Russia and Iran Might Be Behind the Flare-Up in the Caucasus

Aug. 26 2020

Last month, one of the cold war’s so-called “frozen conflicts” grew hot when Armenia attacked border outposts in neighboring Azerbaijan, killing eleven soldiers and one civilian. Most observers have linked the attack to the two countries’ decades-long conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region—occupied by Armenia since the early 1990s—but Irina Tsukerman argues that larger geopolitical forces are at play:

[T]his most recent attack was not launched from the occupied region, but rather along the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in close proximity to geopolitically essential oil pipelines. . . . The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, [which flows from Azerbaijan, through Georgia and Turkey, to the Mediterranean], provides Israel with 40 percent of its oil, but also ensures that Russia and Iran cannot monopolize delivery to Europe and Israel from the Caspian region.

Azerbaijan, already a top competitor to Russia and Iran in supplying European energy needs, is about to bypass Armenia and Russia to become a significant supplier of [natural] gas to southern Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor, which is scheduled to be fully operational by year’s end. The diversification of Europe’s natural-gas sources undermines Russian and Iranian political power, which is premised on the threat of leaving Europe out in the cold.

Indeed, in retrospect, there were warning signs, such as Iran’s growing presence in the vicinity and more direct assistance to Armenia for weeks prior to the attack. . . . Armenia and Russia are also interested in developing joint military forces. Not only is Russia completely running the show, but it is increasingly erasing any semblance of Armenia’s independence and asserting its own military presence in the region in a manner that can only be described as menacing.

In short, the Armenian attack served the interests of Tehran and Moscow, at the expense of those of Jerusalem, Ankara, and Europe.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Armenians, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror