An article on the website of Foreign Policy magazine last Wednesday, written by former unofficial Yasser Arafat adviser and established Israel-basher Mark Perry, quoted four unnamed ‘senior diplomats’ and ‘intelligence officers’ saying that Israel had been granted access to air bases in Azerbaijan on Iran’s northern border.
The article suggested that this meant Israel planned to use Azerbaijan either for a strike at Iran or for other support for such an attack.
An Azeri official has subsequently said the claim that Azerbaijan has granted Israel access to its air bases for an attack is ‘absurd and groundless’. That denial, however, is clearly limited. And several observers have concluded that whether this is a genuine leak or disinformation, the story is an attempt to harm Israel by its principal western ally. Indeed, assuming it is not a total fabrication but is based on actual briefings, it is hard to conclude anything else.
On Fox News, [former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John] Bolton said: ‘I think this leak today is part of the administration’s campaign against an Israeli attack.’ Bolton, a Fox News contributor, noted that a strike launched from Azerbaijan would be much easier for the Israelis than a strike launched from their own country - jets could stay over their targets longer and worry less about refueling. But he said tipping the Israelis’ hand by revealing 'very sensitive, very important information' could frustrate such a plan.
'Clearly, this is an administration-orchestrated leak,' Bolton told FoxNews.com. 'This is not a rogue CIA guy saying I think I’ll leak this out. It’s just unprecedented to reveal this kind of information about one of your own allies.'