Israel weighs Azerbaijan as gateway to Iran, Foreign Policy reports
LA times

The latest in a series of reports that have contributed to the  speculation, hints and mostly confusion about a possible Israeli strike against Iran's controversial nuclear program came Thursday in Foreign Policy.

A feature titled "Israel's Secret Staging Ground" reported Israel has gained access to airbases in Azerbaijan, which shares a border with Iran. The information, and concerned conclusion that Israel is eyeing Azerbaijan as an access point to Iran, came from U.S. officials.

Though such reports commonly draw widespread attention and discussion in Israel, the Foreign Policy story was met with relative quiet. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz was the only official to comment on the report, sort of -- by way of a "no comment" and a joke that he hoped the treasury wouldn't have to start paying for airbases around the world.

Israel and Azerbaijan, as Foreign Policy notes, have increasingly tightened strategic and economic relations in recent years. But the subject is sensitive for both, given Azerbaijan's proximity to Iran.

Israel buys oil from Azerbaijan, while its exports to the Central Asian nation topped $110 million in 2010, more than half of that high-tech equ... >>>

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