sections of the border with Armenia.

Thus, in principle, not excluded scenarios are "pushing" part of the Turkish Kurds (not only) on the periphery or in neighboring countries, including Armenia and Azerbaijan (the Nakhichevan exclave). Thus, clashes near the Armenian-Turkish border Turkish units, or between Islamists and Kurds, seem likely. In addition, you should take into account the fact that among field commanders of combat units of the "Islamic State" are both natives of Georgia and Azerbaijan. They are also familiar with the South Caucasus theatre, with all the ensuing consequences.

In the current difficult geopolitical game in the greater Middle East, Moscow in the South Caucasus theatre, which is close to the combat zone, there is plenty of trumps. Among them: military-political Union with Armenia and the 102nd base in its territory, as well as the Caspian flotilla. These advantages can be used to protect the security of allies and partners, and the southern borders of Russia on its far frontiers.

David Petrosyan


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