Azerbaijan interested in more Israeli modern weapons systems

By Arie Egozi

Azerbaijan's decision to open an embassy in Israel means more arms deals between the two countries. This according to Israel defence sources.

The embassy in Tel Aviv will be the first representation of a nation with a majority Shiite government in Israel.

In recent years and especially in the first Nagorno Karabach war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Israel sold a variety of advanced weapon systems to the Azeris.

Azerbaijan has a long birder with Iran and Teheran more than once said that Azerbaijan serves as an Israeli front military post.

Defense ties between the two nations are not new, with Azerbaijan a reliable client for Israeli-made weapons systems through the years. Research from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows that Israel accounted for 27 percent of Azerbaijan’s major arms imports from 2011–20. From 2016–20, Israel accounted for 69 percent of Azerbaijan’s major arms imports — a number that represents 17 percent of Israel’s arms exports for that same period.

Among the systems currently in use by Azerbaijan are loitering munitions that were visibly successful during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabach war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. In 2018 the Azeris acquired the Elbit systems SkyStriker loitering weapon system; the Israeli company refused to comment on the contract at the time. In the past the Aziris have also purchased another loitering weapon system, the Harop, made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It also purchased IAI’s Lora, a long-range surface-to-surface precision missile.

And last year, Israeli Defense Company Meteor Aerospace teamed with Caspian Ship Building Company (CSBC) in Azerbaijan, establishing a new local joint venture called Caspian Meteor specifically to go after local defense contracts.

And the Iranians are aware of the close relations between Azerbaijan and Israel and express their concerns. in a recent interview Teheran Times published an interview with  Iran’s ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan . some questions related to the close relations between Azerbaijan and Israel.

The ambassador expressed the concerns in Teheran

“We suspect they (the Israelis) must have special intelligence, security and maybe an intention to do an act of sabotage behind what they are doing, which is under our monitoring. We made the necessary complaints and gave the necessary warnings to the Azeris, and the officials of the Republic of Azerbaijan at different levels have assured us that nothing against the national interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran will happen from the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. ”

And now after the announcement of the Azeris about their decision to open an embassy in Israel, the Israeli sources said that more arms deals are expected and “of a greater variety”

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