Sergei Melkonian
PhD, Research Fellow (APRI Armenia)

Yom Kippur War between Armenia and Azerbaijan: Israeli factor

Another escalation began today (Yom Kippur in Israel) on the border between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). According to various reports, Baku has launched an offensive against the NKR.

The main differences from previous escalations are as follows:

  • Baku did not bomb the capital of the NKR: today the Republic’s leadership called on the civilian population to hide in bomb shelters
  • Baku did not use aviation: as of this morning, there is confirmation of two downed helicopters
  • The current escalation was preceded by serious militarization with the accumulation of Turkish and Israeli weapons
  • The authorities of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have declared martial law, the population of the capital is staying in bomb shelters, and all men aged 18 and over have been conscripted
  • For the first time, the Armenian government imposed martial law in the Republic and declared general mobilization in connection with the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Turkish state broadcaster TRT’s correspondent started live stream from the frontline in couple of minutes after the attack

After a small-scale intensification of armed conflict in August of this year, as a result of which Armenia shot down more than 10 Azerbaijani UCAVs of Israeli production, it was possible to see new weapons being sent from Israel to Azerbaijan. A similar event took place in the Turkish direction: about a dozen military transport planes were sent from Turkey to Azerbaijan until the day before the new escalation began.

Military aircraft that delivered weapons from Israel to Azerbaijan in recent months

Israel in the South Caucasus 

On the eve of the Jewish new year, Armenia officially opened its Embassy in Israel. It seems strange that the Israeli media did not cover this event in any way. It is important to note that Armenia, which borders Iran, opened its diplomatic mission in Israel, aware of the negative reaction from Tehran. At the same time, Azerbaijan, being a key partner of Israel in the region, which ranks third in the list of arms importers, refrains from opening an Embassy, which is due to the reluctance to receive a negative reaction from Ankara, Tehran and part of the Muslim world.

The concentration of Israeli-made high-tech weapons in the region makes Israel one of the security factors in the South Caucasus. Due to high prices, Armenia cannot afford to purchase Israeli weapons. At the same time, the Azerbaijani army continues to be saturated with the most advanced types, in particular, UСAVs. Due to the fact that Azerbaijani drone operators do not have a high level of qualification, there are significant losses among equipment, as well as their use on civilian objects. The involvement of Israeli equipment in attacks on civilian targets affects the positive image of Israel.

It is enough to recall the scandal when, according to publications, the delegation of the Israeli company Aeronautics Defense Systems, which supplies drones to Azerbaijan, was asked to “test” new kamikaze drones on Armenian positions. The company’s operators refused to launch such a test, but the delegation leaders themselves struck a blow. The company denies the allegations, claiming that the UCAV was operated by representatives of the buyer – Azerbaijan. The Israeli Defense Ministry declined to comment, outlining that an investigation has been launched.


The new escalation will not last longer than a week or two, because the parties are not ready for a long war. The confirmed facts of the active use of Israeli UCAVs indicate a high demand for this type of weapons in the region. Israel’s growing role in security issues in the South Caucasus is a cause for reasonable concern of Moscow, Tehran, as well as Ankara. If the first two sides are interested in maintaining stability near their borders, then Turkey seeks to create its own zone of influence in the region, which will be created using its closest ally Azerbaijan. In this context, Israel needs to remain equidistant from both sides of the conflict in order to avoid claims from Russia and Iran.

About the Author
Research Fellow at the Applied Policy Research Institute of Armenia (APRI Armenia) Analyst of Russia's foreign policy, Middle East and South Caucasus
Related Topics
Related Posts