Israel's role in Georgia

American, European, Turkish and Wahhabi/Islamic interests were not the only things that suffered a serious setback in the Caucasus as a result of the comprehensive beating Georgia suffered at the hands of the Russian Bear during the summer of 2008. It was well known that the Zionist state also had significant strategic interests in Georgia. It was also well known that the Saakashvili dictatorship was infested with Jews. It was therefore quite apparent that the blood-drenched claws of Zionism - in conjunction with Western imperialists, pan-Turkists and Islamic extremists - had reached very deep into the Caucasus, Russia's vulnerable underbelly. What wasn't well known, however, was that Russian forces may have actually targeted Israel's military presence in Georgia during the short but decisive war. Ultimately, the Western-Zionist-Turkic-Islamic experiment in Georgia backfired miserably and the Russian Bear once again regained its traditional title as the alpha and the omega of the Caucasus region. Naturally, Tel Aviv was very concerned at the time and has since been playing very nice with Moscow. In my opinion, the Russian Bear is truly living up to its expectations of being the world's last front against Western imperialism, Globalism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism.

Arevordi


***

Russian units raid Georgian airfields for use in Israeli strike against Iran

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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.

Source: http://www.debka.com/index1.php


USA ISRAEL September Surprise for Attack on Iran


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While the rest of the pundits opine about the meaning and implications of Sarah Palin's ascension from small town mayor to prospective vice president – and whether or not her daughter's private life is fair game for any media outlet other than the National Enquirer those of us whose job it is to stand watch on the ramparts and report the real news are wondering when – not if – the War Party will pull a rabbit out of the proverbial hat. For months, I've been warning in this space that an American attack on Iran is imminent, and now I see that the Dutch have reason to agree with my assessment. Their intelligence service reportedly has pulled out of a covert operation inside Iran on the grounds that a U.S. strike is right around the corner – in "a matter of weeks," according to De Telegraaf, a Dutch newspaper. As the story goes, the Dutch had infiltrated the purported Iranian weapons project and were firmly ensconced when they got word that the Americans are about to launch a missile attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. They wisely decided to close down the operation and pull out. Remember, the Israelis have been threatening to strike on their own for months: what's changed is that now, apparently, the U.S. has caved in to what is a blatant case of blackmail and has agreed to do the job for them. We haven't heard much about Iran lately, at least compared to the scare headlines of a few months ago, when rumors of war were swirling fast and furious. The Russian "threat" seems to have replaced the Iranian "threat" as the War Party's bogeyman of choice. What we didn't know, however, is that the two focal points are intimately related.


According to this report by veteran Washington Times correspondent Arnaud de Borchgrave, the close cooperation of the Israelis with the Georgian military in the run-up to President Saakashvili's blitz of South Ossetia was predicated on a Georgian promise to let the Israelis use Georgia's airfields to mount a strike against Iran. The main problem for Tel Aviv, in making its threats against Iran at all credible, has been the distance to be covered by Israeli fighter jets, which would have a hard time reaching and returning from their targets without refueling. With access to the airfields of "the Israel of the Caucasus," as de Borchgrave – citing Saakashvili – puts it, the likelihood of an Israeli attack entered the world of real possibilities. De Borchgrave avers: "In a secret agreement between Israel and Georgia, two military airfields in southern Georgia had been earmarked for the use of Israeli fighter-bombers in the event of pre-emptive attacks against Iranian nuclear installations. This would sharply reduce the distance Israeli fighter-bombers would have to fly to hit targets in Iran. And to reach Georgian airstrips, the Israeli air force would fly over Turkey.

"The attack ordered by Saakashvili against South Ossetia the night of Aug. 7 provided the Russians the pretext for Moscow to order Special Forces to raid these Israeli facilities where some Israeli drones were reported captured." Reports of anywhere from 100 to 1,000 Israeli "advisers" in Georgia do not bode well for the situation on the ground. With the Israelis already installed in that country, the logistics of carrying out such a sneak attack are greatly simplified. Israeli pilots would only have to fly over Azerbaijan, and they'd be in Iranian airspace – and within striking distance of Tehran.


Faced with this fait accompli – if the Dutch are to be believed – the Americans seem to have capitulated. In which case, we don't have much time. Although de Borchgrave writes "whether the IAF can still count on those air bases to launch bombing missions against Iran's nuke facilities is now in doubt," I don't see why the defeat of the Georgians in Saakashvili's war on the Ossetians has to mean the plan to strike Iran via Georgia has been canceled. Indeed, reading de Borchgrave's riveting account of the extent of the Tel Aviv-Tbilisi collaboration, one finds additional reasons for all concerned to go ahead with it: "Saakashvili was convinced that by sending 2,000 of his soldiers to serve in Iraq (who were immediately flown home by the United States when Russia launched a massive counterattack into Georgia), he would be rewarded for his loyalty. He could not believe President Bush, a personal friend, would leave him in the lurch. Georgia, as Saakashvili saw his country's role, was the 'Israel of the Caucasus.'" Saakashvili, a vain and reckless man, now has even more reason to go behind Uncle Sam's back and give the Israelis a clear shot at Tehran. With this sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the Americans, the rationale for a more limited, shot-across-the-bow strike by the U.S. becomes all too clear.


After all, if the Israelis attacked, the entire Muslim world would unite behind the Iranians. If, on the other had, the U.S. did Israel's dirty work, with Tel Aviv lurking in the background, it would conceivably be far less provocative, and might even generate sub rosa support among the Sunni rulers of America's Arab allies. It's going to happen anyway, goes the rationale, and so we might as well do it the right way, rather than leave it to the Israelis, who have threatened – via "independent" commentators like Israeli historian and super hawk Benny Morris – to use nuclear weapons on Iran's population centers. In terms of American domestic politics, the road to war with Tehran was paved long ago: both major parties and their presidential candidates have given the War Party a green light to strike Tehran, McCain explicitly and Obama tacitly, albeit no less firmly. The stage is set, rehearsals are over, and the actors know their lines: as the curtain goes up on the first act of "World War III," take a deep breath and pray to the gods that this deadly drama is aborted.

Source: http://www.daily.pk/world/worldnews/7112.html?task=view
 

What Israel Lost in the Georgia War


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"It is important that the entire world understands that what is happening in Georgia now will affect the entire world order," Georgian Cabinet Minister Temur Yakobashvili said last weekend. "It's not just Georgia's business, but the entire world's business." Such sentiments would have been unremarkable but for the fact that Yakobashvili was expressing himself in fluent Hebrew, telling Israeli Army Radio that "Israel should be proud of its military, which trained Georgian soldiers." However, the impression that Israel had helped bolster the Georgian military was one the Israeli Foreign Ministry was anxious to avoid. Last Saturday it reportedly recommended a freeze on the further supply of equipment and expertise to Georgia by Israeli defense contractors. (Israel doesn't supply foreign militaries directly, but its private contractors must get Defense Ministry approval for such deals.)

The Israelis decided to refrain from authorizing new defense contracts, although those currently in effect will be fulfilled. Israel stressed that the contracts are to provide equipment for defensive purposes. But if the Israelis were looking to downplay the significance of military ties, they weren't helped by comments like Yakobashvili's — or by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's enthusing at a press conference earlier this week that "the Israeli weapons have been very effective."

Nor did the Russians fail to notice. "Israel armed the Georgian army," grumbled General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of staff of the Russian military, at a press conference in Moscow earlier this week. An Israeli paper had, last weekend, quoted an unnamed official warning that Israel needed "to be very careful and sensitive these days. The Russians are selling many arms to Iran and Syria, and there is no need to offer them an excuse to sell even more advanced weapons." As if on cue, on Wednesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived in Moscow hoping to persuade Russia to sell him sophisticated air-defense systems — and reportedly offering the Russian navy the use of one of its Mediterranean ports. Late on Wednesday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev had spoken on the phone to clear the air over the Georgia conflict and Russian arms sales to Syria.

The extent of involvement in Georgia by Israeli defense contractors may be overstated, and most of the equipment used by the Georgian military comes from the U.S. and other suppliers. Still, Israeli companies had been sufficiently involved in supplying specialized equipment and advanced tactical training to the Georgian military that the connection — and Russia's perception of it — created a ripple of anxiety in Israeli government circles. Israeli officials say that, in anticipation of a showdown between Georgia and Russia, Israel began to scale back the involvement of Israeli companies in Georgia as early as the end of 2007. Georgia's Yakobashvili charged this week that Israel, "at Russia's behest," had downgraded military ties with Georgia, a decision he branded a "disgrace." Israel's weapons sales, just like Russia's, are driven by the commercial interests of domestic arms industries. Israeli military exports to Georgia are driven more by the logic of business than by a strategic choice to back Tbilisi against Moscow — indeed, the Israeli response since the outbreak of hostilities is a reminder that, on balance, even a relatively cool friendship with Russia may be more important to Israel than a close alliance with tiny Georgia. Despite Israel's pecuniary imperative, Georgia has used these commercial military ties to press closer ties on Israel.

President Saakashvili has noted that both his minister responsible for negotiations over South Ossetia (Yakobashvili) and his Defense Minister, Davit Kezerashvili, had lived in Israel before moving to post-Soviet Georgia. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the Georgian leader this week enthused that in Tbilisi, "both war and peace are in the hands of Israeli Jews." Working through the Georgian Defense Ministry (and with the approval of its Israeli counterpart), Israeli companies are reported to have supplied the Georgians with pilotless drones, night-vision equipment, anti-aircraft equipment, shells, rockets and various electronic systems. Even more important than equipment may have been the advanced tactical training and consultancy provided, as private contractors, by retired top Israeli generals such as Yisrael Ziv and Gal Hirsch, the man who commanded Israeli ground forces during their disastrous foray into Lebanon in 2006. (Never one to resist an opportunity to mock his enemies, Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah quipped in a speech this week, "Gal Hirsch, who was defeated in Lebanon, went to Georgia, and they too lost because of him.") Not necessarily: Russia applied overwhelming force against the tiny Georgian military, which, according to Israeli assessments, still managed to punch above its weight.

The Russians were piqued by Israel's military trade with Georgia even before the latest outbreak of hostilities — Moscow expressed its annoyance over the pilotless drones supplied by an Israeli company to the Georgians, three of which were downed by Russian aircraft over South Ossetia in recent months. Obviously mindful of the need to avoid provoking Russia, Israel declared off-limits certain weapons systems the Georgians had asked for, such as Merkava tanks and advanced anti-aircraft systems. "We have turned down many requests involving arms sales to Georgia, and the ones that have been approved have been duly scrutinized," a Defense Ministry official told the Israeli daily Yediot Ahoronot amid concerns raised over a possible fallout from the Israeli ties to the Georgian military. The extent of damage to the Israeli-Russia relationship — if indeed there is any — remains to be seen. Despite General Nogovitsyn's comments, Israeli officials say they have received no formal complaints from Russia over ties with Georgia.

Israel's strategic priority now is countering the threat it sees in Iran's nuclear program, and on that front, Russian cooperation is essential. If the Israelis are to achieve their objective of forcing Iran to end uranium enrichment through diplomatic coercion, they will need Russian support for escalating U.N. sanctions — a course of action for which Russia has thus far shown little enthusiasm. And if Israel were to opt for trying to destroy Tehran's nuclear facilities through a series of air strikes, then the presence of the sophisticated Russian S-300 missile system in Iran would considerably raise the risk to Israeli pilots. Unfortunately for Israel, however, there may be little it can do to shape Moscow's Iran policy for the simple reason that Israel is not a major factor in Russia's strategic outlook. Moscow's actions on Iran are less likely to be determined by Israel supplying a few drones to Georgia than they are to be shaped, for example, by the deployment over extreme Russian objections of U.S. interceptor missiles on Polish soil.

Source: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1834785,00.html


Israel’s role in the Russia-Georgia war


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From the moment Georgia launched a surprise attack on the tiny breakaway region of South Ossetia, prompting a fierce Russian counterattack, Israel has been trying to distance itself from the conflict. This is understandable: with Georgian forces on the retreat, large numbers of civilians killed and injured, and Russia’s fury unabated, Israel’s deep involvement is severely embarrassing. The collapse of the Georgian offensive represents not only a disaster for that country and its U.S.-backed leaders, but another blow to the myth of Israel’s military prestige and prowess. Worse, Israel fears that Russia could retaliate by stepping up its military assistance to Israel’s adversaries.

“Israel is following with great concern the developments in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and hopes the violence will end,” its foreign ministry said, adding with uncharacteristic dovishness, “Israel recognizes the territorial integrity of Georgia and calls for a peaceful solution.” Tbilisi’s top diplomat in Tel Aviv complained about the lackluster Israeli response to his country’s predicament and perhaps overestimating Israeli influence, called for Israeli “diplomatic pressure on Moscow.” Just like Israel, the diplomat said, Georgia is fighting a war on “terrorism.” Israeli officials politely told the Georgians that “the address for that type of pressure was Washington”.


While Israel was keen to downplay its role, Georgia perhaps hoped that flattery might draw Israel further in. Georgian minister Temur Yakobashvili -- whom the Israeli daily Haaretz stressed was Jewish -- told Israeli army radio that “Israel should be proud of its military which trained Georgian soldiers.” Yakobashvili claimed rather implausibly, according to Haaretz, that “a small group of Georgian soldiers were able to wipe out an entire Russian military division, thanks to the Israeli training” Since 2000, Israel has sold hundreds of millions of dollars in arms and combat training to Georgia. Weapons included guns, ammunition, shells, tactical missile systems, antiaircraft systems, automatic turrets for armored vehicles, electronic equipment and remotely piloted aircraft. These sales were authorized by the Israeli defense ministry. The Israeli connection,” Ynet, 10 August 2008). Training also involved officers from Israel’s Shin Bet secret service -- which has for decades carried out extrajudicial executions and torture of Palestinians in the occupied territories -- the Israeli police, and the country’s major arms companies Elbit and Rafael.


The Tel Aviv-Tbilisi military axis appears to have been cemented at the highest levels, and according to YNet, “The fact that Georgia’s defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew contributed to this cooperation.” Others involved in the brisk arms trade included former Israeli minister and Tel Aviv mayor Roni Milo as well as several senior Israeli military officers. The key liaison was Reserve Brigadier General Gal Hirsch who commanded Israeli forces on the border with Lebanon during the July 2006 Second Lebanon War. (Yossi Melman, “Georgia Violence -- A frozen alliance,” Haaretz, 10 August 2008). He resigned from the army after the Winograd commission severely criticized Israel’s conduct of its war against Lebanon and an internal Israeli army investigation blamed Hirsch for the seizure of two soldiers by Hezbollah. According to one of the Israeli combat trainers, an officer in an “elite” Israel army unit, Hirsch and colleagues would sometimes personally supervise the training of Georgian forces which included “house-to-house fighting.” The training was carried out through several “private” companies with close links to the Israeli military.


As the violence raged in Georgia, the trainer was desperately trying to contact his former Georgian students on the battlefront via mobile phone: the Israelis wanted to know whether the Georgians had “internalized Israeli military technique and if the special reconnaissance forces have chalked up any successes” (Jonathan Lis and Moti Katz, “IDF vets who trained Georgia troops say war with Russia is no surprise,” Haaretz, 11 August 2008). Yet on the ground, the Israeli-trained Georgian forces, perhaps unsurprisingly overwhelmed by the Russians, have done little to redeem the image of Israel’s military following its defeat by Hezbollah in July-August 2006. The question remains as to why Israel was involved in the first place. There are several reasons. The first is simply economic opportunism: for years, especially since the 11 September 2001 attacks, arms exports and “security expertise” have been one of Israel’s growth industries. But the close Israeli involvement in a region Russia considers to be of vital interest suggests that Israel might have been acting as part of the broader U.S. scheme to encircle Russia and contain its reemerging power.


Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has been steadily encroaching on Russia’s borders and expanding NATO in a manner the Kremlin considers highly provocative. Shortly after coming into office, the Bush Administration tore up the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and, like the Clinton administration, adopted former Soviet satellite states as its own, using them to base an anti-missile system Russia views as a threat. In addition to their “global war on terror,” hawks in Washington have recently been talking up a new Cold War with Russia. Georgia was an eager volunteer in this effort and has learned quickly the correct rhetoric: one Georgian minister claimed that “every bomb that falls on our heads is an attack on democracy, on the European Union and on America.” Georgia has been trying to join NATO, and sent 2,000 soldiers to help the U.S. occupy Iraq. It may have hoped that once war started this loyalty would be rewarded with the kind of round-the-clock airlift of weapons that Israel receives from the U.S. during its wars. Instead so far the U.S. only helped airlift the Georgian troops from Iraq back to the beleaguered home front.


By helping Georgia, Israel may have been doing its part to duplicate its own experience in assisting the eastward expansion of the “Euro-Atlantic” empire. While supporting Georgia was certainly risky for Israel, given the possible Russian reaction, it has a compelling reason to intervene in a region that is heavily contested by global powers. Israel must constantly reinvent itself as an “asset” to American power if it is to maintain the U.S. support that ensures its survival as a settler-colonial enclave in the Middle East. It is a familiar role; in the 1970s and 1980s, at the behest of Washington, Israel helped South Africa’s apartheid regime fight Soviet-supported insurgencies in South African-occupied Namibia and Angola, and it trained right-wing U.S.-allied death squads fighting left-wing governments and movements in Central America. After 2001, Israel marketed itself as an expert on combating so-called ”Islamic terrorism”.


Georgia’s government, to the detriment of its people, may have tried to play the role of a loyal servant of U.S. ambitions in that region -- and lost the gamble. Playing with empires is dangerous for a small country. As for Israel itself, with the Bush Doctrine having failed to give birth to the “new Middle East” that the U.S. needs to maintain its power in the region against growing resistance, an ever more desperate and rogue Israel must look for opportunities to prove its worth elsewhere. That is a dangerous and scary thing.

Source: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=175564


Russian official reveals Israeli military assistance to Georgia

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General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of staff of the Russian Military revealed Tuesday the extent of the military assistance Moscow claimed Jerusalem had given Georgia. "Israel armed the Georgian army," he told reported at a press conference held in the Russian capital. According to Nogovitsyn, Israel provided Georgia with "eight types of military vehicles, explosives, landmines and special explosives for the clearing minefields." Since 2007, he continued, Israeli experts have been training Georgian commando troops; and Israel had planned to supply Georgia with heavy firearms, electronic weapons and tanks, but that plan was eventually scrapped. Nogovitsyn stressed that despite reports to the contrary, Russia began pulling its troops form Georgia on Monday, claiming further that the withdrawal will be accelerated on Wednesday. Georgia, he added, was in breach of the ceasefire agreement, since is had not pulled its troops to the positions they held prior to the conflict.

Source: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...584829,00.html


Israeli Arms Sales Raise New Concerns


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With the eruption of fighting between Russia and Georgia, Israel has found itself in an awkward position as a result of its arms sales to Georgia, caught between its friendly relations with Georgia and its fear that the continued sale of weaponry will spark Russian retribution in the form of increased arms sales to Iran and Syria. After fighting broke out late last week between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Israel's foreign ministry over the weekend recommended suspending the sale of all weapons and defence-related equipment to Georgia, the daily Haaretz newspaper reported. The paper quoted an unnamed senior official saying that Israel needed "to be very careful and sensitive these days. The Russians are selling many arms to Iran and Syria and there is no need to offer them an excuse to sell even more advanced weapons."

Israel's immediate concern is that Russia will proceed with the sale of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, which would help it defend its nuclear installations from aerial attack. Israel, like the U.S., believes that Iran's nuclear programme is aimed at developing a bomb, and Israeli leaders have refused to rule out the possibility of a pre-emptive strike aimed at derailing Iran's nuclear aspirations. Israel recently conducted a major aerial exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece that was widely viewed as a rehearsal for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear installations. But with the U.S. and Europe resorting to diplomatic pressure in the form of sanctions to deter Iran, Israel is loathe to anger Russia, which until now has opposed harsher sanctions on Tehran. Israel's relations with Georgia have been close, partly because there is a large Georgian Jewish community in Israel.

In recent years, ties have also taken on a military dimension, with military industries in Israel supplying Georgia with some 200 million dollars worth of equipment since 2000. This has included remotely piloted planes, rockets, night-vision equipment, other electronic systems and training by former senior Israeli officers.
"Israel should be proud of its military, which trained Georgian soldiers," Georgian Minister Temur Yakobashvili, who is Jewish, told Israel's Army Radio in Hebrew shortly after the fighting erupted. Israel is not a major supplier of arms to Georgia, with the U.S. and France supplying Tbilisi with most of its weaponry. But the arms transfers have attracted media attention partly because of the role played by some high-profile Israeli figures, including former Tel Aviv mayor Roni Milo, who conducted business in Georgia on behalf of Israel Military Industries.

According to media reports, Brig. Gen Gal Hirsch, a senior commander in the 2006 Lebanon war who resigned after the release of a highly critical report on the way the war was conducted, served as an adviser to Georgian security forces. Further attention was drawn to the Israel-Georgia arms trade earlier this year when a Russian jet shot down an Israeli-made drone being operated by the Georgians. Even though weapons transfers were modest in scope, Russian diplomats began increasingly relaying to Israel their annoyance over its military aid to Georgia, including the special forces training provided by security experts. Israel decided about a year ago to limit military exports to defensive equipment and training.


New contracts weren't approved as the arms sales were scaled back. Georgia's request for 200 advanced Israeli-made Merkava tanks, for example, was turned down. There were reports in Israel that the sale of the tanks didn't go through because of a disagreement over the commission that was to be paid as part of the deal. But Amos Yaron, the former director-general of the defence ministry, insisted it had to do with "security-diplomatic considerations" - a clear reference to the sensitivity of the arms sales to Georgia. Israel, Yaron added, didn't want "to harm Russian interests too much." Asked about the motivation to initially engage in the sale of weaponry to Georgia despite concerns it might anger Russia, Yaron replied: "We did see that there was potential for a conflagration in the region but Georgia is a friendly state, it's supported by the U.S., and so it was difficult to refuse."

Source: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43524



War in Georgia: The Israeli connection


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For past seven years, Israeli companies have been helping Gerogian army to preparer for war against Russia through arms deals, training of infantry units and security advice


The fighting which broke out over the weekend between Russia and Georgia has brought Israel's intensive involvement in the region into the limelight. This involvement includes the sale of advanced weapons to Georgia and the training of the Georgian army's infantry forces. The Defense Ministry held a special meeting Sunday to discuss the various arms deals held by Israelis in Georgia, but no change in policy has been announced as of yet. "The subject is closely monitored," said sources in the Defense Ministry. "We are not operating in any way which may counter Israeli interests. We have turned down many requests involving arms sales to Georgia; and the ones which have been approves have been duly scrutinized. So far, we have placed no limitations on the sale of protective measures." Israel began selling arms to Georgia about seven years ago following an initiative by Georgian citizens who immigrated to Israel and became businesspeople. "They contacted defense industry officials and arms dealers and told them that Georgia had relatively large budgets and could be interested in purchasing Israeli weapons," says a source involved in arms exports.


The military cooperation between the countries developed swiftly. The fact that Georgia's defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew contributed to this cooperation. "His door was always open to the Israelis who came and offered his country arms systems made in Israel," the source said. "Compared to countries in Eastern Europe, the deals in this country were conducted fast, mainly due to the defense minister's personal involvement." Among the Israelis who took advantage of the opportunity and began doing business in Georgia were former Minister Roni Milo and his brother Shlomo, former director-general of the Military Industries, Brigadier-General (Res.) Gal Hirsch and Major-General (Res.) Yisrael Ziv. Roni Milo conducted business in Georgia for Elbit Systems and the Military Industries, and with his help Israel's defense industries managed to sell to Georgia remote-piloted vehicles (RPVs), automatic turrets for armored vehicles, antiaircraft systems, communication systems, shells and rockets. According to Israeli sources, Gal Hirsch gave the Georgian army advice on the establishment of elite units such as Sayeret Matkal and on rearmament, and gave various courses in the fields of combat intelligence and fighting in built-up areas.


'Don't anger the Russians'

The Israelis operating in Georgia attempted to convince the Israeli Aerospace Industries to sell various systems to the Georgian air force, but were turned down. The reason for the refusal was "special" relations created between the Aerospace Industries and Russia in terms of improving fighter jets produced in the former USSR and the fear that selling weapons to Georgia would anger the Russians and prompt them to cancel the deals. Israelis' activity in Georgia and the deals they struck there were all authorized by the Defense Ministry. Israel viewed Georgia as a friendly state to which there is no reason not to sell arms systems similar to those Israel exports to other countries in the world. As the tension between Russia and Georgia grew, however, increasing voices were heard in Israel – particularly in the Foreign Ministry – calling on the Defense Ministry to be more selective in the approval of the deals with Georgia for fear that they would anger Russia. "It was clear that too many unmistakable Israeli systems in the possesion of the Georgian army would be like a red cloth in the face of a raging bull as far as Russia is concerned," explained a source in the defense establishment.

For in[stance, the Russians viewed the operation of the Elbit System's RPVs as a real provocation."It was clear that the Russians were angry," says a defense establishment source, "and that the interception of three of these RPVs in the past three months was an expression of this anger. Not everyone in Israel understood the sensitive nerve Israel touched when it supplied such an advanced arms system to a country whose relations with Russia are highly tense." In May it was eventually decide to approve future deals with Georgia only for the sale of non-offensive weapon systems, such as intelligence, communications and computer systems, and not to approve deals for the sale of rifles, aircraft, sells, etc. A senior source in the Military Industry said Saturday that despite some reporters, the activity of Georgia's military industry was extremely limited. "We conducted a small job for them several years ago," he said. "The rest of the deals remained on paper." Dov Pikulin, one of the owners of the Authentico company specializing in trips and journeys to the area, says however that "the Israeli is the main investor in the Georgian economy. Everyone is there, directly or indirectly."

Georgian minister: Israel should be proud

"The Israelis should be proud of themselves for the Israeli training and education received by the Georgian soldiers," Georgian Minister Temur Yakobashvili said Saturday. Yakobashvili is a Jew and is fluent in Hebrew. "We are now in a fight against the great Russia," he said, "and our hope is to receive assistance from the White House, because Georgia cannot survive on its own. "It's important that the entire world understands that what is happening in Georgia now will affect the entire world order. It's not just Georgia's business, but the entire world's business." One of the Georgian parliament members did not settle Saturday for the call for American aid, urging Israel to help stop the Russian offensive as well: "We need help from the UN and from our friends, headed by the United States and Israel. Today Georgia is in danger – tomorrow all the democratic countries in the region and in the entire world will be in danger too."

Source: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3580136,00.html


Israel’s Military on Display in Georgia

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When an Israeli-made drone was shot down over the Black Sea this past spring in the run-up to the war between Russia and Georgia, it brought to the forefront a recurrent Israeli dilemma: By exporting its military know-how, is Israel endangering its diplomatic standing? Israel’s military assistance to Georgia, including the doomed drone, thrust into the spotlight two competing interests — nurturing a major source of income, and cultivating ties with major powers, such as Russia, that have long-standing military ties with archenemies such as Syria and Iran. The issue is especially sensitive in Israel, because the tight government oversight of foreign weapons sales exposes the country to the potential for diplomatic setbacks, such as the one in Georgia. “Israel is always playing a careful balancing act between pursuing its own interest and making sure it does not harm its friends,” said Ephraim Sneh, a former deputy defense minister who has been involved in recent legislative efforts to tighten arms export rules.

Israeli officials are adamant that those private sales are being carefully vetted before they are authorized by the government. But there are indications that some changes are afoot. The Israeli press has inferred that Foreign Ministry officials were becoming more influential in an oversight committee that vets all arms sales abroad. In addition, the arms export mechanism was tightened in a 2007 law that followed complaints from Washington about arms sales to “sensitive” countries, especially China. While most of Israel’s weapons deals are done by private companies, “not a single bullet leaves Israel without government approval,” according to Sneh. Georgia has stepped up its weapons requests in recent years, as its relations with Russia have soured. Despite Israel’s refusal to allow the sale of most offensive weaponry to Georgia, Jerusalem has been drawn into the conflict.

Israel and Georgia have enjoyed a friendly relationship since the former Soviet Republic gained its independence in 1991. The ties improved noticeably after the election in 2003 of the staunchly pro-Western president Mikhail Saakashvili. As he sought to reassert control over the two Russian-backed semi-autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Saakashvili began to buy weapons to bolster Georgia’s weak military. Willing partners included the United States and other Western countries, as well as Israel, which since 2000 has sold an estimated $300 million worth of weapons to Georgia. The business relationship was facilitated by two Georgian ministers who are Jewish and fluent in Hebrew: Reintegration Minister Temur Yakobashvili and, more important, Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili, 30. While Israel did not agree to sell tanks, planes or missiles, it did authorize the sale of infantry weapons, rockets and night-vision communications, as well as the upgrade of Georgia’s Su-25 ground-attack fighters. It also allowed the sale of intelligence surveillance equipment, including Skylark and Hermes 450 unmanned planes. Those drones would soon become a major issue as tensions from Georgia’s breakaway regions simmered.

In the past six months, the pro-Moscow government of Abkhazia claims to have downed seven Georgian drones. Georgia has denied the reports, except in one instance. On April 20, one of its Israeli-made Hermes 450s was shot down off the coast from Abkhazia. Georgia accused Russia of downing it, a charge supported by a United Nations probe, but Moscow has denied this. Russia then sent Israel’s foreign minister a letter of protest, asking that it stop supplying military hardware to Georgia. The letter pointed out that Russia had sometimes heeded Israel’s requests to refrain from supplying weapons systems to states seen as threatening to Israel, according to a lengthy exposé in the weekend magazine of the Israeli daily Ma’ariv. The Foreign Ministry then asked the Defense Ministry to cancel the authorizations to sell offensive weapons to Georgia and to allow only the sale of defensive weapons, as well as military training, to proceed, Ma’ariv reported.

Israeli officials are quick to point out that they wisely rejected repeat requests for arms from Georgia in the months leading up to the outbreak of hostilities with Russia in early August. The most ambitious one involved the purchase of 200 Merkava tanks, which was vetoed by the Defense Ministry. Georgian officials, however, publicly denied that Israel had cut back on weapons sales. Moreover, they showered praise on Israel’s military help after the beginning of the hostilities last month, with Saakashvili stating at a press conference that “Israeli weapons have been very effective.” Minister Yakobashvili told Israel Army Radio that “Israel should be proud of its military, which trained Georgian soldiers.” In the end, Georgia’s army proved to be no match for the Russian military, which has repeatedly accused Western powers and Israel of arming Georgia.

Anatoly Nogovitsyn, Russia’s deputy army chief, said during a press conference in mid-August that Israel was providing the Georgian military with mines, explosive charges, special explosives for clearing minefields and eight kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles. But he also indicated that some sales had been canceled. “In 2007, Israeli experts trained Georgian commandos in Georgia and there were plans to supply heavy weaponry, electronic weapons, tanks and other arms at a later date, but the deal didn’t work out,” Nogovitsyn told reporters. The Hermes drones were sold to Georgia by Elbit Systems, an Israeli manufacturer whose representatives in Georgia were former minister and Tel Aviv mayor Ronnie Milo and his brother Shlomo, a former director-general of Israel Military Industries. The Milo brothers were also reportedly involved in the sale of a rocket system called Links, which is manufactured by IMI, as well as in the aborted Merka tank deal. They have declined to comment on their Georgia dealings.

In addition, several former senior Israeli army officers have been involved in training Georgian army infantry battalions. One such officer, Gal Hirsch, resigned from the army two years ago, after being heavily criticized by an official inquiry into the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah that precipitated what is now known as the Second Lebanon War. Hirsch then set up a security company called Defense Shields and received approval from the Defense Ministry to train elite anti-terrorist units in the Georgian army. The effort was undertaken in tandem with Global C S T, a company owned by retired major general Israel Ziv, and Nirtal, a company headed by reserve officer Nir Shaul. Although the companies announced that they had completed their projects in Georgia before August 7, the date the fighting began, the presence of Israeli trainers and weaponry has been noted in Russia, among anti-Israel circles and even by Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, who described the Russian military victory over Georgia as a defeat for Israel. “Gal Hirsch, who was defeated in Lebanon, went to Georgia, and they, too, lost because of him.” He made the remarks last month in a speech marking the two-year anniversary of the Lebanon War.

In recent weeks, Israeli officials have gone out of their way to smooth the tensions with Russia over the war with Georgia. In addition to Russia’s diplomatic and economic clout, its weapons sales have been a major headache for Israel. The most immediate concern is Russia’s sale to Iran of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, which would help Iran defend its nuclear installations from aerial attacks. Likewise, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s visit to Russia in the wake of the Georgian war has fueled concerns in Jerusalem that Russia was retaliating against Israel by stepping up military support to Damascus. Despite the diplomatic backlash with Russia, Sneh believes that Israel “handled the Georgia situation properly” and that it had carefully vetted the arms sales “to ensure that they would not have strategic consequences. It just so happens that a war broke out.”

Source: http://www.forward.com/articles/14193/#ixzz18U0Awaxg


Russia threatens sale of offensive weapons to Israel's enemies


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Russian security officials threatened retaliation against Israel for its weapons exports to Georgia including eight different aerial drones. Russian Deputy Chief of Staff Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn said Israel supplied at least eight different models of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Georgia. Nogovitsyn said Israel has also sold a range of weapons and sought to export main battle tanks to Georgia.Russian diplomatic sources said the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was furious over Israel's refusal to impose a military embargo on Georgia. The sources said Putin's aides had urged Israel several times to halt weapons exports. "We asked Israel not to sell offensive weapons to a hostile neighboring state, but they said they're a sovereign state," a diplomatic source said. "Well, Israel shouldn't be surprised if we sell offensive weapons to Israel's neighbors." Already, Russia, in wake of its military victory over Georgia, has scheduled a summit with Syria to discuss offensive weapons sales, the sources said. Syrian President Bashar Assad was scheduled to meet Putin in Moscow on Aug. 20.
Source: http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2008/eu_russia0447_08_20.asp 


Major Neo-Con Role in Russo-Georgian War

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Caspian Sea oil pipeline, sovereignty at heart of Russia’s blowup with U.S. ally
George W. Bush and his neo-con cohorts are behind the Russo-Georgia war, inside sources on the ground in South Ossetia and in Washington have revealed. Israel is also involved on behalf of Georgia because of oil. The sources remain anonymous. Russia’s attack was in response to U.S. plans to install missile sites near its borders and to bring Georgia into NATO. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called for Russia to regain its influential position in former Cold War ally Cuba, giving his country a military presence reminiscent of the 1963 Cuban missile crisis, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. This threat emerged earlier (AFP, Aug. 4, 2008) but was blacked out by the mainstream media.

“We should restore our position in Cuba and other countries,” Putin said, while hearing a report on a recent Russian delegation’s trip to Cuba. “It is not a secret that the West is creating a ‘buffer zone’ around Russia, involving countries in Central Europe, the Caucasus, the Baltic states and Ukraine,” said Leonid Ivashov, head of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems. “In response, we may have to expand our military presence abroad, including Cuba.” Earlier, Russia threatened a “military technical” response to U.S. plans to put missiles in Eastern Europe near its borders. Russia strongly opposes plans of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route oil and gas that transit Georgia through Turkey instead of linking them to Russian pipelines. Tel Aviv owns a heavy interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines.

The Swiss-based Israeli investigative journalist and author Shraga Elam reports that Israel, with U.S. connivance, was behind the attack against South Ossetia by the tiny former Soviet state of Georgia. “There is an obvious Israeli involvement in the present conflict between Georgia and Russia,” he says. “There are hundreds of Israeli military advisers in Georgia. . . .” He quotes sources like military expert Yossi Melman in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz: “Melman wrote that Georgia became a real El Dorado for Israeli arms dealers and numerous representatives of the army and intelligence services. Some former generals like Israel Ziv and Gal Hersh (with his company Defensive Shield) are very active there. “Hersh and Ziv are mainly training and consulting Georgian army units. They are using the ‘chain’ method common among Israeli arms dealers: a main contractor wins a tender and employs sub-contractors—in this case Israeli officers and former Shin Bet employees,” wrote Melman.

According to him there was a project to sell Merkava tanks to Georgia, The Ma’ariv newspaper points out that the Georgian defense minister, David Kezerashvili, lived for a while in Israel and speaks Hebrew. In a lengthy article the military exports to Georgia are described. Ma’ariv estimates them to be of a value of at least $300 million. An Israeli marketing expert told Ma’ariv: “To every Israeli agent representing an Israeli defense company is attached a cousin of the defense minister, who opens the doors for him.” Also, Israeli news web site (News First Class) confirms the massive presence of Israeli advisers in Georgia and writes: “The Israeli military industries upgraded the Georgian air force, sold unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced artillery systems and trained infantry units.” U.S. “consultants” are helping the Georgian army. According to Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, there are 127 U.S. military trainers there, of whom about 35 are civilian contractors.

In addition to the trainers, 1,000 soldiers from the Vicenza, Italy-based Southern European Task Force (Airborne) and the Kaiserslautern-based 21st Theater Sustainment Command, along with Marine reservists with the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines out of Ohio, and the U.S. state of Georgia’s Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry participated in “Immediate Response 2008.” Operation Immediate Response 2008 was held from July 15-July 30, with U.S. personnel training about 600 troops at a former Soviet base near Tbilisi, the largest city and capital of Georgia. The goal of this operation was allegedly teaching combat skills for missions in Iraq. The Marines left, but not the airmen. Georgia had sent 2,000 soldiers to Iraq, who were recalled to face the Russian invasion. Washington has provided Georgia with materiel and advisers, and so did Israel—at least until Russia pressed it to stop, reportedly in return for promises to withhold advanced weapons from Syria.

The South Ossetia separatists claim U.S. intervention, saying there are black people among the Georgian casualties. But even if some American personnel went discreetly into action, that would not suffice to deter Russia from bringing Georgia to heel, if not physically occupying the country. And then the Western loss will not be limited to the independence of a small, remote, struggling democracy. Among items Israel has been selling to Tbilisi are pilotless drone aircraft. Russian fighters shot one down in May, according to UN observers. Russia sent Israel a letter of protest after the shooting incident asking it to stop supplying military hardware to Georgia “as Russia from time to time complies with Israel’s requests not to supply weapons systems” to states seen as threatening Israel, according to the Israeli daily Ma’ariv. Israel is one of the world’s leading arms exporters but does not detail the contents or value of its trade with individual countries.

In addition to the spy drones, 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.

Howard Carson, AFP Southwest Bureau chief, travels widely and has influential contacts in Russia and other countries.

Source: http://www.americanfreepress.net/htm..._role_146.html
What Does Israel Seek in the Caucasus?


Jewish political tradition is based primarily on a realistic school of thought. Israeli regime has derived its three underlying principles of foreign policy from this school which are: to focus on survival among hostile neighbors, to seek power, and to form alliances. Israeli regime's foreign policy has also close ties with its longstanding historical traditions.

The Alliance of the periphery or the Periphery Doctrine is one of these traditions which was established in the 1950s. It is a foreign policy strategy that called for Israeli regime to develop close strategic alliances with non-Arab Muslim states in the West Asia to counteract the united opposition of Arab states to the existence of Israeli regime. It was employed chiefly towards Turkey, and pre-revolutionary Iran. But, the conditions have changed. In Tel Aviv's perspective, Ankara at best is an unfriendly government and Tehran constitutes an inauspicious threat. In addition, rise of ISIS and Islamist sentiments have challenged the regime's position in the region. The Periphery Doctrine which seemed to have been abandoned, is once again on the agenda of the Israeli regime. But this time, it has targeted an area which feels the dynamism of the West Asia, and yet it is able to make use of the geopolitical lever in its northern part: the Caucasus.

Tel Aviv's intervention increased in the Caucasus in the late 2000s, when the ministry of foreign affairs established the special departments of Caucasus and Central Asia. Regime's policy during the relatively short period of "focusing more resources on the region" has gone through two major stages. The first stage took place before 2008 and focused on Georgia. Israeli regime attempted to train the Georgian army and allowed Israeli private sector companies to equip the military of Georgian with drones and advanced equipment. After the South Ossetia war in 2008, Zionist regime reduced its visible presence in Georgia in order to avoid provoking the hostility of Moscow. In order to compensate for its reduced presence in Georgia, Tel Aviv expanded its in presence in Azerbaijan.

In the second stage of Israeli regime's intervention in the Caucasus, the trade between the two countries amounted to four billion dollars. In addition to buying oil from Azerbaijan, Zionist regime has made plans to import twelve billion cubic meters of gas over the next decade, from this Caspian Sea littoral state.

Most importantly, according to the former President of Israeli regime, Shimon Peres, "Azerbaijan is the key to counter the influence of Iran in the Greater Middle East." The well-known list of the complaints Baku and Tehran have raised against each other includes four major differences: the legal regime of the Caspian Sea, the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Iran's pro-Armenian position (according to Azeris), the purported issue of the Iranian Azerbaijan, and the presence of twenty million Azerbaijani citizens in Iran, and the last one is of religious nature: Baku claims that Iran provokes radical sentiments in Azerbaijan, a secular country with a Shiite majority.  Given such circumstances, the Israeli regime, gives a central role to the Republic of Azerbaijan in its strategy of besieging the Islamic republic of Iran.

Despite a number of constraints such as Turkey, anti-Semitism and relations of Azerbaijan with the Palestinians, it is fully embedded in the strategic plans of Tel Aviv to form alliances against Iran (this time with Azerbaijan).

On the other hand, Israeli regime will continue to follow the tradition of supporting the Jewish people of the world. This part of Israeli regime's foreign policy has seriously been pursued in the Caucasus. According to official statistics in 2012, 3540 Jews lived in Georgia; however, unofficial figures suggest there are eight to twelve thousand Jews in Azerbaijan. The number of Jews in the Republic of Azerbaijan is not clear and varies from nine thousand to sixteen thousand. In many cases, particularly in Georgia, Jewish citizens have taken up key positions in the government and commercial sectors. This condition can provide a better opportunity for intense political and economic involvement of Israeli regime in the region.

In brief, Zionist regime's interests in the Caucasus have three main dimensions: the Caucasus is strategically serving as a tool to besiege Iran as a regional power. Besides, in the medium term the Caucasus is seen as a region to supply energy needs of Zionist regime, and in the short term as a market for the sale of advanced arms and ammunition. These three dimensions, challenge the three traditional actors of the region, namely Russia, Turkey and Iran, which have no desire to see any foreign country to maintain its presence in the region.

Source: http://awdnews.com/political/what-does-israel-seek-in-the-caucasus