Turkish and Israeli Weapons Fueling Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh

Weapons-makers — aka merchants of death and mass destruction — fuel conflicts when occur.

The US by far dominates the global arms trade. 

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the US accounted for 36% of major conventional weapons sales from 2015 – 2019.

Throughout most of the post-WW II period, the US dominated the global arms market.

Arms and security expert William Hartung explained that for 25 of the past 26 years, “the United States has been the leading arms dealer on the planet, at some moments in near monopolistic fashion.”

Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries are major buyers of US arms.

In areas where large amounts of heavy weapons are sold, wars often follow.

For nearly three weeks, Azerbaijan’s war on Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK below) has been raging.

All-out efforts by Russia to broker a ceasefire haven’t taken hold.

Israel and Turkey are major suppliers of heavy weapons to Baku. The Jewish state reportedly provided 61% of its weapons last year — based on SIPRI data.

They include Israel’s IAI Harop, a loitering munition called a “suicide drone” — self-destructing when striking a target.

The Jewish state is also supplying missiles and banned cluster munitions.

Since conflict began in late September, Israel shipped significant amounts of arms to Azerbaijan.

According to the Asia Times, citing an anonymous Israeli war ministry “senior” official, “Azerbaijan would not be able to continue its operation at this intensity without our support.”

The anonymous Israeli source said they’ve been regular airlifts of heavy weapons to the country.

Azeri officials acknowledged buying them. In response to Israel’s involvement as an arms supply, Armenia recalled its envoy to the country.

While Israel has diplomatic relations with both countries, it’s more strategically tied to Azerbaijan.

According to the Asia Times, citing unexplained leaks, Azerbaijan “permitted Israel to use its airfields to strike nuclear targets in the Islamic Republic.”

In August, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said a July explosion causing damage to its Natanz nuclear site was “sabotage.”

Other Iranian officials believe cyber-sabotage was behind the blast, Israel and/or the US perhaps responsible for what happened.

The Asia Times also said that “Israeli intelligence has reportedly utilized Azerbaijani infrastructure to create listening posts and gather critical Iranian security information,” adding:

“These actions place Baku at great risk of Iranian retaliation. On Tuesday, Iran said its forces had shot down an Israeli-made drone that veered from the fighting in Karabakh on its territory.”

Turkey also is a major arms supplier to Baku.

Based on Turkish Exporters’ Assembly data, Reuters reported the following:

“Turkey’s military exports to its ally Azerbaijan have risen six-fold this year, with sales of drones and other military equipment rising to $77 million last month alone before fighting broke out over the (NK) region.”

From January through September this year, Turkey reportedly sold Azerbaijan around $123 million worth of heavy weapons — especially in August and September ahead of all-out Azeri war on Armenia in NK.

Russia supplies arms to both countries.

Sputnik News head Dmitry Kiselev spoke with Armenian and Azeri leaders.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called things in NK “very tense…a lot of losses on both sides.”

Weapons used by warring sides include “tanks, drones, aircraft and helicopters, armored vehicles, artillery, rocket artillery and so on.”

“And a lot of soldiers and troops are involved in these military activities.”

“I mean that very large-scale and fierce battles are going on.”

Pashinyan added that “there is concrete evidence that terrorist fighters from Syria are fighting” in NK.

“Turkey is the main sponsor of this war. Turkey has hired and deployed these terrorist fighters…”

As for compromises with Baku to end fighting, Pashinyan said (t)here is such a line…”

“It’s the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. And at all times, Armenia was ready for such a compromise.”

“Azerbaijan refused to sign” an agreement on this issue, he claimed.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev told Sputnik’s Kiselev that “Pashinyan is” supported by George Soros.

Aliyev’s position is that “under no circumstances can the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan be compromised, under no circumstances can Azerbaijan agree to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The enclave in Azeri territory has a majority Armenian population.

“Baku sees Karabakh…as a war of liberation, while Yerevan views it as conquest,” said Kiselev.

Differences between both sides are longstanding and deep-seated — why attempts to resolve fighting failed to succeed so far.

Aliyev believes that “the Armenian community and the Azerbaijani one can peacefully live and coexist in Nagorno-Karabakh in the future.”

They’re caught in the middle of fierce fighting. Unknown numbers of civilians were killed or wounded.

Aliyev claimed his forces destroyed over $1 billion worth of Armenian military equipment.

While each side blames the other for ongoing fighting, Baku launched it. Yerevan responded defensively.

On Thursday, Pashinyan urged the US and France to join with Russian efforts for ceasefire and conflict resolution diplomacy.

He called the humanitarian situation in NK “more than serious.”

He said what’s going on in the enclave is the result of “Turkey’s expansionist and imperialistic policies.”

He called Armenia “the last barrier to Turkey’s expansion to the east and southeast.”

Resolving weeks of fighting proved to be no simple matter.

Interviewed by RT, foreign doctors in NK to treat the wounded expressed “shock” over the severity of what they’ve seen — “horrible injuries,” according to one doctor saying:

“Some will die. Some will be disabled. It’s very hard from a psychological point of view. It’s a real shock for us…”

“(X)-rays show splintered bones and torn muscles…(H)igh energy explosives leave incomparable damage.”

In all wars, civilians suffer most. In NK, they’re hunkered down in basements, wanting an end to fighting.

The longer it continues, the greater the danger to their lives and welfare.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.


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Articles by: Stephen Lendman

About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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