Russian missiles in Armenia threaten western energy interests
The Caucasus Mountains that run between the Black and Caspian Seas could soon turn into a nuclear flash point because of dangerous saber-rattling by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.
Armenia has illegally claimed territory in western Azerbaijan, an assertion backed by military offensives against Azerbaijan, including a massacre of 600 citizens in 1992. Sadly now, Armenia may be taking the region to the brink of nuclear war.
Armenia received the Iskander missile system from Russia last autumn, a major provocation meant to send a message to Azerbaijan and NATO ally Turkey. This is consistent with Moscow’s policy of using missile deployments in Eurasia and the Middle East to threaten western interests.
The Iskander short-range ballistic missile system is designed to destroy small targets at up to 300 miles. This means that Iskander missiles deployed in eastern Armenia could reach targets all over Azerbaijan, including the capital of Baku.
Alarmingly, Iskander missiles are capable of being fitted with nuclear warheads.
As if the presence of the missiles were not a clear enough menace, Mr. Sargsyan visited the improperly held territories and bragged that his government possessed a “state-of-the-art, powerful striking force.” He went on to identify potential targets in Azerbaijan — “the most important infrastructure” — and followed up with a chilling pronouncement about his intentions as head of the Armenian military. “If needed, the commander in chief of the Armenian forces will without batting an eyelid order volley fire by Iskander,” he said.