The raids were disclosed by UPI chief editor Arnaud de Borchgrave, who is also on the Washington Times staff, and picked up by the Iranian Fars news agency. The Russian raids of two Georgian airfields, which Tbilisi had allowed Israel to use for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, followed the Georgian offensive against South Ossetia on Aug. 7.
Under the secret agreement with Georgia, the airfields had been earmarked for use by Israeli fighter-bombers taking off to strike Iran in return for training and arms supplies.
DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that flying from S. Georgia over the Caspian Sea to Iran would sharply trim the distance to be spanned by Israeli fighter-bombers, reducing flying time to 3.5 hours.
Northern Iran and the Tehran region, where most of the nuclear facilities are concentrated, would be within range, with no need to request US permission to pass through Iraq air space.
Russian Special Forces also raided other Israeli facilities in southern Georgia and captured Israeli spy drones, says the report.
Israel was said to have used the two airfields to “conduct recon flights over southern Russia as well as into nearby Iran.” The US intelligence sources quoted by UPI reported that the Russian force also carried home other Israeli military equipment captured at the air bases.
Our sources say that if the Russians got hold of an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle complete with sophisticated electronic reconnaissance equipment, they will have secured some of the IDF’s most secret devices for spying on Iran and Syria.
When this happened before, Russian military engineers quickly dismantled the equipment, studied it and passed the technology on to Tehran and Damascus.
Irancove @ September 5, 2008