LONDON (Realist English). The news about the Israeli base in Iraq also reminds of Israel’s close relations with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, thanks to which the Jewish state gained access to Azerbaijani air bases on the northern border of Iran. Middle East Eye columnist Richard Silverstein writes about this.
“There have been reports that Israeli F-35s are now stationed there. Israel also provided Azerbaijan with deadly drones during the country’s 2020 war with Armenia.” reminds Silverstein.
The expert refines that “The Mossad has maintained a network of spies in Iraq’s Kurdish region, along with Azerbaijan and other sites bordering Iran.”
“After the founding of Israel in 1948, many Kurdish Jews began emigrating to the country, with their population today standing at around 300,000.
In the mid-1960s, Israel sent Brigadier General Tzuri Sagi to Iran to mount a campaign against Iraq, whose forces had struck deadly blows against Israeli forces during the 1948 war. His mission also entailed bolstering the fight for an independent Kurdistan in Iraq, as he helped to build up and train the Kurdish army.
As the Kurds continued to battle for independence from Iraq, Israel supplied them with significant amounts of weaponry. Sagi once said he identified so closely with the Kurds that he “became a patriotic Kurd”.
“After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Kurds grew in strategic importance for Israel, representing a countervailing regional force that could destabilise the new rule in Tehran. This, in turn, fuelled enmity among Iranian leaders, who feared the Kurds could give the Israelis a deeper local foothold.” noted Silverstein.
Back in 2004 , American journalist Seymour Hersh wrote about such operations in an article for the New Yorker magazine: “Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at work in Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units and, most important in Israel’s view, running covert operations inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria.”
According to a CIA official cited in the piece by Hersh, “the Israeli presence was widely known in the American intelligence community”.