Baku, Azerbaijan, March 24
By Leman Zeynalova - Trend:
Azerbaijan's military superiority over Armenia is more and more obvious, RBC reported citing the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, which is a leading Russian research organization.
The report notes that in the 2000s, after a sharp increase in the oil price, the influx of petrodollars allowed Azerbaijan to increase military spending and the army strength. In 2001, according to the authors of the report, the military budget of the country was $300 million, but in 2013, it reached $3.7 billion and equaled the entire budget of Armenia.
The manpower of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in 2016 reached 126,000 people, according to Military Balance. However, according to the report, the manpower of the Armenian army is about 45,000 people from 2002 to the present.
"The influx of oil money allowed to start a large-scale rearmament of the Azerbaijani Army. Modern main tanks, combat armored vehicles, air defense systems, aircraft, helicopters, anti-tank guided missiles, artillery systems, detection equipment (night vision devices, laser reconnaissance devices, thermal imagers) and unmanned aerial vehicles were purchased in large quantities. Baku's new capabilities were demonstrated during the April battles," the report reads.
The April 2016 clashes showed that the Azerbaijani troops, equipped with modern technology, have an advantage in combat operations.
The experts emphasize that another factor is the demographic crisis in Armenia.
"In 1993-1995, the population decrease [in Armenia] was 3 percent a year. Given the initially smaller population of Armenia, this led to an increase in the demographic imbalance."
"Young people, who are more likely to serve in the military service, prevail in the age structure of Azerbaijan's population, while the population of Armenia is growing older. In 2016, the number of people of conscription age in Azerbaijan amounted to 800,000 people compared to 225,000 in Armenia," according to the report.
"If the demographic trend does not change, then, according to experts, Armenia's population can fall to three million people in 2030 and 2.7 million in 2050. The population of Azerbaijan, according to the calculations of the UN, will increase to 10.7 million by 2030 and to 11 million people by 2050," analysts say.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.