Opposition leader predicts “humanitarian crisis” in Armenia

levon_rally_march_1Citing major challenges faced by Armenia due to looming economic crisis and strained regional ties, opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian on Sunday addressed a rally to mark first anniversary of the 2008 post-election clashes in Yerevan, saying he’ll have to “disappoint” radically minded supporters and rejected call for “decisive action” for the time being. Continue reading

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There’s something in the air…

As one year anniversary of March 1, 2008 deadly clashes between the opposition protesters and military police forces looms closer, there’s growing tension in the society. Police and opposition mutually warned each other today not to stir further tension.

Snapshot from RFE/RL website on February 27, 2009

Snapshot from RFE/RL website on February 27, 2009

Major-General Alik Sargsian, chief of the national police, made clear that the police will not try to disperse thousands of people who are expected to rally on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of the 2008 post-election clashes in Yerevan. “The police are very calm,” he said. “Nothing [bad] is expected on March 1. Our people understand everything.” Continue reading

Did Turkish defense company sell equipment to Armenia?

The Armenian police have denied a Turkish newspaper report that they are seeking to buy Turkish-made water cannons and other crowd control equipment.

“Hurriyet” carried a report on Wednesday that the Turkish company ‘Nurol Machinery and Industry” is negotiating with Armenian authorities over the possibility to sell vehicle-mounted water cannons to Armenia.

“Armenia contacted us. Talks have been going on for some time now,” according to Hurriet, the Nurol Machinery’s deputy general manager of marketing, Tanju Torun, said during a demonstration for the firm’s new six-wheeled armored personnel carrier, named “Ejder” (Dragon).

Same day Armenian Police refuted reports, using a strange wording however.  ArmInfo quoted the Head of the Armenian Police Press Service, Lt. Colonel Sayat Shirinyan’s words, calling a “crazy idea” the reports by Azerbaijani APA that Turkish Company ‘Nurol Makina ve Sanayi’ is negotiating with Armenia for purchase and sale of armor used when interfering in public events.

‘It is one of their usual crazy ideas. I assure you that Armenian Police does not need any new water jet cannons’, Head of the Armenian Police Press Service told ArmInfo. He said the given ‘report’ was disseminated in the context of the provocation policy of Armenia’s neighbor in the region.

Looking at the reports I have a strange feeling of being deceived. And I find it strange, that the Armenian police refutes the information by APA, but doesn’t address the Turkish police. Talks about provocation policy of Armenia’s neighbor (which one?), apparently addressing Azerbaijani media, but not the Turkish one. The name of the company also desn’t seem to match, although it might be a problem with translation. At any rate, this is a fishy story. A fishy one indeed.

Armenian army ranks 68 in Global Military Rating

Military Parade Dedicated to 15th Anniversary Armenia's Independence

Military Parade Dedicated to 15th Anniversary Armenia's Independence

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.

Pamphlet: “Why judges are afraid, but aren’t stupid…”

In the magic land of Armenia, the legal order was proving its efficiency. Trials of law-breakers were proceeding so fast no one could keep track of them.

Not even judges. They could hardly keep order in their courtrooms but they were intent on keeping order in the country.
This time the magic had become more magical than ever. Not a single law enforcement officer had broken the law. On the contrary, order had been disrupted by citizens who did not agree with the authorities; and that was breaking the law. Continue reading