by Dr. Alexander Murinson
Israeli-Azerbaijani trade, security, and diplomatic ties have raised
Shortly after obtaining independence in 1991,
Following the independence of the Central Asian states —
More recently, after the June 2009 elections,
Iranian Penetration in
The small, conservative town of Nardaran, near Baku, served as an important focus of Iranian religious and propaganda activities in Azerbaijan due to the location there of the important Pir (burial site) of Rehime Khanim, a local Shi'i saint. In 2002-2006, violent clashes with Nardaran state authorities, which originated from grievances over the unfair distribution of economic aid, transformed under Iranian tutelage into protests against the secular Constitution of the state. The riots, known as the Nardaran events, were organized by groups who received money, agitation literature, and some weapons from
Iranian fundamentalists also promoted their ideology by sponsoring political parties and movements in
The IPA, founded in Nardaran in 1991, openly espoused anti-American and anti-Semitic views. The Ministry of Justice cancelled the party's registration in 1995 due to the indictment of its senior members on charges of treason and posing a threat to state security, but the party has continued its activities without official registration. Investigations of the arrested party members revealed that the party's leaders had active ties with the Iranian leadership. IPA members were later implicated in Hizballah and Jayshallah networks. More recently, in 2009, the IPA organized anti-Israel demonstrations in
To counter Iranian attempts to undermine the secular regime in the
In the most recent case of a thwarted terrorist attack in Azerbaijan, six suspected perpetrators — four Azerbaijanis and two Lebanese members of a Hizballah cell — were charged with planning attacks on several strategic sites in Azerbaijan, including the Gabala anti-missile radar station (the largest anti-missile defense installation in the South Caucasus) and the Israeli embassy in Baku on July 4, 2009. The subsequent investigation showed that the Lebanese citizens, Ali Mohammed Kerekli and Ali Husyen Nadjmedin, who had ties with al-Qaida and Hizballah, were the leaders of the terrorist cells. It surfaced during the trial that the Sepah-e Pasdaran had organized and run this secret cell. It was also revealed that since the Lebanese operatives had poor knowledge of
If the Israeli government desires to strengthen its image as a true friend of
In the pursuit of its avowed goal of creating the Med Stream project, a multi-purpose offshore pipeline project that not only is purported to connect Turkey and Israel via the Mediterranean Sea but also to extend the Turkish-Israeli energy network to India, Israel should find profitable ways for Azerbaijan to be involved.
It would also be wise for
Alexander Murinson, an independent researcher, holds a PhD from the
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