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Nagorno-Karabagh: Military Balance Between Armenia & Azerbaijan

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  • Satellite Analysis of the Gilyazi Munition Depot Explosions

    September 2, 2017

    By Masis IngilizianThis post was originally by Bellingcat for Planet Stories. Examining imagery of the recent incident in Azerbaijan

    By Masis Ingilizian and Karen Vrtanesyan

    On Sunday, August 27, 2017, multiple explosions rocked the Azerbaijani munitions depot, called Gilyazi.



    Azerbaijani officials downplayed the incident, saying that the ammunition collected in the depot had been meant to be disposed, and some media outlets — including the New York Times — called the location an “ammunition dump.” With satellite imagery provided by Planet Labs, Bellingcat has been able to take a closer look at the incident and its fallout.

    Open source imagery and Soviet-era sources provide details regarding the bunker-type storage at the Gilyazi munitions installation, which is well-known in military circles for its massive military stockpiles. Of the three South Caucasian nations, Azerbaijan inherited the largest stocks of arsenal and munitions from the Soviet Union. Lacking estimates from the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense (MoD) of damaged stock and overall impact, imagery helps us identify the extent of the damage.

    August 23 / August 27, 2017 (©2017 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0)


    August 23 / August 28, 2017 (©2017 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0)


    According to the Azerbaijani MoD, the fire was localized within a day and, despite the declaration that live munitions did not pose a threat to the local population, six villages were evacuated. Images of Grad missiles scattered near residential areas have surfaced online, with YouTube footage by Meydan TV describing the impact of the incident. Reports from social media sources suggest that villages were emptied but locals without cars were left behind.



    After the collapse of the Soviet Union, 11,000 carloads of munitions were transported to Azerbaijan from the Transcaucasian military district, of which 7,200 (65%) were located in the Gilyazi munitions depot (see: Baranets Viktor Nikolaevich’s “General Staff without Secrets”, Chapter 2, 1999). Despite extensive damage observed on imagery, many of the bunkers survived the massive explosions due to their hardened construction. However, the total damage went beyond what can be seen in the imagery.

    For comparison, we used a pre-fire photo from Bing maps and two photographs by Səxavət Məmməd taken within the area of the munitions depot. Note: the gate posts are identified on the satellite photo by the shadows they cast. The two red circles in the photo represent the two small red circles in the imagery with the blueish large circles in the second photo at the gate of the entrance representing the small greenish circles in the top right hand side of the imagery.

    Source: Bing / Digital Globe


    Source


    Source Measurements from imagery indicate that craters are between 25 and 35 meters wide. Superficial damage on the surface suggests that the underground storage units are likely undamaged. What is interesting, however, is that a closer look at historical imagery reveals many above-ground storage facilities, which now have been mostly destroyed. Also, cross-matching the craters identified on imagery and the location of storage units corroborates the damage of above-ground storage. Furthermore, pictures that have emerged online show fields of exploded artillery shells, confirming the existence of above-ground munition storage units and the extensive fallout.

    We can see the impact of the explosion by viewing the munitions installation before (August 23), during (August 27), and after (August 28) the explosion in the composite below, with all images provided by Planet Labs.

    ©2017 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0 Yellow circles on the August 27th photograph mark the visible seats of fire. There are other smaller “hot spots”, but it is hard to tell whether these are fires too. Most of the area is covered with heavy smoke. A closer look at the August 27th imagery shows how the fires were still burning at the time when the image was captured.

    August 27, 2017. ©2017 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0 Below, we see imagery accessible on Google Earth from May 26, 2016, with craters (red circles) identified from the August 28, 2017 Planet imagery and seats of fire (full yellow circles with red outlines) identified from the August 27, 2017 Planet imagery. The three black circles show the objects that definitely had suffered from heavy fire, but have no visible craters. Also, underground installations are marked with green rectangles, and the carload system is marked with yellow lines. We used Bing’s imagery to identify these areas, as it has the highest resolution imagery available for this area.

    Source: Google Earth / Digital Globe With such widespread damage, the clean-up operation and repairs to nearby villages that suffered damage will be costly. Indeed, the Azerbaijani MoD can use the incident as an opportunity to provide experience for its Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit. Though the damage to the area was quite extensive, Azerbaijan got off relatively lightly considering the lack of mass fatalities when compared to other munitions explosions, such as the 2008 explosions at Gerdec, Albania, that resulted in 26 deaths. Finally, the full extent of the damage will be unknown until there are boots on the ground; in the meantime, the Bellingcat team will continue to monitor and update the situation with photos and imagery.

    Satellite imagery from Planet Labs, Google Earth, and Bing maps, as well as images from the ground published by Azerbaijani photographer and journalist Səxavət Məmməd and the Ministry of Emergency situations of Azerbaijanwere used for the analysis. The authors would like to acknowledge the collaborative efforts of Bellingcat and members of Razm.info, who provided additional photographs, image composites, and geolocations and for cross-checking imagery with Russian statistical information.

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/rest...ot-explosions/

    Comment


    • Originally posted by DieHard69 View Post

      What caused it to close down, it was one of the only things our country had access for diplomacy to Azerbaijan, there has to be a reason.
      The OSCE also provides training and I think demining efforts. Azerbaijan wants every type of aid to Armenia to stop as part of its assault on us.

      The Azeris really aren't grand strategists, and whereas Edrogan is a brilliant Turk, Aliyev is a hamfisted tiny xxxx. The Azeris will pay foreign writers to pump out propaganda and try to bribe eastern euro politicians in PACE.

      They wanted OSCE to shut down as their overall attack on civil society in their country and any aid to civil society in Armenia.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by HyeSocialist View Post

        The OSCE also provides training and I think demining efforts. Azerbaijan wants every type of aid to Armenia to stop as part of its assault on us.

        The Azeris really aren't grand strategists, and whereas Edrogan is a brilliant Turk, Aliyev is a hamfisted tiny xxxx. The Azeris will pay foreign writers to pump out propaganda and try to bribe eastern euro politicians in PACE.

        They wanted OSCE to shut down as their overall attack on civil society in their country and any aid to civil society in Armenia.
        Indeed, Erdogan is a brilliant politician, he somehow gained support of the population during the coup, I don't know why alliyev wants to invade Armenia but invading the NK (or AK) will be very likely in the next few years, this has many reasons to do.

        1. International pressures, pressuring Armenia to go into peace talks or get the conflict back into International notice, Armenia wants a independent Artsakh for strategic, nationlistic, and economic reasons.

        2. Due to Azerbaijan's strong degradation of its economic performance in 2015-2016 it has caused heavy criticism to the government and increase pressure the country has never seen before, this in term, will lead to.

        3. Propaganda reasons, the invasion will be purely for political gain to the ruling party of Azerbaijan (the Aliyevs) the only reason why there dictatorship exists, is because of this war they're pointlessly fighting for decades, Heydar gained political power because of this war and there dynasty lives on today with more and more power they're controlling.

        There is a reason why the Kim dynasty exists today.
        Last edited by DieHard69; 09-02-2017, 10:36 AM.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by DieHard69 View Post

          Indeed, Erdogan is a brilliant politician, he somehow gained support of the population during the coup, I don't know why alliyev wants to invade Armenia but invading the NK (or AK) will be very likely in the next few years, this has many reasons to do.

          1. International pressures, pressuring Armenia to go into peace talks or get the conflict back into International notice, Armenia wants a independent Artsakh for strategic, nationlistic, and economic reasons.

          2. Due to Azerbaijan's strong degradation of its economic performance in 2015-2016 it has caused heavy criticism to the government and increase pressure the country has never seen before, this in term, will lead to.

          3. Propaganda reasons, the invasion will be purely for political gain to the ruling party of Azerbaijan (the Aliyevs) the only reason why there dictatorship exists, is because of this war they're pointlessly fighting for decades, Heydar gained political power because of this war and there dynasty lives on today with more and more power they're controlling.

          There is a reason why the Kim dynasty exists today.
          A part of me believes that the military is an Aliyev "jobs program." It gives poor villagers jobs as conscripts and well connected families access to a military fund. I agree with you on all points, and at the same time I think any real war, will cause their society greater internal conflict than ours.



          Comment


          • Originally posted by DieHard69 View Post
            ... invading will be very likely in the next few years
            Their last failed venture made all their future invasions nearly impossible. We now have advanced monitoring systems due to their stupidity.
            Any invasion will require movements of over 10.000 military personnel to the borders. Hopefully our side will exert full fledge pre-emptive strikes.
            The only time they will venture in any stupidity will be in extreme desperation.

            Comment


            • We need peace.

              Sadly the only way to have peace is to have a war, long enough to achieve a decisive victory followed up by a peace treaty.

              Until then we are going to bleed, loosing our future generation, mothers loosing their sons and all the suffering that goes with it..

              It is road to nowhere.

              A number of political analysts already are expressing support for such an outcome coupled with territorial adjustments to enhance the security of our borders.

              .
              Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
              Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
              Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests

              Comment


              • Ադրբեջանում ևս մեկ վարկած է շրջանառվում ռազմական պահեստների պայթելու գործով

                2017-09-02 20:10:02

                Փաստորեն Ադրբեջանում ևս մեկ վարկած է շրջանառվում ռազմական պահեստների պայթելու գործով:

                Ադրբեջանի ընդդիմադիր «Թուրան» տեղեկատվական գործակալության գլխավոր խմբագրի տեղակալ Շախին Գաջիևը հայտարարել է, որ Ադրբեջանի պահեստում իրականում երկու նախիջևանցի սպա են այրել:

                Նախիջևանից Գիլազի ժամանած, ԶՈւ մայոր Աբբաս Մահմուդովը տեղի կանանցից մեկին իբր աշխատանքով ապահովելու համար հրավիրում է պահեստի տարածք: Երեք երեխաների մորը տանելով պահեստ մայոր Մահմուդովը և իր ընկերներից ևս մեկը, ով նույնպես սպա էր և եկել էր Նախիջևանից, բռնաբարում են կնոջը: Հետագայում սպառնում են կնոջը, ում ամուսինը աշխատում է Թուրքիայում, որպեսզի ոչ ոքի չպատմի կատարվածի մասին: Պատմելու դեպքում նրա ամուսինը Ադրբեջան վերադառնալու ժամանակ խնդիրներ կունենար:

                Օրեր անց կնոջ եղբայրը զանգահարում է սպաներին ու տեղեկությունը չտարածելու համար 100 մանաթ է պահանջում: Նրանք հանդիպում են պահեստի տարածքում ու այդ ժամանակ բռնաբարված կնոջ եղբայրը բենզինը լցնում է երկու սպաների վրա ու այրում է նրանց և առաջանում է այդ պայթյունը:

                Մենք իհարկե երբեք չենք իմանա պայթյունի իրական պատճառը, բայց արդեն տարածվել պայթյունի 6 պատճառ, որոնցից ամենահավանակը իշխանության կողմից կազմակերպված պայթյունն է, որպեսզի քողարկեն իրենց ապօրինի գործարքները ահաբեկչական խմբավորումների հետ:



                Աշոտ Ասատրյան

                Comment


                • ArmSecurity 2017 Int’l high-tech security exhibition opens in Armenia








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