Thomas Goltz: Azerbaijan is in many ways the most logical place to set up an early warning system, if Bush’s concerns are really about the future nuclear capabilities of Iran

Thomas Goltz: Azerbaijan is in many ways the most logical place to set up an early warning system, if Bush’s concerns are really about the future nuclear capabilities of Iran
# 21 June 2007 09:35 (UTC +04:00)
Actually, the idea is not so strange,” says the article entitled “Come share our rusty, resented radar” by Reporter Thomas Goltz, author of "Azerbaijan Diary” in The International Herald Tribune, APA’s US bureau reports.
The reporter writes Azerbaijan is in many ways the most logical place to set up an early warning system, if Bush’s concerns are really about the future nuclear capabilities of Iran or terrorists in the larger Middle East.
“Indeed, it was in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan - outside the town of Gabala on the southern slopes of the eastern Caucasus Mountains - that the Soviet Union erected its own massive early-warning radar system.
Although antiquated now, Gabala continues to function as Russia’s eyes and ears on the Middle East, picking up spy signals, it is said, from as far away as Cairo, Oman and the Indian Ocean.
More to the point, the station is a bone of contention between Azerbaijan and Russia, as it represents the last piece of Russian military presence in Azerbaijan. Another source of friction over the station is the claim, often repeated by local media, that the radar emits radiation that causes everything from infertility to cancer.
It was less surprising that Putin offered Bush the use of Gabala, than that he invited the Americans to set up shop in Azerbaijan at all.
So, what is Putin’s gambit all about? One explanation is that he wants to put American radar where it would be looking out of Russia, rather than in.
Another is that in "ceding" the last piece of Russian military presence in Azerbaijan to the United States, Putin means to shift the onus of a foreign presence to the Americans, and then wait for resentment to well up among the population at large.
Another is that by bringing in the Americans into a joint military installation in Gabala, Russia will have gained a binding legal presence in Azerbaijan for the first time in almost 15 years - at least until the Americans leave (or are asked to leave, as in Uzbekistan).
Thomas Goltz, a visiting scholar on Caucasus affairs at the University of Montana’s Central and Southwest Asia Studies Program, is the author of "Azerbaijan Diary: A Rogue Reporter’s Adventures in an Oil-Rich, War-Torn, Post-Soviet Republic." ./APA/


1 2 3 4 5 İDMAN XƏBƏR
#
#

THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED