TEHRAN, Dec. 14 (Press Shia) – Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Baku has raised questions as to the status the small former Soviet republic would be given in ties with Israel.
The visit, set in a broader context of the region, to which Azerbaijan Republic is an important part as a strategic link between Islamic Republic of Iran and Russian Federation for trade, would be of some consequences for the Republic, the least being isolation by the Islamic world at large.
Officials in Baku would be heedless of the fact that to open the country for Israel would be equally interpreted in Tehran as a step away from the influential front which hinges upon a common animosity toward the occupying regime in the Palestinian territories; as such, they should exercise great care so as not to fall victim to the generalizations Netanyahu’s visit would bring for them at the first place: to host leader of a regime self-avowedly seen by Muslims as an enemy by consensus.
Yet part of the debate to which officials in Tehran also belong, are looking to the scene from more strategic perspective; the Republic, naturally in the sphere of influence of its northern border Russia, and its southern, Iran, should (according to this view) work to invest its lots in détente with these both rather giant neighbors. With Iran they share a deep-seated historical cultural common features. Part of the Caucasus, the Republic was once part of cultural Iran in the 19th century. After the Soviet collapse, the Republic of Azerbaijan, newly-formed as it was, sought to approach to Iran as its friendlier neighbor; the very strategic geography bestows upon Azerbaijan a lucrative business in a role which links Islamic world to Caucasus and Russia. Its historic conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh still profits Azerbaijan, relegating Armenia to a position only marginal to the major routes of trade which cross the Caspian Sea.
Netanyahu’s visit however lifts the lead from the Republic’s headlong leaders’ adventurism; the regime in Israel has been engaged in opportunism amidst the turmoil of the region to strengthen only its own positon in a region clearly seeing it as an enemy than an ally. Any intervention by the Zionist regime has only brought disaster and suffering for Islamic world. It is restricted by hostile neighbors and thus has sought to find footprints in Saudi Arabia initially and beyond the Arab world now in Republic of Azerbaijan in misguided attempts to free itself from the pressures it sustains from the Resistance groups.
A détente with Israel, which brings to the region and Caucasus an enemy state near northern borders of the Islamic Republic of Iran would not be welcomed in Tehran. The Republic will thus face a ready-made suspicion and reappraisal for itself by the world of Islam, and many would start to review relations with the Republic, only to perpetuate the downfall of the country as a strategic trade route in the region. Isolation would await the Republic at best, to which officials in Baku should work to minimize the deleterious effects. Less ties with Islamic countries would also put Azerbaijan open to rise of extremist ideologies like wahhabism in a region already suffering several crises from the Takfiri and Salafi groups of the radical ideology.
A wiser policy for Baku would be to improve relations with the world of Islam and especially the Islamic Republic of Iran and to join the bandwagon of the countries aligned themselves with the Resistance front. A review of ties with Tel Aviv would provide the stepping stone for the Republic of Azerbaijan to take necessary foreign policy path which would lead them to the terra firma of recognition by the Islamic world, a recognition the layman in the Republic of Azerbaijan would welcome as a boon as well as more realistically-minded politicians in the ranks and files of the government. Only time will say that.