Will America Agree to Swap ABM Systems? - 2007

A brilliant move by Moscow. They have more-or-less stated: If you are truly serious about protecting yourself from Iranian missiles, then move your proposed anti-missile installations to the Russian radar base located in Azerbaijan instead of Europe. In a move quite appropriate of a chess grandmaster, Putin has managed to call Washington's bluff. Subsequent reactions from Washington will reveal just how sincere it has been regarding the reasons why it has been promoting the installation of a missile-shield in eastern Europe. And the comment from Radio-CIA-Liberty is quite revealing (see article below). All of a sudden they are concerned about Armenia and the "balance" of power in the region. Weren't they trying to set up American/NATO bases in Azerbaijan just recently? Weren't they doing everything in their power to upset the balance of power in the region? Why the hesitation all of a sudden? Moreover, if they are truly concerned about Iranian missiles targeting Europe or America (in itself an absurd concept) why don't they set up their anti-missile bases in Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar or Afghanistan, where they already have a massive military presence?

As I said, this is a brilliant move by Moscow. They are forcing Washington's hand. If Washington agrees to the proposal, Moscow will have the added advantage of keeping a very close eye on US military activity within the region. If Washington refuses the proposal, it will be obvious that the proposed anti-missile installations were intended to be primarily used against Russia. Consequently, Moscow will take appropriate countermeasures. Note: This proposal by Moscow has no impact on Armenian-Russian relations whatsoever. Russians already have a major radar station in Azerbaijan, they already have high volume of economic trade with Baku. The reason why US State Department is bringing up the Armenian factor is quite obvious.
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Arevordi

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Will America Agree to Swap ABM Systems?

2007

At this year's G8 summit in Heiligendamm, President Vladimir Putin made George W. Bush an offer he will have difficulty refusing. Why deploy missile interceptors and a radar in the Czech Republic and Poland to protect Europe against "rogue countries" when there is a much simpler, cheaper and more effective solution? The Daryal early-warning missile radar is located in Gabala, Azerbaijan, just 180 km to the north of Baku - that is, close to the Iranian border. Using it instead of placing new ABM elements in Europe would benefit everyone. Washington would remove Moscow's natural concern that the American ground-based interceptors on the Baltic Sea coast are meant for Russian strategic missiles in the Tver, Kaluga, Ivanovo and Vladimir regions. Warsaw, Prague and their European neighbors would no longer be afraid of the Russian Topol-M and Iskander-M missiles that, as Putin has warned, will be targeted at them. The United States would have the opportunity to observe Iranian airspace. The Gabala radar monitors land, water, air and space up to 6,000 kilometers away, the same as the distance from Turkey to Singapore. Azerbaijan also stands to gain from this proposal. By different estimates, Russia pays it $7-$10 million to lease the Gabala radar. The 900 Russian officers at the station create jobs for the local population. If they are joined by American officers, Azerbaijan will get even more money.

But the main point is that the Pentagon would gain an official foothold in the South Caucasian Republic without embarrassing Baku in front of its strategic partner, Moscow. Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov told the Novosti-Azerbaijan news agency that bilateral talks on this radar had been held with both Russia and the United States. He said that Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov had discussed this issue with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, during the latter's recent trip to Baku. Later on, Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vasily Istratov spoke about the possibility of using the Gabala radar as an element of an American ABM system. But his suggestion did not create much of a stir in the international media.

The question of whether the United States will agree to this tempting proposal remains open. Many military analysts believe that Washington is likely to reject Moscow's proposal using some plausible-sounding excuse because it needs strategic ABM system in Europe in order to be able to target Topol-M, Stilet and Satan missiles in European Russia and the southern Urals. This problem has another aspect. It doesn't even matter whether Russian strategic missiles are a threat to the United States. What matters is the huge amount of money that the American taxpayer, scared by years of propaganda, is ready to spend on national security. The military-industrial complex's lobbyists in Congress and the White House will not allow this money to be used for any other purpose.

Russia and the United States are not likely to cooperate in the ABM sphere. Since 1998, Moscow and Washington have been unsuccessfully trying to reach an agreement on establishing centers for the exchange of information on strategic missile launches on a reciprocal basis. The Russia-NATO Council has set up a joint group to establish a theater ABM system in Europe. It has conducted a dozen consultations and several staff exercises, practiced joint action, reconnaissance and warning. The sides have agreed on what hardware should be used to repel a tactical missile attack - NATO is going to buy the American PAC-3 Patriot. Brussels says that the Russian systems cannot be used for reasons of "operational incompatibility."

Meanwhile, Greece, a NATO member, has built its entire anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense using the Russian Top-M1 and S-300PMU1 systems. It is clear that Europe favors American defense companies over their Russian counterparts. Putin's latest proposal is likely to meet with the same response. After high-level discussions on using the Gabala radar for protection against Iranian missiles, experts will conclude that it is "incompatible" with the American ABM system. The ABM swap, therefore, is unlikely. Analysts expect Washington to deploy its elements as planned - near Prague and near Warsaw.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20070608/66928453.html

NATO Cautious on Russia Shield Offer

NATO reacted cautiously on Friday to a Russian offer for the United States to use a Russian-controlled radar in Azerbaijan for a missile defense shield, questioning whether its location was ideal. Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to President George W. Bush at a Group of Eight summit on Thursday that Washington use the Azeri radar instead of planned missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. Moscow suspects the shield is aimed at Russia. Washington says it is to stop missiles from "rogue" states. "I think it is a bit close to the rogue states we are discussing," NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a conference about the proposed Russian alternative. "But it's a bit too early in the day for my final judgment. It is always useful when two presidents are constructively talking to each other on this," said de Hoop Scheffer, who has promoted NATO as a forum for talks over the shield plan. In Baku, Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov told reporters Russia had approached his government with a proposal to use the Qabala radar jointly with the United States, for example in sharing information obtained by it. "Azerbaijan is ready for such consultations," he said. Azerbaijan had held what he called "rudimentary consultations" with the United States about the radar. The Qabala radar has operated in the north of Azerbaijan since 1985 and is manned by Russian military who lease it from the Azeris. One of the biggest radars in the world, it scans the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and most of North Africa -- and can detect missiles launched in those areas.

Bold proposal

Bush did not directly mention Putin's offer in comments to reporters on Thursday. U.S. officials have in the past stressed they regarded the proposed central European sites as ideally placed to intercept missiles coming from the Middle East. White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley said Putin's idea was "a bold proposal." U.S. officials would study the offer and discuss it with the Russians. Putin said that if Washington took up the offer he would not follow through with a threat to re-direct Russian missiles to targets in Europe. The Kremlin said Putin's idea would remove any need for a U.S. radar anywhere in eastern Europe. Poland said it had received no signals from the United States of any change of policy on the shield. "From the Polish point of view, the negotiations are ongoing," Foreign Ministry spokesman Robert Szaniawski said. "We have not received any signals from the U.S. side that they were planning to abandon plans of cooperation (on the shield)."

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/eu...eut/index.html

Caucasus: Russian Radar Proposal Could Upset Region

In geopolitics, particularly in a place as strategically important as the South Caucasus, even the smallest shift can unleash major consequences. What would the impact be on that volatile region -- a crossroads for the competing interests of Russia, the United States, and Iran -- if Washington accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to jointly use a Russian-leased radar base in Azerbaijan as part of an antimissile shield?

In a word: profound.

After all, Azerbaijan and Armenia, which fought a war in the early 1990s, are still locked in a bitter dispute. And Iran, meanwhile, is unlikely to view favorably more U.S. military moves on its border. Iranian state radio said today that Putin's proposal could have "serious regional implications in the domain of security." Radio Farda acting Director Mosaddegh Katouzian notes that Tehran and Baku's good relations could be affected, and that the issue is likely to be discussed in two weeks during Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's scheduled visit to Baku. "Definitely Iran would be concerned about having those types of bases in Azerbaijan because of its own security," Katouzian says. "So probably in the next talks between President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Baku officials, this is going to come up as a big concern."

Frozen Conflict

Then there's Armenia and Azerbaijan, who fought a war in 1991-94 in which 25,000 died. They have since been locked in a bitter dispute over the object of that conflict: Azerbaijan's predominantly ethnic-Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Ironically, Putin's offer comes as Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Robert Kocharian, himself a former Karabakh leader, are to meet in St. Petersburg on June 9 to discuss the standoff over the enclave. International mediators have hoped that the two presidents can agree on small steps to improve life for people in Nagorno-Karabakh. But they also fear if dialogue fails, violence could resume, destabilizing an area that is emerging as a key energy producer and transport route between the Caspian Sea region and Europe. Putin's missile-defense proposal, however, appears to risk tipping the balancing act on Nagorno-Karabakh toward Azerbaijan.

Upsetting Regional Balance

Rasim Musabekov, a political analyst based in Baku, suggests Azerbaijan could parlay any pivotal role in Washington's missile-defense shield into obtaining concessions from Armenian in the standoff over Nagorno-Karabakh. "The discussion of this issue alone is raising Azerbaijan's strategic importance. This is a win for Azerbaijan. If we are taken as partners of the United States of America and Russia, this would give us certain security guarantees and would lead to obligations [on the part of Russia and the United States] to settle problems that Azerbaijan is concerned about," Musabekov says. Click image to enlarge"In the first place, this means restoring Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, which was violated by Armenian aggression against 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory," he adds. So far, Azerbaijani authorities have refrained from offering a full reaction to Russia's proposal. However, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that Baku is ready to negotiate "bilaterally, or we can do it in the trilateral format" with the United States and Russia, which currently leases the radar base from Azerbaijan. Armenia, meanwhile, would appear to be concerned about that prospect. Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Karapetian tells RFE/RL that both Russia and the United States should "take into account the balance of the power in the region before making such a decision."

Armenia Nervous

But for weeks now, even before Putin made his surprise proposal at the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Germany, that balance has already appeared to be tilting away from Armenia. Yerevan is traditionally a close ally of Russia. But Harry Tamrazian, head of RFE/RL's Armenian Service, says that in recent weeks there's been a flood of Russian officials visiting Baku, including a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "Now, it appears that [the] Russians are talking to [the] Azeris. Russian high-level officials are frequently in Baku. You can see them almost every week in Baku, talking to Azeri leaders," he says. "And this makes Armenian leaders nervous. Obviously, there is a clear rapprochement between Moscow and Baku." Together with France, the United States and Russia are co-chairs of the Minsk Group, the body set up by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to seek solutions to the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis. Yerevan's chief concern now, says Tamrazian, is that if Russia and U.S. interests converge in Baku, Armenia could pay the price.

Source: http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle...CEA435F04.html

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Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult for me because I had no assistance from anywhere. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside urged me to keep going; and I did. When Armenia joined the EEU and integrated into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago I finally felt a deep sense of relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my back. And when Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan reemerged in Armenian politics, I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back as I really needed the rest.

Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the internal urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal.

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