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Reuters reveals the “secret”

Reuters reveals the “secret”

In view of the current information war, such insinuations by serious agencies may further add to tensions between Baku and Tehran.

Sooner or later, the secret is revealed, and hiding military facilities rumoured about all over the year is absolutely impossible. Reuters news agency finally published the “secret”: Azerbaijan hosts Israeli and U.S. military bases, to be used in case of attack against Iran.Azerbaijan has four ex-Soviet air bases that could be suitable for Israeli jets, namely the central Kyurdamir, Gyanja in the west and Nasosny and Gala in the east, Reuters said.

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Pentagon says it helped upgrade Nasosny airfield recently. It also uses Azeri commercial facilities in transit to Afghanistan.

Most likely, they decided to openly use Aliyev against Tehran, believing he has no other option. If he does persist, they will exchange him for someone who is more agreeable. Actually, the head of Aliyev clan does not oppose much; he realizes perfectly well he is hooked just the same way as the Near East “dictators”. Arranging a minor “Arab spring” in Azerbaijan is as easy as a pie, especially because the people there lack any unity whatsoever, despite claims of the ruling elite on this.

Also, there is another question here. Israel's being on friendly terms with Azerbaijan is quite clear: the Jewish state apparently needs support of a Muslim country, particularly in view of the utterly deteriorated relations with Turkey. Israel, or rather the U.S. took into account Aliyev's “dislike” to Iran and played on this properly.

“Despite official denials by Azerbaijan and Israel, two Azeri former military officers with links to serving personnel and two Russian intelligence sources all told Reuters that Azerbaijan and Israel have been looking at how Azeri bases and intelligence could serve in a possible strike on Iran,” Reuters reports.

That Aliyev has become a rare Muslim friend of the Jewish state is no secret; a $1.6-billion arms deal involving dozens of Israeli drones, and Israel’s thirst for Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea crude, are well documented. In 2009, Aliyev described relations with Israel as “like an iceberg, nine tenths … below the surface”.

According to an Israeli source, one possibility might be "landing a refueling plane there, made to look like a civilian airliner, so it could later take off to rendezvous mid-air with IAF jets".

A thousand miles separates Tehran and Tel Aviv, so refueling could be critical.

Also, intelligence cooperation was established between Azerbaijan and Israel. As part of last year's arms deal, Azerbaijan is building up to 60 Israeli-designed drones, giving it reconnaissance means far greater than would be needed just to guard oil installations or even to mount any operations against Nagorno Karabakh, Reuters said.

Following the Reuters publication, The Jerusalem Post took up the topic. “The Israelis would like to gain access to bases in Azerbaijan," it says.

Nevertheless, Azerbaijani and Israeli officials continue denying the fact of cooperation on strike on Iran.

During his official visit to Tehran in early 2012, Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev declared that Azerbaijan will not make any political moves to harm Iran. “No country can incite Azerbaijan against Iran or use our soil for anti-Iran purposes. This is Azerbaijan’s firm stance,” Abiyev stated in Tehran.

This conflicts with the idea of joining South Atropatena province to Azerbaijan and the general policy pursued against Iran. However, it’s too early for conclusions: in view of the current information war, such insinuations by serious agencies may further add to tensions between Baku and Tehran.

It is still unclear whether Iran will face attack or not; this is not likely to happen, though. And what matters here is not the Israeli fear but the Syrian story which still continues. The U.S. will not intervene with Iran now, despite the urge of prime minister Netanyahu. This is way too dangerous. This poses danger for Israel as well, and the PM is well aware of this. Therefore, Israel just has to wait for the presidential elections in the U.S. Even in case Mitt Romney wins the race, the U.S. policy in the Near East will hardly see significant changes. In this case, mere demographic figures work: 400 millions of Arabs just cannot compare to 5-6 millions of Jews. Well, Arabs dislike the Persians, but they detest the Jews and Turks even more.

Karine Ter-Sahakian
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