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Since the establishment of diplomatic relations on on April 7, 1992, Azerbaijan and Israel have maintained positive relations despite their religious differences. Israel has been a major arms and economic partner for Azerbaijan. What explains this positive relationship despite the numerous cultural and religious differences?

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    What cultural and religious differences do you think would cause problems?
    – Joe W
    Commented Feb 26, 2023 at 23:19
  • @Joe W Gues he is refering to the religion of Azerbaijan, which is Islam.
    – convert
    Commented Feb 26, 2023 at 23:33
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    I don't have the time or the information to write a full answer, but it's worth noting that Azerbaijan is considerably more secular than most Muslim-majority countries.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Feb 26, 2023 at 23:34
  • @convert that doesn’t really help explain what they are really asking.
    – Joe W
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 0:50

1 Answer 1

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Well, I'm sure there are several reasons, but purely on a power politics level, a fair bit of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" seems at play here.

  • Iran has had difficult relationship with Azerbaijan, despite (or maybe because of?) the Shia majority in the latter (as well). Depending which source you read, the locus of this animus varies, e.g. whether it was the 'Greater Azerbaijan' rhetoric from the north side of the border, or the fear that the (rather secular) government had of Islamic-revolutionary subversion from the south. Maybe a bit of both.

  • Allegedly, Iran sided with Armenia in the early days of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. (First source in previous para claims that, although I'm not privy to details. Azerbaijani sources also claim the IRGC has provided weapons to Armenia in the past few years.)

  • Azerbaijan has an exclave in Nakhchivan. Although Iran could have offered a route bypassing Armenia, it looks like they didn't until 2022 or so, at least not a railway.

  • Additionally, Azerbaijan needed weapons which Israel was willing to provide. (Their battlefield victories this decade relied on technological superiority of both Turkish and Israeli drones, on the most obvious footage level.)

  • Although Israel and Azerbaijan appear to deny this, alleged surveillance of Iran from Azerbaijani bases (via drones at least) has been mentioned in the press. So that's allegedly some quid-pro-quo. (See previous sources.)

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