An Armenian political analyst is questioning reports that Azerbaijan, an ally of Israel, is about to receive a delivery of Iron Dome batteries, having already negotiated a deal with the Jewish State for purchase of the anti-missile defense system.
Armenian political scientist and deputy director of the ‘Caucasus’ Institute, Sergey Minasyan, told the Armenian News Agency (Armenpress) on Tuesday (Oct. 4) that he held political and military doubts about the likelihood such a contract has been, or will be signed.
The comment came after an Azeri lawmaker announced in local media earlier in the day that Iron Dome batteries in Israel are ready for delivery to that Azerbaijan. The announcement came after the Russian-made Iskander short-range ballistic missiles made their debut in the Armenian Independence Day parade on September 21. The two populations have been warring for years over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The system has not yet been purchased, he maintained. Minasyan claimed that Azerbaijani media reports about the negotiations were exaggerated, due to a “psychological shock” resulting from the exhibition by Armenia of Iskander” mobile short-range ballistic missile system it recently purchased from Russia.
“It’s hard to imagine that Israel, possessing one of the world’s leading systems of that type, will provide it to a country that has started to strengthen its relations with Russia and Iran,” Minasyan told Armenpress.
Moreover, he said, “Azerbaijan will have to empty its pockets if it really wants to purchase it.” Minasyan went on to claim that Armenia’s recent purchase of the Iskander equals Azerbaijan’s acquisition of the Iron Dome in its cost-effectiveness ration.
However, “the costs Azerbaijan will have to invest in counter-balancing ‘Iskander’ will far exceed the costs of Armenia’s acquisition of ‘Iskander’ (from Russia),” he explained.
Minasyan claimed there is “no evidence” that the Iron Dome system is effective against the ‘Iskander’ missile ballistic missile, or against others, such as the ‘Tochka’ or against Scuds. “Iskander missiles have quasi-ballistic trajectory and other features against which, as American and Israeli experts note, there are no effective counter-measures,” he said. However, he was not specific about which “experts” made the statements.
Azerbaijan is the biggest supplier of oil to Israel, and one of its strongest allies in the region.
Hana Levi Julian