In the days after the hijab protest with the demonstrations fading away along with the brutal punishments and executions carried out by the regime in Iran, the thought arises where did the white smoke come from?
Let’s dive a little into the geography, Iran borders five different countries, while it is surrounded by radical Islamic countries (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and some would say Turkey too), but to the east of it is the only secular Islamic country in the world, Israel’s friend for years and this is of course Azerbaijan.
A little background, Azerbaijan is a democratic country that gained independence in 1991 after the breakup of the former Soviet Union, which is mainly made up of Caucasians, the country contains over 80% Shiite Muslim citizens with the rest being divided between Jewish and Christian citizens. Over the years, Azerbaijan has been a deep friend of the Jewish community, its Jewish citizens (a large part of whom still live there today) will never tell you that they experienced anti-Semitism or humiliation. In secular Azerbaijan everyone is treated equally.
With a high number of synagogues, an entire city full of mountain Jews (KIRMZI GASBA) Azerbaijan is the proof that the Israeli-Arab conflict is based on a religious-radical and extreme background. While the rest of the Islamic countries in the world are severing ties with Israel, Azerbaijan is tightening its relations, with Israel supplying 80% of the defense imports to Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan supplying about 60% of all the oil that Israel purchases.
The father of the Azeri nation, the father of the current president, said many times in conversations with Israeli officials recorded in the protocol: “In the past and now the Jews have enjoyed all civil rights in Azerbaijan and we do not allow any deprivation. In the past and now the Jews participate a lot in the social and political life of Azerbaijan, in the field of science, culture, and brought many benefits to Azerbaijan. I personally had many Jewish friends who filled very important positions in Azerbaijan in the fields of culture, music, health, science and other fields. They were valuable people, citizens of Azerbaijan. We are forever We will not forget their great right in the development of Azerbaijan, especially in the development of culture, science and health here.”
He who made the relations between the two countries close, held frequent meetings with the Israeli Prime Ministers and Presidents, understood even then what the Gulf countries already understand today, peace is made out of strength, peace is made out of reciprocity. There is no point in turning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a Jewish-Muslim one. The Palestinian agenda has suffered a severe disappointment in the face of these things, as they are trying to present a false picture in which the conflict is of the entire Arab world and slowly the picture is becoming clearer.
The common enemy – the Iranians
In eastern Azerbaijan is the city of Tabriz, whose population is close to 2 million citizens, the vast majority of whom are actually Azeri. The most spoken language in the city, for example, is Azeri. But the residents are imprisoned under the Iranian regime and under Iranian sovereignty and for years, as the extreme Iranian regime intensified, so did the protests in Tabriz. Many will make a comparison between Tabriz and Iran and Catalonia and Spain, but the story is much more significant and larger, because the Catalans do not suffer from oppression under the Spanish government and yet enjoy full freedom of expression. Protests in Tabriz are suppressed and sometimes even drag its participants to heavy prison sentences up to death sentences.
The protestors want to break away from the Iranian government and create a separate country – South Azerbaijan, recently another wave of protests against the Iranian regime began in the city in question. In the recent months, the regime suppressed the demonstrations and carried out a wave of arrests of residents and Iranian security forces even massacred protesters in the city, killing dozens. It should be noted that this is a city of great importance to the murderous regime in Iran, and the fear in the corridors of power is that if the city and its surroundings declare independence from Iran, this will be a catalyst for the overthrow of the Iranian government. The protesters have recently been using creative methods, and are trying in all kinds of sophisticated ways to sway the opinion of the entire audience in their favor, the activists have even started to hang masses of signs with the flag of independent South Azerbaijan. The leaflets are pasted on administrative and public facilities under the control of the security forces.
Those who watch the television channels in Azerbaijan will be able to notice the extensive coverage of the protests in Tabriz, the Azeri people sympathize deeply with their people who are imprisoned under the Iranian regime, and there is extensive coverage of those arrested and murdered by the regime.
So in the days when Iran is reaching out to eliminate the State of Israel, the Azeris are a significant player in the region and especially when they have a significant share of the population that strongly dislikes the Iranian regime, only time will tell whether the citizens of “South Azerbaijan” will be granted freedom and change.