2nd phase of CIS command post exercise to begin in Moscow
Second phase of the Rubezh'2008 (Frontier'2008) command post exercise that engages the staffs of the countries making up the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) begins. This phase will be held on the premises of the organization's Joint Staff in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported quoting the press service of CSTO Secretariat said. "The participants will work out military and technological assistance to a member-state that may become the target of external aggression," CSTO Deputy Secretary General Valery Semerikov said. He said that the organization has settled all legal issues pertaining to assistance of this kind. "When the presidents of member-states held a summit in the Tajiskitani capital Dushanbe last October, they signed a protocol on defense and technology aid to member-states in case of an emerging danger of aggression against it or an accomplished fact of aggression," Semerikov said. The CSTO held the first phase of Rubezh'2008 in Armenia in July. It focused on a mechanism of drafting proposals to the Collective Security Council on military and technological assistance to a country that became a target of aggression.
The program of the command post exercise also features a third stage that will be held in the Marshal Bagramian Center of the Armenian Defense Ministry. Its program includes a defense operation in the format of a tactical exercise that will involve army units from Armenia, Russia and Tajikistan. Sources at the CSTO Joint Staff said that unlike the previous exercises in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan, Rubezh'2008 does not engaged regular units reporting to Interior ministries, the ministries for emergency situations and national security services. The explanation for this is that the previous exercises were antiterrorist ones and did not presuppose a repelling of external aggression. The second phase of Rubezh'2008 involves a contingent of about 4,000 servicemen, howitzer and missile artillery, the army, frontline and interception aviation, air defense, engineering and signal units. The CSTO embraces Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
In related news:
CSTO defense ministers to meet Aug. 21 in Armenia
Defense ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will hold a meeting in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, on August 21, a spokesman for the Armenian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday. CSTO is a post-Soviet security grouping, which comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. "After the meeting the ministers will attend the final stage of the Rubezh-2008 joint command-and-staff exercise held in Armenia," Col. Seiran Shakhsuvaryan said. About 4,000 troops from Armenia, Russia and Tajikistan will take part in the four-stage Rubezh-2008 military exercise on territory of Armenia and Russia this Summer/Fall. Other CSTO members will be represented by military staff from respective defense ministries. Russia, Belarus and ex-Soviet Central Asian republics have already developed common air defense and communications networks, and are continuing to work on other joint defense networks.
CSTO to create joint military force in Central Asia
Member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will set up a joint task force in Central Asia, CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha said Friday. "The joint task force in Central Asia is aimed to become a restraining military and political factor in the region, taking an uneasy situation in Afghanistan into account," he was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying after the talks attended by CSTO envoys in Moscow. The date of the force's formation will be determined during high-level consultations of the CSTO, Bordyuzha said. Deputy foreign, defense, finance ministers, as well as deputy security council secretaries from the CSTO member states met here Friday to discuss the coalition's military development for the period up to 2010, the creation of unified military forces in Central Asia, and plans for joint military cooperation in 2009. The CSTO, a post-Soviet security alliance, comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Russia needs secure land transit to Armenia
Russia doesn't need a span of former Georgian SSR, because it's strategically useless, says an article titled "Western Transcaucasia: goals and ways to achieve them". However, according to the author, Russia can't put up with transformation of its neighbors' territory into a multipurpose anti-Russian platform. "It includes bases of separatists, laboratory of velvet resolutions, GUAM and home for NATO forces. Georgia has even left behind the Baltic States known for their Russophobia," he says. "Russia needs a secure, cheap and quality rest for its citizens in local resorts and delivery of agricultural production in compliance with Russian standards. It needs a land transit to Armenia, its only ally in the Transcaucasia, surrounded by hostile Azerbaijan, neutral Iran, NATO Turkey and NATO-aspired Georgia. Some U.S. officials offer to resolve the Karabakh problem though exchange of territories between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the latter being isolated from Iran. An air-bridge a-la Berlin is impossible, since Russia's transport aviation is weak. We should never forget about the 102nd base located in Armenia, which was reproached for 'not sufficient pro-Russian position'. However, living in permanent threat of blockade, our ally is holding on! No one knows how patient it can be. Furthermore, in case of U.S. aggression against Iran the issue of Iranian Azerbaijan will emerge and Armenia will one day face a united 20-million Azerbaijan," says the article published by Military-Industrial Courier.
Working group on Iran-Armenia railroad construction to be formed in near future
A working group on coordination of Iran-Armenia railroad construction will be formed in near future, Armenian Minister of Transport and Communications Gurgen Sargsyan told a news conference on August 1. Presently, three projects are being considered. The first supposes departure from Yeraskh, the second from Vardenis and the third from Gagarin, extending for 443, 449 and 397 km respectively. Armenia favors the project which supposes the start of communication in Gagarin and then through Gavar, Martuni and Jermuk. 80 km of the line will extend through Iran, going as far as Merant station. Minister Sargsyan informed that trilateral talks between Armenia, Iran and Russia are underway. "International organization are also assessing the project which claims serious investments," he said, IA Regnum reports.