Georgia airfields earmarked for war on Iran
Press TV – September 3, 2008
Georgia permitted Israel to use two military airfields for 'a potential pre-emptive strike' against Iranian nuclear sites, a report says.
The revelation came after Georgia's offensive into South Ossetia in early August prompted Russia to march its Special Forces into the region, United Press International reported.
[PICTURE: An Israeli F-16I]
Russian Special Forces raided the airfields - in addition to other Israeli facilities in southern Georgia -, where Israeli drones were captured.
According to the report, Israel had used the airfields to 'conduct recon flights over southern Russia, as well as into nearby Iran'.
"A secret agreement between Georgia and Israel had earmarked two military airfields in the south of Georgia for use by Israeli fighter-bombers in a potential pre-emptive strike against Iran," read the report.
Tel Aviv has threatened to launch air strikes against Iranian nuclear installations under the pretext that Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has plans to develop nuclear weaponry.
This is while the UN nuclear watchdog has confirmed that Iran enriches uranium-235 to a level of 3.7 percent - a rate consistent with the construction of a nuclear power plant. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.
Iran currently suffers from electricity shortage and has been forced to adopt a rationing program by scheduling power outages - of up to two hours a day - across both urban and rural areas in the country.
In early June, Israel conducted a military maneuver over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in preparation, according to Pentagon officials, for an aerial bombardment of Iranian nuclear facilities.
Over 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s partook in the exercise, which spanned some 900 miles, roughly the distance between their airfields and a nuclear enrichment facility in the central Iranian city of Natanz.
"(The Georgian airfields) would sharply reduce the distance Israeli fighter-bombers would have to fly to hit targets in Iran," continued the report.
Israel, in return, has been providing Georgia's pro-Western government with considerable amounts of training and armament for its military.
Georgian Minister of Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili, an Israeli citizen, said on August 10 that Israeli efforts to strengthen the Georgian army caused Russia 'enormous damage'.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili declared on August 13 that 'effective' Israeli weapons would ensure his country's success in the military conflict with Russia.
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Last updated 06/09/2008