Israel continues to seek closer ties with Azerbaijan in all areas. An article published by Israel Today news agency says that the Jewish state’s policy towards Azerbaijan cannot be considered separately from previous unsuccessful attempts of Jerusalem to form an alliance against Iran with the Gulf Arab states. Now Israel aims to bring Azerbaijan, which shares a border with Iran, into the fold.
According to Israel Today, Saudi Arabia used to be a key partner for Israel in efforts to form an alliance against Iran. However, after the recent normalization of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government realizes that it needs to strengthen ties with Azerbaijan further.
At the opening ceremony of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Israel, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called Azerbaijan a “strategic partner”. Cohen also noted that Israel and Azerbaijan have the same perception of the threats emanating from Iran.
“The Iranian Ayatollah regime threatens both our regions, finances terrorism, and destabilizes the Middle East,” said Cohen, adding that Israel and Azerbaijan must form “a united front” against Iran. This statement prompted a particularly sharp criticism from the Foreign Ministry in Iran.
Iran is obviously not happy with the good relations between Israel and Azerbaijan, and is acting increasingly hostile toward its northern neighbor, says Israel Today. Iran has also been conducting regular military exercises along the border of Azerbaijan for about two years, and has set up an espionage network in the neighboring country. The Tehran regime accuses Azerbaijan of collaborating with Israel and has repeatedly claimed that the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, is active in Azerbaijan.
Iran is also wary of Israel’s military aid to Azerbaijan, such as deliveries of unmanned aerial vehicles, and military advice. Benny Gantz, former Israeli Defense Minister, visited Baku at the end of 2022 to discuss the expansion of military aid. Israel provided significant military aid during the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020 as well.
Israel Today points out that the close relations between Azerbaijan and the Jewish state have a history of more than 30 years, but they have never been directed against Iran, always stemming from the two countries’ national interests. Azerbaijan has always ruled out the possibility of using its territory as a springboard for waging war against its southern neighbor. In one of his speeches, President Ilham Aliyev said, alluding to the United States, that Azerbaijan has been pressured to allow its territory to be used against Iran, but Baku would never agree to it.
Nevertheless, after the 44-day war, Iran pursues a policy of open hostility towards Azerbaijan, even threatening military intervention. In this situation, it is natural for Azerbaijan to respond to Iran’s threats in tandem with a powerful ally like Israel.
Along with Israel’s efforts to strengthen ties with Azerbaijan, noteworthy are Jerusalem’s attempts to form another anti-Iran front in Greece and Cyprus. Last week Eli Cohen visited the Island of Aphrodite, where he discussed the Iranian problem with President Nikos Christodoulides. Israel is pushing for the European Union to put Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on its list of terrorist organizations, and Cyprus could play a major role in that process, given the unprecedented cooperation Israel has established with the island state.
Translated from Haqqin.az