Azerbaijan: Israel’s Back Door To Iran

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The terrorist attack in Bulgaria on Wednesday that saw five Israeli tourists killed caused the war drums in the Persian Gulf to beat louder as Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed Iran for the massacre and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised a powerful response. American naval forces have been enlarging their presence in the Gulf, while the Israeli air force has been practicing long-distance flights for the long-expected attack to take out Iran’s facilities for producing nuclear weapons.

Holding the key to making any eventual Israeli aerial assault on Iran’s nuclear program a success may lie with Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic located in the Caucasus Mountains on Iran’s northern border. Unknown to many,Israel has developed strong commercial and defense relationships with this mostly shiite Muslim country, and is described as being “deeply embedded” there for the past 20 years.

The importance Azerbaijan holds for Israel in any war with Iran lies in its airfields. An article in Foreign Policy magazine last March claims that US officials believe the Israelis have negotiated a deal to use Azeri airbases if Israel ever launches its air force against the mullah regime.

“In particular, four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel and has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran’s northern border,” the article states.

Considering the route Israeli warplanes must fly to Iran and back is 2,200 miles long, airfields placed at Israel’s disposal in Azerbaijan would, the article maintains, cancel out the need to refuel in mid-air as the Israeli planes would just continue flying northwards and land in Azeri territory. The Azeri airfield deemed most suitable for Israeli use is an old, unused Soviet-era airbase about 40 miles from Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku. Absence of an Azeri refuge would see the attacking Israeli planes “stretched to the limit,” especially the fighter planes escorting the bombers.

“The problem is the F-15s, who would go in as fighters to protect F-16 bombers and stay over the target,” said retired Air Force Col. Mark Gardiner in the article concerning the Israelis engaging Iranian interceptors. “Those F-15s would burn up fuel over the target and need to land.”

Having access to an Azeri airfield, the article claims, could also benefit Israel in other ways. Intelligence-seeking drones could be launched from there, if they haven’t been already, and the airbase could also serve as an air rescue center for downed Israeli pilots.

For its part, Azerbaijan’s defense minister has denied his country leased airfields to Israel and stated it would “never permit” an attack to be launched against Iran from its soil. But with such a powerful neighbour like Iran next door, possessing anti-Azerbaijan designs, this statement may simply serve to camouflage the largely hidden Azeri-Israeli military co-operation (Azerbaijan’s president said nine-tenths of his country’s relations with Israel, like an iceberg, are “below the surface.”)

Azerbaijan, an oil-rich nation with a population of nine million, used to be part of Iran where most Azeris still live. It is estimated between 16 to 25 percent of Iran’s population are Iranian Azeris. An expanding Russia acquired what constitutes present-day Azerbaijan from Persia (Iran) after a war it won in the early 1800s. The former Persian possession became a Soviet republic shortly after the 1917 Russian Revolution and gained its independence with that country’s demise in 1991. Iran, however, would like to reclaim its lost possession, not least of all because it serves as an independence model for its own Azeri population.

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  • Bamaguje

    "Israel… sold the Azeris… Anti-ship missiles, UAVs, Barak air defense missiles and an anti-missile radar system…" – Stephen Brown.

    Given the inherent Jew hatred of Islam, I'm not comfortable with Israel sharing arms technology with any Muslim nation as the tables can easily turn around unfavorably.
    Under the Shah, Iran was a buddy of Israel and United States, but the Mullahs who later took over have severally threatened to "wipe Israel off the map."

    • Chiggles

      Oops. Gave you a thumb down by mistake. Sorry.

    • Mensch Keymelon

      "Wipe Israel off the map"

      That was a purposeful mistranslation for political ends…he said that Israel was a failing nation and would be wiped from the pages of history" unless of course you are regurgitating some later spin than the one I am pointing out.

    • Raymond in DC

      Let's not forget that once friendly Turkey had access to advanced Israeli military technology. No more, though Israel recently competed repairs on advanced UAVs – foolishly thinking such a friendly gesture would endear them to Turkey and lead to restored relations. Didn't happen.

  • Camus

    Am Israël Haï v é Kayam ! Mes condoléances aux familles en deuil et prompt rétablissement aux blessés. Merci libellule.

  • Matt

    I don't know where they came from I have no radars or communications. But the day after nuclear armed F-35 stealth fighters.

  • Matt

    I am building the bomb to go under it, yeah and I will use them as strategic stealth bombers, like the F-111 but stealth. That is the day after the timeline for delivery and for Iran to rebuild is around the same time frame. It is perfect for the role that Israel need for, you don't need it for terrorists, I would like 1000 but just to expensive, but say 25 at current prices. That is the day after. A nation that threatens a holocaust to kill 8 million people, has to be denied the means and contained via nuclear weapons and other means. That is the day after, not about regime change, attitude adjustment. You can't go around threat with whatever means to put 8 million into the ovens. There is going to be resistance to, regardless of the elders of zion and anti-Semitic views. Nothing that is happening is anyone's fault but Iran's. I am not speaking for any but my person, I have nothing lose, everything is on table. That is what happens when you say you will murder 8 million people, it leaves a lot of room.

    • Mensch Keymelon

      What have you been smoking? No leader of any country said anything about murdering eight million people…the only country trying to start a war is that pip-squeak Israel, and that only because Bibi knows when he gets in over his head the US will bail his ass out…again. Without big brother Israel will get it's ass handed to it. I mean if a poorly armed bunch of civilian defence force Lebanese can beat the IDF to a stand still and then run them back across the border, what will it be like if Israel decides to go it alone? As George said " a damned good hding. "

      • Ghostwriter

        Well,the Israelis did a good job defeating the Muslims when they tried to wipe them out. Sadly,there are people like you who carry the Iranian Mullah's water. I,for one,want to see the Mullahs out of Iran. That country has suffered for too long under their boot.


          The ayatollahs need to have their necks stretched.

      • Choi

        A)A "poorly armed civilian defense force" did NOT beat anybody,Israel FOUGHT Hizbollah /Iran and accepted a Cease-Fire under Global pressure.
        B) What do you think Iran's THREATS to DESTROY ISRAEL MEANS?
        Oh,and you're NO "mensch" but rather a POS.


        Moron Keymoron, Your Taqiyya is showing.

        Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "Death to Israel"

        Happy Eternal Nakba!

  • Marty

    The Azeris have an opportunity after the Israeli strikes to detach the area in the fictitious state of Iran that contains at least 12 million fellow Azeris. The strikes should be a prelude to the complete disintegration of iran; only three fifths of the iranian citizenry are persian anyway. iran could and should be reduced to the center of the country. Another ten percent of iran are Kurds. They could join a new state – Kurdistan carved out of a disintegrating iraq, turkey, and syria. A Kurdistan of 30 million people would be friendly to the United States and probably an ally of Israel and Azerbaijan. This is the new Middle East, not the brutal islamic infection of the arab spring.

    • Azeri

      My freind Marty south Azerbaijan's population is between 25 to 35 million and i can't be more agree with your idea than I am,for last 20 years I am waiting for that happing and i am sure that moment is coming.

    • Azeri

      south Azerbaijan's population is 25 to 35 millions, and I like your idea.

    • Hugo Skandrani

      I'm not sure if it's true, but it's rumored that the Berbers of North Africa are pro-Western and not hostile to Israel. Perhaps they will be another link in the chain that civilizes the Islamic world (Israel, the Kurds and the Azeris).

  • AlirezaA.Nasseri

    it comes ti stuck in STUPID,4 last 4000 years,Azaris are MAADIS and they made the best PEACE tready with Persians in entire human history, and Persians and Azaris helped the Israilies, 2 big, time (PHEIROS SLAVERY<and Babalonians> it is time to put Hate Down and picup, LOVE,and Respect ,Acceptance of each other,4 the sake of our Childreen, and that will be a new and wonderful NEW WORLD ORDER,Peacce 4 AZARIS<ARMENIANS<HAMAS<KURDS<ISRAEL<IRAN and TURKIYEH,then rest of the world be just fine. maybe i am very NAIVE, but LOVE of All have saved me big time and many many times,Alireza love 4 all &4 ever,Amen

  • Papa Bear

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend applies here.