The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Israel’s front-line in the South Caucasus

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Describing the “frozen conflict” between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, Tim Judah writes in the Jewish Chronicle of Israel’s interest:

The situation could not be more different in Azerbaijan. Baku was famous more than a century ago for one of the world’s first great oil booms. Now it is booming again. Oil has seen the country’s GDP explode from $5.2 billion in 2000 to $51 billion in 2010. In 2005, oil began flowing along a major new pipeline from Baku, via Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, to Ceyhan, on the southern coast of Turkey. According to Elmar Mammadyarov, the Azeri foreign minister, Israel buys 30 per cent of its oil from Azerbaijan, which it gets via the pipeline.

It is hardly surprising then that Israel regards Azerbaijan as a strategic ally. But the pipeline is extremely vulnerable. At one point, it runs a mere 12 miles from the front-line with Nagorno -Karabakh. In the event of a new conflict – possible, if not immediately probable – the Armenians would cut the pipeline with artillery and rocket oil platforms in the Caspian. But the Azeris want Karabakh back, or, at least to start with, the “occupied territories” (those parts held by the Armenians but, like Aghdam, outside the boundaries of the old autonomous region). Last year, the Azeris invested $3.2 billion in their military; more than Armenia’s entire budget.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

February 18, 2012 at 9:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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