Photo Credit: Mursel
The Khojaly massacre memorial in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Economic Peace Center in late February held a conference at the Begin Center in Jerusalem on the war in Karabakh and the 1992 Khojaly massacre, where former Minister Ayoob Kara stated: “It is important to say that the government of Israel and everyone in the opposition like Azerbaijan, wants to cooperate with Azerbaijan and cares about the future of Azerbaijan. It is legitimate to support Azerbaijan because they support us. I have visited Azerbaijan many times and they have visited us here. More and more, the relationship is becoming stronger. We advise them and they advise us, as I hope will be in all the states in Europe.”

Israeli Druze politician Ayoob Kara (Likud) was stranded on the Iran-Azerbaijan border, July 7, 2021. / Rachel Avraham

“The last time I visited Baku, I realized that we must bring them into the Abraham Accords. Azerbaijanis are Muslim. Azerbaijan is like all the areas where we seek economic peace. Azerbaijan will benefit from this process. We will not stop with four states, but will expand to others.”


“No one is against the Shiites,” Kara said. “The only issue we have is with the regime in Iran, which is fundamentalist and extremist. People are afraid to talk about that, but the problem in the Middle East is the Iranian regime. We have to find a solution for that. But we have no problem with Shiites. The cooperation between Azerbaijan (which is 85% Shiites – RA) and Israel will benefit everyone who wishes to engage in the same style of peace.”

“War is difficult,” Kara continued. “No one needs it. No one wants it. Azerbaijan having peace with Israel benefits the entire region. I am going to do everything as a former minister to support Azerbaijan as a state. I sent some friends of ours to help and advise them on different matters related to Karabakh. We can find a solution to anything they need. Azerbaijan is a friend of Israel and Israel is a friend of Azerbaijan.”


Dr. Mordechai Kedar / Mikhail Chernov’s Facebook page

In the same conference, prominent Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar concurred: “Azerbaijan is close to Iran and that causes atrocities like in Khojaly. The fact is that populations are forced to live together in entities that fail to maintain law and order. We saw the same thing in Yugoslavia. We see the same thing between Russia and Ukraine. To establish a state means to divide groups so that every group takes care of itself, without messing with the others. Borders were drawn regardless of what is happening on the ground. This is the source of all of the evil in this area for the last century.”

According to Kedar, “something really bad happened to the Azerbaijani people, regardless of what happened to the Armenians. The Azerbaijanis do not only live in Azerbaijan but extend down south to South Azerbaijan, which today is part of Iran. The Azerbaijani nation was divided between the Soviet Union and Iran, just like the Turkmen were also part of the Soviet Union and Iran because northern Iran is populated by Turkmen. We also know about the Kurdish tragedy. The Kurdish people are the biggest ethnic group in the world without a state. They are over 20 million people and they don’t have a state. They were divided by the British and Russians after the First World War. Nobody counted them or saw them. The same thing happened to the Azerbaijanis.”

“The ancient capital city of the Azerbaijanis is not Baku,” Kedar noted. “It is Tabriz, which is occupied by Iran. This means that the majority of the Azerbaijani people to this day are subjected to the Iranian state. The good thing for them is that their brethren in the former Soviet Union have been free people for thirty years. They can run their own state and enjoy their dignity and freedom, while their brethren in Iran are still subjugated. They are not the only ones. Aside from the Turkmen, Azerbaijanis, and Kurds, there are also the Ahwaz and Baloch. The Persians are the minority in Iran. They are only 35-40% of the population. The rest of the population are non-Persian nations living under the Persian yoke.”

Dr. Kedar claimed that Iran is very fragile, which is why they want nukes: “That way, no one will mess with their domestic issues. This is the biggest threat to them, not Israel and America. In recent years, the Ahwazis started to rebel. The Azerbaijanis are the most pampered as they are the biggest minority after the Persians. But many of the Azerbaijanis don’t buy this. They want to be independent and want to join their brethren in Northern Azerbaijan, just like the Germans of East Germany joined West Germany after they were liberated from the Soviet yoke.”

Dr. Kedar noted that last summer, there were riots in Ahwaz and many Azerbaijanis demonstrated in solidarity with the Ahwazi protesters: “They also suffer under the occupation. They call themselves the occupied territories. The minorities could dismantle the country if they burst into the streets at the same time. On March 16, they will celebrate a Zoroastrian festival in Iran, the Wednesday of the Fire. This time, they plan to burn institutions, army bases, and police stations to divide Iran into ethnic states, just like Czechoslovakia. They rely on Azerbaijan to support them.”

According to Kedar, “the regime in Iran knows about this plan. Apparently, they will prepare for this. Yet, the question is, what will be the response of the world that only sanctions Russia, and did not say anything about Khojaly and said nothing about Srebrenica (The April 1992 massacre of the Bosnian Muslim population of Srebrenica – RA), and does nothing as atrocities happen in Iran? This is the problem of the world. They ignore massacres like Khojaly. What will they do when the minorities of Iran burst into the street? Let us hope that the world will learn from what happened at Khojaly and Ukraine and do more than impose economic sanctions. Bloodshed has occurred in too many places.”

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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."