Soaring trade and diplomatic ties, including a massive $1.6 billion arms deal, make it clear that Israel has more than a coincidental interest in Azerbaijan, and Israeli diplomats confirmed as much today, with one terming the nation the key to Israel’s “regional aspirations.”
For the “why” of Israel’s recent interest in Azerbaijan, one need only look at a map. The considerable border with Iran and Russia has long made the nation a notorious stomping ground for spies, and few have put as much effort into “infiltrating” Iran with spies, assassins and saboteurs than Israel.
Some reports have even had Israel securing airbases inside Azerbaijan that would be used in its oft-threatened attack on Iran, though this claim has been repeatedly denied by officials.
Still and all, the rumors and the very real arms deals have put Azerbaijan and Iran at serious odds. Both sides have carried out arrests of people suspected of spying for the other nation in recent months, and there is little reason to expect that the relations between the two won’t continue to worsen.