Of Georgia, Russia, USA & Israel

From Part I of “A Dirty Adventure”:

More than 1,000 U.S. Marines and soldiers were at the base last month to teach combat skills to Georgian troops. Georgia has about 2,000 troops in Iraq, making it the third-largest contributor to coalition forces after the U.S. and Britain.

The White House on Friday urged Russia and Georgia to peacefully resolve their dispute over South Ossetia.

“We urge restraint on all sides — that violence would be curtailed and that direct dialogue could ensue in order to help resolve their differences,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.

Curiously, the US is not capable of condemning a Georgian invasion and Guernica like air attack upon Tskhinvali, but then, that would be expecting a lot after US Marines just got done training Georgian forces. Instead, the White House just urges restraint, which is what it usually does when an ally has launched an attack and the other side moves to defend itself.

The Russians have been angry for quite awhile about proposals to admit Georgia into NATO. Now, Georgian troops have attacked South Ossetia after having been trained by the US. The Russians no doubt believe, with good reason, that the US greenlighted the invasion. If I were Georgian, I’d be very concerned, because it is probable that the Russians are about to teach them a terrible lesson about the consequences of hubris.

From Part II:

Turns out the that Israelis have been supplying the US trained Georgian army with weapons. It was reported that they stopped such sales a few days ago:

Israel has decided to halt all sales of military equipment to Georgia because of objections from Russia, which is locked in a feud with its tiny Caucasus neighbor, defense officials said Tuesday.

The officials said the freeze was partially intended to give Israel leverage with Moscow in its attempts to persuade Russia not to ship arms and equipment to Iran. They spoke on condition of anonymity as Israel does not officially publish details of its arms sales.

Russia has repeatedly refused to comment on reports its is selling S-300 air defense missiles to Iran.

Among items Israel has been selling to Tbilisi are pilotless drone aircraft. Russian fighters shot one down in May, according to UN observers.

Other types of weaponry include the following:

… Israel has also been supplying Georgia with infantry weapons and electronics for artillery systems, and has helped upgrade Soviet-designed Su-25 ground attack jets assembled in Georgia, according to Koba Liklikadze, an independent military expert based in Tbilisi. Former Israeli generals also serve as advisers to the Georgian military.

Interesting. Israeli arms sales to Georgia are purportedly halted, and the Georgians invade South Ossetia in less than a week. There are also reports today that the Georgians have shot down Russian aircraft, which brings this story from April to the top of the queue:

Russia asked Israel last week whether it had supplied Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to Georgia, for it to use in military operations against secessionists from Abkhazia.

An Israeli security source confirmed that the UAVs being used by Georgia are manufactured by Israeli firm Elbit. A diplomatic source in Jerusalem said that the Russians did not have proof of this, however, and that the request for clarifications was based on suspicions. He added that Israel does not sell any attack weapons to countries that border with Russia and only sells them defensive equipment.

Georgia accused Russia of using a MiG-29 to shoot down one of its UAVs over Abkhazia and produced a video to back up its claim. The video was shot by the UAV seconds before it was shot down, and it shows a MiG-29. Georgia’s president said he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and demanded an end to the “unjustified aggression against Georgia’s sovereign territory.”

Of course, the subject that keeps intruding into this saga is Iran. Is the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia meant to pressure the Russians into severing economic and military ties with the Iranians? The Israelis supposedly halted arms sales to Georgia in an effort to persuade the Russians to refuse to supply Iran with a new air defense system. Did that effort fail, or was it merely a pretense before the launching of the Georgian invasion?

Perhaps, the invasion has also been prompted by competition between the US, Russia and Europe over access to natural reserves in the Caucasus.

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