Azerbaijan Official Says Israel Cannot Use Azerbaijan as a Launchpad to Attack Iran

On March 10, 2023, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Israel, Mukhtar Mammadov, said to he Jerusalem Post that Israeli military will not be able to use Azerbaijan as a refueling base during a potential attack against Iran. 

In his first interview following his arrival to Tel Aviv as Azerbaijan’s new ambassador to Israel in early March, Mammadov threw cold water on a report by Haaretz that the country had set up an airfield designed to help Israel if it attacks Iran’s nuclear installations and allowed the Mossad to establish a branch in Azerbaijan to facilitate intelligence gathering and surveillance of Iran.

Mammadov is Azerbaijan’s first ambassador to Israel, who was appointed to the position in January. 

“Azerbaijan, from the start, has declared that it will not interfere in the internal matters of other countries and will not allow its territory to be used against other countries,” the ambassador stated. “This is because we expect other countries not to interfere in our internal matters.”

Khazar Ibrahim, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the United States, previously told Israeli media on December 16 that Baku would not let Tel Aviv attack Iran from its soil after months of speculation that Israel would use Azerbaijan as a launchpad for attacks against Iranian nuclear facilities. 

Israel and Azerbaijan’s relations have strengthened in recent years. Azerbaijan is Israel’s #1 oil supplier, while Israel has turned into Azerbaijan’s principal weapons supplier in recent years. 

According to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report, between 2016 and 2020, 69% of Azerbaijan’s principal armaments imports came from Israel.

Ambassador Mammadov defended his country’s dependence on Israeli weapons  imports, declaring that “Every country is responsible for the protection and defense of their territorial integrity and the sovereignty of their citizens. Azerbaijan is no exception.”

In a multipolar order, Israel will find itself in a less advantageous geopolitical position. The US — its principal patron — can’t throw its weight around the Middle East like it could in the past. With Russia forging strong military ties with Iran, it will also be much more difficult for Israel to carry out attacks against an Iran that relies on Russian-supplied air defense systems. 

Like the US, Israel will have to come to grips with the new realities of the multipolar order, lest it wants to sleepwalk into a geopolitical reality.

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