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Azerbaijan Raises Defense And National Security Allotment in 2024 Budget

By Yaver Kazimbeyli December 28, 2023

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A photo from the parade of the Azerbaijan Armed Forces in Khankendi, the Karabakh region, November 8, 2023 / President.Az

Azerbaijan’s state budget allotted a total of AZN 6.421 billion or $3.77 billion for defense and national security in 2024.

President Ilham Aliyev signed on Tuesday 2024 state budget bill into law. The funds will go to support building up national defense, the security and defense material-technical base, the foreign intelligence, and border security services, as well as organizing events and measures of special defense designation.

The next year’s defense allocations surpass the defense expenses for 2023 by more than AZN 367 million or around $216 million. Since 2018, Azerbaijan has increased the state budget’s national security and defense allotments twice from $1.85 billion to $3.77 billion.

In one of his recent speeches, President Aliyev said Azerbaijan has been uninterruptedly accelerating the army building process, which was crucial in ending the Second Karabakh War of 2020 with a complete victory.

“Material and technical provision, the supply of weapons and ammunition, the improvement of the army’s fighting capacity, and, above all, the education of our youth in the spirit of patriotism – are the main factors leading Azerbaijan to Victory,” President Aliyev said in his address to the Azerbaijani military personnel in Khankendi, the Karabakh region, in November.

He pledged to continue the army building programs as one of the priorities in the coming years.

Azerbaijan’s military spending gained a momentum after the 44-day war with Armenia in 2020. The post-war army-building process targeted upgrading the organizational and staff structure, as well as the weapons arsenal of the national army.

The increasing defense capacity came in response to a post-war uneasiness on the border and threats to the sovereignty due to the illegal presence of the Armenian military detachments in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

Armenia and Azerbaijan had been in an armed conflict for 30 years over the Karabakh (Garabagh) region, which is an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan. Armenia launched full-blown military aggression against Azerbaijan following the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991. The bloody war lasted until a ceasefire in 1994 and resulted in Armenia occupying 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. Over 30,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and one million expelled from those lands in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign conducted by Armenia.

On September 27, 2020, the decades-old conflict between the two countries spiraled after Armenia’s forces deployed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. The attacks triggered the Azerbaijani forces to take immediate counter-offensive measures to push back the assault. The war ended with a decisive victory of the Azerbaijani army, which liberated more than 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, from nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation. The war ended in a tripartite statement signed on November 10, 2020, by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. Under the statement, Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan.

During and after the war, President Aliyev revealed Azerbaijan’s intention to strengthen the national army based on the Turkish model but on a smaller scale. Following the war, as part of the army’s upgrade in line with the Turkish military expertise, all-new commando units were created in areas with difficult terrain.

In 2021 and 2022, President Aliyev inaugurated new units of commando forces, the personnel of which had been through weeks-long “commando preparation” courses in Türkiye under the direct involvement and guidance of Turkish military specialists.

On September 19, Azerbaijan Armed Forces launched local anti-terrorist measures to neutralize illegal Armenian armed formations and their military infrastructure in the Karabakh region. The counter-terrorism measures forced the illegal Armenian army formations to surrender and withdraw from the areas they stationed. As a result, the Karabakh region was completely cleared of the separatists leading to the restoration of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over the country’s entire landmass.