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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 2,797 2,367 2,100 139
GNI per capita
 US $ 950 790 570 143
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Armenia

Update No: 323 - (26/11/07)

Simmering crisis
It is an unhappy fact that another war between Armenia and Azerbaijan is perfectly possible, even likely. Both sides are led by hardliners, indeed enclavistes, in President Robert Kocharian, formerly leader of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, and President Ilham Aliyev, who hails from Nakichevan, the Azeri enclave between Armenia and Iran. 

The aggrieved party, the Azeris, who lost last time, want their territory back, some 20% of he whole of their country, they claim. There are over a million refugees waiting for many years now, to return to their homes. 

The Azeris have the oil revenues to finance an arms build-up, their military budget being larger than Armenia's entire budget. It is not however, bigger than Russia's, the salient point. Moscow, whose intervention last time was decisive, would not leave so faithful a client state in the lurch, should serious hostilities recur - and Yerevan is relying on that.

Skirmishes with Azerbaijan
On 15 November Armenian armed forces shot at Azerbaijani National Army troops in the opposite direction from their positions near Tapgaragoyunlu village of Goranboy District from 09.55pm to 10.00pm, Alakhanli village of Fizuli District of Azerbaijan from 21:50 to 22:00, as well as on 16 November from Hasangaya village of Terter District of Azerbaijan from 03:00 to 03:20, and Javahirli village of Agdam District from 04:00 to 04:15,with guns and machine guns, the Azerbaijan National Defense Ministry reported. 

The Azerbaijani army retaliated. No casualties were reported.

These incidents are minor, but the situation could easily get out of hand 

Kocharian might welcome an emergency
Kocharian is due to step down next year, as is Putin. But he lacks the Russian leader's total dominance of the political scene. He is nothing like as popular. It would not be easy for him to engineer a succession to a boosted premiership, as Putin seems to be doing.

A war with Azerbaijan could suit him down to the ground, justifying a suspension of the constitution and its clause that he cannot run for a third term. Indeed the elections could then be postponed, as they were even in 'the Mother of Parliaments' in the UK during the world wars.

This is pure speculation as yet. But Kocharian is an utterly ruthless and brutal man, who waged a ferocious war, with Russian help, last time in 1989-92. The Kremlin to the rescue again maybe his motto before long.

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