Reports and denials are flourishing regarding allegations that Israel “bought” access to Azerbaijan airfields, a country that borders Iran to the north. Regardless of what officials on either side claim or refute, such a basing arrangement would make total sense for the IAF as they could not only be able to raid essential Iranian nuclear targets with their fighter fleet full of gas and heavy weapons loads, but from bases just north of Tehran Israel could actually execute and sustain a full on air campaign against Iranian military and developmental targets. In other words, the IAF would be able to not only set back Iran’s nuclear development timeline, but they would also be able to strike at their ballistic missile program and infrastructure, as well as other more conventional military capabilities. Such a campaign would be invaluable towards reducing Iran’s retaliatory capability in the near to medium term following such a strike.

The Israeli-Azerbaijan relationship is a complicated one, but also one that has blossomed recently. The main issue regarding these claims that does seem puzzling concerns the cost-benefit equation for Azerbaijan. Regardless of the massive compensation Israel could possibly offer Azerbaijan for staging their forces within their country for such a strike, once the operation were to commence it would be logical to assume that Iran would immediately declare war against not only Israel but the country that agreed to base their attacking forces as well, and such hostilities amongst bordering states could last long after Israeli-Iranian combat has ceased.

At a minimum, even limited Israeli access of Azerbaijan airfields would allow IAF combat search and rescue helicopter and commando teams to mount aircrew recovery operations if aircrew were downed over Iranian territory. Further, drone aircraft which would be key in assessing bomb damage after a large Israeli “alpha strike” could operate with ease from such close proximity basing. By allowing Israel to use bases in Azerbaijan for such limited support and non-offensive missions, Iran may feel a little less belligerent toward their northerly neighbor as opposed to a scenario where they are the primary staging ground for a massive bombing campaign against Iranian targets.

Many are accusing the Obama Administration of leaking this information as the White House is very concerned that an Israeli raid on Iran could totally destabilize the fragile Middle East region and wreak havoc on an already faltering world economy. It is possible that if the Israelis had reached a deal with the Azerbaijanis over basing rights, and seeing how total secrecy would be needed for such an operation to succeed, the White House, having got wind of such a deal, decided that giving the Israeli’s an unprecedented opportunity to attack may not be in the United States’s interest, and thus blew the deal up before the world’s media. Keep in mind, this information comes on the same day as the news that the US may pump many more millions of dollars into the unrelated, yet still very politically relevant, Iron Dome rocket and artillary defense shield that has proven very successful recently, foiling some 85% of relevant rocket attacks on the Israeli populace.

At this point this story is still developing and nothing can be casted outside of the realm of possibility, stay tuned for further developments…



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  1. Amir says:

    If Azerbaijan do this mistake then Iran will easily occupy most of its territory in a shock raid. And I think it would be completely justified since it starts a war against Iran. Remember Azerbaijan is small country who lost 25% of its territory to Armenia (even smaller country) 20 years ago so its army has no chance in front of Iran. I think Iran can capture Baku with in a day or two. It would be a good deal for Iran to regain Azerbaian (it was a part of Iran till 1820 when Russia capture it) for a relatively noneffective attack by Israel.

  2. dan says:

    This story isn’t exactly novel – it’s an iteration of a variety of stories over the past 7 years which breathlessly inform us that Israel has acquired the use of airbases just about everywhere and anywhere. A few years back the friendly state of choice for the IAF was supposedly going to be Georgia.

    Quite why the IAF would park high-end aviation assets that the Russians would love a peek at so temptingly close at hand escapes me – it’s not as if the dominant foreign player in Azerbaijan isn’t Moscow.

    Clearly, part of the attraction of these stories is that the boys in disinfo know that geography is poorly understood – even by journalists who have a decent education.

    Now, Azerbaijan does not have a border with Israel, even worse, it’s even further to Azerbaijan than Iran, and to add to the fun, it’s a landlocked state with no access to uncontrolled airspace even on an indirect route from Israel – to get the there the Israelis have to fly military assets across third-party airspace, con permission, and this cannot be kept secret. To add to the fun, the Russians have radar installations in Azerbaijan. Given that Turkish airspace is currently closed to IAF assets, one can discount the story as being utter bollocks. And, as you well know, it’s more than just flying airframes – high-end aircraft require airfields that can support them and a fuck-ton of logistical support to fly, especially if you want them to carry things like bombs to a target.

    As you’ve noted, Azerbaijan allowing use of its territory for the IAF to attack, or even flee, Iran makes it a belligerent co-party in the matter. Yet we are required to accept, uncritically, that the Azeri leadership is happy to be in a state of war with Iran, as well as being potentially indictable as war criminals. Well, I’ve got a bridge…..

    You want the reality here – it’s the good old routine of information operations that exist to complicate and frustrate Iranian diplomatic initiatives, keep their external relations as frosty as possible, and spoil, spoil, spoil.

    • aviationintel.com says:

      Great points, I do agree with many of them. The cost benefit analysis on this deal just seems way out of whack. Now special forces and search and rescue staging, that is possible in my opinion.


  3. dan says:

    Well special forces and SAR are marginally less implausible – but it’s a pretty thin sliver.

    The reality is that the IAF has no SAR solution to the issue of downed aircrews in Iran – at best it’s an underground railroad type of operation; and I would be deeply skeptical of Israeli capacities to pull this off in Iran.

    Again, any state that aided and abetted would be a belligerent co-party with all the misery that potentially entails.

    On a general note, part of the problem with much of the journalism/commentary regarding Iran attack scenarios is that so few of the pontificators/stenographers have ever travelled in Iran or spent time there, so it gets treated as some blank space on the map which we can colour in any way our imagination requires, and just add in the standard incantations regarding Isreali military infallibility ( pretend Hizbullah doesn’t exist ). This is of course useful for disinfo – the media that amplifies this has no objective and experiential reference points with which to guage its credibility or practicality.

    The real question is does the imaginary Iran of the fantasy IAF attack scenarios correspond in any way to reality.

    • aviationintel.com says:

      I went on John Batchelor’s national show and said I did not think this report was actually fact. Maybe it was floated as an idea, or negotiated on, but when you game out the cost benefit analysis for Azerbaijan it just does not make sense unless Israel would literally occupy their country militarily for decades, which they really do not have the resources to make a reality.

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