(Washington, D.C.) — In this crazy, chaotic world of ours, could there really be a Shia Muslim nation that strongly backs the U.S., opposes Iranian terrorism and regional aggression, and is not only a friend and ally of Israel but recently welcomed Israel’s Prime Minister for a state visit?
Sounds like fiction, I know. But it really exists — Azerbaijan.
Yesterday, I had the honor of a two-hour meeting with Ambassador Elin Sulaymanov at Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Washington. While our conversation was off the record, it was certainly fascinating. I gave the Ambassador an advance copy of WITHOUT WARNING, and he invited me to visit Baku.
Some facts about the country:
- 9.8 million people
- 97% Shia Muslim, 3% Christian, but with a fairly secular government
- “Oil-rich Azerbaijan has redefined itself over the past two decades from a struggling newly independent state to a major regional energy player,” notes the BBC.
- A former Soviet republic which became independent on August 30, 1991, just before the formal dissolution of the USSR
- Located in a tough neighborhood, with Russian President Vladimir Putin to the north, Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the south, and Armenia to the west which wrested control of some 20% of Azerbaijan (the Nagorno-Karabakh region) after a period of war and separatist uprisings during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
- Criticized by some internationally for an authoritarian government
- Working closely with the U.S. and the West on regional energy and security issues
Some articles worth reading about the country:
- PM hails Azerbaijan cooperation as beacon of Jewish-Muslim coexistence — During Netanyahu’s historic visit to Baku, Azeri leader says his country has bought some $5b in weapons from Jewish state (Times of Israel)
- Netanyahu Pays Historic Visit to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan (Jewish News Service)
- Netanyahu’s trip to Azerbaijan draws Iranian ire (Jerusalem Post)
- Joint Chiefs Chairman to Meet With Russian Counterpart in Azerbaijan (New York Times)
- Iran Threatens Azerbaijan (The National Interest)
- Pre-order Without Warning for up to 48% off — available in hardcover, e-book and audio formats on Amazon, B&N, or any general market or Christian bookstore, the novel will release on March 14, 2017. Please click here.
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