Tel Aviv: Many flights of Azeri cargo aircraft to Israel in recent months are part of a massive supply of Israeli made weapon systems to Azerbaijan.
According to Israeli daily Haartez, in recent months more than 90 flights of Azeri transport aircraft landed in Uvda , the Israeli air force base in Southern Israel. Israeli sources said that the air lift is connected to the visit of former Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz to Azerbaijan in October 2022.
During the secret two days visit of Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz, Azerbaijan submitted a long list of weapon systems it plans to purchase from Israel. According to defence sources, the list includes systems that were never “on the table” during talks with the Azeris.
The Israeli minister met with the president and defence minister during the visit, according to sources. They discussed what one of the sources called “the need to enhance the defence relations between the two countries.
The minister’s visit proves the importance Israel sees in Azerbaijan that has a long border with Iran. The official statement released after Gantz returned to Israel stated that during the visit, the minister met with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
According to an analysis in the MEI 75 website, the official Iranian narrative is that Baku has given Israel ample operational freedom to use Azerbaijani soil to stage operations deep inside Iran. The latest charge from Tehran is that Israel’s theft of droves of sensitive nuclear files in 2018 involved the use of Azerbaijan as a staging ground for an operation that humiliated Iran’s leadership and intelligence services. What is true for sure is that both Tehran and Baku are now engaged in a war of words unlike anything seen since the early 2010s.
“This time around, however, Tehran seems to be doubly apprehensive. It sees Israel intensifying its efforts to move closer to the Iranian homeland as a way of pressuring Iran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has warned all of Iran’s neighbours against what he called “interference of foreigners in the region” as a “source of discord and damage.” In a direct jab at Baku, Khamenei promised retribution to those neighbouring states that collaborate with the Israelis.