Azerbaijan

Arms Sold:

Additional Arms:
ATMOS-2000, Dominator, Iron Dome, Lahat, LORA, Lynx, OPV-62, Searcher UAV, Skystriker, Spear

Companies:

Additional Companies:
Automative Industries, IMI, Israeli Shipyards, IMI

Skip to:

Azerbaijan

Introduction

Azerbaijan was Israel’s second largest arms buyer from 2015-2019[1]Israel’s arms exports over past four years at highest ever with sales of $789 million.[2]SIPRI Arms Transfers Database These weapons – which ignore the E.U. arms embargo on the country since 1991, and the U.S.’s de facto policy not to sell arms to it – are used both in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia and for domestic repression within the country itself.[3]Good Relations between Azerbaijan and Israel: A Model for Other Muslim States in Eurasia? In 2016, Netanyahu visited Azerbaijan and announced that the military deals between the two countries had reached $5 billion[4]Azerbaijan President to Netanyahu- happy with amount of arms deals with Israel; these included drones that were used to bomb Armenia. Israeli drones were used by Azerbaijan against Armenian forces in 2016 and 2017. Sales have mainly been for drones, missiles, and land vehicles.

Israel – Azerbaijan Relations:

Israel recognized Azerbaijan soon after it declared independence in August 1991. An Israeli embassy was set up in Baku in 1993, although as of 2020 Azerbaijan is yet to open an embassy in Israel.[5]INSS : Israel-Azerbaijan: Despite the Constraints, a Special Relationship They have enjoyed long standing arms trade, diplomatic support, and intelligence sharing.[6]Israel and Azerbaijan’s Furtive Embrace A 2009 memo released by Wikileaks quotes Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev describing the countries’ relationship as “nine-tenths […] below the surface.”[7]Israel’s Secret Staging Ground

Israel has supported Azerbaijan in its conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region[8]Israel and Azerbaijan’s Furtive Embrace, which has an Armenian ethnic majority and is mostly within Azerbaijani borders with 9% under Armenian occupation. Israeli representatives including Avigdor Lieberman have stated  Israel would not recognize the Armenian genocide of 1915-17.[9]Israel Won’t Recognize Armenian Genocide, Says Ambassador

In 2010 Azerbaijan announced a visa-exemption exclusively for Turkish and Israeli travelers. In 2016 the countries signed a deal on air communication, and in 2017 abolished double taxation between the countries. As of 2013, Azerbaijan was selling Israel 40% of its oil, making it Israel’s largest buyer.[10]Azerbaijan, Israel agree on air communication

In 1997 Netanyahu visited Azerbaijan as Prime Minister. When then-President Shimon Peres visited in 2009 along with defense company CEOs[11]Azerbaijan: Peres Baku Visit Highlights Possibilities of Israeli-Azerbaijani Cooperation he declared “we show you ability and technology, you will bring us oil.”[12]Azerbaijan: Aeronautics on the way to big contract In 2014 Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited. During Netanyahu’s 2016 visit President Aliyev announced that Azerbaijan had signed a total of $4.85b arms contracts.[13]Hamushim Azerbaijan Report [14]PM Netanyahu Meets with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev [15]Azerbaijan President : Deals between Azerbaijan and Israel in Defense

Military Relations

Azerbaijan and Israel share a mutual distrust of Russia and Iran[16]Israel and Azerbaijan’s Furtive Embrace and have stated their joint fight against terrorism. Israel has consistently sold arms to Azerbaijan in spite of embargoes declared by both the European Security and Cooperation Organization (OSCE) in 1992[17]Sipri : OSCE arms embargo on Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), and the UN in 1993.[19] These embargoes were announced in response to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.[18]Sipri : Non-mandatory UN arms embargo on Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan)

In 2012 Israel was reportedly allowed to use four abandoned airbases in Azerbaijan on the Iranian border.[19]Israeli Airbases in Azerbaijan It has been suggested that Israel would use these bases to facilitate airstrikes on Iranian nuclear sites[20]Israel’s Secret Staging Ground, although this prospect has been disputed.[21]Azerbaijan Will Be a Platform for Israel – if Not for F-15s, Then Punk Rock In 2015-2019, Azerbaijan was the second largest Israeli weapons customer buying 17% of all Israeli weapons.[22]Israel’s arms exports over past four years at highest ever

Azerbaijan has even published footage of Israeli models of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including offensive and kamikaze UAVs.[23]Youtube of Azərbaycan Respublikası Müdafiə Nazirliyi : PUA heyətləri təlim-məşq uçuşları yerinə yetirir In a parade marking World War II Victory Day in Moscow in May 2015, Azerbaijani soldiers marched in the Red Square carrying Israeli-made Tavor rifles.[24]HD Russian Army Parade, Victory Day 2015 Парад Победы In September 2016, President Aliyev paid a televised visit to a government-owned Azerbaijani factory which produces Israeli models of kamikaze drones.[25]“AZAD Systems Co” production branch of the DIM presents “Zarba” UAVs

In 2017 the Israeli arms company Aeronautics had its export licenses suspended by the Defense Ministry, after a report by the newspaper Maariv revealed that representatives from the company who were in Azerbaijan to finalize a contract for the sale of its Orbiter 1K UAV, were asked to strike an Armenian military position. While many details of the case remain under a court-issued gag order, the two Israelis operating the UAV refused to hit the position, and senior representatives of the company took control and operated the craft themselves, ultimately missing their targets. Following the surfacing of the report, the Defense Ministry suspended the company’s marketing and export permit for the company’s Orbiter 1K model UAV. The Israel Police’s Unit of International Crime Investigations, the Defense Ministry’s investigation unit and the State Attorney’s Office also launched an investigation into the incident.[26]I’ve Been Covering Israeli Intelligence and Security for 38 Years. The Legal System Exhausts Me

In 2019 the Newspaper Jerusalem Post reported that two weeks after its export licenses were reinstated, Aeronautics has announced that it won a 13-million dollar drone-contract with Azerbaijan.[27]https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israeli-defense-company-aeronautics-seals-13m-drone-deal-with-azerbaijan-580928+&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Israeli defense company Aeronautics seals $13m. drone deal with Azerbaijan

In October 2020 Israeli press reported that two Azerbaijani cargo planes had landed at the Uvda airbase in the Negev days before the last escalation.[28]As tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh rise, Israel must halt arms sales to Azerbaijan

Joint ventures

2011: JV Aeronautics-Azeri Defense Ministry to produce Aerostar, Orbiter, and Dominator UAVs. (Aeronautics Defense Systems)[29]Production in Azerbaijan Begins in a Factory Set Up by the Israeli Company – “Aeronautics”

Arms Fairs

2018: Hermes 900 UAVs used in Azerbaijan military exercise around Caspian sea.[30]Azerbaijan holds Naval Drill with Elbit made drones (Elbit)

2016: Orbiter 4 released at ADEX-2016.[31]Aeronautics reveals its Orbiter 4 UAS (Aeronautics Defense Systems)

2014: 16 Israeli companies attend ADEX-2014 (Azerbaijani Defense Exhibition).[32]16 Israeli Companies to Attend Defense Exhibition in Azerbaijan

Use of Israeli Arms

In 2016 Harop suicide drones destroyed a bus of Armenian soldiers killing seven[33]Armenia Protests Azerbaijan’s Use of Israeli-made Suicide Drone [34]Azerbaijan Used IAI’s Harop UCAV , and Spike missiles were used to destroy six Armenian tanks.[35]Report : Spike Missiles of Rafael used in Azerbaijan against Armenian Tanks

In 2017 Aeronautics Defense Systems sales to Azerbaijan were frozen after the company allegedly conducted an illegal live demonstration of the Orbiter 1k UAV against Armenian troops at the request of the Azeri government, wounding two.[36]Israeli dronemaker said to have bombed Armenians for Azerbaijan faces charges

Azerbaijani troops have been seen carrying IWI Tavor X95 assault rifles.[37]Watch: Azeri Armed Forces Carrying Israeli Weapons

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry has released a video showing what could possibly be an Israeli UAV flying for a split second past the Turkish attack UAV, which was probably photographed by chance.[38]Düşmənin artilleriya qurğularının məhv edilməsinin videogörüntüləri

Several videos have also shown attacks by kamikaze UAVs which may be Israeli, but it is difficult to confirm this without further evidence. A political advisor to the Azerbaijani dictator said in an interview that Israeli attack drones are being used in combat, but this official has been known to lie and disseminate false propaganda.[39]Düşmənin bu gün saat 17:30-dək məhv edilən döyüş texnikası It is also unclear to what extent he is informed about current military affairs. No other official in Azerbaijan has confirmed the claim.

Pegasus – More than 40 Azerbaijani journalists were selected as targets of the malicious spyware, including reporters from Azadliq.info and Mehdar TV, two of the only remaining independent media outlets in the country.[40]PEGASUS: THE NEW GLOBAL WEAPON FOR SILENCING JOURNALISTS

Human Rights Violations

Human rights violations in Azerbaijan predominantly concern freedom of expression. NGOs critical of the government are refused registration, and activists face travel bans and having their bank accounts frozen. Journalists such as Khadija Ismayilova have faced prosecution for “anti-Azerbaijani” activity and apparently exaggerated or falsified charges, as have opposition politicians.[41]The hidden partner of Israel distancing itself from the west and gets closer to Russia The government has also sought the forcible return of Azerbaijani critics from abroad. Spyware has been levelled against dissidents including through covert access of computer webcams.[42]Mapping Hacking Team’s “Untraceable” Spyware/ [43]Azerbaijan: Activists targeted by ‘government-sponsored’ cyber attack [44]Azerbaijan dissidents warn the west not to fall for Baku’s flashy facade

Azerbaijan has restrictive freedom of assembly, and peaceful protests have been met with excessive force, and there have been reports of police brutality in custody. Lawyers have faced intimidation as well reprimand for anti-government findings, for example in the case of Yalchin Imanov who was disbarred after complaining of two clients’ alleged torture.[45]Amnesty 2021 Report – Azerbaijan [46]YALCHIN IMANOV SUSPENDED FROM PRACTISING PENDING TRIAL

Although homosexuality has been legal in Azerbaijan since 2000, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not. In 2017 there were allegations of a crackdown on the LGBTQ+ community including mass detention and torture.[47]Azerbaijan: Anti-Gay Crackdown In 2019 Azeri police detained fourteen gay men and transgender women on falsified charges, some of whom were then subject to forced STI tests.[48]HRW Azerbaijan Events of 2019

During the Covid-19 pandemic, social media users, medical professionals, and journalists have faced prosecution for criticizing the government’s approach. The health crisis has been used by the government as an excuse for political attacks on the opposition, with activists facing arrest.[49]Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Human rights must be protected during COVID-19 pandemic/ [50]HRW : Azerbaijan: Crackdown on Critics Amid Pandemic

References
1 Israel’s arms exports over past four years at highest ever
2 SIPRI Arms Transfers Database
3 Good Relations between Azerbaijan and Israel: A Model for Other Muslim States in Eurasia?
4 Azerbaijan President to Netanyahu- happy with amount of arms deals with Israel
5 INSS : Israel-Azerbaijan: Despite the Constraints, a Special Relationship
6 Israel and Azerbaijan’s Furtive Embrace
7 Israel’s Secret Staging Ground
8 Israel and Azerbaijan’s Furtive Embrace
9 Israel Won’t Recognize Armenian Genocide, Says Ambassador
10 Azerbaijan, Israel agree on air communication
11 Azerbaijan: Peres Baku Visit Highlights Possibilities of Israeli-Azerbaijani Cooperation
12 Azerbaijan: Aeronautics on the way to big contract
13 Hamushim Azerbaijan Report
14 PM Netanyahu Meets with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev
15 Azerbaijan President : Deals between Azerbaijan and Israel in Defense
16 Israel and Azerbaijan’s Furtive Embrace
17 Sipri : OSCE arms embargo on Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan)
18 Sipri : Non-mandatory UN arms embargo on Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan)
19 Israeli Airbases in Azerbaijan
20 Israel’s Secret Staging Ground
21 Azerbaijan Will Be a Platform for Israel – if Not for F-15s, Then Punk Rock
22 Israel’s arms exports over past four years at highest ever
23 Youtube of Azərbaycan Respublikası Müdafiə Nazirliyi : PUA heyətləri təlim-məşq uçuşları yerinə yetirir
24 HD Russian Army Parade, Victory Day 2015 Парад Победы
25 “AZAD Systems Co” production branch of the DIM presents “Zarba” UAVs
26 I’ve Been Covering Israeli Intelligence and Security for 38 Years. The Legal System Exhausts Me
27 https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israeli-defense-company-aeronautics-seals-13m-drone-deal-with-azerbaijan-580928+&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Israeli defense company Aeronautics seals $13m. drone deal with Azerbaijan
28 As tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh rise, Israel must halt arms sales to Azerbaijan
29 Production in Azerbaijan Begins in a Factory Set Up by the Israeli Company – “Aeronautics”
30 Azerbaijan holds Naval Drill with Elbit made drones
31 Aeronautics reveals its Orbiter 4 UAS
32 16 Israeli Companies to Attend Defense Exhibition in Azerbaijan
33 Armenia Protests Azerbaijan’s Use of Israeli-made Suicide Drone
34 Azerbaijan Used IAI’s Harop UCAV
35 Report : Spike Missiles of Rafael used in Azerbaijan against Armenian Tanks
36 Israeli dronemaker said to have bombed Armenians for Azerbaijan faces charges
37 Watch: Azeri Armed Forces Carrying Israeli Weapons
38 Düşmənin artilleriya qurğularının məhv edilməsinin videogörüntüləri
39 Düşmənin bu gün saat 17:30-dək məhv edilən döyüş texnikası
40 PEGASUS: THE NEW GLOBAL WEAPON FOR SILENCING JOURNALISTS
41 The hidden partner of Israel distancing itself from the west and gets closer to Russia
42 Mapping Hacking Team’s “Untraceable” Spyware/
43 Azerbaijan: Activists targeted by ‘government-sponsored’ cyber attack
44 Azerbaijan dissidents warn the west not to fall for Baku’s flashy facade
45 Amnesty 2021 Report – Azerbaijan
46 YALCHIN IMANOV SUSPENDED FROM PRACTISING PENDING TRIAL
47 Azerbaijan: Anti-Gay Crackdown
48 HRW Azerbaijan Events of 2019
49 Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Human rights must be protected during COVID-19 pandemic/
50 HRW : Azerbaijan: Crackdown on Critics Amid Pandemic