Established in the 1950s, Israel’s alliance of periphery is a loose partnership between Israel and states in the region surrounding those countries that have negative relations with the Jewish state. Over the years, different countries have been part of this alliance. The following article examines Azerbaijan’s role as a peripheral ally of Israel since the early 1990s in the regional, energy, and trade realms. The Republic of Azerbaijan could be considered the most trusted Muslim and peripheral partner of Israel.
Israel’s alliance of periphery was formed in the 1950s in order to end the newly established state’s regional and global isolation, which was a result of its conflict with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors. The alliance of periphery doctrine, created by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, is a loose partnership between Israel and states surrounding (located at the periphery of) those countries neighboring the Jewish state with which Israel has a conflictual relationship. The alliance of periphery can be divided into two time periods, referred to as “waves” in this article. The first wave began in the 1950s, with the inception of the alliance, and included Iran, Turkey, and Ethiopia. The second wave started in in the early 1990s with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. By that time, Israel had lost all of its original peripheral alliance partners–excluding Turkey, which helped Jerusalem establish ties with the Turkic-speaking countries of the post-Soviet space in the 1990s. Yet Israel’s relations with Turkey also deteriorated after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002; however, 2016 saw an improvement in bilateral ties after Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed on a peace deal.
Israel’s relationship with the newly independent Azerbaijan thus began in the context of the second wave of alliance of periphery in the early 1990s. The fall of the Soviet Union led to the independence of several Muslim-majority states, which were considered “moderate” Muslims with no history of conflict with the Jewish people or Israel. Israel recognized this as an opportunity to continue its alliance of periphery and established good relations with these newly independent countries.
At the time, few could have predicted how far its relations with Azerbaijan would go. Azerbaijan is a country that had never experienced anti-Semitism and had even been a safe haven for Jews throughout history. During the eighteenth century, Feteli Khan, a local ruler of the Quba region, established the Red Town (also called Qirmizi Qesebe in Azerbaijani and Krasnaya Sloboda in Russian), where he allowed Jews facing dangers in neighboring regions to settle and guaranteed their security. Today, the Red Town is the only exclusively Jewish settlement in the world outside of Israel. In the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries, Jews facing pogroms in Eastern Europe fled to Baku where they played a significant role in building the foundations of Azerbaijan’s oil industry (Azerbaijan was one of the first areas from which oil was exported).
In the early 1990s, newly independent Azerbaijan was wrecked with conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjoining regions with its neighbor, Armenia. The country was also facing an economic crisis. Israel offered to provide the new state with assistance in various fields, including agricultural, military, and economic. Baku, which trusted Israel due to its positive history with the Jewish population and which lacked an alternative (Apart from Israel, Turkey was the only other country willing to assist the new republic.), accepted the offer. Over the years, the relationship has expanded, covering many other areas. Today, the two states cooperate in many realms, ranging from health care to military–including a joint drone factory. After the fall of communism, Baku thus became Jerusalem’s most important peripheral ally. This partnership became even more significant for the Jewish state following the deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey. As for Azerbaijan, Israel and Turkey are its most trusted partners.
In 1997, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Azerbaijan on his way back to Israel from a trip to Japan and South Korea. In a meeting with then President of Azerbaijan Haydar Aliyev, the two discussed an oil pipeline project running from Baku to Turkey’s port of Ceyhan–from where it would be transported to Israel–as well as cooperation on regional threats emanating from radical Islamist forces. This visit strengthened ties between the two states and laid the foundations for Azerbaijan becoming a significant peripheral ally of Israel. The Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan oil pipeline now follows the route proposed by Netanyahu at that time.
Despite strong ties between the two states, little research has been conducted on the subject, and it has received little academic attention. The media only began to take notice of the Israeli-Azerbaijani relationship in 2012, following a number of important developments (to be discussed in a later section of this article). In both Israel and Azerbaijan as well as internationally, few are aware of the actual degree of relations. No treaty exists between Israel and Azerbaijan, and while neither Baku nor Israel deny their deep bilateral ties, they prefer to keep it low profile. For the most part, it is Azerbaijan who does not wish to draw attention to this relationship. First, Iran keeps a keen eye on the relations between the two states and does not shy away from voicing its disapproval. Baku does not wish to frustrate its bigger and more powerful neighbor. In addition, Azerbaijan fears that if the actual degree of its relations with Jerusalem were to become public, it would lose the support of Muslim-majority states at the UN, which it deems necessary for the resolution of its conflict with Armenia.
In different contexts, Israel and Azerbaijan are sometimes considered part of Europe, sometimes Asia, or at the crossroads of both. The objective of Israel’s alliance of periphery is to help the Jewish state find allies in its region by befriending countries that are located at the periphery of countries that have a conflict with Israel, and this dynamic takes place in the Greater Middle East. As an ally of periphery, Israel hopes for Azerbaijan’s collaboration in matters pertaining to regional security, which are perceived threats existing in the Middle East. Azerbaijan’s expectations from Israel go beyond the borders of the Middle East, but this article will mainly focus on Israel’s perspective. Hence, for the sake of clarity, Israel’s Azerbaijan foreign policy is placed within the context of the Greater Middle East. This region is comprised of North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. This is the aggregate of regions that Israeli statesmen consider to have an impact on their country’s economy, security, and politics, and that also reflect their regional policy strategies.
This article will discuss Azerbaijan’s role in Israel’s alliance of periphery. As previously mentioned, Israeli-Azerbaijani ties have received little academic attention. However, considering the scope of these relations, the fact that this alliance was created within a region in which the Jewish state is extremely isolated and is a regional power which has an effect on the developments in this geographic region, it is a much-needed area of research. As was mentioned previously, this article will analyze the areas of cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan, which is a peripheral ally of Israel, but not an ally in the commonly accepted meaning of the term, as no treaty has been signed between the two states. Israel’s relations with Azerbaijan are divided into three broad categories, each of which will be addressed in detail: The first section deals with issues Israel sees as a threat to its regional security, including containment of Iran, Israel’s isolation in the Middle East, and cooperation against threats emanating from radical Islamist forces. The second section focuses on energy cooperation; though this area is related to trade, as it takes up the bulk of economic relations and is also related to Jerusalem’s wider geopolitical aspirations, it needs to be studied separately. The final section discusses trade and security together, since these aspects of the bilateral ties are strongly interlinked.
IRAN, THE MIDDLE EAST, AND RADICAL ISLAMIST FORCES
Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has faced difficulties in maintaining its Muslim allies due to the ongoing conflict with its Arab neighbors and the Palestinian issue. Within the Middle East and North Africa, politics have been determined by the “Arab factor,” which considers Israel as symbol of Western oppression over the Greater Middle East. Preferring to secure their regional positions, the countries in the region have generally distanced themselves from Israel. Regional constraints have thus resulted in other states in the region that are not directly involved in the Palestine issue to sever ties with Jerusalem and to criticize Israel in international discourse. Hence, the systemic structure of this region is dominated by an anti-Israeli opinion. As a result of this situation, Israel lost its initial periphery partners. The regional image of Israel as “enemy of the Muslims” has therefore made it essential for the Jewish state to find non-Arab Muslim allies to create partnerships with other countries of this volatile region.
Another aspect related to this area of cooperation is the containment of radical Islamism. Azerbaijan has been a secular Muslim state since its inception in 1918 and was founded on secular values. It is important for the country to continue in that tradition, because radicalization is perceived–both by the government and by many Azerbaijani citizens–as penetration efforts by external forces aiming to destabilize the country. The phenomenon of radicalization is considered alien to Azerbaijani history and culture. It is a Shi’i majority country, therefore, most of the radicalization is suspected to be Iranian infiltration and attempts to control the country through fundamental Shi’i networks. However, since the early 2000s, Baku has also begun to fear the spread of Wahhabi networks due to an increase in their numbers in the country as well as in other parts of the world.
Containment of radical Islamism is a shared security policy objective of both Israel and Azerbaijan. Israel has provided training to Azerbaijan’s security and intelligence forces. A militarily strong Azerbaijan that is able to defend itself domestically and externally is important for Jerusalem’s security. The loss of secular Azerbaijan would be a severe blow to Israel’s regional security for several reasons. First, Israel sells weapons to Azerbaijan. These types of weapons make Israel itself a military power in the region. The two states have even established a joint drone factory in Azerbaijan of which each state owns half. Second, Azerbaijan occupies a top priority in Israel’s foreign policy among the Commonwealth of Independent State (CIS) countries. As Azerbaijan borders with Iran, Jerusalem and Baku have shared fears and suspicions of the Islamic Republic’s intentions. To counter potential threats emanating from Iran, Israel and Azerbaijan cooperate on security, including intelligence sharing. No other country, as of the writing of this article, is capable of replacing Israel’s Azerbaijani partner with this type of assistance. Beyond sharing a border with Iran, Azerbaijan also shares a common history, culture, religion, and population with the country. Nonetheless, it is secular and pro-Western and tries to keep its distance from Iran. Third, as mentioned previously, Israel does not have many Muslim allies with such a positive disposition toward the Jewish state. Indeed, Azerbaijan was the only Muslim majority country that did not publicly criticize Israel during the 2014 Gaza War. In addition, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) did not suspend flights to Israel, while other airlines–including American carriers–did so temporarily. Last, Azerbaijan is Israel’s largest oil supplier. It is not easy for Jerusalem to find reliable energy suppliers from the region due to its unstable relationship with its neighbors that do have hydrocarbon reserves.
At the time of writing this article, however, there is no real indication that there is any need to worry about the spread of radicalization in Azerbaijan. While Azerbaijani political elites perceive radical Islamist forces as one of the main threats to the country, actual radicalization within the country is quite low when compared with the rest of the world. There has been some radical Islamist activity, but only on a small scale, and it has not attracted a wider public.
Now that general radicalization factors have been discussed, the article will address the Iran factor, which is considered the main pillar of Azerbaijan-Israel cooperation and also the key reason relations have remained low profile. These bilateral ties are a concern for the Islamic Republic, which has a keen interest in developments in its northern neighbor’s territory. Until the early nineteenth century, what is now the Republic of Azerbaijan was part of Persian territory. As a result of the Russo-Persian wars (nineteenth century), however, Persia was forced to cede this territory to Russia. However, a large swathe of land–contemporary northwestern Iran–remained part of Persia. Known as Iranian Azerbaijan, it is considered an integral part of Iranian territory today. Thus, while the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan and Iran have been politically and geographically separated since the nineteenth century–first by Tsarist Russia and then by the Soviet Union until 1991–once Azerbaijan gained independence and was able to build its own sovereign foreign policy and establish diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic, Tehran wanted Azerbaijan within the sphere of Iranian influence.
While Azerbaijan has made clear in official speeches that its cooperation with other countries is not directed against a third party, the Iranian government does not trust Jerusalem’s intentions and is nonetheless cautious about the Israeli-Azerbaijani partnership. At the same time, as an Islamic Republic, Iran must condemn Israel’s policies (It is necessary to distinguish between Israel and Jews in general. Iran condemns Israeli politics, but does not condemn Jews as a nation or religion. Indeed, there are Jewish minorities in Iran, and they are represented in the parliament.), so as to not delegitimize its own government. This is due to the fact that Middle Eastern politics is governed by the “Arab” and/or “Muslim” factor and an anti-Israel policy due to the Jewish state’s conflict with its neighboring Muslim-majority countries. If, therefore, Iran or any other country wishes to be accepted as a major regional player, it must support the Palestinians.
Neither Israel nor Iran are trust the other’s intentions and cannot be certain whether one is plotting an attack against the other. Azerbaijan, Iran’s close geographic neighbor, has cordial relations with Israel that go beyond what Iranian political elites consider a “safe boundary” for Iran’s national security. Tehran’s main concern is that Israel might be using Azerbaijan as a base to gather intelligence or plot an attack against Iran. It is especially worried about the arms trade and intelligence sharing between the two countries. Since 2012, Baku has received cutting-edge weapons from Israel and has modernized and upgraded its military, which Iran perceives as a potential threat to its own security.
The year 2012 was a period of increased tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan/Israel. The same year, Foreign Policy magazine published an article by Mark Perry claiming that Azerbaijan had granted Israel access to its airbases for a possible Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. This, along with several other developments, created a diplomatic uproar. Jerusalem and Baku denied the allegations both at the government and media levels. Israeli and Azerbaijani analysts argued that Perry’s article was written with the intention of tarnishing the image of Israel and Israel-Azerbaijan relations by portraying them as a hostile partnership of convenience. They added such a scenario was impossible, as it would be political suicide for Baku. The balance of power between Iran and Azerbaijan is tilted more to the Iranian side; it is highly unlikely that Baku would allow a third party to attack the Islamic Republic through its territory, as it would be very difficult for Azerbaijan to protect itself against any potential Iranian military retaliation against Baku.
Iran has expressed its disapproval of intelligence sharing between Israel and Azerbaijan on numerous occasions. As early as 1995, when an Israeli delegation came to Baku, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) claimed the visit was in fact a secret mission to train Azerbaijani security agents, which the Azerbaijani government denied. In another development in 2012, Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the Azerbaijani ambassador, Javanshir Akhundov, accusing Azerbaijan of assisting Israel’s intelligence services in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan. According to Iran, the assassination was carried out by Israeli secret services through their safe havens in Azerbaijan. Baku asserted the allegations were baseless.
Iran thus considers Israel a threat to its national security, claiming the Jewish state operates through and with the help of Azerbaijan. At the same time, Israel believes Iran endangers its own national security, as Iranian national representatives have threatened the State of Israel on numerous occasions. Moreover, both Israel and Azerbaijan feel threatened by alleged Iranian intelligence networks operating within Azerbaijan. In addition to accusing Iran of attempting to spread fundamental forms of Islam in the country, several terrorists allegedly sent by Iran have been arrested for plotting attacks against Jewish and Western targets in the country. All of these individuals were arrested before managing to carry out the attacks. In 2012, for example, 22 allegedly Iranian-hired and trained terrorists were arrested for planning attacks against the Israeli and U.S. embassies and against Western-owned companies. The same year, the Azerbaijani authorities arrested a suspected terror cell linked to the Iranian secret services. Again in 2012, two people were arrested and accused of plotting to murder two teachers at a Jewish school in Baku. Several years earlier, in 2007, Azerbaijan convicted 15 people of being part of an Iranian spy network that was relaying intelligence on Western and Israeli activities.
Israel’s political and economic cooperation with Azerbaijan and the long-lasting friendship between the two countries prove Jerusalem’s point that collaboration and peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Jews is possible. It shows that Israel’s conflict with most of the Muslim-majority states and societies is a political conflict that does not involve all the Muslims. At the same time, this cooperation disproves Iran’s view that Israeli-Muslim coexistence is inherently impossible. This undermines the legitimacy of Iran’s policy, which tries to portray the State of Israel as an enemy of Muslims. Considering the geographic distance between Israel and Iran as well as Azerbaijan’s desire to avoid a direct confrontation with its neighbor, it is unlikely that this divergence would escalate into an armed conflict. Moreover, ethnic Azerbaijanis are the second largest ethnic group in Iran (The precise percentage of the ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran is difficult to determine, and estimates range from 16 to 40 percent.) and they have close ties to the Republic of Azerbaijan. Confrontation with Azerbaijan would therefore not only be political suicide for Baku, but could also result in a civil war in Iran.
It should also be mentioned here that there are no active hostilities between Azerbaijan and Iran. The main issue that has stressed relations is the religion factor. Azerbaijan cherishes its secular history, while Iran is an Islamic republic that rejects secular politics. Apart from the religious factor, the other point of disagreement between Iran and Azerbaijan is over the demarcation of the Caspian Sea, an issue that led to diplomatic clashes between the two. Nevertheless, this has not impacted the course of their bilateral ties. The analysis of Iran versus Israel/Azerbaijan presented herein thus shows that this struggle is a mere battle of perceptions and is unlikely to lead to an armed conflict.
The real confrontation is with regard to the idea of the Jewish-Muslim struggle and secularism versus religious forms of governance. In Iranian political discourse, Israel is an enemy of Muslims and threatens their coexistence. Thus, cooperation between a Muslim country and the Jewish state should not be possible. As an Islamic republic in the Middle East following the current Muslim political orientation, Tehran is merely affirming what is considered legitimate in this context of cultural politics. Israeli statesmen, on the other hand, through their cooperation with Azerbaijan and other Muslim-majority countries willing to cooperate with Jerusalem, are attempting to prove the contrary. In the middle of these two are Azerbaijani foreign policy executives, who are not attempting to prove or disprove the possibility of Israeli-Muslim coexistence, as this has never been a disputed issue in Azerbaijani politics or culture. For Azerbaijan, there is a shared threat perception with Israel and mutual opportunities, and Jerusalem has proven a reliable partner for Baku. At the same time, Azerbaijan has attempted to find a delicate balance between Israel and Iran. Still, Baku’s foreign policy orientation is closer to Jerusalem. Azerbaijan, which cherishes and affirms its secular nature, has proved Israel’s stance that Muslims and Israelis can have good relations, an idea rejected by Iran.
Nonetheless, as mentioned previously, there are no ongoing hostilities or conflicts between Iran and Azerbaijan. The main points of tension are rather Azerbaijan’s perception of the threat of radical Islamist forces within the country–which Baku believes are sponsored and trained by Iran and to some degree–and the dispute over the demarcation of the Caspian Sea. In other areas, Azerbaijan and Iran have working level relations. In the summer of 2016, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Iran, and Russia held a trilateral summit meeting in Baku to discuss cooperation in various areas, such as countering religious extremism, cultural transfers, industry, trade, energy, and health. It seems that since the Islamic State (IS) gained a stronghold in the Middle East, the meaning of the term “radical” has also begun to change. Azerbaijan, which has in the past regarded Iran’s Islamic regime with suspicion, is now ready to collaborate with it on matters pertaining to religious extremism. In a separate development, in 2017, there have been reports in the media on new positive developments between Israel and some Arab states, notably, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, which as of the writing of this article, do not have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
As a developed state, Israel has a strong dependence on hydrocarbon resources. Though the country has sizeable shale oil deposits, this form of hydrocarbon has not really been exploited due to the difficulty of separating fuel from stone. Until gas discoveries starting from 1999, Israel relied entirely on imported energy–except for a brief period when Sinai was occupied by Israel. For Jerusalem its energy policies are matters of national security.
Israel’s immediate neighborhood is abundant in energy. Due to the conflict with the Palestinians, however, and its conflictual relationship with the neighboring Arab states, it lacks energy security. Until major gas discoveries in Israel, securing its oil supply was a top priority due to the fact that the oil market was dominated by Arab states. During the Cold War, Israel sustained its energy from Egypt, West Africa, the North Sea region, and South America. For a brief period, after the 1967 Six Day War, Israel became self-sufficient in energy as a result of Egypt’s defeat and the Israeli acquisition of the Sinai Peninsula, and thus control of Sinai’s oil fields. Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, however, and negotiations with Egypt, Israel lost control of Sinai along with its oil reserves.
After the Cold War, Israel’s energy focus shifted toward Russia and the CIS region, from which it continues to import its energy. With 40 percent of Israel’s oil coming from Azerbaijan, the country is its largest oil supplier. Immediately after the Cold War ended in 1991, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) proposed a petrol pipeline project to the Azerbaijani government. Israel supported this proposal, and Jewish groups in the United States also lobbied to draw American support. In 1997, during Netanyahu’s visit to Azerbaijan, he discussed an oil pipeline project that would transport Caspian oil through a pipeline to Turkey’s Ceyhan port, and from there a possible pipeline extension to Israel. As of the writing of this article, Israel receives its oil from Azerbaijan via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which follows the route proposed in the 1990s and is transported by tankers to Israel from the port of Ceyhan.
Israeli-Azerbaijani energy trade relations expanded in 2012, when the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) acquired a five percent share in Med Ashdod, Israel’s only economically viable oil field, and began drilling operations. For SOCAR, which aspires to become an international energy producer, Med Ashdod is its first experience outside of the Caspian Basin. As for Israel, it has used this as an opportunity to learn energy production techniques. Former Ambassador of Israel to Azerbaijan Rafael Harpaz mentioned in his 2015 interview with the Jewish News Service (JNS) that Israel wishes to learn more about energy production expertise, such as drilling and financing, because as a country that has only recently discovered its gas reserves, it lacks expertise in this area. In exchange, he mentioned, Israel would share its knowledge with Azerbaijan in other areas it is stronger in, such as technology, agriculture, medicine, and cyber.
In addition to providing oil, Azerbaijan also has the potential to become a transport hub for Central Asian energy to Israel. In the late 1990s, the Merhav Deal–run by Merhav, the Israel-based multinational corporation with expertise in project development and financing–aimed to transport Turkmen, Kazakh, and Azerbaijani gas to the Israeli and European markets through Azerbaijan. Then President of Azerbaijan Haydar Aliyev agreed to the proposed plan but the project never materialized due to Russian pressure. Israel now hopes to become an energy transportation hub itself. To this end, Israel is working on a project to transport Azerbaijani oil to the East Asian markets via the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline. If materialized, this would strengthen Israeli-Azerbaijani ties by creating interdependencies and providing economic profit to both states.
When it comes to natural gas as an energy resource, Israel’s gas discoveries are not sufficient in quantity to enable it to enter the world market; nonetheless, Israeli gas reserves are a game-changer for its energy security and regional dynamics. As Israel continues its discovery operations, the extent of its energy reserves is still unknown. Throughout its history, Israel lacked energy resources, while its neighbors had plenty. Despite Israeli efforts to draw prospective explorers, few major energy companies were interested in exploring for Israeli reserves for fear that such activities would result in their exclusion from energy projects with oil-producing Arab countries.
Israel’s first energy discovery was only in 1999, when gas fields near Ashkelon were found. This was followed by other similar discoveries. In 2000, gas fields offshore Gaza were discovered, however, from 2007, the Gaza Strip has been ruled by Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel and many other governments. In 2009, the Tamar gas field near the city of Haifa was discovered. It now generates more than half of Israel’s electricity needs. The most significant breakthrough occurred in 2010, when Noble Energy located Leviathan, Israel’s largest gas field discovery thus far (as of the writing of this article) and of which Noble now owns 40 percent. This was also Noble Energy’s largest gas discovery. However, development plans for Leviathan only began in 2016, after political and legal obstacles to operationalizing the gas field were removed. Noble and partners assume that Leviathan may also contain oil, and they plan to drill deeper.
In light of these developments, Israel’s Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz spoke of the vision of Israel becoming a major player in the energy market in the next decade, due to the likelihood that more gas reserves will be found. For now, Israel is planning on becoming a gas exporter to regional countries such as Egypt and Turkey. Those have a potential to be further reinforced by “Israel Energy Revolution 2020,” which aims to transform coal and oil systems to gas and solar energy by 2020. In this regard, Israel’s dependence on gas would increase.
Prior to these discoveries, Israel’s gas imports came primarily from Egypt. Despite a peace treaty signed between the two nations in 1979–under the leadership of then Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin and then President of Egypt Anwar Sadat–the peace between Jerusalem and Cairo has been rather cold due to the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. Egypt thus became the first Arab nation to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, and as a result, Israel agreed to withdraw from Sinai Peninsula. Nevertheless, relations between the two states have been restricted to the political elite level, as the majority of Egyptian public opinion opposes these ties, in a bid of solidarity with Palestinian Arabs. It is possible to argue that due to the Egyptian public’s negative attitude toward Israel, Israel’s gas security from Egypt depends solely on the decisionmakers and is not certain for the long-term. Since 2008, when Egyptian government, as a result of pressure from opposition groups, decided to review gas deals with its clients, including Israel, the latter resolved to shift its gas focus toward Azerbaijan as an alternative.
Before the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident with Turkey, there were plans to build an underwater gas pipeline from the Turkish port of Ceyhan to the Israeli city of Haifa to transport the Azerbaijani gas to Israel. Like the Merhav Deal, however, the project was dissolved, this time due to the Turkish-Israeli diplomatic row. In the summer of 2016, Erdogan and Netanyahu entered talks to discuss normalizing relations. Netanyahu’s decision was spontaneous, and his cabinet and public opinion were not consulted. The halted project has not, as of the writing of this article, been discussed. Turkey is also dealing with the aftermath of the July 2016 failed military coup against Erdogan, which took place shortly after these talks began. For both Jerusalem and Ankara, it is still unclear if the project will be resumed. The fact that Israel is engaged in developing its own gas reserves casts some doubt on prospects for renewal of the old project. It is mainly up to Israeli statesmen tasked with foreign and energy policy to decide whether renewing the project would be viable.
Cooperation with Azerbaijan has offered Israel energy alternatives at affordable prices and has reinforced these strategic ties. After gaining independence, Azerbaijan became an alternative source of energy not only for Israel, but also for the West. Israel and Azerbaijan realized early on that energy cooperation is the best way to protect Caspian energy resources.
The discovery of gas reserves in Israel, especially in Leviathan, and subsequent plans to transform its energy policy to give predominance to the use of natural gas does not mean an end to the Israel-Azerbaijan energy partnership. First, the two countries already have an established oil route, which Israel is also planning to turn into a transit hub to East Asia and India. Second, both states cooperate in the development of energy technologies and knowledge sharing on drilling and exploration. Energy ties, thus, do not necessarily need to involve only imports and exports, but can also include many other possible avenues to strengthen the bilateral relations further by creating shared experiences and interdependencies.
Trade relations between Azerbaijan and Israel began in the context of Israel’s early attempts to create economic development projects with its peripheral allies in the 1990s. Jerusalem aided Baku in establishing a modern, liberal, freer market economy that would enable Azerbaijan to secure its independence from Russia and assure an active role for Israel in the Azerbaijani economy and military. The number of Israeli businessmen in Azerbaijan has steadily increased over the years. Today, in addition to collaboration in the energy sector, Israeli-Azerbaijani trade cooperation and expertise exchanges encompass the fields of telecommunications, agriculture, construction, tourism, heavy machinery, and technology. Agriculture is Azerbaijan’s second largest economic sector after energy. As in the Central Asian republics, Israel was actively sharing its agricultural expertise, most notably through Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation. The first investment by an Israeli firm in Azerbaijan was by Bezeq, a major Israeli telecommunications provider, which bought a large share of Azerbaijan’s national telephone operating system. Later, as a joint venture between the Israeli GTIB and Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communication, they established Bakcell, the first, as of the writing of this article, and the second largest cell phone operator in the country. Other Israeli products, such as Strauss ice creams and Macabee beers have also begun to enter the Azerbaijani market. In 1992, direct charter flights between the two countries also began to operate. In 2013, the two countries entered negotiations for the cancellation of double taxation in order to facilitate trade.
However, arms in fact account for the bulk of trade between the two states. From the time of its independence in 1991, Azerbaijan’s only access to modern weaponry was through Israel. During the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Israel took a fierce stand in support of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and supplied it with Stinger missiles and other weapons. Since then, Baku has purchased vast numbers of modern high-tech weaponry from Jerusalem. In the framework of military cooperation, Jerusalem has been highly involved in the modernization of the Azerbaijani military and training of its security and intelligence services. According to Emil Souleimanov, Maya Ehrmann, and Huseyn Aliyev’s analyses, energy, agricultural, and other areas of trade has been steadily growing, but there was a sudden boom in military trade from the 2000s. According to them, this trade growth is related to the security threat Iran is seen posing, as it coincided with the deterioration of relations between Baku and Tehran.
However, Azerbaijani-Iranian ties have not worsened significantly since 2000 to the degree that would necessitate an arms build-up solely to secure Azerbaijani territory from a possible Iranian attack. Rather, two other factors can explain this. First, the Azerbaijani economy saw a major improvement in the 2000s, which allowed the government to allocate greater resources to the army. Second, analyses of this increase in arms deals since the 2000s with Azerbaijan should also take into account Israel’s unstable relationship with Turkey. Around this time, in 2003, Erdogan’s AKP came to power, straining Israeli-Turkish relations. Increased arms trade with Azerbaijan, however, allowed Israel to recuperate losses resulting from its faltering relationship with Turkey.
As for the reason behind investing in arms in the first place, Azerbaijan is a small state, located among strong powers, and is engaged in a border conflict with its neighbor. Israel is in a similar situation within its immediate neighborhood, though in its case, instead of being surrounded by mostly strong countries with unstable foreign policies, it is surrounded by nations that are hostile toward the State of Israel. Jerusalem and Baku’s similar outlook on regional threats and opportunities is, therefore, the primary motivation for these strong collaborative attempts. Azerbaijan has been up against such challenges since the 1990s, however, the sudden boom in arms trading between Baku and Jerusalem in the 2000s can be attributed to Azerbaijan’s improved economic situation and increased tensions in the Turkish-Israeli relationship–which happened to fall into the same timeline.
Examples of Israeli military, security, and trade cooperation with Azerbaijan are numerous. In 2011, as part of a joint venture between Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense and Israel’s Aeronautics Defense Systems–the third largest Israeli UAV manufacturer–Azerbaijan’s Azad Systems Cooperation began manufacturing the Aerostar and Orbiter 2M UAVs (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles). The agreement stipulated that 70 percent would be produced in Israel and the rest in Azerbaijan. The following year, in 2012, Baku and Jerusalem signed $ 1.6 billion arms trade deal, mainly for drones and missile defense systems. This created an uproar in the international media. In addition, that same year rumors emerged, as published by Foreign Policy magazine, that Azerbaijan had granted airspace to Israel, which greatly worried Iran. In a significant development in 2016, during clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, it was recognized that Israeli Harop drones were being used. The Washington Post identified the drones as belonging to Israeli Aerospace Industries Harop due to their winged shape and nose. A spokesperson for Armenia’s Defense Ministry, Artsun Hovhannisyan, also claimed that the drone that hit the bus full of Armenian volunteers was Israeli-made. At the same time, The Times of Israel reported that Azerbaijani military planes had landed in Israel at the height of the skirmishes. As Raoul Wootliff commented, “This is not the first time Israel has been accused of helping Azerbaijan in the conflict, but allowing an Azerbaijani military aircraft to land in Israel would represent an upgrade in cooperation between the two countries, which have long maintained cordial ties.”
Ties between the two states had attracted little attention prior to the 2012 $1.6 billion deal, but have since been reported on more widely in the Azerbaijani and Israeli media. While Azerbaijani media outlets have focused more on the opinions of high-ranking Israeli statesmen and experts concerning relations and the future ramifications, the Israeli media has been concentrated more on specific developments. For instance, the Israeli media reported extensively on the role of the Israeli defense industries during the 2016 clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh. It should be mentioned, however, that the government of Israel has not made any official comment or expressed its stance on the clashes. Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli minister of defense and former minister of foreign affairs, did, however, affirm his support for Azerbaijan. These developments suggest that Baku and Jerusalem, though hesitant, may be closer to going more public about their ties.
As an isolated country within the Greater Middle East, Israel’s alliance of periphery is of vital importance. In a hostile political climate in which Israel is often viewed as a nation that is anti-Muslim, it has enabled Jerusalem to find new regional allies. . Even countries that do not oppose the Jewish State and have and continue to benefit from ties with Israel prefer to sideline this to ensure their own national and regional survival. Since its inception, many countries have been part of Israel’s alliance of periphery, including Iran and Turkey, which were once Israel’s most important peripheral allies. Today, this role is filled by Azerbaijan.
Jerusalem first reached out to Baku, immediately after Azerbaijan had gained independence, through Turkey. Israel proposed cooperation and offered assistance. Azerbaijan accepted, first, because as a new state wrecked with war, it lacked an alternative and was willing to accept any help Turkey and Israel had to offer. Second, the decisionmakers in Baku trusted the Jewish state’s intentions due to its history of positive relations with the Jews. Tehran also offered assistance during the early years of Azerbaijani independence, but at the time, the pan-Turkist President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ebulfez Elchibey, alienated it due to his distrust of the Islamic Republic. Iran later ended up developing closer ties with Armenia instead. Israel, however, fulfilled its promise and provided assistance to Azerbaijan as needed–both material, such as money and arms, as well as in laying the foundations for self-sustainment, such as sharing expertise and investment.
Israel’s foreign policy toward Azerbaijan covers three main areas. It is easy for Baku and Jerusalem to align their regional foreign policies, as both have similar outlooks on the region, which facilitates cooperation in areas related to their national securities. The main need for alignment of regional and national security policies arises from the threats posed by radical Islamist forces and the Islamic Republic of Iran, though in different manners. For Israel, these forces are viewed as a threat to its very existence as a state; while in case of Azerbaijan, they are perceived as more of a danger to the political regime and possible radicalization of some segments of society. Second, Baku and Jerusalem trade and cooperate in energy. Azerbaijan has abundant sources of hydrocarbons, while Israel has only recently discovered its gas deposits. This allows them to trade, expand their customer networks, and learn the industry from each other. Last, apart from energy, the arms trade accounts for a major percentage of trade between Israel and Azerbaijan, a factor that is also related to regional and national security perceptions.
At the beginning of the second wave of the alliance, Azerbaijan was merely one of the peripheral alliance states Israel had approached along with the new republics of Central Asia. However, Baku took on Israel’s offer for assistance and advanced cooperation. This eventually turned into a secret alliance, with Azerbaijan becoming Israel’s most trusted stronghold in the Greater Middle East; and Israel (along with Turkey) soon became Azerbaijan’s most reliable partner and its gateway to full independence. Today’s Azerbaijan is a far cry from that of the 1990s, which was isolated and wrecked with hyperinflation. Now, Baku itself is an equal partner and has much to offer Israel in areas with which it needs assistance, such as expertise in energy infrastructures and collaboration on economic projects. This partnership has the potential to move beyond the peripheral alliance toward a fully-fledged alliance, promising to end Jerusalem’s regional isolation to some degree and to improve Israel’s image in the Middle East. In order for this to happen, however, statesmen and businessmen in Israel and Azerbaijan would need to invest more in this partnership and create interdependencies.
*Aynur Bashirova is a visiting fellow at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs and a Ph.D. student at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), focusing on Israel-Azerbaijan relations. Originally from Azerbaijan, she holds an M.A. from the University of Kent (Brussels) in the International Law of War as well as an advanced Master’s from VUB (Brussels) on European Social and Political Integration. Her B.A. is from Vesalius College (Belgium) in International Relations. She has interned at the Council of Europe, Turkish Industry and Business Association in Brussels, Belgian Royal Higher Military Institute of Defence, and the European Parliament. She is also a board member of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association of Belgium. She speaks Azerbaijani, Russian, Turkish, English, and French.
*Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sozen is Vice-Director for Academic Affairs at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU).
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 Murinson, “The Ties Between Israel and Azerbaijan,” p. 9; Gallia Lindenstrauss, “Israel-Azerbaijan: Despite Constraints, a Special Relationship,” Strategic Assessment, Vol. 17, No. 4 (January 2015), http://www.inss.org.il/publication/israel-azerbaijan-despite-the-constraints-a-special-relationship/, p. 76.
 Aras, “Post-Cold War Realities,” p. 68; Jacob Abadi, Israel’s Quest for Recognition and Acceptance in Asia (London: Frank Cass, 2004), p. 1; Mahir Khalifa-Zadeh, “Israel and Azerbaijan: To Counteract Iran,” Central Asia and the Caucasus, Vol. 13, No. 3 (2012), p. 76.
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 Khalifa-Zadeh, “Israel and Azerbaijan: To Counteract Iran,” p. 72; European Foundation for Democracy, Secularism in Azerbaijan and the Threat of Radicalization in the Region (Brussels: European Foundation for Democracy, 2015), http://europeandemocracy.eu/2015/06/secularism-in-azerbaijan-and-the-threat-of-radicalisation-in-the-region/, p. 26; Shahla Sultanova, “The Criminal Portrayal of Wahhabis: Representations of ‘Wahhabis’ in Azerbaijani Mainstream Media,” Atlantic Community, http://archive.atlantic-community.org/app/webroot/files/articlepdf/WahhabismCriminalPicture.pdf, p. 3.
 Gary Mortimer, “Azeris Get Israeli UAVs Built Under License,” sUAS News, October 7, 2011, https://www.suasnews.com/2011/10/azeris-get-israel-uavs-built-under-license/; Emil Souleimanov, Maya Ehrmann, Huseyn Aliyev, “Focused on Iran? Exploring the Rationale Behind the Strategic Relationship Between Azerbaijan and Israel,” Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, Vol. 14, No. 4 (2014), p. 479; Oguzhan Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran: A Political Economy of Azerbaijan-Israel Relations,” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 42, No. 4 (2015), http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13530194.2015.1048973?journalCode=cbjm20, p. 668.
 Khalifa-Zadeh, “Israel and Azerbaijan: To Counteract Iran,” p. 76; Souleimanov, Ehrmann, Aliyev, “Focused on Iran?” p. 482.
 Khalifa-Zadeh, “Israel and Azerbaijan: To Counteract Iran,” p. 71; Alina Sharon, “The Improbable Romance Between Israel and Azerbaijan,” Jewish News Service (JNS), December 22, 2014.
 Gawdat Bahgat, “Israel’s Energy Security: The Caspian Sea and the Middle East,” Israel Affairs, Vol. 16, No. 3 (2010), http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13537121.2010.487729?journalCode=fisa20, p. 406; Souleimanov, Ehrmann, Aliyev, “Focused on Iran?” p. 478.
 Institute for Economics and Peace, Global Terrorism Index 2015 (Institute for Economics and Peace, 2015), http://economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Global-Terrorism-Index-2015.pdf, p. 10; Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 661. European Foundation for Democracy, Secularism in Azerbaijan, p. 68.
 Khalifa-Zadeh, “Israel and Azerbaijan: To Counteract Iran,” p. 71; Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 663; European Foundation for Democracy, Secularism in Azerbaijan.
 In the Corridors of Power of the Islamic Republic of Iran, September 18, 2014, CECID, ULB, Brussels, http://www.medea.be/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/CECI2014-EN.pdf.
 Souleimanov, Ehrmann, Aliyev, “Focused on Iran?” p. 480.
 Mark Perry, “Israel’s Secret Staging Ground,” Foreign Policy, March 28, 2012, http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/03/28/israels-secret-staging-ground/.
 David Streeter, “Israeli Analysts Debunk Azerbaijan Myth,” NJDC, April 2, 2012. Souleimanov, Ehrmann, Aliyev, “Focused on Iran?” p. 484.
 Aras, “Post-Cold War Realities,” p. 73.
 “Iran Summons Azeri Envoy over Scientist Killing,” Reuters, February 12, 2012 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-azerbaijan-idUSTRE81B0OS20120212; Souleimanov, Ehrmann, Aliyev, “Focused on Iran?” p. 480.
 Louis Charbonneau, “In New York, Defiant Ahmadinejad Says Israel Will Be ‘Eliminated,’” Reuters, September 24, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-assembly-ahmadinejad-idUSBRE88N0HF20120924. Douglas Ernst, “Iran Threatens to Raze Israel ‘in Less Than 8 Minutes’ on Khamenei’s Orders,” The Washington Times, May 23, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/23/iran-taunts-israel-we-will-raze-the-zionist-regime/.
 “Azerbaijan Arrests Alleged Iran-Hired Terrorists,” Fox News, March 14, 2012, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/03/14/22-arrested-in-azerbaijan-in-plot-on-us-israeli-embassies.html; Yaakov Katz, “Azerbaijan Arrests 22 over Terror Plot,” Jerusalem Post, March 14, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/International/Azerbaijan-arrests-22-over-terror-plot-261837.
 “Did Iran Plot to Kill Israelis in Azerbaijan?” CBS News, February 21, 2012, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/did-iran-plot-to-kill-israelis-in-azerbaijan/; Khalifa-Zadeh, “Israel and Azerbaijan: To Counteract Iran,” p. 77.
 Artak Grigoryan, “Priority Directions in the Foreign Policy of Israel: South Caucasus and Central Asia,” Noravank Foundation, September 22, 2009, http://www.noravank.am/eng/issues/detail.php?ELEMENT_ID=3623; Khalifa-Zadeh, “Israel and Azerbaijan: To Counteract Iran,” p. 71.
 James Minahan, Encyclopedia of Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World (2002), p. 1765; “Iran,” United Nations Population Fund, 2012, http://iran.unfpa.org/Country%20Profile.asp; Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), “Middle East: Iran,” CIA World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html.
 Ariel Cohen, “Iran’s Claim over Caspian Sea Resources Threaten Energy Security,” Heritage , September 5, 2002, http://www.heritage.org/middle-east/report/irans-claim-over-caspian-sea-resources-threaten-energy-security; Brenda Shaffer, “Iran’s Role in the South Caucasus and Caspian Region: Diverging Views of the US and Europe,” in Eugene Whitlock (ed.), Iran and Its Neighbors: Diverging Views on a Strategic Region, (Berlin: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, 2003), http://www.belfercenter.org/node/89731, p. 14.
 “Putin, Aliyev, i Rouxani Otkryvayut Novoyu Stranitcu v Geopolitike” [“Putin, Aliyev, and Rouhani Are Opening a New Page in Geopolitics”], Haqqin, August 6, 2016, https://haqqin.az/news/77089; Hamik Huseynov, “Lovkij Xod Ilxama Aliyeva Menyaet Mirovuyu Politiku” [“Ilham Aliyev’s Stroke of Genius Changes World Politics”], AZE, August 9, 2016, http://aze.az/news_lovkiy_hod_ilhama_134681.html.
 Jack Rosen, “Do Israel and the Gulf States Share Interests That Could Lead to Closer Relations?” The Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2015, http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Do-Israel-and-the-Gulf-states-share-interests-that-could-lead-to-closer-relations-410424; Adam Rasgon, “Member of Saudi Delegation: Israeli Society Wants Peace,” The Jerusalem Post, July 31, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Member-of-Saudi-delegation-Israeli-society-want-peace-462856;
 Brenda Shaffer, “Israel–New Natural Gas Producer in the Mediterranean,” Energy Policy, Vol. 39, No. 9, (September 2011), p. 5380.
 Ibid. p. 5380.
 Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 664.
 Bahgat, “Israel’s Energy Security,” p. 407.
 Ibid, p. 406. Souleimanov, Ehrmann, Aliyev, “Focused on Iran?” p. 478; Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 664.
 Brenda Shaffer, “Azerbaijan’s Cooperation with Israel Goes Beyond Iran Tensions,” The Washington Institute Policy Watch, No. 2067, April 16, 2013, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/azerbaijans-cooperation-with-israel-goes-beyond-iran-tensions; Herb Keinon, “Top Aid to Azerbaijan President: Israel Important Strategic Partner,” Jerusalem Post, January 27, 2015, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Top-aid-to-Azerbaijan-president-Israel-important-strategic-partner-389060; Lindenstrauss, “Israel-Azerbaijan,” p. 73.
 Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 665.
 Aras, “Post-Cold War Realities,” p. 74.
 Sharon, “The Improbable Romance Between Israel and Azerbaijan.”
 “From the Conversation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with the Israeli Delegation Headed by Joseph Mayman, the President of the Merhav Company,” Aliyevheritage.org, 1999; Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 667.
 Abilov, “The Azerbaijan-Israel Relations,” p. 156; Ariel Cohen and Kevin DeCarla-Souza, “Eurasian Energy and Israel’s Choices,” Mideast Security and Policy Studies, February 1, 2011, p. 31.
 Maite de Boncourt, “Offshore Gas in East Mediterranean: From Myth to Reality,” IFRI, May 14, 2013, https://www.ifri.org/en/publications/enotes/notes-de-lifri/offshore-gas-east-mediterranean-myth-reality; David Wurmser, “The Geopolitics of Israel’s Offshore Gas Reserves,” Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, April 4, 2013, http://jcpa.org/article/the-geopolitics-of-israels-offshore-gas-reserves/, p. 8; Shaffer, “Israel-New Natural Gas Producer in the Mediterranean,” p. 5380.
 Shaffer, “Israel-New Natural Gas Producer in the Mediterranean,” p. 5381; Simon Henderson, “Israel’s Leviathan Gas Field: Politics and Reality,” The Washington Institute Policy Watch, No. 2636, June 23, 2016, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/israels-leviathan-gas-field-politics-and-reality.
 Michelle Grossman, “Steinitz Says Israel Will Soon Find ‘As Much As Four Leviathans’ Worth of Gas in New Fields,” The Jerusalem Post, June 17, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Steinitz-says-Israel-will-soon-find-as-much-as-four-Leviathans-worth-of-gas-in-new-fields-457041.
 Sharon Udasin, “Steinitz Approves First Gas Export Deal to Egypt.” The Jerusalem Post, December 23, 2015, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Steinitz-approves-first-gas-export-deal-to-Egypt-438241; Tamar Pileggi, “Energy Minister Predicts Vast New Offshore Gas Reserves,” The Times of Israel, June 16, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/energy-minister-predicts-vast-new-offshore-gas-reserves/.
 Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 667.
 Nissan Ratzav-Katz, October 2008. Israel Looks at Azerbaijan Option as Egypt Reviews Gas Exports. Brenda Shaffer, “Natural Gas Supply Stability and Foreign Policy.” Energy Policy (2012), p. 8; Israel National News. Accessed 18 July 2016; Bahgat, “Israel’s Energy Security,” p. 413.
 Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 666.
 Herb Keinon, and Gil Hoffman, “Security Cabinet Approves Turkey Reconciliation Deal 7-3,” The Jerusalem Post, June 29, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Security-cabinet-approves-Turkey-reconciliation-deal-7-3-459042; Mati Tuchfeld, “Big Step, Small Politics,” Israel Hayom, July 1, 2016, http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=34703.
 Bourtman, “Israel and Azerbaijan’s Furtive Embrace.”
 Cagaptay and Murinson “Good Relations Between Azerbaijan and Israel”; Bourtman, “Israel and Azerbaijan’s Furtive Embrace”; Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 668.
 Erdogan, “Azerbaijan-Israel Relations,” p. 35; Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 657; Souleimanov, Ehrmann, Aliyev, “Focused on Iran?” p. 479.
 Bourtman, “Israel and Azerbaijan’s Furtive Embrace”; Erdogan, “Azerbaijan-Israel Relations,” p. 35; Souleimanov, Ehrmann, Aliyev, “Focused on Iran?” p. 479.
 A. Akhundov, S. Ahmedova. “Ambassador: Azerbaijan, Israel to Sign Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation,” Trend News, September 24, 2013, http://en.trend.az/business/economy/2193735.html; Nigar Orujova, “Azerbaijan, Israel to Ink Double Taxation Accord,” Azer News, February 14, 2014, https://www.azernews.az/business/64405.html.
 Svante Cornell, Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus (UK: Routledge Curzon, 2001), p. 393; Cagaptay and Murinson, “Good Relations Between Azerbaijan and Israel”; Khalifa-Zadeh, “Israel and Azerbaijan: To Counteract Iran,” p. 74.
 Souleimanov, Ehrmann, Aliyev, “Focused on Iran?” p. 480.
 Anar Valiyev, “Nagorno-Karabakh: Twenty Years Under Damocles’ Sword,” Demokratizatsiya, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Spring 2012), https://www2.gwu.edu/~ieresgwu/assets/docs/demokratizatsiya%20archive/GWASHU_DEMO_20_2/P528M63115145420/P528M63115145420.pdf, p. 200; Milda Seputyte, “Oil Riches Help Azerbaijan Outgun Armenia in Military Spending,” Bloomberg, April 6, 2016.
 Sue Surkes, “Azerbaijan Said Using Israeli Drones Against Armenians,” The Times of Israel, April 7, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/azerbaijan-said-using-israeli-drones-against-armenians/; Raoul Wootliff, “Azeri Military Planes Landed in Israel During Armenia Fighting,” The Times of Israel, April 26, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/azeri-military-planes-landed-in-israel-amid-nagorno-karabakh-conflict-report/.
 Mortimer, “Azeris Get Israeli UAVs Built Under License”; Souleimanov, Ehrmann, Aliyev, “Focused on Iran?” p. 480.
 “Israel Inks $1.6 Billion Arms Deal with Azerbaijan,” Ynet News, February 26, 2016, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4195081,00.html; Thomas Grove, “Insight – Azerbaijan Eyes Aiding Israel Against Iran,” Reuters, October 1, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-israel-azerbaijan-idUSBRE88T05L20121001; Goksel, “Beyond Countering Iran,” p. 669.
 Thomas Gibbons-Neff, “Israeli-Made Kamikaze Drone Spotted in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict,” The Washington Post, April 5, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/04/05/israeli-made-kamikaze-drone-spotted-in-nagorno-karabakh-conflict/?utm_term=.0d6d37776167.
 “Israeli-Made Kamikaze Drone Used by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict,” Massis Post, April 6, 2016, https://massispost.com/2016/04/israeli-made-kamikaze-drone-used-by-azerbaijan-in-nagorno-karabakh-conflict/.
 Wootliff, “Azeri Military Planes Landed in Israel During Armenia Fighting.”
 “Shimon Peres Nazval Vizit Mammedyarova Istoricheskim” [“Shimon Peres Called Mammadyarov’s Visit Historical”], Haqqin, April 22, 2013, https://haqqin.az/news/5223; “Arie Gut: Azerbaijan is a Real Example of Dialogue Between Civilizations,” News.az, January 30, 2014, http://news.az/articles/interviews/86213; Baxram Batiyev, “Eks-Glava MID Izrailya Lieberman: My Ponimaem Slozhnost Polozheniya Azerbaydzhana” [“Former Head of Israeli MFA Lieberman: We Understand the Difficulty of Azerbaijan’s Situation”], Haqqin, February 9, 2016, https://haqqin.az/news/63136.
 Sharon, “The Improbable Romance Between Israel and Azerbaijan”; “New Israeli Drone Allegedly Used in Azerbaijan,” Ynet News, April 7, 2016, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4788471,00.html; Wootliff, “Azeri Military Planes Landed in Israel During Armenia Fighting.”
 Aygun Badalova, “Top Official: Azerbaijan Expects Israel to Comment on Latest Developments in Karabakh,” Trend News., April 5, 2016, http://en.trend.az/azerbaijan/karabakh/2514962.html; Herb Keinon, “Azerbaijani Official to Post: Israel Must Comment on Nagorno-Karabakh,” Jerusalem Post, April 5, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Azerbaijani-official-to-Post-Israel-must-comment-on-Nagorno-Karabakh-450252.
 “Avigdor Lieberman: Azerbaijan’s Position in Karabakh Conflict Justified,” Trend News, April 6, 2016, http://en.trend.az/azerbaijan/politics/2515494.html.
 Cornell, Small Nations and Great Powers, p. 314.