Switching to Deterrence: Armenian armed forces to adopt new approach to restrain Azerbaijan

Armenian experts believe that the statement made by a senior Defense Ministry official about a new deterrence doctrine against the backdrop of the recent tensions at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and in the Karabakh conflict zone as well as the revelation by Russia of a list of weapons that Armenia can buy from it shows that Armenia relies on its own military potential in ensuring its security.

At last week’s Military Doctrinal Approaches workshop of the OSCE in Vienna, Austria, Armenia’s Deputy Defense Minister David Tonoyan said that in order to achieve its security goals and create favorable conditions for the negotiation process conducted under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Armenia plans to use a number of measures, gradually replacing the “Static Defense” concept, which can be viewed by the adversary as insufficient strength, with the “Deterrence” one.

Tonoyan said that the deterrence system will be realized both in responsive and proactive manner.

Political analyst Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan thinks that the Armenian side, continuing to work with the OSCE Minsk Group, is trying to establish the fact that it is Azerbaijan that hinders the negotiation process.

According to the politician, the types of weapons to be obtained from Russia show that Armenia is going to primarily restrain the activity of Azerbaijan through military force.

In 2015, Armenia’s authorities got a loan of $200 million from the Russian government for the purpose of buying Russian weapons. Last week, Russia’s Interfax news agency presented a report detailing the list of weapons subject to sale to Armenia.

Deputy Director of the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute Sergey Minasyan regular technical upgrade of the Armenian army gives the Armenian side the opportunity to talk about its strategy more clearly.

According to the expert, although in recent years the strategy of containment has actually been implemented by the Armenian side in the form of the ceasefire regime, it has required some time for the Armenian military and political leadership to make it public as a conceptual approach.

“The deterrent military-technical component has been fairly strengthened in recent years. Concepts are certainly important, but some form of deterrence are impossible to implement effectively if there are no appropriate technical means, which can be used for the purpose of general deterrence, in other words, to stop the enemy from making provocations to start military or other undesirable actions, a response in the event of some danger,” Minasyan told ArmeniaNow.

According to military authorities in Yerevan and Stepanakert, in recent days Azerbaijan has again been escalating the situation in the conflict zone. In particular, the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Ministry says that Azeri forces fired 1,200 shots at Armenian positions using firearms of different calibers over last weekend.

“The advanced units of the Defense Army mostly refrained from retaliatory action and continued to confidently carry out military duty,” the Ministry’s press department said.

Analyst Melik-Shahnazaryan notes that the current Armenian-Azerbaijani tensions do not particularly preoccupy the leaders of other countries at the moment, as everyone’s attention is now focused on developments in the Middle East and the crisis in Ukraine.