Why Is Israel Arming Azerbaijan, the Turkish Ally, in the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict?

Published October 8th, 2020 - 06:19 GMT
Why Is Israel Arming Azerbaijan, the Turkish Ally, in the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict?
One of the most surprising alliances in this conflict has been the Israeli support for Azerbaijan, which receives similar support from Turkey. (Shutterstock: Viacheslav Lopatin)

The recently triggered conflict in the Caucasus has shown the world a new series of political alliances; ones that have had usually hostile countries side with each other against another enemy, thus sparking questions over the different aspects of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and what it represents to different parties.

So far, the Armenia-Azerbaijan dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region inhabited by an Armenian ethnic majority, which has been trying to claim self-independence has attracted several international players, including Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Israel.

While the conflict dates back to almost a century, as the two neighboring countries try to extend their sovereignty over the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it wasn't until the 27th of Sep that the territorial dispute accelerated into a full-scale very intense militant confrontation. 

However, one of the most surprising alliances in this conflict has been the Israeli support for Azerbaijan, which receives similar support from Turkey, whose government constantly attacks Israeli policies in the region.

According to several articles published in the Jerusalem Post, Israel and Azerbaijan's relationship has been getting stronger over the last few years, with their cooperation expanding to military support evident in arms deals, in addition to agriculture, hi-tech, healthcare.

Moreover, the Israeli newspaper has also reported that the Muslim-majority country is using Israeli-made missiles to strike Armenian targets, such as the LORA missile created by the Israel Aerospace Industries and delivered to Azerbaijan back in 2018.

Additionally, Axios has reported that the Azerbaijani army has been utilizing Israeli-made kamikaze drones to advance its position during the clashes against Armenia. The report has also quoted an advisor to the Azerbaijani president saying that "Israeli Harop drones had proved themselves very effective in the fighting over the last few days."

Responding to reports of Israeli warplanes and missiles being used in the clashes in the Caucasus, Armenia has recalled its ambassador from Israel "for consultation."

Based on press reports, the alliance between Israel and Azerbaijan isn't limited to arms deals through which Israel gets to test its locally-manufactured weaponry. While a 2016 arms deal was signed between the two countries, was estimated by $5 billion, the Jerusalem Post reports that Israel received more than 40% of its oil exports from Azerbaijan.

Many experts have doubted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is heading towards de-escalation any time soon, as both countries seem to be receiving support from regional and international powers, which could point at serious foreign interests in the area reportedly rich in resources. 


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