Israeli TV station airs propaganda on Azerbaijan-Israel military relations

(Part II)

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev poses next to an Israeli-built Harop loitering munition drone during an October 5, 2021 visit to Jabrayil (occupied Jrakan), a city near the Iranian border (Photo: President of the Republic of Azerbaijan)

Israel’s international TV station, i24NEWS, aired on January 27 a program that sang the praises of Azerbaijan-Israel military relations and denigrated Armenia and Iran. Last week, we published part 1 of the program. Here is the second and final part. My comments are in brackets:

Henrique Cymerman, an Israeli journalist, narrated the program: “Military relations between Azerbaijan and Israel are getting closer by the minute. Between 2016 and 2020, 69 percent of Baku’s weapons, drones and electronic systems were purchased from Israel. Almost one-fifth of Israeli war materials were exported and sent to Pres. Aliyev’s country. Roman Gurevich is an Israeli political analyst born in Baku. He focuses on relations between the two countries: ‘In the state of Israel, we are taking 40 percent of our fuels from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan uses our technology and we have very important strategic issues in common.’ At the beginning of the 20th century, Baku was already the world capital of oil production. A century ago, half of the world’s oil was produced in Azerbaijan. In addition, during the Communist era in the 1930’s, the dictator Joseph Stalin decided to increase production to the maximum level. After the break of the Second World War, Hitler’s birthday cake did not leave room for doubt [‘Caspian Sea’ was written on his cake]. The goal: to conquer the Caspian Sea, and the cherry on the cake, the city of Baku. The Nazis didn’t succeed. That also contributed to the victory of the allies, since 75 percent of all the oil of the Red Army during the war was from Azerbaijan.”

The Israeli journalist continued: “Baku’s government claims its coalition with Israel is not directed against anyone. But for the regime of the Ayatollah, it is very hard to see how a country with a Muslim majority, and totally Shia, maintains such deep ties with the Jewish state, Iran’s most hated enemy.” Former Israeli Minister Efraim Sneh added: “We are in favor of a strong independent, secular Azerbaijan. And this is the basis of why we are together. In that way, this is very important: oil from Azerbaijan to Israel, defense equipment from us to them. Very important. And we are more involved, people to people, cultural relations. But the basis is energy and defense.”

The narrator then said: “The first President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev [Heydar was not the first President], father of the current president, decided on his alliance with Israel which remains to this day, and has Tehran as a common rival. In 2016, Israeli arms sales were estimated to be worth $2.85 billion. Pres. Aliyev decided that the former Soviet Republic would become the first Shiite Muslim state to open a diplomatic mission in Israel. In recent weeks, Baku’s Secret Services have managed to dismantle an Iranian spy network in the capital. Three agents from Tehran received information from several local citizens with whom they met with a clandestine phone. The Iranian side regularly paid for their services. Azerbaijan’s Security Services claimed that the ultimate goal of this network is to radicalize the country and contribute to the creation of an Islamic State, following the model of the Ayatollah. The President of Azerbaijan declared that religion is like an iceberg—much of it is hidden under water.” Gurevich added: “The second war took place two years ago in 2020 after Armenian soldiers killed two senior officers of the Azerbaijani army [11th lie]. The result is that Azerbaijan reacted and liberated almost all of the occupied territories. When Armenians occupied Azerbaijan, the Iranians didn’t threaten Armenia. They chose to threaten Azerbaijan now [12th lie], after liberating the territory. It’s a very strange thing and a very strange alliance. …Azerbaijan is stronger after this victory with the rapprochement between Israel and Turkey. Iranians are under pressure. Instead of building good ties between neighbors, Iran is creating problems for the whole world.”

The narrator continued: “In the destroyed areas of Karabakh, the Baku government is trying to resettle thousands of refugees. That’s why they are building the first smart cities which are still pilot projects. Refugees resulting from the war with Armenia are settled in areas that were completely destroyed. One of the problems is that the border areas are completely mined. Special army units and civilian companies try to clear the land from booby-traps, but this is a never-ending job…”

The narrator concluded: “The two armed conflicts between Azerbaijan and Armenia exist in a delicate ceasefire. And there are those who say that there aren’t two without a third. But this tense situation is further complicated by Iran’s nuclear race which is closer than ever to having enough uranium to build a nuclear bomb. For Iran to have Israeli agents on its border as allies of Azerbaijan is like having a knife to its throat. On the other hand, the Jewish state will do anything to prevent the Ayatollahs from carrying out their apocalyptic threats. It is like a three-person billiard game, if not more.”

The documentary ended here. The narrator, Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman, was then interviewed live on the Israeli channel. Cymerman said: “I think that Iran is really the reason for this alliance between Israel and Azerbaijan, which is huge. It’s really important. It’s strategic for both countries. I think this opening of [Azerbaijan’s] Embassy [in Israel] is the result of a very long process. It’s also a way of saying to Tehran, ‘Guys, we have a new ally. We have a new friend in the last years, but we want to go all the way….’ And in a way, it’s a message for the Iranians, but it’s also a way of saying to Israel that they want more. They want more relations. I think they improved their strategic situation in their area of the world which is quite problematic. I was in the 700 hundred kilometers of the border between Azerbaijan and Iran, and I saw many things on the Iranian side. There were exercises and maneuvers—I tell about in the report—that are quite threatening for Azerbaijan. So they want Israel as a friend. And that’s exactly what’s happening now.”

When asked if Azerbaijan is concerned about the “powerful enemy, Iran,” Cymerman replied: “Absolutely. They are very concerned. And I think there were also these two wars they had against Armenia in the last 30 years that contributed to this alliance with Israel. Because 30 years ago they had a war when the Russians supported the Armenians [13th lie], and they lost. They lost 20 percent of their territory [it was much less than 20 percent], which is incredible, because it’s like 10,000 square kilometers; it’s like the Lebanese territory—half of Israel. So they lost it and one million Azeri people [it was much less than a million], they say, became refugees. So, now two years ago, in the second Karabakh War, they won because of Israeli technology. I think the Israeli military technology helped them to defeat their enemies, in this case, Armenia. But they also have the Iranian threat. So, they sent a message to Iran saying, ‘now we have new technologies, we have Israel.’ The Azeri President even had an Israeli drone in the picture. In a way, it’s a kind of psychological war, showing that this alliance is really deep and important. They mean business in this relation with Israel.”

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Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh $917 million of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

3 Comments

  1. As armenian from jordan living in canada more than 40 years,lsrael azeri relations our mistake because of our unneccesary diaspora in middle east arab states and lran to thought persians and arabs might help us if our diaspora give up from unstable unsafe middle eastern countries to repatriate to armenia in 90s armenia could be ally of lsrael not azeris we paying price of short sighted diaspora leaders plans in middle east there is no bright nor prosperity future for our diaspora in middle east we experienced that during egypt 1940s jordan 1960s lebanon civil war syria civil war lraq war and our arab neighbours call us you all come with nothing will leave nothing l wish our diaspora realize and move to armenia serve own state.

  2. you are right to call it a propaganda. because there is no sincere and genuine relations of any kind between the two countries. it has only been benefiting Israel and has done Azerbaijan more harm than good. I have not seen the film myself but judging by your accounts most of its claims are not true, if you just care to think about it. it claims that Israel as a good friend help Azerbaijan to win the second karabakh war and liberate occupied territories. if that is the case, why didn’t they help Azerbaijan to win the first karabakh war then, it would have saved their Azerbaijani friends the second karabakh war and billions of dollars. it was not that they didn’t have weapons then, they had just as much weapons then as now. in fact Azerbaijan lost first karabakh was because of Israeli involvement in the country. if it was not for so called friendly military relations between Azerbaijan and Israel, the religious dictatorship in Iran (I am no fan of it) would have stepped in and helped Azerbaijan to defend its territories, just like it has been doing elsewhere in the region.

    • The so-called Azerbaijan republic in the South Caucasus was a 1918 Soviet invention. How can an artificial state of 105 years such as Azerbaijan have any territory to liberate? There has never been an Azerbaijani nation or an Azerbaijani nation-state before 1918 to have any territory ‘occupied’ by anyone. The only TRUE Azerbaijan exists to the south of the Aras River in Iran. There has never been an Azerbaijan to the north of Aras River in the South Caucasus before its artificial creation in 1918. What is called Azerbaijan republic today is in fact territory taken from Armenia as well as territory from half dozen other nationalities such as the Talysh, Lezgis, Avars, Tats and Udis. These are the true indigenous people of this artificial Azerbaijani land. Azerbaijan was invented as a base for Soviet expansion into Persia & the Middle East as well as a Turkish outpost, a little Turkey if you will, in the South Caucasus after the fall and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the hands of the Allied Powers at the end of WWI. In fact, it was created as a home for the homeless Caucasian Muslim Tatars and renamed to Azerbaijan in 1936 despite protest from the Iranian government for stealing the name from the Northwestern Persian provinces bearing this name. The naming was deliberate and it was changed to Azerbaijan as a joint Turkish-Azerbaijani pan-Turkic political move for later claiming the Azerbaijan republic in the South Caucasus as ‘North Azerbaijan’ and Northwestern Iranian provinces bearing the same name as ‘South Azerbaijan’ as part of anti-Iranian separatist agenda.

      The Islamic republic of Iran considers the Soviet-invented Azerbaijan as Iranian territory because Persian Empire at the time ruled over this region for some time before the Russians took it over from them in early 19th century. If the Islamic leaders of Iran had actively backed up Azerbaijan against Armenia in the first ‘Karabakh’ war, and in absence of Israel, that would have been because they considered Azerbaijan as part of their territory. So in that sense they would have been helping themselves and not Azerbaijan just like when and if some Russian leaders make pro-Azerbaijani statements that’s because they are nostalgic about the Soviet Union and consider its collapse as one of the major Russian geopolitical tragedies and by making seemingly pro-Azerbaijani statements they are in fact making pro-Russian statements because to go back to the Soviet times requires the occupation of Armenian territories by Soviet-invented Azerbaijan. At the end of the day, I personally believe, whatever help Iran could have given to Azerbaijan that would have been because the Mullahs in Iran consider the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict zone as ‘Islamic territory’ and not pseudo-Turkish Azerbaijani territory because Iran considers Azerbaijani leadership as one of its top enemies in the region. Besides, Iran or former Persia, having had neighborly relations with the kingdom of Armenia dating back 2,500 years knows quite well whose territories these are. It is just that an Islamic nation can never openly defend a Christian nation against another Islamic nation, an artificial one at that, openly and justifiably so. Behind the scenes perhaps but not publically!

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