26 May, Saturday

Why Azerbaijan is important for Israel and International Jewish Lobby? - Exclusive

Analytical Wing

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  Azerbaijan is one of the few Muslim countries has robust mutual relationship with Israel.  Diplomatic cooperation between two countries is developing successfully over various fields, such as trade, energy, technologies, science, tourism, agriculture, medicine and military. Israel is most powerful and inviolable state in the Middle East that has geopolitical, energy and economic interests in South Caucasus and Caspian region. Azerbaijan is considered as very necessary and significant partner for Israeli political and military elites. Israel-Azerbaijan partnership is not only based on political, economic and energy cooperation, but also two countries share cultural ties,  due to a fact that there is 20 thousand strong Jewish community in Azerbaijan. Israel elites and Jewish communities in western countries know well that ethnic Jews are granted fundamental rights in multicultural Azerbaijan to promote their own cultural, ethnic and religious heritage, and as well as get education  in their own language.

Main areas of cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan.

As result of  Armenian occupation of  20 percent of Azerbaijani territory, the influence of Moscow and Tehran growing, and Islamist groups gaining strength in the region, Israel and Azerbaijan built up their mutual defense capabilities[1].

Israel plays profitable and constructive role in the reinforcement of the Azerbaijan armed forces and as well as in the protection of its security.  Israel equipped Azerbaijan army with advanced military technology. In the last decade Israel officially sold to Baku broad variety of nonlethal and lethal weapons - from small firearms, armored vehicles, and mortars, to UAVs of various sorts, radars and air defense systems or rocket artillery systems. Moreover, some of the weapon systems initially purchased by Baku now are being produced independently under licenses granted by Israeli military industry[2].

Military and intelligence cooperation with Israel has aim to  invigorate Azerbaijan to amplify its national security. Israel has constructed fence around International airport in Baku in order to improve potentiality of Azerbaijan’s energy infrastructure,  realize military trains for Azerbaijani troops and guard security for Azerbaijani president on his foreign visits.  Azerbaijan and Israel together have been collaborating in order to eradicate  radical Islamist organizations and prevent the spread of the  threat from   neighboring states in the  region.

Some  politicians claim that the rise of Islamist groups in region concern Israel, as it should entail some problems which jeopardize the safety of Jewish community in Azerbaijan. All Synagogues in Azerbaijan are well secured by the State Security Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Cooperation against international terrorism between Azerbaijan and Israel is more effective that is estimated and praised by western countries perfectly. After meeting with Israeli ambassador Eitan Naeh on October 2001, Azerbaijan's former president Heydar Aliyev declared his position in the fight against international terrorism to be identical[3].

Moreover. numerous agreements were signed between the government of Israel and Azerbaijan that cover energy, agricultural, trade and environmental issues with regard to strengthening fruitful cooperation between the two countries. After regaining independence, the government of Azerbaijan started to liberalize industries and markets, and created opportunities for activity of  foreign companies. While  Azerbaijan isexporting oil and gas to Israel, Israel’s  companies  are selling various goods and technological services to Azerbaijan.  Technologies produced by Israel that are very  attractive to local people in Azerbaijan.

Between 2000 and 2005, Israel has gone from being Azerbaijan's tenth largest trading partner to its fifth.[28]  According to U.N. statistics, between 1997 and 2004, exports from Azerbaijan to Israel increased from barely over US$2 million to $323 million, fueled in recent years by the high price of oil[4].

Since 1993, Israel has been engaged in large-scale projects in the Caspian Sea.  Israel’s energy policy in the Caspian sea are based on strategic interests that aim to secure pipeline routes from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Moreover, the energy policy is maintained by Israel that is directed  to consolidate its position with weakening Iran and Russia in South Caucasus and Caspian.  In 2002, Israel was the largest importer of oil from Azerbaijan after Israel.

In December 2016, the prime minister of Israel visited Azerbaijan and discussed many issues regarding future cooperation with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

Following the a one-on-one meeting between the  President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of the State of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, the ceremony of signing documents was held. Government representatives of the State of Israel and the Republic of Azerbaijan signed cooperation agreements regarding standardization and metrology, agriculture, taxes and joint commission.

International Jewish Lobby’s interests in Azerbaijan.

The government representatives of the Republic of Azerbaijan have been interested in strengthening connection with well-known leaders of Jewish communities in the USA, Russia and European countries since independence was declared in 1991.

What are the main reasons urge Azerbaijan to improve ties with Jewish communities in various countries?  First of the all, Azerbaijan is one of the few Muslim countries that is a silent home to Jewish society, as friendship and tolerant attitude have been shown by Azerbaijani people to Jews for many centuries.   The group of Jews is one of the minorities in Azerbaijan that has rights and opportunities in order to promote their own culture, religion and traditional values.  Second,  Jewish public communities in the United States, Russia and Europe  are playing significant role in the development of cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan nowadays. Third, the cooperation with Jewish public communities  in the USA aims to encourage Azerbaijan to develop and amplify its strategic position in the international policy of  the United States, because our country mostly need to inhibit black campaign of Armenian lobby and also highlight Karabakh realities in political societies of the United States.  

Israel and Azerbaijan are interested in sharing same position in political and economic affairs, then both countries will continue to be remain rigid partners.  Israel has supported the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and condemned Armenian occupation in the General Assembly of the United Nations for more than once. From point of my view, Israel and Azerbaijan should expand cooperation in tourism field, because Azerbaijan is attractive country to Israeli tourists, as well as Israel is attractive country  to Azerbaijani tourists. Azerbaijan is a more secular place to Israeli citizens.

by Yunis Abdullayev




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