Israel’s Expanding Relationship with Vietnam

In March, following a few years of improving ties, the Israeli president Reuven Rivlin made an official visit to Vietnam. Alvite Ningthoujam writes:

Israel’s Vietnam policy resembles the overtures it made during the 1950s and early 1960s toward the sub-Saharan countries, with which it shared technical expertise in agriculture and healthcare. . . . A similar [approach] is now being followed with Vietnam. Israeli-Vietnamese relations are expanding in the fields of agriculture, commerce, science, and technology, and—most importantly—in the defense sphere.

Israel and Vietnam established diplomatic relations in July 1993, and their economic relationship is relatively healthy. Bilateral trade volume touched $1.3 billion last year, and the countries aspire to take it to an annual $2 billion. . . . Israel and Vietnam are [also] engaged in joint ventures in the production of weapons systems suitable to the needs of the Vietnamese armed forces. Israel’s entry into this defense market is timely, as Hanoi is undergoing modernization programs for all three military services. . . . These steps have likely been taken by the Vietnamese government in response to the Chinese military build-up in the South China Sea. . . .

[During his visit], Rivlin pushed not only for the existing cooperation to continue but also for Vietnam’s political support, especially in multilateral forums like the UN. If good relations are to last, this element—in addition to economic and military cooperation—will be very necessary.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Reuven Rivlin, Vietnam

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security