Major Neo-Con Role in Russo-Georgian War
Caspian Sea oil pipeline, sovereignty at heart of Russia’s blowup with U.S. ally
By Howard Carson
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.
(Issue # 34, August 25, 2008)