Photo Credit: Clay Gilliland
Military trucks on the road north of Stepanakert in Nagorno Karabakh, May 5, 2016.

Azerbaijan succeeded in reclaiming Karabakh and its seven Azerbaijani districts with a decisive military victory, last year, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still engaged in an all-out effort to defeat Hamas and free an estimated 130 Israeli hostages. Why was Azerbaijan so successful, while Israel is still struggling to defeat Hamas?

Nurit Greenger, founder and President of the US-Az Cultural Foundation, explained: “Israel is fighting a terror organization, not a country. Azerbaijan fought a country.”
“Armenia did not intend to kill every living Azerbaijani. They only wanted to occupy Karabakh. Hamas wants to murder, decapitate, and burn every living Jew, and destroy the country. They don’t comply with international law, and Israel must comply with the same laws,” Greenger said.


She added: “The Armenians did not dig tunnels. They only destroyed what was above ground and planted landmines, making sure that if they could not keep it, everything would be destroyed.”
“Also, the president of Azerbaijan did not depend on American favors. He wanted his land back and fought for it. In Israel, they faced the October 7 massacre because they gave back Gaza, and put the enemy in their bedroom,” Greenger said.

According to her, “Israel is not successful because the world does not care if Hamas kills five million Jews. They don’t sanction Qatar and Iran, who prop them up. Israel is not only fighting a terror organization but the whole world.”

John Spencer, head of urban warfare at West Point, proclaimed: “The rate of progress of the IDF, above and below the ground, is historically fast. The campaign in Gaza cannot be compared to any other campaign in modern military history in terms of the magnitude of the challenges it poses, perhaps and only perhaps if we go all the way back to World War II. Considering these immense challenges, the number of IDF casualties is also historically low. Hamas’s strategy is based on time and tunnels. They hope that Israel will use up the time at its disposal in the tunnels.”

Elnur Enveroglu, deputy editor-in-chief of Azernews, agreed the conflict in the Caucuses is different than Israel’s war with Hamas: “Both religious and national ideology play a driving force here. At the same time, the social, ethnic, and overall living conditions of each region are different. Besides, the issue of Palestine and Israel rests on historical and especially religious doctrines.”

Enveroglu suggests this is not the case in the Karabakh conflict: “Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenia can be explained by several factors:
Azerbaijan, being an occupied country, had set all its goals for the freedom of its land. In the last 30 years, Armenia developed a sense of self-confidence by falling into the euphoria of the First Karabakh War, while Azerbaijan did the exact opposite. For example, Azerbaijan had reliable allies such as Turkey, Pakistan, and Israel, something Armenia did not have.”

Enveroglu added: “I believe that both Azerbaijan and Israel should gather all their efforts and take decisive steps for peace. We cannot wait for someone to come and make peace for us, because each side serves its own interests. Although Armenia tries to avoid peace, Azerbaijan will spare no effort to ensure security in the region. Some people once called the liberation of Karabakh a utopia. But it was possible. I believe that Israel and Azerbaijan will be able to achieve peace as successful partners.”


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Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and an Israel-based journalist. She is the author of "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media."