Alexey Sinitsyn, chief expert of the US-Azerbaijan Fund promote progress:
- For almost a whole decade, information that has never been confirmed by anyone has been circulating in the world media: Azerbaijan is ready to provide the former Soviet military airfields that remained on its territory after the collapse of the USSR, under the US or Israeli Air Force bases, thereby voluntarily placing on itself mission to serve as a springboard for Western attacks on Iran. Moreover, some agencies at different times reported on deployment in Azerbaijan. aviation groups of Americans, and the most far-sighted "noticed" even the units of the Israeli and American special forces on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border. Well, and quite recently, apparently, with the light hand of Iranian political scientists from IRAS - the Institute for the Study of Modern Iran and Eurasia - information appeared about “negotiations between representatives of Azerbaijan and NATO on the use of Azerbaijani territory to organize a transshipment base where the troops of the North Atlantic Alliance will be withdrawn from Afghanistan. ". Moreover, it is emphasized that this discussion began immediately after the unsuccessful completion of the Russian-Azerbaijani negotiations on the extension of the lease of the Gabala radar station. And to top it all off, IRAS announced that "with the deployment of a military base on the territory of Azerbaijan, the entire Caspian region and the North Caucasus of the Russian Federation will be in the Pentagon's reach."
It seems that everyone has already agreed that the threat of war between the West and Israel against Iran has lost its relevance in the short term. But even if this military operation of the West is again put on the agenda, will the opponents of Tehran somehow involve Azerbaijan in their military plans? Immediately there is a counter question: why do they need it?
Только на территории Саудовской Аравии - прямо «напротив» Ирана, через Персидский Залив - размещены пять крупных американских баз ВВС: «Принц Султан», «Король Абдель Азиз», «Король Фахд», «Король Халед» и «Искан-Вилладж». Теперь, вот, стало известно еще об одной секретной базе drones. Лишь на одном Аравийском полуострове более двух десятков крупных авиационных, военно-морских и сухопутных баз - в Кувейте, Бахрейне, Катаре, Объединенных Арабских Эмиратах и Омане. А ведь США могут еще без проблем сконцентрировать в зоне Залива мощную авианосную ударную группу с двумя, а то и с тремя авианосцами - Abraham Lincoln, Carl Vinson и Enterprise.
Exactly a year ago, when Iranian-American relations sharply deteriorated, large transport aircraft C-17, C-130, E-8 and Rad-Aid detection aircraft, RC-135 and RC-10, appeared on the al-Ubeid airbase in Qatar. P-3 Orion naval reconnaissance, and, most importantly, a squadron of six B-1B strategic bombers capable of carrying super heavy bombs to destroy Iran’s nuclear-sheltered nuclear facilities. Former Soviet airfields, non-equipped by NATO standards, are not able to accept such an armada.
By the way, the Americans have never stated that they intend to sign with Baku the standard legal act “On the Status of Forces” (Status of Forces Agreement, SOFA), i.e. a contract that determines the status of those present in the territory of another state of the US Armed Forces. And what kind of military facilities against Iran, the United States could deploy in Azerbaijan? The answer is obvious - either the main operating bases (Main Operating Bases, MOB) or the advanced operating bases (Forward Operating Bases, FOB). However, in the presence of enormous power, concentrated along the perimeter of the western, southern and eastern Iranian borders, there is no military necessity in them. And then, such a combat deployment implies huge financial and resource costs. It would be necessary to re-equip Azerbaijani airfields according to NATO standards, create a logistical infrastructure, and provide reliable cover for military facilities with anti-aircraft defenses. And the new administration of President Obama speaks, let us say, for the optimization of military spending and to create costly “bridgeheads” for the sake of not so much military as political goals, it is clearly not right now.
If the conversation turned to political goals, then how can one not notice that the fears of Americans are now concentrated not so much around Iran as in the Asia-Pacific basin. And should they, with the appearance of new Asian challenges and threats, literally push their bases under the borders with the Russian Federation? Even the Republican administration, which is frantically concerned with the creation of an antimissile defense system in Eastern Europe, did not want to use the territory of Georgia for these purposes, although President Saakashvili was ready to provide the United States with such a service.
And the assumptions that the United States, evacuating troops from Afghanistan, by some incredible maneuver will leave them in Azerbaijan under the guise of the so-called, look quite incredible. "Transshipment base".
By the way, there are no “transshipment bases”. In the context of today's realities, it is necessary to speak, for example, not even about the landing and overloading air port (Aerial Port of Debarkation, APOD) or the General Security Point (Cooperative Security Location, CSL), but about the multimodal transit centers of the USA and NATO in Baku, Ulyanovsk , Constanze (Romania). They can provide air and ground transportation of goods along the same route. But no significant presence of NATO or purely American military personnel is required on any of these logistic points. How, then, thousands of brave Ji-Ai will be in Baku?
As for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan cannot become the focal point of the Afghan military transit. The United States has a lot of political and financial leverage to agree with Pakistan on the full reanimation of the Southern Distribution Network and to flood the Pakistani ports of Karachi and Qasim with goods sent from Afghanistan by the right time.
But the route from Afghanistan by planes to the already operating center in Ulyanovsk and then by trains to the Baltic countries is no less attractive for the USA and NATO. This route is permeated with modern transport infrastructure. It is noticeably shorter, cheaper and safer than transit through the whole of Central Asia, the Caspian Sea and the South Caucasus.
The United States, which has more than 770 military bases around the world, simply does not need new bases in Azerbaijan, and even on some bird rights. However, the main thing in the problem of “American bases on the territory of Azerbaijan” is neither the possibility or desire of the United States, but the position of Azerbaijan itself. Baku does not at all seek to be squeezed between two powerful geopolitical players - Russia and Iran, which, if there are Americans in Azerbaijan, will become extremely hostile to it. Therefore, Baku has repeatedly stated that it will not allow the appearance of foreign bases in the Azerbaijani borders. And a double interpretation of this position of Azerbaijan is impossible.
There will be no NATO bases in Azerbaijan. Neither the military nor the "transshipment"