Baku: Azerbaijan is ready to stand by with Israel in attacking on Iran as the both countries have explored the possibilities that how air bases in Azerbaijan and Azeri spy drones could help the Jewish states’ fighter jets in long-range attack on Iran.
According to the Azeri sources familiar with the military planning, Azerbaijan wants to remove Israel’s “go-it-alone” option by helping the Jewish state with its air bases and spy drones in attacking on Iran’s nuclear sites.
Israel is feared to attack Iran without the support of its main ally, the United States, as it is getting impatient about Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has shown impatience saying that Tehran is barely a year from a “red line” for atomic capacity. However, many fellow Israelis fear a unilateral strike, lacking US forces, would fail against such a large and distant enemy.
Nonetheless, Azerbaijan has come forward to remove the loneliness of Israel by offering its territory for attacking on Iran. Azerbaijan is an oil-rich ex-Soviet republic on Iran’s far northern border which could help Israel in its distant attack on Iran.
By observing key weaknesses in any Israeli war plan, notably on refueling, reconnaissance and rescuing crews, such an alliance might tilt Israeli thinking on the feasibility of acting without the US help.
Despite official denials by Azerbaijan and Israel, two Azeri former military officers with links to serving personnel and two Russian intelligence sources informed that Azerbaijan and Israel have been looking at how Azeri bases and intelligence could serve in a possible strike on Iran.
“Where planes would fly from - from here, from there, to where? - that’s what’s being planned now,” a security consultant with contacts at Azeri defense headquarters in Baku said. “The Israelis ... would like to gain access to bases in Azerbaijan,” he added.
Rasim Musabayov, an independent Azeri lawmaker and a member of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said that, while he has no definitive information, he understands that Azerbaijan would probably feature in any Israeli plans against Iran, at least as a contingency for refueling its attack force.
“Israel has a problem in that if it is going to bomb Iran, its nuclear sites, it lacks refueling. I think their plan includes some use of Azerbaijan access,” he said.
“We have (bases) fully equipped with modern navigation, anti-aircraft defenses and personnel trained by Americans and if necessary they can be used without any preparations,” he added.
The administration of US President, Barack Obama, has made clear it does not welcome Israel’s occasional talk of war and that it prefers diplomacy and economic sanctions to deflect an Iranian nuclear program that Tehran denies has military uses.
Though denying direct knowledge of current military thinking on Iran, the Israeli said one possibility might be “landing are fuelling 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, putting much of Iran beyond the normal ranges of Israel’s US-made F-16bombers and their F-15 escorts. So refueling could be critical.