Aggressive. This word seems to be the most appropriate to describe the current government of Azerbaijan after the country recently made a 1.6 billion U.S. dollar deal with Israel to procure weapons, military technologies and other ordnance and especially after its president suddenly raged against neighboring Armenia for the incredibly bloody and controversial Nagorno-Karabakh War at a Euronest conference.
While this tremendous behind-the-door deal would have escaped without notice perhaps a few years ago, the recent dispute between Iran and Israel backed by much of the Western world centered around alleged Iranian development of nuclear weapons has the world’s eyes focused on it.
In fact, this was not the first major, though still the biggest, weapons deal brokered between Israel and oil-rich Azerbaijan since the fall of the Soviet Union.
This deal has produced diplomatic difficulties for Azerbaijan especially with its fellow Shi’ite Iran which sees the continuing relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan as a betrayal and confirmation of its suspicions that Israel may be seeking to get military access in countries closer to Iran for future “preemptive” airstrikes on Iran.
Many believe that Israel will be trying to get a base of operations for their fighters and bombers, particularly the F-15′s which do not have enough fuel to make a round-trip, closer to Iran.
The deal included naval & land missiles alongside unmanned aerial vehicles. Besides weaponry and vehicles capable of both surveillance and offensive tactics, Azerbaijan paid for multiple surface-to-air missile systems, sophisticated radar systems for missile defense and numerous loads of missiles to go along with the sets.
Despite the nature of particular items such as the anti ship missiles Azerbaijan got for most likely a naval engagement in the Caspian Sea (seeing as how that’s the only body of water it can use them in and seeing as how Armenia is landlocked) the government insists that the deal is only meant to modernize its Soviet-era military force and only to feud with its rival Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area.
Azerbaijani government officials assured their Iranian counterparts that they will not allow Israel any military access nor will their country engage in a conflict with the country that is becoming increasingly isolated.
(Cover Photo: World Defence News)