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  • Public Radio of Armenia

    June 19 2017

    Armenia sends message to Qatar amid crisis: An expert view

    20:48, 19 Jun 2017

    Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian had a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani within the framework of a short visit to Qatar on June 18. Minister Nalbandian conveyed to his Qatari counterpart a letter from the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan addressed to Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
    The Foreign Minister’s visit to Doha would be seen as a routine one and could go largely unnoticed, if not the diplomatic, political and economic crisis in Qatar. A number of Arab countries cut ties with the country, accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism.
    How do you analysts assess the Armenian Foreign Minister’s visit to Doha under these circumstances? Expert of Arab studies Armen Petrosyan describes it as “symbolic step of diplomatic support.”
    Speaking to Public Radio of Armenia, the expert said “any crisis opens up new opportunities, and in the given situation it’s necessary to take a risk to have gains.”
    “We have to take note of the fact that our two allies – Russia and Iran – stand against the policy towards Qatar,” he noted.
    In a simultaneous development, the President of Iran has also sent a message to the Emir of Qatar. “Therefore, we witness a situation, where the initiative of isolating Qatar created an opposite alliance – that of Qatar supporters,” Armen Petrosyan said.
    “Obviously, Qatar has a descent array of supporting countries,” he said. According to the expert, the countries that initiated the isolation of Qatar could not have predicted such development of events. “They expected a quick capitulation, but that did not happen,” he said.
    How will the situation develop? Will the confrontation tend to aggravate or there will be a political solution? Both scenarios seem likely to Armen Petrosyan. “What’s certain is that the status quo cannot remain in place for too long.”
    Political scientist Stepan Grigoryan also says that “Minister Nalbandian’s visit is justified.” “The visit was correct and diplomatically justified, considering the steps Armenia has taken to intensify the political and economic relations with Qatar. This is the first factor,” he told Public Radio of Armenia. (Armenia has recently lifted visa requirements for citizens of Qatar.)
    Secondly, the political scientist reminds that Armenia enjoys good relations with Egypt, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, countries that are not the initiators of the boycott, but are participants of it.
    “That means Armenia can assume a mediating role. After this meeting the authorities of Qatar may ask Armenia to convey some information to the opposite side. That is to say, Armenia can well assume an important role, considering its good relations with both parties. Doing nothing and being too cautious does not work, pro-active policy is what we need,” Stepan Grigoryan said.

    Hayastan or Bust.


    • Germany warns Erdogan bodyguards not to attend G20

      Germany says it does not expect Turkish security agents who were charged for violent scuffles in Washington last month to join President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a G20 summit next week.

      A spokesman said leaders can bring their own bodyguards to the summit in Hamburg, but the law must be respected.

      A list of Turkish officials expected to travel to the event reportedly included several people involved in the brawl.

      US prosecutors charged 12 agents with assault last week for the incident.

      Police called it a "brutal attack" on protesters by Turkish security personnel, but Turkey blamed the violence on pro-Kurdish demonstrators who were outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington.

      The case strained US-Turkey relations and could inflict more damage on already soured relations between Ankara and Berlin, correspondents say.

      Germany's foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said: "I have reason to expect that these people, who have been incriminated by the American criminal justice (system) will not step onto German soil in the foreseeable future, including during the G20 summit."

      German media reported that a list of 50 people who were expected to accompany Mr Erdogan included agents that had participated in the incident.

      In response, German authorities told Turkey to not bring those security personnel, newspaper Die Welt reports (in German).

      Officials say they expect violent protests during the summit, to be held on 7 and 8 July. Some 15,000 security agents are expected to be deployed in Hamburg.


      • Should Russia's new Armata T-14 tanks worry Nato?

        By Jonathan MarcusDefence and diplomatic correspondentImage copyrightAFP Image captionThe Armata is a highly automated tank replacing much of Russia's Soviet-era armour
        A Russian innovation in armoured warfare has pushed Norway to replace many of its current anti-tank systems.

        Active protection systems (APS) are being built into Russia's new Armata T-14 tank, posing a problem for a whole generation of anti-armour weapons, not least the US-supplied Javelin guided missile, used by the Norwegian Army.

        The warning comes from Brig Ben Barry of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. He says this is a problem that most Nato countries have barely begun to grapple with.

        APS threatens to make existing anti-tank weapons far less effective, and there is little real discussion of this among many Western militaries, he says.

        Some countries are conducting research and trials to equip their own tanks with APS. "But they seem to miss the uncomfortable implications for their own anti-armour capabilities," he says.

        Norway is one of the first Nato countries to grasp this nettle. Its latest defence procurement plan envisages spending 200-350m kroner (£18.5-32.5m; $24-42m) on replacing its Javelin missiles, "to maintain the capacity to fight against heavy armoured vehicles".

        "There is a need for [an] anti-tank missile," it says, "that can penetrate APS systems".
        1. Enemy launches weapon at tank
        2. Sensors detect incoming threat
        3. Tracking radar calculates impact point
        4. Active Protection System launches countermeasure
        5. Countermeasure destroys target

        APS is the latest twist in the age-old battle between offence and defence in military technology.

        At different periods one side has held the advantage over the other. The armoured knight once ruled supreme, but the widespread use of firearms put paid to the armour-clad nobility's dominance.

        Since World War Two the tank, like the knight of old, has reigned supreme on the battlefield.

        It is of course vulnerable to the main guns of other tanks. If you have a heavy enough shell and a gun firing at high-enough velocity you can punch through even the best armour.

        But tanks are also vulnerable to other weapons systems, and that is what APS is designed to deal with. Image copyrightAFP Image captionAnti-tank training in South Korea: Shoulder-launched missiles can destroy tanks
        Since World War Two a whole category of lighter, man-portable anti-tank weapons has been devised.

        Since they have to be carried by the infantry they depend not upon velocity and mass to get through the tank's armour, but on a chemical reaction. These warheads impact on the external armour and a metal core forms into a molten jet that pierces through.

        Tank designers have tried to counter this in all sorts of ways, with reactive panels that explode outwards when hit; or by providing additional layers of spaced armour, to detonate the incoming round away from the tank itself.

        APS takes a whole new approach. It is essentially an anti-missile system for tanks, with radars capable of tracking the incoming anti-tank missile, and projectiles that are launched to disrupt or destroy it. Image copyrightAFP Image captionIsraeli Merkava tanks are equipped with the APS defence
        Israel is among the leaders in this field and its Merkava tanks used it with some success during the last upsurge of fighting in Gaza.

        The Israeli Trophy system is being evaluated by the Americans. Britain too is looking at such systems and the Dutch have recently decided to equip their infantry combat vehicles with another Israeli-developed system.

        The fitting of APS to armoured vehicles is intended to counter a variety of weapons, ranging from the ubiquitous Russian/Chinese RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) to much more sophisticated guided anti-tank weapons like the Russian Kornet.

        But Brig Barry at the IISS is pointing out that Russia's APS technology raises questions about many of Nato's anti-tank defences too. Norway is taking action - and he believes other Nato countries will have to do the same.


        • Turkish Army offensive to begin this weekend to expel Kurds from northern Aleppo

          By Chris Tomson

          DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:00 P.M.) – New reports regarding a massive Turkish Army build-up in northern Aleppo have emerged after military sources confirmed to local outlets that a large-scale offensive was brewing, aimed at driving the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) out of the Efrin region.

          Two days ago, Al-Masdar News revealed that dozens of Turkish tanks were pouring into the northern rebel-held countryside of Aleppo while artillery units had already begun a barrage on SDF frontline villages.

          Although other NATO allies are opposed to any such aggression, the Turkish Armed Forces hope to smash through some 30 kilometers of Kurdish-held territory and build a corridor between the northern Aleppo pocket and Idlib rebel heartland.

          According to a Turkish military source speaking to a local outlet, the primary targets of the invasion will be Menagh Airbase, Tall Rifaat and Efrin city itself.

          Yesterday, the US Army patrolled the northern Raqqa border town of Tall Abyad amid fears that a second Turkish offensive was to begin there.

          Click here for a full map of the region.


          • Russian-Turkish S-400 deal near completion


            (TASS) Russia’s contract with Turkey on the delivery of S-400 long-range air defense missile systems has been agreed while the issue of loan provision has yet to be settled, Russian Presidential Adviser for Military and Technical Cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said on Thursday.

            “The contract has been agreed and everything is understandable there but the issue of a loan, funds has not been settled yet,” Kozhin said at the 8th International Maritime Defense Show in St. Petersburg.

            International Cooperation and Regional Policy Department Chief of Russia’s Rostec state hi-tech corporation Viktor Kladov earlier told TASS that Russia and Turkey had agreed on the technical issues of the delivery of S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) surface-to-air missile systems.

            He said, however, that the contract had not been signed yet and the sides were discussing the non-technical terms of the deal.

            “There are commercial issues, monetary and financial and political issues,” he said.

            Russia’s S-400 Triumf is the latest long-range antiaircraft missile system that went into service in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground objectives.

            The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.

            Russian Aerospace Force Deputy Commander-in-Chief Viktor Gumyonny said in April that missiles capable of destroying targets in outer space had started arriving for the S-400 systems.



            • Ռուսները կանաչ լույս են վառել Սիրիայի Աֆրինը գրոհելու համար. թուրքական աղբյուրներ

              Հունիս 30, 2017 by Տարոն Հովհաննիսյան

              Հունիսի 29-30-ին թուրքական մի շարք աղբյուրներ հայտնել են, որ Ռուսաստանը իր զորքերը դուրս է բերել Սիրիայի հյուսիսարևելյան Աֆրին նահանգից, որը վերահսկում են Սիրիայի քրդերի «Ժողովրդական ինքնապաշտպանության ջոկատները» (YPG): Նույն աղբյուրները պնդում են, որ դա «կանաչ լույս է վառել Թուրքիայի առաջ», և Թուրքիան մոտ ժամանակներս գործողություններ կսկսի Սիրիայի այդ հատվածում:

              Թուրքական T24 հեռուստաալիքի կայքը հունիսի 29-ին հայտնել է, որ թուրքական կողմը վերջին 12 օրվա ընթացքում 9 անգամ հեռախոսով բանակցել է ռուսաստանյան կողմի հետ, որպեսզի ռուսական կողմը զորքերը դուրս բերի Աֆրինից: Նշվում էր, որ Ռուսաստանը համաձայնել է և «առաջիկա 6 օրում դուրս բերի զորքերը»:

              Արդեն հունիսի 30-ին թուրքական մի շարք աղբյուրներ, այդ թվում՝ «Գազեթե Վաթան» լրատվակայքը, հայտնել են, որ «ռուսներն արդեն դուրս են եկել Աֆրինից»:

              Սիրիայի քրդերի Rojava News լրատվակայքն իր հերթին նույն օրը տեսանյութ է հրապարակել է Աֆրինում Ռուսաստանի զինուժի բազայից: Քրդական աղբյուրը պնդում է, որ ռուսաստանյան ստորաբաժանումները դեռ Աֆրինում են, և թուրքական կողմի տարածած տեղեկությունները ճիշտ չեն:

              Սակայն քրդական կողմի տարածած հաղորդագրությունը ևս չենք կարող հիմք ընդունել, քանի որ երևում է միայն շենքը՝ Ռուսաստանի դրոշներով, սակայն որևէ զինծառայող չի երևում: Ըստ այդմ՝ ներկայում բավականին բարդ է ասել՝ արդյոք Ռուսաստանը և Թուրքիան համաձայնության եկել են, թե ոչ:

              Ռուսաստանյան կողմը դեռևս այս հաղորդագրություններին պաշտոնապես չի արձագանքել: Թուրքիայի պաշտոնական աղբյուրները ևս որևէ հստակ տվյալ չեն ներկայացնում, սակայն թուրքական իշխանամետ մամուլում արդեն ակտիվորեն շրջանառվում են տեղեկություններ, որ Թուրքիան պատրաստվում է ռազմական գործողություններ սկսել Սիրիայի քրդերի դեմ:

              Նշվում է, որ Թուրքիան նոր՝ «Եփրատի թուր» գործողության համար, ըստ շրջանառվող տեղեկությունների, Թուրքիան Սիրիայի հետ սահմանին տեղակայել է 7000 զինծառայող:


              • Mehr News Agency (MNA), Iran
                June 28, 2017 Wednesday

                Israel involvement in Karabakh conflict to have adverse results

                TEHRAN, Jun. 28 (MNA) – Iranian Parliament Speaker in a meeting with
                his Armenian counterpart stressed that Israel's involvement in the
                Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will have negative consequences.

                Ali Larijani made the remark in a meeting with President of the
                National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, Ara Babloyan, on the
                sidelines of the second annual Meeting of Speakers of Eurasian
                Countries' Parliaments in Seoul on Tuesday, adding that the issues
                between Armenia and Republic of Azerbaijan need to be settled without
                outside interference.

                Larijani also expressed Iran's readiness to expand cooperation with
                Armenia in the fields of energy, transit and transport, calling for a
                faster implementation of agreements between the two sides on power
                plant and power line construction.

                He also called for the formation of a working group to implement an
                agreement on decontamination of the Aras River which runs along the
                countries of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran.

                Mr. Babloyan, for his part, voiced keen interest in the prospect of
                the implementation of the agreement on the Aras River, adding
                "Iran-Armenia Parliamentary friendship group will soon be approved in
                Armenia's National Assembly which will pave the ground for closer
                cooperation between the two countries."

                The 2nd annual Meeting of Speakers of Eurasian Countries' Parliaments
                opened in South Korean capital Seoul on Monday and will wrap up on
                Wednesday. Parliamentary leaders from 25 Asian and European countries
                will discuss ways for further cooperation for Eurasian prosperity
                during the three-day conference.

                Hayastan or Bust.


                • Turkish NTV channel reported that the Greek coast guard opened fire on a Turkish-flagged cargo ship in the Aegean Sea.

                  © AP Photo/ Hurriyet
                  'Provocation Will Face Counteraction': Greek Defense Minister Warns Against Turkish 'Foot' on Disputed Islands

                  The ship was reportedly loaded at the Turkish port of Iskenderun and was moving toward the Izmit Bay in the Sea of ​​Marmara.
                  According to preliminary data, during the passage of the Turkish ACT ship in the Aegean Sea, Greek coast guard boats demanded that the ship moor to the port of Rhodes Island to check the cargo. The captain of the ship allegedly ignored this demand. Then the Greek boats opened fire.
                  The Turkish ship's crew found 36 bullet holes on the ship's hull.
                  It is unclear yet whether there are injured in the incident.
                  NTV said the vessel continued to move along the route, while two boats of the Turkish Coast Guard arrived at the scene of the incident.
                  According to the Greek side, "the Turkish vessel was in Greek [territorial] waters, thus, when there was no reaction to the demand of the coast guard, warning fire was opened."

                  © AP Photo/ Vadim Ghirda
                  Greece Scrambles Jets to Intercept Turkish Warplanes in Airspace Violation

                  The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that the incident is being investigated.
                  The two countries have been locked in a dispute over a portion of territorial waters in the Aegean Sea, exclusive economic zones and a number of territories. The conflict nearly burst into violence in 1987 and in 1996, and until this day remains unresolved.
                  This February, Turkish Coast Guard vessels entered Greek territorial waters near the disputed Imia islets in the southeast Aegean, and were closely monitored by the Greek navy and coast guard.
                  Tensions flared up after the Greek court refused in January to extradite several Turkish servicemen, whom Ankara suspects of being linked to the July 2016 coup attempt.

                  Hayastan or Bust.


                  • Russian troops deployed to Afrin as Turkey prepares massive assault

                    By Zen Adra

                    DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3: 00 P.M.) – Up to 150 Russian troops have arrived at the northern Kurdish city of Afrin as the Turkish military declared full-scale military campaign against the Kurdish bastion.

                    The arrival of reinforcements was coincided with a visit paid by a number of Russian officers to the “Graveyard of Martyrs” which commemorates the Kurdish fighters killed during battles against the Turkish-backed rebels in northern Aleppo.

                    This comes as Turkey declared a new offensive against the Kurdish forces in northern Syria in order to connect its proxies in Aleppo and Idlib provinces.

                    Russian has concluded an agreement with the Kurds to set up a military base in Afrin and train YPG fighters on anti-terror combat.


                    • VIDEO: Syrian Army plays chicken with rebel TOW missiles in Jobar

                      By Andrew Illingworth

                      BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:07 P.M.) – After knocking-out a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) T-72 tank yesterday, and a BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle two days before that in the exact same location, the Islamist rebels of Faylaq al-Rahman who operate TOW missiles in this sector of the Jobar front (possibly near the M-5 Highway overpass, see previous articles) continue to get tempted by government armour; now, however, the SAA appears to be playing a game of chicken with the rebel anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) team.

                      In video footage only just uploaded in recent hours, the aforementioned AGTM-operating rebels of Faylaq al-Rahman have attempted to claim a third video-witnessed kill on SAA armour by targeting a government BMP-1 as it comes into their line-of-sight on an opposing ridge. Almost immediately after the rebels fire their TOW, the SAA infantry fighting vehicle begins to reserve its path and the rebel missile misses its mark.

                      Whether the rebel TOW team attempted to predict the path of the BMP-1 and failed to correct course in time, or some kind of mechanical failure occurred, the guided missile missed its mark by an embarrassingly wide margin.

                      However, one thing is for certain, and that is that the SAA infantry fighting vehicle in the video quickly reacted to the missile launch by reversing course.

                      This may indicate that the SAA, weary of the dangers awaiting its armour in this specific sector of the Jobar front, is now attempting to scout out the position of the rebel TOW team by enticing them to fire-off missiles before retreating to cover.
                      ALSO READ VIDEO: ISIS blows up Syrian military helicopter with ATGM in Deir Ezzor
                      This kind of tactical baiting is by no means uncommon in warfare and is known to include the use of armour as a means to reveal hidden ATGM teams.

                      Syria US to set up new military base in northeastern Syria

                      Syria BREAKING: Major ceasefire implemented throughout southern Syria

                      Syria VIDEO: battles erupt near Golan Heights as Israeli helicopters strike government forces

                      Syria Russian troops deployed to Afrin as Turkey prepares massive assault

                      Syria Syrian Army rebuffs desperate ISIS counter-attack in east Hama

                      VIDEOS: Syrian Army armour sniped twice in the same location by Islamist rebels in Jobar

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