Azerbaijani naval vessels sit at the harbor in Baku in 2005.
(VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images)
It is little wonder, then, that as the interests of Iran and Russia diverge from those of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, so too do their naval strategies. As Russia and Iran enhance interoperability through bilateral exercises, Azerbaijan is courting other countries. In November, it hosted the heads of navies from the United States and Korea to discuss educational and technical cooperation opportunities. Over the past few years it has acquired as much non-Russian military hardware as it can. It has purchased naval assets from Turkey, Israel and the United States, and it has participated in several training programs with the U.S. Coast Guard. (Notably, the 2016 U.S. Navy Foreign Military Sales program has several options for platform and equipment purchases in which Azerbaijan may be interested, but so far no official proposals have been made.) Moreover, Baku hopes to modernize the equipment it already has, and with an expanded military...
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