February 10, 2008

THE SOONER IRAN IS OFFICIALLY ADDED TO THE AXIS...:

Azerbaijan, stuck between U.S. and Iran: The Caspian nation, a key oil source and an ally of Washington, alleges that Tehran is trying to stoke militancy. (Kim Murphy, 2/10/08, Los Angeles Times)

The fact of "an increase in Iranian subversive activities in Azerbaijan" coincides with growing Iranian fears that Azerbaijan could be used as a launchpad for an American attack on Iran, said Svante E. Cornell, deputy director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University. "It's basically telling the Azeris, 'This is the damage we can inflict on you,' " he said.

Iran is also keenly aware of Azerbaijan's potential ability to stir up the estimated 20 million ethnic Azeris who live in northwest Iran, an area many in Baku pointedly refer to as "Southern Azerbaijan." Some Iranian officials fear that the U.S. is pushing ethnic minorities to confront the Iranian leadership.

Mindful that the country is walking on a political knife edge, Azerbaijani officials have repeatedly said they would not allow their country to be used in any military action against Iran. Yet Baku is already comfortably part of the Western infrastructure aimed at Afghanistan, Iran's eastern neighbor, and signs of a U.S. military presence are not hard to find.

"It's an open secret that Azerbaijan is essentially set up as a sort of rapid deployment location for the U.S.," said a Western political analyst who has spent a great deal of time in the country.

"Almost anyone with a trained eye at Baku airport can see there's this whole section with unmarked planes. For almost all the military flights into Afghanistan, the refueling takes place in Baku, and you only have to walk into one of Baku's carpet shops to figure out how many American soldiers are overnighting there.

"Essentially, it's already part of the system."


...the sooner such problems go away.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 10, 2008 8:54 PM
Comments

Of Evil, or of Good!?

Posted by: Earl at February 10, 2008 10:35 PM

Azerbaijan--who would have thought th the Americans would play the great game so well?

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 11, 2008 5:04 AM

The WoT is basically a war of Shi'ite liberation, making the Game rather easy to figure out.

Posted by: oj at February 11, 2008 7:01 AM

Khamenei's an Azeri, I think.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at February 11, 2008 8:46 AM
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