Did Israel Help Azerbaijan Recapture Nagorno-Karabakh?
Israel empowered Azerbaijan with two spy satellites, worth $120 million, for the Azersky-2 program. Now there’s growing speculation that multi-spectral electro-optical spy satellites may have given Azerbaijan the upper hand in the conflict with Armenia and helped Baku recapture the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh corridor.
Israel also played a major role in the second Armenia-Azerbaijan war in 2020. Israeli security and military cooperation played a significant role in the building of Azerbaijan’s military capabilities and the establishment of a home-grown defense industry in Azerbaijan.
Analysts say Israel also trained Azerbaijani military experts on operating various armaments, development of organizational methods and formulation of military doctrine.
Israel’s Role in Nagorno-Karabakh Dispute
Arman Akopian, Armenia’s ambassador to Israel, expressed major concern about Israeli weapons being fired at Armenians. “I don’t see why Israel should not be in the position to express at least some concern about the fate of people being expelled from their homeland.
Late last month, Azerbaijani offensive killed over 200 Armenians via Israel and Turkey supplied heavy artillery, rocket launchers and drones.
This full-out assault forced Armenian separatists to lay down their weapons and call for dialogue.
Experts say Israel has interests in Azerbaijan’s oil and being an arch rival of Iran, it has been helping Baku against Armenia.
An Israeli diplomat said there’s no doubt about Israel’s position in support of Azerbaijan’s defense. “We have a strategic partnership to contain Iran.
Since the 1990s, Azerbaijan and Armenia have rapidly militarized and positioned Nagorno-Karabakh as the site of a globally funded arms build-up. Russia has also been torn between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Though Armenia is a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, Moscow turned its attention to Azerbaijan because it’s a major market for Russian arms exports.
In the 2020 war, Russia deployed nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers in the disputed corridor, but in the 2023 conflict, it failed to help Armenia as it is engaged in the Ukraine war.
Nagorno-Karabakh: Site for Future Proxy War
As millions of ethnic Armenians leave Nagorno-Karabakh, analysts fear the corridor will become a site for future proxy war between Israel and Iran.
After Azerbaijan gained major control over its territories in the 2020 war and the most recent one, it has made Baku less dependent on the Arab countries at the United Nations.
Tigran Balayan, Armenian diplomat, says it’s clear that Israel has a deep interest in keeping a military presence in Azerbaijan, using its territory to keep an eye on Iran. The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh remains tense.