As the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh mushrooms, the Israeli-Azerbaijani arms trade is flourishing, and in this case Netanyahu’s government is being chiefly guided by economic benefits, with political calculations, or rather miscalculations, in second place after those.
It should be pointed out that at present the Israeli economy is experiencing great difficulties due to the pandemic, basically just like other countries. Restaurants, cafes, factories, and plants are temporarily shutting down, and the number of tourists has sharply dropped. Under these conditions, the Israeli government is trying to find some sources of assistance, even temporary ones, for both the economy and the population itself. For these purposes, it is keeping close track of the sales of weapons and high-technology systems.
Presently, in the 31-degree heat at Ben Gurion Airport, it is quiet and calm, without the previous hubbub – civilian flights have virtually ceased due to the rampant COVID-19 pandemic. But cargo flights along the route to Azerbaijan have still picked up recently, and are loaded to capacity. The large number of flights is a direct consequence of the resumption of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. At least four Il-76 aircraft operated by the Azerbaijani cargo airline Silk Way, which serves the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense, landed and then took off from Uvda Air Force Base in southern Israel: two before the start of hostilities, and two afterwards. According to the air traffic rules, this is the only airport from which aircraft loaded with explosives are allowed to take off.
Surveillance of the takeoffs and landings, as well as aircraft traffic throughout the Middle East and beyond the region, is something done by both professionals and amateurs, and therefore the flight paths of the four aircraft have been documented by professionals, and on various public websites that follow air traffic activity. Some of these planes have also flown from Baku to Ankara, and to Istanbul and back again, in recent times. All of this speaks of the redeployment of weapons and military equipment, and therefore that Israel is involved in the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh – and has taken the side of one of the warring parties.
On September 27 fighting resumed, with a surprise offensive conducted by the Azerbaijanis along the entire front.