The ten countries that have the highest levels of militarization are Israel, Singapore, Armenia, Jordan, Russia, South Korea, Cyprus, Greece, Azerbaijan and Brunei in the Global Militarization Index.
Policy Forum Armenia, a Washington based Armenian think tank and advocacy group, has published an in-depth report, which might well be the best diagnosis of Armenia’s economic woes available out there.
Armenia ranks 68th in rating of armies of the world according to the Press.ge news portal. According to the same source Georgia ranks 94th, Azerbaijan 83-rd.
The Georgian news source has extracted the data using the Strategypage. I tried quite hard to find this information at the source, but was unable to. However, the information is interesting, although – not very reliable.
If this is too, it would be just incredible, that Armenia is so far ahead from both its Caucasian ex-Soviet neighbors, despite the fact, that last year its military budget – around $400 million, was half that of Georgia and 6 times less than that of it’s main rival – Azerbaijan, which announced $ 2 billion in defense spending for 2008.
Coming back to the Georgian news report cited above, it says the rating is based on data of land troops and air forces. The rating contains two basic indicators: COMBAT POWER LAND and Total Quality Index. The Combat Power Land includes such parameters as number of soldiers and weaponry, technical characteristics and so on.
The Total Quality Index includes the quality of commandment, effectiveness of weapon and the level of weapon adequacy, battle experience, the level of logistics and communications, as well as historic military-culture traditions.
Top 20 mighty armies are as follows – the USA (9300), Israel (1280), China (882), the UK (819), India (801), Russia (714), Germany (393), Japan (382), South Korea (359), France (351), Taiwan (184), Pakistan (168), Saudi Arabia (140), Egypt (138), Italy (134), North Korea (131), Iran (113), Switzerland (108) and Spain (108).
Below are links to a couple of other information sources on defense budgets and armies of the region: Moscow Defense briefing, The Armenian Economist, Wikipedia.
A while ago Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced, that the Azerbaijani military budget will reach two billion dollars in 2008. That’s not quite as much as the whole of Armenia’s budget for the next year, but is very close, and certainly, is two-three times more than what Armenia can spend on its military.
However, given widespread corruption and ‘dedovshchina’ (bullying) in the Azerbaijani military, it is yet to be seen if the huge military budget will ever translate into quality. There’s some evidence (I’m not sure if it’s genuine) in the YouTube video below, showing bullying in Azerbaijani military. And although the Armenian military also has seen a lot of bullying and cases of murders of conscripts, whatever this particular video illustrates is simply unimaginable!
Meanwhile, Kornelij Glas has posted an interesting story about export of defective and old Ukrainian tanks to Azerbaijan.