“Fear of Russia ends Israeli support for Georgia”

Bear_ww "A top Georgian envoy in Israel on Sunday urged the Jewish state to use whatever leverage it has to put pressure on Russia to pull its forces out of the small Caucasus nation. But while voicing support for Georgian territorial integrity, Israel decided instead to appease Russia by halting all arms sales to Tbilisi.

Israel has sold some $500 million worth of military equipment to Georgia over the past few years, and top Israeli military experts have been involved in training Georgian armed forces.

Israeli soldiers who participated in training Georgian forces as recently as four months ago told Ha’aretz that they were not surprised when hostilities broke out. "There was an atmosphere of war about to break out. …From my point of view, the battles of the past few days were to be expected," said one soldier.

As Russian forces invaded Georgia late last week and the two nations engaged in what is increasingly being called a full-scale war, Israel’s leadership expressed concerns that Moscow could retaliate for continued Israeli military support of Georgia by selling advanced arms to Iran and Syria. "  Israel Today


"A friend in need is a friend indeed."

The Israelis should be careful or they will acquire a reputation for dumping their allies unde pressure.

Until now the US has held the record for consistency in that field of political action.

Is it coincidence that the US and Israel both acted over the last few years to encourage Georgia in defiance of its giant neighbor?

Israel has 80,000 immigrant Georgian Jews in its population.  The defense minister of Georgia is reported to be a "former" Israeli citizen.

Bravado is the Israeli style in international relations and in managing occupations.  Rashness bordering on adolescent conceit is another way to describe the style.

I guess Russia doesn’t frighten as easily as some of the entities that the Israelis usually deal with.

What did the US think it was doing encouraging little Georgia to provoke the bear?

Ask the Jacobins.  pl


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44 Responses to “Fear of Russia ends Israeli support for Georgia”

  1. mo says:

    What did the US think it was doing encouraging little Georgia to provoke the bear?
    it seems it was more than encouraging. It was arming and training them for this very action.
    What did the US think it was doing encouraging Dahlan to take on Hamas in its own backyard?
    And again, millions spent arming and training Dahlans merceneries.
    What did the US think it was doing encouraging March 14th to try and terminally weaken Hizballah?
    And again millions spent arming and training March 14th’s “Secure Plus” militia.
    Add to those the only moderately successful move against Sadr by Maliki, but only because Sadr didn’t believe the bloodshed was worth it.
    Desperation and woeful inability to judge its opponents reactions.
    And refusing to learn that no matter how well armed and trained a mercenary, against the patriot, the devout and/or the man simply protecting his faimily, the mercenary doesn’t stand a chance.

  2. jr786 says:

    top Israeli military experts have been involved in training Georgian armed forces.
    That would explain the move into South Ossetia – they reckoned it was Gaza.
    Georgia is to South Ossetia as Russia is to Georgia as Israel is to the Occupied Territories.

  3. schwifty says:

    If Russia controls access to Georgia (or at least the denial of such), arms shipments wouldn’t make it through a de facto naval blockade and a destroyed port. The Israelis have nothing to lose by pledging to cut arms shipments they can’t deliver anyway.
    When your clock ends on Jan 20th, every little bit helps..

  4. JfM says:

    Be assured that Israel did a speedy calculus assessing the dozen or so players in the Russia-Georgia dust-up, stuck a calibrated finger in the air to determine the prevailing winds, carefully estimated their possible courses of action, and quickly defined their best interests and likely outcomes. Then they simply acted in their best interests as states are expected to do. There should be no surprise in their actions. This is the time-honored method of honing Israeli’s priorities and interests weighed against costs. Similar machinations produced the decision to include striking the USS Liberty in their June 1967 attack plan for the Six Day War. There ain’t no such thing as forever friends.

  5. JohnH says:

    Israel realizes that it needs the oil flowing through the BTC pipeline.
    Also, it looks like Israel chose not to start demonizing Russia as an “existential threat,” because it would have been pointless. Now if they could learn the same lesson regarding Iran…

  6. Larry K says:

    Isn’t Israel Today (the source for this story) a fairly tendentious outfit? I don’t see any stores to this effect in Ha’aretz or the Jerusalem Post, which in my experience don’t pull their punches. Not that that’s proof one way or another, but my memory, again, is that Israel Today is etc.

  7. J says:

    uping the ante:
    Russians move 2 SS-21 Medium Range Ballistic Missile Launchers into South Ossetia
    Col. Sam Gardiner notes, in an interview with Amy Goodman on http://www.democracynow.org/ Democracy Now, Russia has deployed tactical nuclear weapons to South Ossetia. The SS-21 Missile launchers are relatively weak compared to bombs that have already been used against Georgia by the Russian air force. However, this move does indicate Russia is potentially upping the game from a conventional weapons war to a tactical nuclear weapons war. Gardiner notes that at a news conference on Sunday, the US Deputy National Security advisor has noted these weapons arriving in South Ossetia.
    Business Wire confirms the subject matter of the news briefing in Beijing.

  8. J says:

    it now appears that the russians are factoring in their tactical nuclear weapons into the mix to defend their citizenry from aggressors like georgia.
    i have doubts that anybody in d.c. wants to play a game of let’s fire some tactical toys mumbly peg. no?

  9. Curious says:

    The Georgians were obviously counting on US/Europe military involvement.
    Epic fail.
    What’s amazing is how no media talks about how tiny Georgia is. It’s the size of Philly or DC+burblands.
    It’s like Philly decides to launch and attack to annex Camden New Jersey.
    Same with Israel. That country economy is only the size of Singapore, but with military expenditure the size of Korea and geopolitical aspiration the level of India or Russia.
    Without US ‘gifts’, money and free military equipments. That little joke will collapse in about 3 months. It can’t even refine it’s own jet fuel if come under attack, let alone sustained long distance military campaign.
    Amazing. The level of delusion.

  10. kao-hsien-chih says:

    A question:
    As far as I know, SS-21 is a tactical artillery rocket (replacing FROG-7). It is nuclear capable (but then, so are 8-in artillery pieces, as far as I know.), but how do we know if the Russians are actually sending tactical nukes and “upping the ante”?

  11. Tim says:

    I’d guess that both the U.S. and Israel didn’t think of Georgia as an ally, but rather as a customer. And you drop a customer when they’re no longer profitable.

  12. Mike says:

    What we have witnessed is the complete impotence of the West – ie the USA – over Georgia. The maverick Saakashvili had assumed that the US would back his gamble and come riding in like John Wayne and the Seventh Cavalry to aid him in his rash and ludicrous assault against Russia. He seemingly had no understanding of the weakness of the US and grossly overestimated the strength of his own forces. Military action by America is out of the question. Bush’s land forces are tied up and overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are no toops to spare. Georgia is at the eastern end of the Black Sea, access to which by aircraft carriers involves pasage through the Bosphorus – Turkey, after American support for the Kurdish mini state in northern Iraq, is now profoundly anti-American, and would be very reluctant to support an expedition through into the Black Sea. (Actually, the last time a western fleet went through the Bosphorus to attack Russia was in 1853 when a Franco-British force sailed in with Turkish co-operation and landed on the Crimea to fight the Czar’s soldiers for three frustrating and inconclusive years; not a good precedent.) Air power would achieve nothing – answer bombing with bombing? Bomb whom? Bombers based on which country? Note that the Israelis, who had been supplying the Georgians with massive military aid, cut off all aid yesterday; they know that Saakashvili’s audacious provocation of a resurgent Russia is a dangerous gamble with which they want no connection. Saakashvili meantime has demonstrated that American support will be entirely verbal and nothing more. America has zero power in this matter. And the message will have gone out loud and clear to Latvia and Estonia and Kazakhstan etc that friendship and alliance with the USA is, when the crunch comes, worth absolutely nothing. Nuclear threats? Forget it; no president would trade New York for Tibilisi. Remember Budapest 1956 and Prague 1968? Gordon Brown’s statement that the Russians have ceased their assault because of international pressure is laughable. He is living in fantasy land. The Russians ended their aggression just when they were ready to, and not before. Mission accomplished. They have got away with it as Mussolini got away with the Abyssinian aggression, or Hitler with his annexations of Austria, Sudetenland and the Rhineland.

  13. Tyler says:

    Thank you, Col. Lang, for running a blog that’s pretty much free of the spin zone that’s coming out of 99% of the Western media outlets.
    Its hilarious to see the think tanks spin spin spin this as a “loss” for Russia while trying to ignore the huge cracks that have become apparent in our own foreign policy foundation.

  14. parvati_roma says:

    Seems Medvedev and Sarkozy have not only sketched out the terms of a peace programme together, they’ve also been talking about bringing in EU (note: EU NOT Nato) peacekeepers – shades of the Franco-Italian force called in to shoehorn Israel out of its disastrous attack on Lebanon and prevent recurrences!
    Russia to withdraw troops from Georgia

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russian and French leaders negotiated conditions Tuesday for ending fighting in Georgia, agreeing on a plan that calls for both Russian and Georgian troops to move back to their original positions.
    French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said after several hours of talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev that the European Union could send peacekeepers to Georgia if all parties agreed to the plan.
    The peace plan endorsed by Medvedev and Sarkozy calls for an international discussion on future status of Georgia’s breakaway provinces and ways to ensure their security. It demanded that Russia and Georgia immediately end all hostilities and allow free access to the region for humanitarian assistance.
    Medvedev said the residents of both breakaway provinces must be allowed to decide whether they want to be part of Georgia.
    “Ossetians and Abkhaz must respond to that question taking their history into account, including what happened in the past few days,” Medvedev said grimly.
    Sarkozy was heading to Tbilisi later Tuesday to talk over the plan with Saakashvili. (…)

    See also:
    Russia, France agree on 6 principles to resolve S.Ossetia crisis (RIA Novosti)
    The Italian press – which seems to have been the first international source to report the 6-point agreement? – is also stating that Italy’s defence minister has already declared willingness to send in an Italian peacekeeping contingent, also willing to host an international peace conference in Rome.

  15. Jimmy says:

    I think it is far more interesting that neither China nor India has made any noise in this new crisis. Both countries purportedly have stood against imperial intervention, and both have geostrategic reasons to balance Russian and American advances. This crisis may also turn out to be a low-investment-high-payoff case for them. Yet both have done nothing in mediating this Russian invasion, or pony up peacekeepers/observers. Perhaps they’re not ready to ascend to major power status yet.
    South Ossetia is nominally in Georgian territory. It is more akin to Arlington seceding from the original “District of Washington” to rejoin Virginia, say, than Philly annexing Camden.

  16. jonst says:

    Well, ya can’t send the 7th Cav into every battle. See Little Big Horn.

  17. GSD says:

    David Brooks:
    “Sometimes in my dark moments, I think [George W. Bush] is “The Manchurian Candidate” designed to discredit all the ideas I believe in.”
    Is there anything that Bush and his neo-con artists won’t leave in a smoking pile of ruins before their departure from the stage?

  18. parvati_roma says:

    YAY – Georgia too has agreed to the peace programme! 🙂
    NOT the end of the slanging match but hopefully this may be the end of the corpse-pileup: Tsar-Kozy has woven his peace-web, continental Europe will back him to the hilt – to transform the words into a solid reality will of course require lotsa patient diplomacy and very probably an impartial peaceforce to reassure all concerned. Could be with new-EU “easties” protecting their Georgian friends, Russian-friendly “old-EU” protecting Ossetians? but in any case all under unified-n’-helluva-cooperative EU joint command working to foster Russsian/Georgian détente… or am I pipedreaming again?.
    Anyway/whatever – hopefully this small but deadly little war is now over/nearly over. Both sides have their reasons, both sides have their wounds – they need time to bury their dead.. while US bemoans the failure of its powergame-scheming, Europe offers understanding and respect to both sides and offers them a way out, offering our own flesh and blood to guarantee its fairness. Hoping against hope that all will go well, hoping against hope that for the sake of Ossetians Georgians Russians and Abkhazians alike, the tiny light flickering at the end of the tunnel can herald an honourable exit from this bloody impasse.. for all alike.

  19. Curious says:

    Bush is doing double down or nothing.
    (Why is zbig out on TV again? Can’t we at least get a new young face to do cold war smack talking? Bad enough we had Rumsfeld.)
    NATO Should Affirm Georgia Entry Potential, U.S. Says (Update1)
    NATO should affirm the potential of Georgia and Ukraine to become alliance members in the face of Russia’s incursion into Georgian territory, senior U.S. officials said today in Washington.
    Russia shouldn’t regard the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s consideration of Georgia and Ukraine a threat, according to the Bush administration officials, who spoke to reporters on the condition they not be identified. The prospect might even help focus attention on resolving ethnic divisions such as those that prompted the conflict in Georgia, they said.

    Russia must stop treating its neighbors as “subordinate provinces” and should draw a lesson from China, which is building its power in Asia “carefully and patiently” and with a partnership approach to other countries, former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told Bloomberg Television.

  20. Will says:

    The prize is of course the terminus of the pipeline, capital of muslim and ethnic Russian autonomous region of Arjaria, former Russian naval base, to wit: Batumi.
    If Putin is truly bold, he will restore this port to the Russian Navy and free the populace from Georgian rule. He would also give the NeoKons a black eye by capturing the terminus of the pipeline built to evade a Russian route.
    All the while, Cheney et al, steam with their carriers toward the Persicos.
    An irony of sorts to the Lebanese must have been Dumbya pontificating about disproportionate application of force in the 21st century when his regime paid for the aviation fuel and bombs for the merciless bombing of Lebanon in the 2006 War. After the ceasefire was declared, Israel dropped a million dud surplus American cluster bombs. In other words it sowed indiscriminate land mines from the air on the farms and orchards of South Lebanon, courtesy of the American taxpayer.

  21. David Solomon says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Upon reflection one thing bothers me. What if the “Bushies” and their accomplices are smarter than we are giving them credit for?
    Even rats learn with experience.
    Suppose, they only encouraged the Georgians so that they could tie the Russians down in Georgia while Bush and crew bomb the hell out of the Iranians.
    After all, our fearless Congress is on vacation and the mighty press is also busy in Georgia.
    And of course we have the nice distraction of the Olympic games to provide further cover.
    I am just musing, but one should be extra careful when dealing with this crowd of lunatics.

  22. Mr Merdle says:

    Mr. Saakashvili has joined a very small but exclusive club, men who have taken on Russia, (other members include Mr. A Hitler and Mr. N Bonaparte.)

  23. b says:

    It is not only the Israelis who tend to their (business) interest:
    Russia’s Novolipetsk Steel to buy U.S. John Maneely for $3.5 bln

    MOSCOW, August 13 (RIA Novosti) – Novolipetsk Steel [LSE: NLMK], one of Russia’s largest steel producers, said on Wednesday it had signed a final agreement to acquire the U.S.-based pipe manufacturer John Maneely Company (JMC) for $3.53 billion.
    Under the deal, Novolipetsk Steel will acquire the U.S. steel pipe and tube producer from a group of shareholders, including global private equity firm Carlyle Group and the Zekelman family, on a debt free, cash free basis. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be closed in the fourth quarter.
    “The acquisition of JMC fits with NLMK’s stated strategy of portfolio diversification and downstream integration in the core markets of the company. It strengthens NLMK’s position in North America and provides an entry point into an important and high-margin end market,” Novolipetsk Steel said in a statement.
    Established through the merger of John Maneely Company and Atlas Tube in 2006 and headquartered in Ohio, JMC operates eleven plants in five U.S. states and one Canadian province. The company has annual production capacity of over 3 million metric tons of steel pipe and tube, Novolipetsk Steel said.

    Someone should tell McCain …

  24. Yours Truly says:

    ” Same with israel. That country economy is only the size of singapore, but with military expenditure the size of Korea and geopolitical aspiration the level of India or Russia.
    Without US ‘gifts’, money and free military equipments. That little joke will collapse in about 3 months. It can’t even refine it’s own jet fuel if come under attack, let alone sustained long distance military campaign.
    Amazing. The level of delusion.”
    Delusional indeed. The usual “biting off more than you can chew” syndrome. What a strange pair of bedfellows, georgia & israel.

  25. David Habakkuk says:

    We may not know for certain if bringing the SS-21s in represents ‘upping the ante’. But as the interview with Sam Gardiner to which ‘J’ linked brings out, it fits with what we know about the recent evolution of Russian contingency planning.
    It is an extremely ominous development — if not necessarily for the obvious reasons.
    A range of factors — particularly the vulnerability of command and control systems — mean that nuclear war planners face intractable dilemmas in reconciling the conflicting requirements of what in the jargon are called ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ control. The requirement to ensure that your arsenal cannot be disabled by an enemy first strike is inherently in tension with the requirement that the risks of unauthorised or accidental launch be minimised.
    Put very crudely, if the only people who have both the legal authority to launch nuclear weapons and control the codes required to make such launch possible are a small number of senior leaders, a ‘decapitation strike’ would render your nuclear arsenal inoperable. If, on the other hand, the physical ability to launch nuclear weapons is widely disseminated, the risks of accidental or unauthorised launch become very serious.
    There are no very good resolutions to these dilemmas. On the American side, the tendency was to emphasise positive control over negative. By contrast, the emphasis in Soviet planning came to be very strongly on ‘negative’ control. This was bound up with the focus of Soviet planning as it developed from the second half of the Sixties onwards came to be not on nuclear war-fighting, but on trying to keep any general war conventional — and limiting escalation should that be impossible. The now abandoned no-first-use commitment was part of that strategy.
    On all this, a key work is the 1993 study The Logic of Accidental Nuclear War by the former Minuteman launch control officer turned academic Bruce Blair, who had the benefit of very extensive interviews in Russia. His ‘nuclear column’ on the Center for Defense Information website is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in these issues.
    (See http://www.cdi.org/program/issue/index.cfm?ProgramID=32&issueid=110.)
    In January last year, in his keynote address to the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, the Academy’s President, General Mahmut Gareev, commented that Russia needs to rely on its nuclear arsenal given the unfavorable balance of conventional forces in all theaters. He also observed that, due to the deterioration of Russia’s space-based observation capabilities, ground-based early warning systems, and offensive weapons, the country’s ‘ability to launch a strike on warning, much less a second strike is becoming problematic.’
    (See http://www.wmdinsights.com/I13/I13_R2_RussianAcademy.htm.)
    There are very real Russian fears — and not in my simply groundless ones — that American policy has been geared towards exploiting these new vulnerabilities to give the United States effective ‘nuclear primacy’ — to quote the title of an important 2006 article in Foreign Affairs by Keir Lieber and Daryl Press.
    Claims that missile defence installations in Eastern Europe are intended to defend against Iran are regarded in Moscow as sanctimonious drivel. Their real purpose is seen as to make it possible to neutralise the kind of feeble Russian ‘second strike’ which could be expected after a successful U.S. first strike. Accordingly, the United States would enjoy effective ‘escalation dominance’, making the kind of action the Russians have taken in Georgia impossible.
    To counter this, it is necessary to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the ground in areas where American allies may be tempted to take military action under the shelter of American power. The logic of the situation, moreover, points towards an adoption of the American emphasis on ‘positive control’ — decentralising the ability to launch nuclear weapons, so that even if Russian retaliation following a first-strike was ragged, it would be damaging enough.
    But there is however, an obvious and immense difference between the situation in the U.S. and the situation in Russia — which has to do with the very real strength of criminal groups and also fundamentalists in that country, which is particularly acute in precisely those places where tactical weapons are likely to be stationed: South Ossetia being an obvious example.
    Accordingly, the directions in which Russian strategy have been moving are likely very significantly to increase the dangers of nuclear weapons being obtained by criminals and terrorists. But — as Gareev’s address to the Academy illustrates — the Russians now distrust you (and us) so much that they would rather live with that risk than with the risks associated to being vulnerable to the kind of military action taken against Serbia or Iraq, and threatened against Iran.

  26. Twit says:

    I don’t see US support as a product of Jacobin influence on US foreign policy. To sum up the situation, from my perspective: This is the predictable (although not quite inevitable) result of 1) a Russia that wants clear dominance over the former Soviet Republics; 2) a narcissistic Saakashivili who rightly understands that Georgia’s only positive future is in NATO and Europe, but wrongly thinks that ‘settling’ South Ossetia or Abkhazia is more important than actual political, social, and economic development; and 3) incoherent and/or incompetent U.S. policy that neither pushed Russia away hard enough, nor pulled Georgia close enough to make a difference, leaving the U.S. without much influence over but a big stake in what happens.
    In other words, the problem with US policy towards Georgia is not Jacobin fantasy a la the Middle East, but the failure of the US to effectively pressure Georgia’s president to focus on the political, social, and economic reforms that are required for entry into NATO and someday maybe the EU. Instead, the US focused almost all the attention on GTEP (the main military assistance program), and let Saakashvili slide on the other aspects of reform. (To be fair, Saakashvili did wipe out virtually all low and mid level corruption in what used to be one of the most corrupt countries on earth).
    Let’s be clear, the Russians want a lot more than Saakashvili’s head (although they definitely want that). They want to assert their dominance over all the former Soviet Republics. This would be bad for us, and for those countries that have the gall to not want to live in the Russian sphere. The United States – not Europe – is the only one that can draw this line with Russia.
    Bush, his people, and the foreign policy bureaucracies should have done a lot of things better in Georgia 2-3 years ago, just like the levees should have been fixed long before Katrina. But, he didn’t (and they weren’t) and now higher cost, and higher risk actions are needed. If Bush does not draw a clear line with Russia, then we will have betrayed a country and a people that truly trusted us, and more importantly, put us on the road to ceding Central Asia, Ukraine, and the Caucuses to Putin, with barely a whimper. Not only that, but it will tell the world a lot about what an alliance – especially a risky alliance – with the US really means, i.e. not much. We can abandon Georgia, but it will cost us dearly.
    Like Col Lang has said many times, war is a spectrum of human interaction, and what we have in Georgia is a little, but important ally in our chess board. Just because this fact coincidentally fits in with the Jacobins wet dreams does not make it a Jacobin plot.
    Also, I suspect Putin did this now because he wants to assert his dominance over the former USSR while Bush is weak, and be able to have ‘new realities’ in place or at least in motion by the time a new president comes in.
    Finally, one factual correction: Georgia is not the size of Philly or the DC suburbs. Think more West Virginia, with 18,000 ft mountains. Actually, the mountains are so impassible that many parts of the Russian-Georgian border are left completely unguarded in the winter.

  27. jonst says:

    I have no proof to back my assertion But the ‘Russians move 2 SS-21 Medium Range Ballistic Missile Launchers into South Ossetia story, to me, stinks. I don’t believe it. It makes no sense. It is counter productive to Russian interests. Not to claim that nations, and individuals don’t, at times, do things against their interests. But I don’t buy it in this case. I smell someone, or something’s PSYOPS

  28. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Vitaly Churkin was on Charlie Rose last night. I didn’t see the entire interview but the guy was definitely “on message” throughout the portion I saw.
    For those of us in the DC area, try to check out the MHz network. MHz carries “Russia Today” and it is, too say the least, interesting to hear the Russian point of view. (Reminds me of the good ole days listening to Radio Moscow during the slow, wee hours on the night shifts.) That view was reiterated last night on Charlie Rose by Vitaly Churkin.
    Video isn’t up yet, but highly recommended once it is:
    Charlie Rose 12 Aug 08

  29. David Habakkuk says:

    An interesting story in Asia Times suggests that the Israelis may be getting worried that Russia will retaliate for their support to Georgia by increasing arms sales to Syria and Iran.
    It quotes 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.’
    (See http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JH14Ak02.html.)

  30. Curious says:

    about SS-21.
    It’s short range tactical missile. It can be armed with nuke.
    I got the feeling somebody in Bush administration is threatening to use nuclear. So the Russian is calling their bluff. (I raise your nuke threat with my possible nuclear presence)
    Also, as usual Condi and crew are trying to have it both way “negotiate” and also push for more aggression while throwing tantrum. But Russia is no Zimbabwe or Iran. They have ear deep in the US links and can read global military movement. They can raise bluff too.
    So the Russian is calling Condi’s bluff. (Everytime you throw tantrum, I’ll move my tanks 20 miles more.)
    Sooner or later Condi will come to realization she should not play poker with the Russian. She is out classed and out maneuvered. The Russians are are on the ground and controlling all entries point to georgia. What’s worst, Condi just reveals C-17 flight and radio profile while flying in Georgia troop. (She still thinks Russia is some sort of backwater country instead of a country that can make next generation counter measure against current actively deployed weapons.) Soon, she will reveal military comm channel. Does she really think the Russian doesn’t know quantum mechanics and material engineering?
    In other word, this is serious diplomacy time. All military options and actions mean something instead of pure bluff and bluster, as if it would run unopposed.
    second. Like early Iraq war. Condi/Rumsfeld are not seeing the forest from the trees. They think Georgia is single isolated incidence with Russia.
    But Russia has global presence. When they start playing, it’ll be Iran, afghanistan, africa,south america, central asia,… all at same time. Energy and capital market included.
    It won’t even be checker vs chess anymore. It’ll be tic-tac toe vs Three-card Monte
    TBILISI, Georgia – A Russian military convoy thrust deep into Georgia on Wednesday and Georgian officials said Russian troops bombed and looted the crossroads city of Gori, violating a freshly brokered truce intended to end the conflict.
    In the west, Georgia’s weakened military acknowledged its soldiers had pulled out entirely from Abkhazia, leaving both breakaway regions at the heart of the fighting in the hands of Russian-backed separatists.
    Even as the Russian troops moved deep into Georgian territory from the separatist region of South Ossetia, a few dozen fighters from Abkhazia offered their own brazen challenge, planting their flag on a bridge over the Inguri River — outside the rebel territory.

  31. Will says:

    my bust
    the BTC pipelin
    Baku-Tbilisi-CEYHAN pipeline traverses Turkey and terminates on the Mediterranean Sea.

  32. bstr says:

    “Today we are all Georgians!” Could any possible statement by a candidate for POTUS be more pleasing to Russia? Naturally this “little war” increases the advantage of McCain in our elections. Which would likely result in the continued failed policy of the current administration. The Bear will be dancing should that happen

  33. Duncan Kinder says:

    b: re Novolipetsk Steel’s purchase of John Maneely.
    Another Russian acquisition of a domestic steel producer is Severstal’s takeover of Wheeling Pittsburgh steel.
    Other foreign firms have attempted Wheeling Pitt takeovers. The Russian Severstal had competed with an Indian steel company to take over Wheeling Pitt; while a Brazilian firm had attempted to take it over in the recent past.
    Although the domestic steel industry is rebounding, Wheeling Pitt has been struggling financially.
    I am unaware of any geopolitical implications or motivations behind this transaction. So I am puzzled that you would suggest that the Maneely transaction has some.

  34. searp says:

    Well, if I have to choose between Georgia and Russia, I will take Russia every time.
    We over-extend our friendship. Georgia is none of our business and never will be, we just feel compelled to posture a bit, and maybe murmur encouragement at no cost.

  35. Syndroma says:

    That SS-21 story is a non-issue really. Nothing can be more conventional or, dare I say, casual as Tochka-U in Russian Army. Heck, even Ukrainians use it to bomb their own cities. In Chechen wars it was used even against large concentrations of infantry. Fast and deadly.
    I walked past one during a military parade on the central square of my town. Tochka-U just stand there with two soldiers protecting it from hordes of children trying to get on top of it.

  36. fnord says:

    Four words: Afghanistan Main Supply Routes. For detailed maps, etc., see http://easterncampaign.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/russia-georgia-nato-and-afghanistan/.
    If Russia closes this, then the NATO/ISAF forces are left with Pakistan as sole supplyline. Maybe someone ought to tell Mc Cain that before he rushes in to fulfil the prophecies of Hagee.

  37. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Just back from a few days in DC comparing notes with colleagues. Main points I would make at this time on this topic, while waiting for further data:
    1. Quite possible that Israel through its advisors in Georgia pushed the Georgians into this. While the US State Department has made it quite clear to the Georgians that they needed to stay cool, this does not mean some contrary signals could not have gone out through the “White House” say OVP coordinating with the Israelis and Georgians back channel. [Were McCain’s people pre-informed? Randy is tight with the Georgians.]
    2. Explanation could be that Israelis want to promote a New Cold War between Washington and Moscow. [They also want to prevent any improvement in relations between the US and Iran but this is separate]. Why?
    First, with the end of the Cold War, the strategic value of Israel as some supposed “bastion” against the Soviet Union evaporated. Two, now that the former regional “main enemy” of Israel, Iraq, is in a shambles its strategic competitor in the region is Iran.
    Given this new geopolitical situation, logic would indicate the US should better relations with Iran (not to mention Syria)and cut some deals (make some diplomatic “arrangements”) with Russia and other interested major powers such as the EU and China and Japan to sort out the Middle East situation. Could Israel withstand such a global agenda based on authentic, evenhanded, and just US leadership? Of course not.
    So, in order to keep Israel as a “global strategic ally” of the United States, and in the driver’s seat so as to prevent a just peace in the Middle East, the Israel Lobby with its Neocons and other assets (newmedia) promotes the above mentioned Israeli strategy of New Cold War with Russia and Isolation of Iran.
    Thus we see the Israeli’s deep into the entrails of Georgia AND Azerbaijan conveniently next door to Iran.
    This is not to mention the “Wahhabis” and assorted salafis in Dagestan and Chechnya…..which raises some other issues.
    To get into the complexities of this, some historical fact-based context is needed. I would, therefore, recommend reading Trita Parsi’s “Treacherous Alliance. The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U.S. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007).

  38. Another interesting international example of the impact of the Congressional recess and the lazy month of August in the West, and of course the ne-plus-ultra of the 2008 Presidential election. Putin watches McCain and Obama like a hawk and trained intelligence pro he is in fact. This is no amateur. I believe there were communications between Russia and Israel directly. Oddly the two need each other but too complicated to explain in sort comment on a post. A comprehensive history of Russian/Israelies since 1948 is long overdue. Israel has to act on its over intel of situation n surrounding neighbors and mid-east. Some closer ties between Israelies and Russian unknown to US Intell but very important to both countries. After all both have huge populations of followers of you know who. Russian is a European state and it looks to the West for help in protecting its Siberian resources. This century’s demographics are going to control the fate of many nations, but Russian and Israel in particular. This time next century will be interesting to see where their standing is in the world. A bigger Israel? A smaller Russia-west of Urals only? Who knows but stakes are huge. US interests don’t compare to these two high-stakes poker players. No way Israel can oppose Russian using Israeli tactics.

  39. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “IsraelNN.com) The Israeli-Georgia connection is estimated to be worth $1 billion, according to a former Georgian ambassador to Israel. The Jewish state and private investors have provided military assistance and advisors to Georgia, where pipelines pump oil destined for Israel. A new pipeline is being built to bypass Russian territory.
    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Israeli companies in Georgia have begun evacuating their staff and that Israeli tourists are leaving for home.”

  40. Curious says:

    Anybody has a copy of DPG? (supposedly it also contains neocon plans for goergia.)
    1992 Draft Defense Planning Guidance. The DPG is a regularly updated classified Pentagon policy document that outlines U.S. military strategies and provides a framework for developing the defense budget. After the Gulf War, the task of developing the new DPG, the first since the end of the Cold War, was given to then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz and his chief aide, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, two of the few neoconservatives who had held posts in the administration of the elder President Bush. Their draft guidance called for a post-Cold War world in which the United States would act as the ultimate guarantor of peace and security and commit itself to “deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” (Other contributors included influential Pentagon officials Zalmay Khalilzad, J.D. Crouch, and Andrew Marshall, as well as Perle and RAND Corporation founder Albert Wohlstetter.) The draft guidance called for a global order in which U.S. military intervention would become a “constant fixture” and Washington would rely on “ad hoc assemblies” (later known as “coalitions of the willing”) to enforce its will, rather than on the UN Security Council. (Despite having authorized U.S. military action in the first Gulf War, the Security Council was not mentioned in the draft guidance.) These ad hoc coalitions would be directed above all at preempting-either through co-option or confrontation-potential rivals from challenging U.S. hegemony and at preventing rogue states from acquiring weapons of mass destruction (WMD), particularly in “regions critical to the security of the United States and its allies, including Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia, and the territory of the former Soviet Union.”

    Many of the initial steps made by the administration on the global level during the weeks after 9/11 showed the hallmarks of the draft DPG. Deployments of U.S. forces were remarkably widespread-to the Philippines, Georgia, and Djibouti-considering that the main target of the war on terror was billed as Afghanistan. And although securing access to military bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan appeared substantially more relevant to routing the Taliban from power and hunting down al-Qaida leaders, it also served the larger geopolitical purpose of establishing a potentially permanent military presence in the heart of Central Asia, close to both China and Russia. Washington’s effective spurning of NATO and its declared preference for a U.S.-led “coalition of the willing” were both recognizable features of the draft DPG.
    Also check out this nifty organization.
    The Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI) is a Bethesda, Maryland-based advocacy outfit that appears to be the personal project of Kenneth Timmerman, an active supporter of a number of hardline pro-Israel organizations affiliated with the neoconservative political faction in the United States, including the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the Committee on the Present Danger. Founded in 1995 with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), FDI claims to “promote democracy and internationally-recognized standards of human rights in Iran.” Although its website is regularly updated with news about “threats” from Iran, the top section of the FDI homepage was reserved (as of December 2007) for publicizing Timmerman’s books and his purported Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2006. He was nominated, along with John Bolton, by former Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Per Ahlmark, now a pro-Israel writer (February 7, 2006).
    According to its website, “key FDI personnel” include Nader Afshar, the president of Middle East Consulting Associates who has worked with the now-defunct U.S. Information Agency and the Voice of America Farsi Service, and William Nojay, a former election monitor for the International Republican Institute. FDI lists three former, “founding members” of its board: Joshua Muravchik, a leading neoconservative writer at the American Enterprise Institute; Peter Rodman, a Henry Kissinger protégé associated with neoconservative outfits like the Project for the New American Century; and Mehdi Rouhani, described by FDI as “the spiritual leader of the Shiite community in Europe.”

  41. Curious says:

    nevermind, found a declassified copy. Anybody has a full copy? (the primary target is still soviet. No wonder the russian is pissed.)
    pdf here
    blurb here:

  42. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Additional data on the US diplomat, Bryza, handling the Georgian situation. As I noted, his Turkish-American wife works for the neoconnish Hudson Institute:
    “”It’s your fault too,” shouted Georgy Khaindrava, a former Georgian minister for conflict resolution. “If you hadn’t propped up Misha Magariya [Misha the strong], we wouldn’t have tanks here now,” he said, referring to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
    “Mr. Bryza, who is in his mid-40s, is a household name in Georgia, closely identified with U.S. support for Georgia and for its pro-Western president, Mr. Saakashvili. When he goes out in the street, people sometimes ask to take their picture with him. They ask for his autograph. And, like Mr. Khandraiva, a fierce critic of Mr. Saakashvili since being fired, some of them get mad….”
    His wife, Zeyno Baran, bio:

  43. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Following the topic of “military art” and the deep involvement of the Israelis in Georgia we can note OS items in the Israeli press. Unfortunately, the pro-Israel US corporate press has extended a bubble over America on this apparently taboo topic:
    1. “Tomer (alias), formerly a soldier of an elite IDF unit, returned from Georgia a short while ago. He was enlisted by Defensive Shield, a company owned and operated by Brigadier General (Res.) Gal Hirsch, to help train Georgian soldiers for battle, but returned disappointed in the manner in which the company handles secret army material….Hirsch’s company was responsible for training an elite search and rescue unit, and training was handled by the companies of two other reserve officers, all of which hired ex-soldiers like Tomer. This resulted in hundreds of former IDF soldiers working as trainers in Georgia over the past few months.”
    “….According to Tomer, Gal Hirsch came to visit the trainers now and then, but was mostly absent. And when the training was officially over, Tomer did not feel that his soldiers were ready for war. “By Israeli standards, the soldiers had almost zero capability and the officers were mediocre,” he said. “It was clear that taking that army to war was illogical.” …
    “Hundreds” of Israeli IDF trainers in the “past few months”…working with General Hirsch’s front company. Well now, would the US Embassy have been aware of this? How about our US military?
    2. Weren’t we discussing Hizbullah and the Lebanon War? But not in sufficient detail I think. General Gal Hirsch’s role as Galilee Division Commander/Lebanon War 2 needs some analysis with a consideration for implications for the Georgiam military’s “art(?)”. Any SST readers have specialized knowledge about Lebanon 2 and Hirsch that could be shared here?
    Here are some notable comments from Lebanon:
    “In a speech marking the two-year anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah mocked Israel’s political and military leadership.
    The Connection
    War in Georgia: The Israeli connection / Arie Egozi
    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
    Full Story
    “The entire front line of the army’s brass stepped down because of the war. Gal Hirsch, who was defeated in Lebanon, went to Georgia and they too lost because of him,” laughed Nasrallah.” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3582864,00.html

  44. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    A so-called “military analysis” from the New York Times with not a word of Israeli activities:
    “The Russian military borrowed a page from classic Soviet-era doctrine: Moscow’s commanders sent an absolutely overwhelming force into Georgia. It was never going to be an even fight, and the outcome was predictable, if not preordained.
    “At the same time, the Russian military picked up what is new from the latest in military thinking, including American military writings about the art of war, replete with the hard-learned lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
    ….”Against the Russians, Georgian command and control withered quickly, and army and police units were operating on their own, often at cross purposes or overlapping missions.
    “Although the Georgians had been taught that speed of operations brings a mass all its own to the battlefield, and that improving accuracy in firepower brings a mass all its own, the lesson of the conflict is that, in some cases, mass has a mass all its own.”
    What was that? “…speed of operations brings a mass all its own to the battlefield.” Speed brings mass? Say what? Magic?

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