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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Israel using Azerbaijan as an aircraft carrier – War in the Middle East imminent?

“Foreign Policy” disclosures a strategic move by Israel to use air bases in Azerbaijan for possible air strikes against Iran. By dispatching fighter jets from these air bases, Israel will have a massive strategic advantage for air strikes, instead of launching possible attacks from its own territory.

This strategic move is a necessary one for Israel, for four reasons:
First, Israel will have to take a very narrow air corridor over Jordan and Iraq in order to penetrate Iranian air space. For wider operations, the Israeli air force would have to fly over Syrian or Saudi Arabian air space. In the view of the isolated position of Israel in the Middle East and the hostility of the Arab states against Israel, these options are not feasible. Both countries will block their air spaces against any Israeli air movement towards Iran – also in terms of solidarity with Iran.

Secondly, Azerbaijan’s strategic position to Iran makes it very easy for Israel to launch air strikes. Quick take-offs, quick strikes against key targets, and then withdrawing back to the bases in the former Soviet Republic. This will save time and make consecutive and simultaneous attacks with forces launched from Israeli territory far easier and more efficient.

Thirdly, Iran will have no options to counter-attack Israeli bases in Azerbaijan without violating Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and its air space. In this case, Iran will focus its counter attacks in its own air space, or attacking Israel territory as such.

Last but not least, the fact of the matter is that Israel hardly has any allies in the region – except for the USA. Azerbaijan could be won as an ally, even if it’s for strategic purposes only, but with possible future trade and policy cooperation options. With the US being stuck in its own election processes and Europe unable to intervene in the conflict, Israel is all on its own.

With limited striking capabilities, Israel is planning for a quick and detailed air strike surgery on Iranian key targets. Therefore, Azerbaijan might be used as a temporary air craft carrier, for the duration of limited air strikes.

The question is not if Israel is going to launch an attack against Iran, but when. Israel is determined to defend itself against any potential threat by taking all possible measures. For Israel’s self-defense purposes – no matter how much of it is based on reasonable judgment and how much on paranoia –  any possible way is just sufficient enough, even the consequences are being taken for granted.

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