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The Azerbaijani-Israeli “United Front” Against Iran Raises Some Serious Questions
From the Russian perspective, any partnership aimed against third parties is concerning, hence why Moscow is expected to tacitly disapprove of the Azerbaijani-Israeli “united front” against Iran even if it doesn’t publicly express such sentiment owing to its sensitive ties with Baku.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen declared the creation of a “united front against Iran” during a press conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov in Jerusalem to commemorate the opening of the latter’s embassy in Tel Aviv. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani condemned this as a “conspiracy” and vowed that his country will stop anyone from meddling in the “unbreakable historical and religious bonds” between the Azerbaijani and Iranian people.
It’s unclear exactly what specific forms the Azerbaijani-Israeli “united front” against Iran will take, but both parties probably decided to be strategically ambiguous about this in order for the Islamic Republic to remain on edge. For that reason, Tehran has legitimate reasons to worry whether the self-proclaimed Jewish State might stage destabilization operations against the Islamic Republic from the territory of its newfound neighbor and/or (clandestinely?) deploy its armed forces there.
Iranian media and those alternative ones abroad that are ideologically aligned with its anti-Zionist foreign policy previously speculated over the years that the preceding scenario was already in play so the latest development would essentially amount to its formalization. Be that as it may, Azerbaijan and Israel deny that anything of the sort has taken place, though it’ll now be more difficult for them to do so going forward since the basis for such has already been established upon forming their “united front”.
About that, it was clearly created in reaction to regional processes such as continued Azerbaijani-Armenian tensions over Karabakh and deteriorating Azerbaijani-Iranian relations over the past year, the latter of which were exacerbated by Tehran’s growing political alignment with Yerevan. The Islamic Republic became concerned over the past two and a half years that Baku might try to occupy Armenia’s Syunik Province to streamline the Zangezur Corridor and could even support Azeri separatism in Iran.
This explains the strategic convergence between Iran and Armenia, which is now being counteracted by the newly formed Azerbaijani-Israeli “united front” against Iran. Despite Turkiye being Azerbaijan’s top ally, it can’t be depended on to go to war against Iran in the worst-case scenario, ergo why Baku reached out to Tel Aviv since it also has concerns about Tehran’s regional policy. From Azerbaijan’s perspective, Iran tacitly supports Armenia’s occupation of Karabakh and is accused of supporting terrorism too.
It's unimportant how much credence observers pay to Iran and Azerbaijan’s suspicions of one another since the point is that a security dilemma has developed between them, which is what motivated Baku to ally with Tel Aviv against Tehran. This process was already a long time in the making so it wasn’t prompted by the Chinese-mediated Iranian-Saudi rapprochement that immensely relieved pressure upon the Islamic Republic, but the aforesaid surely sped up Azerbaijani-Israeli talks.
It also comes shortly after the US-backed Color Revolution in Israel, which was aimed at overthrowing Netanyahu as punishment for his multipolar conservative-sovereigntist policies that America regards as threatening its grand strategic interests in the New Cold War. This regime change operation is currently on hold following its target’s decision to delay his planned reforms in response to those weaponized protests, but Israel’s anti-Iranian alliance with Azerbaijan will probably earn him bipartisan applause.
Even though it there’s no openly military component, at least not yet, Israelis will appreciate that Azerbaijan can now be relied on to amplify their political and informational efforts against Iran due to Baku’s shared interest in doing so as was explained. Even though neither will likely ever acknowledge it, observers can expect this to take the form of promoting Azeri separatism in the Islamic Republic’s northern regions, whether subtly or overtly depending on the narratives employed.
To that end, Azerbaijan should be table to tap into Israel’s vast influence network across the US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) and the Western policymaking establishment in general to more effectively advance this agenda. It therefore wouldn’t be surprising if leading outlets like the BBC and CNN eventually run stories about this issue, nor should anyone be taken off guard by Western think tanks discussing this sometime in the coming future either.
The formalization of the Azerbaijani-Israeli “united front” against Iran will become an enduring impediment to Azerbaijani-Iranian relations, thus reducing the viability of the game-changing North-South Transport Corridor’s (NSTC) transit through that former Soviet Republic. This Russian-Indian trade route will therefore have to rely on either the Caspian or the much longer Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan eastern route, which in any case will prevent it from becoming fully optimized as was initially planned.
From the Russian perspective, any partnership aimed against third parties is concerning, hence why Moscow is expected to tacitly disapprove of the Azerbaijani-Israeli “united front” against Iran even if it doesn’t publicly express such sentiment owing to its sensitive ties with Baku. On that topic, while bilateral relations remain strong and trade continues to rise, uncertainty has begun to beset their relations after Russia recently accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire in Karabakh.
Some in Baku believe that Russia is biased in favor of Armenia, while some in Moscow suspect that Azerbaijan is planning a major offensive that would put their country’s peacekeepers in Karabakh in a very difficult position. The second-mentioned speculation might be extended more credence in the minds of some after Azerbaijani and Israel just declared their “united front” against Iran, which could be interpreted as deterring the Islamic Republic from intervening in any forthcoming Karabakh offensive.
The takeaway from this latest (thus far only diplomatic) development is that it raises questions about Azerbaijan’s role in economically driven Eurasian integration processes seeing as how nobody can take for granted anymore that the NSTC will be able to reliably transit through its territory. This will lead to concerns among some that Azerbaijani-Iranian tensions could be exploited by third parties like those in the US-led West’s Golden Billion to divide-and-rule the supercontinent.
With this in mind, it would therefore be wise for Azerbaijani policymakers and those influencers who support their state’s interests to preemptively explain the reasons behind their country’s newly formed “united front” with Israel against Iran, particularly to their counterparts in Russia, China, and India. These three equally powerful engines of the global systemic transition to multipolarity must have their legitimate concerns about the aforementioned scenario put to rest as soon as possible.
The failure to do so, whether at all or effectively, could drastically increase distrust between Azerbaijan and those multipolar Great Powers. That disadvantageous outcome could then create a self-sustaining cycle of suspicion that culminates in the fait accompli of Azerbaijani playing the role of an American proxy (irrespective of whether it’s even conscious of this) in dividing-and-ruling Eurasia, which is why it’s so important to avert this from happening via that country’s proactive engagement with those three.