What Azerbaijan’s Alliance with the West, and with Israel, Can Accomplish

A predominantly Shiite Muslim country, bordering Russia to its north and Iran to its south, Azerbaijan established bilateral relations with Israel in the first year of its independence from the Soviet Union. Ayoob Kara explains the important role this small country can play in support of the free world, especially given the looming shortages of fuel and basic foodstuffs:

In recent days, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched a large-scale military drill along the Azerbaijan-Armenia border in an attempt to sabotage the fragile peace between the two countries. They are doing so because, for quite some time, Azerbaijan has helped the U.S. and Israel thwart regional terrorism—including terrorism sponsored by Iran—which threatens the entire Middle East. As a result, Iran has been using the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia to weaken Azerbaijan’s position in the West.

Anyone who cares about the future of Western civilization should not let that happen. . . . Israel has already vowed to provide Azerbaijan with the technical assistance it needs to engage in mass cultivation of wheat. It also held a three-day conference designed to showcase technology that can address problems of food security, which was attended by Azerbaijan’s deputy minister of agriculture.

Azerbaijan recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the EU that will supply the Europeans with at least 20 billion cubic meters of gas by 2027 via a future southern gas corridor. In the wake of the war in Ukraine, the EU needs reliable energy partners and it believes that Azerbaijan is such a partner, especially because the country’s economic freedom, pro-Western orientation, and positive atmosphere for religious minorities are very much in accordance with American and European values.

Read more at JNS

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy, War in Ukraine


The ICJ’s Vice-President Explains What’s Wrong with Its Recent Ruling against Israel

It should be obvious to anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of the Gaza war that Israel is not committing genocide there, or anything even remotely akin to it. In response to such spurious accusations, it’s often best to focus on the mockery they make of international law itself, or on how Israel can most effectively combat them. Still, it is also worth stopping to consider the legal case on its own terms. No one has done this quite so effectively, to my knowledge, as the Ugandan jurist Julia Sebutinde, who is the vice-president of the ICJ and the only one of its judges to rule unequivocally in Israel’s favor both in this case and in the previous one where it found accusations of genocide “plausible.”

Sebutinde begins by questioning the appropriateness of the court ruling on this issue at all:

Once again, South Africa has invited the Court to micromanage the conduct of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Such hostilities are exclusively governed by the laws of war (international humanitarian law) and international human-rights law, areas where the Court lacks jurisdiction in this case.

The Court should also avoid trying to enforce its own orders. . . . Is the Court going to reaffirm its earlier provisional measures every time a party runs to it with allegations of a breach of its provisional measures? I should think not.

Sebutinde also emphasizes the absurdity of hearing this case after Israel has taken “multiple concrete actions” to alleviate the suffering of Gazan civilians since the ICJ’s last ruling. In fact, she points out, “the evidence actually shows a gradual improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza since the Court’s order.” She brings much evidence in support of these points.

She concludes her dissent by highlighting the procedural irregularities of the case, including a complete failure to respect the basic rights of the accused:

I find it necessary to note my serious concerns regarding the manner in which South Africa’s request and incidental oral hearings were managed by the Court, resulting in Israel not having sufficient time to file its written observations on the request. In my view, the Court should have consented to Israel’s request to postpone the oral hearings to the following week to allow for Israel to have sufficient time to fully respond to South Africa’s request and engage counsel. Regrettably, as a result of the exceptionally abbreviated timeframe for the hearings, Israel could not be represented by its chosen counsel, who were unavailable on the dates scheduled by the Court.

It is also regrettable that Israel was required to respond to a question posed by a member of the Court over the Jewish Sabbath. The Court’s decisions in this respect bear upon the procedural equality between the parties and the good administration of justice by the Court.

Read more at International Court of Justice

More about: Gaza War 2023, ICC, International Law