BY YARON WEISS
Israeli arms dealers doing business with dictatorial states has devastating consequences both internally and externally for Israel.
Last week Azerbaijan used Israeli-made missiles, drones and high-technology weapons to hit military targets and civilians in Armenia, resulting in loss of Armenian lives and damage to civilian structures such as schools and factories.
In Israel, it has been suggested that it is developing close relations with Azerbaijan, including the weapons trade, as part of a strategic military campaign against Iran. But I believe that this is a smoke screen for laundering arms trade with the dictatorial regime of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has a long border with Iran, the population of Azeris living in Iranian territory is double that of the entire population of Azerbaijan. Therefore, I don’t believe that the regime in Baku will endanger its people in Iran and its own political survival by forming a military alliance with Israel—Iran’s great enemy. The purpose of the arms deals between Azerbaijan and Israel is for improving Azerbaijan’s military competence against Armenia and enriching the cash flow of the Israel’s military industrial complex.
Azerbaijan continues to condemn Israel in every international forum, along with other Muslim countries around the world (including Iran).
So far, Azerbaijan has not opened an embassy in Tel Aviv, even though there has been an Israeli embassy in Baku since the early 1990s.
The Azerbaijani army used Israeli-made weapons to attack Armenia, an Israeli-friendly country that only recently announced its intention to open an embassy in Tel Aviv. The President of Armenia even visited Israel last January and met with top officials.
It is absolutely clear that one of the goals of Israeli weapons exports is to inject cash into the weapons industry in order to enable the continued development of military hardware for Israel’s Defense Forces. Israeli arms industries need weapons exports like oxygen to the body. They cannot afford to be dependent on the local market alone.
However, it seems that the security relations with Azerbaijan deviate from normal supplier-customer relations. It seems that Israeli weapons traders are trying hard to persuade their customers in Baku to purchase advanced types of weapons, that Armenia cannot get. (Azerbaijan’s defense budget is four times higher than Armenia’s defense budget).
The use of high technology weapons made in Israel by the Azerbaijani army is increasing the level of violence in the conflict by encouraging the Azerbaijanis to launch attacks against the Armenian army, knowing that it will be very difficult for them to defend. These include fire control systems, missiles, “suicide” drones and more.
The leaders of the Israel’s arms industries and its government are not showing solidarity and friendship toward Armenia—an ally of Israel.
Therefore the Israeli society won’t be surprised that there is no friendship and solidarity among themselves, as reflected in the most precarious social situation in recent times.
Yaron Weiss is an activist and writer based in Israel. He is a staunch advocate Armenian Genocide recognition by Israel. He has traveled extensively in Armenia and is a frequent contributor to Asbarez.