The leadership of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces held a three-day conference presided over by Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov, on December 20th. The entire top eshelon of the military – deputy ministers, headquarters chiefs, military commanders, chief services officers - attended the gathering.
Following the conference, the ranking officers joined exercises and practical trainings at an undisclosed located, one thought to be a training center. The ranking officers in attendance, including Minister Hasanov, inspected troops for combat readiness, attended various live-fire and combat readiness exhibitions, including those of various armored vehicles.
Military readiness is pivotal to Azerbaijan, a nation of nine million people, situated in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Following its independecne and the fall of the Soviet Union, Azerbajain found itself fighting a territorial dispute with neighboring Armenia.
When the ceasefire was finally called for, Armenia had occupied nearly 24% of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory, most notably, Nagorno-Karabakh (NK). In addition, tens of thousands of Azeris were murdered and ethnically cleaned and nearly 1 milion people, as a result of ethnic cleansing, were designated internally displaced people (IDPs).
Currently, Azerbaijan's territory is still occupied and the nealry 1 million IDPs await a return to their cities and homes. A peace process exists, but in the last more than two decades, it has rendered little progress. Many ascribe this failure to make peace on “Armenian recalcitrance and ongoing attacks.”