Ban on Orbiter 1k drone sale to Azerbaijan a result of change in Armenian-Israeli relations – Expert

“The ban on the sale of Orbiter 1k drones to Azerbaijan should be considered not only in the context of some recent disagreements in Azerbaijan-Israel relations, but also in the context of improvement in Armenian-Israeli relations we have witnessed in the past months,” Karen Veranyan, senior political expert at Noravank Foundation, said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia.

He said the first signs of deterioration in Azerbaijani-Israeli relations were seen after a famous Israeli paper leaked information about the properties of Aliyev’s family, particularly those they have in the Israeli city of Haifa. Besides the paper disclosed information about the illness of Aliyev’s son, who received treatment in Israel.

“Before this the two countries enjoyed high-level allied relations,” the expert added.

“We know that Israeli specialists participated in the operation of Israeli-made drones during the military clashed between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan last April. They operated the drones through remote control to hit the Armenian positions,” Karen Veranyan noted.

The expert said the Israeli Defense Ministry’s decision to ban supplies of Orbiter 1k drones to Azerbaijan is “unprecedented.” He said this is a result of the changed dynamics in the Azerbaijani-Israeli and Armenian-Israeli relations.

According to Veranyan, there has been change in the rules of the game, Israel’s policy towards and its interests in the South Caucasus have been reshuffled.

“Israel first tried to cooperate with Georgia, then it established close cooperation with Azerbaijan. Now we see political relations between Armenia and Israel developing,” he noted.

The expert said the overall dynamics of Israeli-Turkish relations has already changed. While Israel’s alliance with countries like Cyprus and Greece could sound ridiculous before, today Israel seems to be trying to create an anti-Turkish bloc with countries allied with Turkey like Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan also as its long-time foes like Greece and Cyprus.

The expert said Iran’s factor also plays a role here. “There is an opinion that improvement of the Armenian-Israeli relations could lead to deterioration of Armenian-Iranian ties. However, we have to take note of a very important circumstance here. Iran has more dynamic and deeper political and economic relations with Azerbaijan than Armenia.”

Should Armenia adopt a more flexible policy, it could serve a bridge between Israel and Iran, Karen Veranyan concluded.

Israel’s Defense Ministry has frozen some of the licenses of Aeronautics, preventing the firm from exporting its drones to Azerbaijan, one of its major clients.

According to the source, the action comes in the wake of an investigation of the Israeli firm by the Ministry of Defense Security Authority which was examining a complaint that Aeronautics representatives demonstrated the use of a kamikaze drone in Azerbaijan, by attacking a manned position of the Armenian army.

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