Monday, August 11, 2008

Are Israel and the US behind the Georgian aggression?

There is an obvious Israeli involvement in the present conflict between Georgia and Russia. There are hundreds of Israeli military advisers in Georgia and this is not just the claim of the rather unreliable DebkaFile but also the more respected Ha'aretz expert Yossi Melman, the daily Ma'ariv and also the rather reliable website "News First Class" (NFC).

Melman wrote on 25.6.2008 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 Hirsh (with his company Defensive Shield) are very active there.

"Gal Hirsh and Israel Ziv are mainly training and consulting Georgian arm units. They are using the "chain" method common among Israeli arm dealers: a main contractor wins a tender and employs then sub-contractors – in this case Israeli officers and former Shin Beth employees," wrote Melman.

According to him there was a project to sell Merkava tanks to Georgia, but allegedly the Israeli foreign ministry prevented the deal and a policy was outlined that only defensive weapons are allowed to be sold.

Just the same Russia protested against the Israeli military support to Georgia after an Israeli produced UAV was shot down this year. On August 5 Israel reiterated its official policy that it allegedly sells only defensive and not offensive weapon systems to Georgia. This is the version published e.g. in the Jerusalem Post; other sources, like the Israeli daily Ma'ariv on 8.8, claim that Israel decided to stop altogether the military support to Georgia. Just the same Ma’ariv 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 USD 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 NFC confirms the massive presence of Israeli advisers in Georgia and writes: "The Israeli military industries upgraded in recent years the Georgian air force, sold unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), advanced artillery systems and trained infantry units." (9.8) The NFC claims that according to sources in Washington in Moscow the war started because Georgia wants to reverse Israel’s decision and achieve the continuation of the support. Israel, according to NFC, conceded to the Russian threatening that it would otherwise go through with the sale of its most advanced anti-aircraft missile system S-300 to Iran and Syria.

Actually the opposite conclusion is also possible, namely that Israel wants to pressure Russia not to sell the S-300 and stop its support to Iran.

The Israeli website DebkaFile, that is known to publish mainly conspiracy theories, believes that up to 1,000 Israeli advisors are active in planning and implementing the present Georgian military action (8.8). This conclusion sounds plausible.

Actually it has to be taken into consideration that also U.S. "consultants" are helping the Georgian army, as 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 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 already the country, but not the airmen.

It is obvious that there are numerous Israeli and U.S. interests in Georgia and it is likely that they are behind the dangerous Georgian move, as it t does not make much sense that small Georgia would have launched on its own an attack.

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