Photo Credit: Pixabay / Pete Linforth

Israel’s president, Yitzhak Herzog, will visit Azerbaijan on May 30-31, 2023, two months after the opening of the Azeri embassy in Israel. No doubt, relations between Israel and Azerbaijan are strengthening and for good reason: both Israel and Azerbaijan view themselves as potential targets for Iranian threats. 

Iran is a partner in a new coalition which includes Russia, China, Venezuela and North Korea. This “Eastern” coalition was shaped as a counterweight to the “Western” coalition which includes the US, NATO, Israel, South Korea and Australia. The members of the “Eastern” coalition are not bothered with questions of human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ freedom, political freedom and freedom of speech. Like Iran, the other members of the “Eastern” coalition could not care less about these rights and freedoms. 


The “Eastern” coalition’s members are threatening other states: Russia invaded the Ukraine, killed thousands of its citizens, destroyed large part of its infrastructure and paralyzed its economy. China threatens Taiwan, North Korea threatens Japan and Iran declares its intention to bring “death to Israel”. Iran’s illegal military nuclear program is supposed to give immunity to this rogue country which spreads havoc, death and terrorism all over the Middle East. Iran’s missiles will be able to carry nuclear warheads to other continents. 

Iran is a very important member in the “Eastern” coalition: Russia uses Iranian drones and missiles in its bloody war on the Ukraine and China buys oil and gas from Iran in spite of the sanctions thus enabling the Ayatollah’s regime to continue living and functioning in spite of the international sanctions. 

One of the ways the “Western” coalition can deter Iran is to create a ring of countries around it which can isolate Iran. Countries which can join this effort are Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, India and Israel. Azerbaijan can play a key role in the effort to curb Iran due to its location right next to the Iranian territory. In addition, Azerbaijan can also undermine the fragile social stability of Iran, which we saw during the last year. 

Therefore, the West should develop its relations with Azerbaijan, should enhance its security and strengthen its economy in an effort to convince Azerbaijan to join the “Western” coalition or at least cooperate with it against Iran. There is a good chance that positive attitude to Turkmenistan will convince its leading group to follow Azerbaijan. 

In order to shape a cohesive coalition with states in central Asia, the West should learn how to maintain its relations with its friends and allies. Supporting Azerbaijan vis-à-vis Iran is a good step forward in shaping an effective coalition against the threats to global stability which Iran poses. Azerbaijan can play a key role in the Western effort to put an end to the destructive behavior of Iran in the Middle East and beyond. 

Israel’s president’s visit to Azerbaijan can encourage the joining of this highly important country to the Western coalition. 


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Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence specializing in Syria, Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups, and Israeli Arabs, and is an expert on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.