Tuesday, April 10, 2007
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, April 9, 2007
"In a timely decision, Azerbaijan recently (mid-March) granted NATO the permission to use two of its military bases and an airport to "back up its peace-keeping operation in Afghanistan" including support for NATO's "supply route to Afghanistan". NATO's special envoy Robert Simmons insists that the agreement has nothing to do with US plans to wage aerial bombardments on Iran.
Media sources in Baku have intimated that this timely agreement is directly related to ongoing US-Israeli-NATO war plans. Its timing coincides with US naval deployments and war games in the Persian Gulf.
The airport and two military bases are slated to be "modernized to meet NATO standards". Washington has confirmed in this regard that it would "support the modernization of a military airport in the framework of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) signed between Azerbaijan and NATO......
"A lot of planes overfly Georgia and Azerbaijan on the way to Afghanistan. Should it prove necessary, we would like to be able to use an airfield in Azerbaijan," the US diplomat said, answering a question concerning the modernization of a military airfield in Azerbaijan with the Americans' help. (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, April 2, 2007)......
Azerbaijan is also strategic in view of its maritime border with Iran in the Caspian sea. In this regard, the U.S. Navy is involved in supporting the Azeri Navy, in the area of training. There is also an agreement to provide US support to refurbish Azeri warships in the Caspian sea.
The US sponsored Caspian Guard Initiative was launched in 2003 to "coordinate activities in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan with those of U.S. Central Command and other U.S government agencies to enhance Caspian security." The initiative was implemented under the cover of preventing narcotics trafficking and counter- terrorism, Its ultimate objective, however, is to provide USCENTCOM with a strategic naval corridor in the Caspian sea basin......."