We think of the nations in this volatile sphere as set-ups for the vulgar, tasteless and wildly funny Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen’s clueless fictional character from the glorious nation of Kazakhstan. But gaze at the map. Geography is destiny.
Israel now has access to military bases in two strategic Central Asian Muslim states. Azerbaijan, mostly Shia, shares a vital border with Iran. Kazakhstan does not share a border with Iran, but this Sunni Muslim state sits tantalizingly close to Iran, to heavily fortified nuclear installations.
As a friend in the IAF quipped: “We’ve got the mullahs surrounded.”