With the grand opening of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Tel Aviv, a new reality is being fostered in the Middle East and this new reality is a great asset to the West. Lev Spivak, who heads Aziz, an Azerbaijani Israeli cultural organization in Israel, stated in an exclusive interview, “I think it is good that they opened the embassy. We waited for many years for this to happen. It will also influence political relations. It will open many more doors for cooperation.” Camilia Ioffe, a famous Israeli Azerbaijani opera singer, concurred: “What happened is historic. This is good for both states. There will be exchanges between the peoples for various things.”
The grand opening of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Tel Aviv definitely assists the West’s struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is because it helps to form a strategic alliance between Turkey, Israel and Azerbaijan, who can stand together united against the mullahs in Tehran. With the assistance of this strategic alliance, South Azerbaijanis can be empowered to secede from Iran together with all of the other ethnic minorities in the country, which includes Balochs, Kurds, Turkmen, Ahwaz, Lors, etc. In the end, this strategic alliance can empower Iran’s ethnic minorities to divide up Iran into a series of little countries, while giving whatever sliver is left to the heir of the Pahlavi dynasty, who is presently in exile via popular mass protests assisted with external support. This then will forever put an end to the masses of Iran chanting “death to America” and “death to Israel.”
Today, America’s position towards Tehran is much closer to Israel’s position. A nuclear deal is presently off the table and tensions between America and Iran are at an all-time high, after the International Court of Justice ruled that it has no jurisdiction over the $1.75bn in frozen assets from Iran’s central bank held in a Citibank account in New York, even as they ordered the US to compensate Iranian companies who had their assets frozen. The United States argued last year that the case should be dismissed because Iran had “unclean hands” and the asset seizures were a result of it sponsoring “terrorism,” stressing that the money was being given in compensation to the victims of the 1983 bombing in Lebanon and other terror attacks linked to Iran.
Given that the opening of the new Azerbaijani Embassy in Tel Aviv helps to strengthen a regional axis against Iran, the Iranians are outraged by it. Since the grand opening of the Azerbaijani Embassy, it has been reported in the media that Iran is up in arms, after Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called for a “united front against Iran” and Baku was silent about it. This comes after an Iranian was found to be responsible for attempting to assassinate an Azerbaijani MP, the Azerbaijanis detained 40 people suspected of spying for Iran and the Azerbaijanis closed down their embassy in Tehran, after it was targeted in a brutal terror attack, which killed a security guard. At the moment, relations between Baku and Tehran are quite tense, with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev outspokenly supporting the right of South Azerbaijanis to be educated in their mother tongue in the wake of violent protests against the Ayatollahs regime, of which many Azerbaijanis support.
Former Israel Consul General to Turkey Eli Shaked added in an exclusive interview regarding the new Azerbaijani Embassy in Tel Aviv: “This is a strategic cooperation between two countries that share a common threat coming from Tehran. Even though Azerbaijan is a Shia country, nevertheless, they feel that Iran is challenging them with its religious fanaticism. They are not interested in having such a radical religious influence on their population. From the Israeli point of view, Azerbaijan is a big and important country in the area bordering Iran. So, it is a common interest by the two countries to have good relations and cooperation, not only military but also strategic. Let us hope for the best. It is a crazy world and a crazy Middle East.”
Prominent French historian Dr. Maxime Gauin noted however that the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel does not only revolve around Iran: “One of the challenges of Azerbaijan in the liberated territories is to improve agriculture and to export as soon as possible. Israel has hi-tech agriculture, but limited space. So there is a beginning of a deal that Israel will provide the technology and Azerbaijan will provide the goods. This is a long term strategy that will continue even if the mullahs collapse. Another issue is that Azerbaijan played a key role in the reconciliation between Turkey and Israel. This can serve as an important triangle for the national security of the two countries.”
Spivak noted that the new Azerbaijani Embassy in Tel Aviv will also open up the door for further cooperation between the two countries in the field of higher education: “Previously, Ambassador Mukhtar Mammadov was the chief of staff in the ministry of education. This can be very helpful for the exchange of students. Azerbaijanis can come to study in Israel and Israelis can come to study in Azerbaijan. There can also be cooperation between the universities initiated.” Ioffe also noted that there can be more cultural cooperation: “I think that there will be more opportunities not only in the musical arena, but also for actors, opera, ballet, etc. The first ballet was written in Azerbaijan, so Azerbaijan has much to offer related to this.”
Naturally, having a Shia majority country open up an embassy in Tel Aviv and establishing normal relations with the Jewish state sends a positive message to the entire region, stressing the importance of continuing the Abraham Accords and having additional countries make peace with Israel. This will greatly assist the Jewish state as it hopes to expand the Abraham Accords to include Indonesia, Somalia, Niger and Mauritania. And by expanding the list of countries seeking peace in the Middle East, the United States will benefit from a more secure atmosphere in the region, especially as this helps to reduce Iranian influence in the wake of the Iranian-Saudi reconciliation agreement.
Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and an Israel-based journalist. She is also the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”