Agency WPS
DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia)
March 2, 2005, Wednesday

BRIDGEHEAD FOR THE YANKEES

SOURCE: Novye Izvestia, February 28, 2005, p. 4

by Mekhman Gafarly

"The Pentagon does not want Russia to oppose US military presence in
Azerbaijan and Georgia," said Charles Wald, US Second-in-Command in
Europe. "It will be nice to get a chance to run exercises and
operations there."

Wald visited Azerbaijan and Georgia more than once, discussing
military cooperation with the United States. he is in charge of the
new American military initiative Silky Way (non-proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction in the Caucasus and Central Asia), these
days. The list composed by the US Congress includes Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Still, the Pentagon concentrated on
Azerbaijan and Georgia which in expert opinion may be ascribed to the
American attack on Iran.

Not so long ago, Azerbaijani media reported with references to Cmag
of Canada that the United States was preparing for a strike at Iran
and that the US Administration had already begun consultations with
allies including Azerbaijan. Some newspapers referring to military
sources reported the plan of the future attack. Ekho newspaper (Baku)
wrote that American experts had drawn a scenario of a military action
against Iran from the territory of Azerbaijan (not only Azerbaijan).
The American strike aimed to ruin nuclear objects of this Islamic
state and install a new regime there was designed by the American
Committee of Iranian Specialists including all sorts of experts (some
of them military). The authors called the operation "Iran - Strategic
Surprise". It stipulates establishment of American military bases in
Azerbaijan within 20 days. Bases will be established simultaneously
with rotation of American troops in Iraq. Air strikes and ground
operations in Iran will follow for 30 days after that. The attack
will proceed against 30 targets. THAAD gear will be installed in
certain locations (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq),
capable of detecting missiles practically at launch and taking them
out. Azerbaijani military experts acquainted with the plan call it
quite realistic.

Azerbaijan is expected to play a key role in the American operation.
Azerbaijani airfields Gala on Apsheron, Baku-Bina, Nasosny in
Sumgait, Garachala in Salian and civilian airports in Lenkoran,
Kyurdamir, Yevlakh, Gyandzh, Dallyar, and Nakhichevan will be used in
the operation. Validity of these forecasts is confirmed by
Azerbaijani military expert Uzeir Dzhafarov.

According to the plan, US State Secretary will personally coordinate
the operation with the governments of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Iraq.
Air strikes will come from Iraq, special forces from Afghanistan,
special forces and landing forces from Azerbaijan. Distracting
maneuvers will take place in the Persian Gulf. All the same, the
Americans cannot guarantee Azerbaijan's safety in a war on Iran.
Hence the intention to deploy special anti-missiles on Apsheron.
According to Azerbaijani media outlets, 10 radars were already
installed on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border. The radars and the 5
helicopters America has in the area gather intelligence information
for the United States. What information is already available enables
the Americans to maintain that Tehran is forcing development of
nuclear technologies and will possess nuclear weapons by 2006. Iran
already has delivery means and will double their quantity by 2008.

The United States is settling in Georgia too where 100 American
instructors train the Georgian military. Tbilisi received $10 million
from Washington in late 2004 within the framework of Initiative Silky
Way. Moscow fears therefore that once it withdrew its bases from the
territory of Georgia, Washington will immediately establish its own
bases there.