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Georgian Foreign Ministry said on October 13 that Russia’s “utterly false” allegations about Tbilisi aiding Al Qaeda was a cause of “a serious concern”.
Chief of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Alexander Bortnikov, claimed on October 13, that the Georgian secret services were assisting “Al Qaeda emissaries” in arranging sending of fighters and arms in Chechnya and Dagestan.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that this “hysterical campaign” of spreading “absurdity” was an attempt by Moscow “to accuse Georgia of creating the catastrophic situation in the North Caucasus, for which Russia itself is to be blamed.”
“The propaganda noise stirred up by the Kremlin on the normalization and stabilization of the situation [in North Caucasus] has failed to cover up the actually existing disastrous situation in the region, in particular, the fact that the conflict raging in the North Caucasus has entered its most acute stage. The Kremlin is aware that its attempts to bring the situation under control are vain and [by] employing [already] tested Soviet methods [it] tries to disguise its hopelessness by using the factor of external enemy,” the Foreign Ministry said.
It also said that this allegation against Georgia originated in “some fevered brains.”
“To meet its own imperialistic demands, the Kremlin will use any pretext in order to maximally [stir up] tension across the Georgian borders and create a suitable background for carrying out military provocations against the peaceful democratic country,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
Markedonov points out, “Georgia has its own reasons to avoid any friendship with such structures” like Al Qaeda. That group’s agenda would further threaten Georgia’s territorial integrity in the Pankisi Gorge and create new problems for Tbilisi all along Georgia’s northern borders.
Officials in the Georgian capital certainly know “about the slogans of the North Caucasus salafites,” who in addition to being anti-Russian, anti-Western, and anti-Semitic, are also to a certain extent “anti-Georgian.” For all these reasons, linking Georgia to Al Qaeda “seems very problematic.” Without evidence, “it hangs in the air” and resembles “propaganda.”
Still worse, at least from Russia’s perspective, it reflects a continuing tendency “to ascribe [Russia’s] own failures and mistakes” to the actions of shadowy foreign forces: Now, according to some, the US and Israel are directing “terrorism in Ingushetia; now, Georgia “is acquiring the extent of a great super power with a truly powerful spy network.”
What Russia needs “instead of alarmist comments concerning espionage and provocatory actions of Georgia,” Markedonov says, is a willingness to look “at the internal causes for the North Caucasus crisis” and to see that “[Russia’s] own corruption, bribe taking and privatization schemes are much more dangerous than the intrigues of Al Qaeda.”
President Dmitry Medvedev suggested as much in his programmatic article, “Russia, Forward!” Markedonov argues. While suggesting that “crimes” in the North Caucasus are “being committed with the support of international bandit groups,” Russians need to acknowledge that “the situation would not be so sharp” if domestic conditions were better.
Unfortunately, the statement of the FSB director yesterday shows that many officials are unwilling to follow his lead and prefer instead to “make Georgia into some kind of universal” bogey man “to whom it is possible to ascribe everything” and thus avoid taking any responsibility on oneself.
That could prove disastrous, the Moscow analyst suggests, because “both the powers that be and citizens need a serious expert discussion about the problems of the Caucasus, an open and honest exchange of opinions, and not conspiratorial competitions of professional patriots” of the kind now on offer.
Only if Russia faces up to that reality in the North Caucasus now, rather than retreating into the ideological shibboleths of the Soviet past, Markedonov concludes, can the powers that be in Moscow have any chance to cope and thereby “effectively stand up against the threats of the 21st century.”
The United States and Georgia will begin military exercises on October 26 in preparation for sending troops to Afghanistan, a foreign liaison officer in the US embassy in Tbilisi said on Saturday.
The US embassy on Friday said the exercises would begin on October 24.
"The program is specifically designed to enhance Georgia's ability to conduct joint counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan together with US forces," the embassy statement said on Friday.
The two-week joint military exercise, code-named Immediate Response, will be held in Georgia and will include training in counterterrorist operations. US military instructors have already arrived at the Krtsanisi training center.
"We commend Georgia for its voluntary contribution of forces to the critical mission in Afghanistan," the US embassy said.
It was a case of deja vu for the residents of a small town in Georgia when a Hollywood crew turned up to make a film based on last year’s Georgian-Russian war.
Using the same streets and settings, locals not only watched the unfolding drama but actively participated in the story set in the five day conflict.
Russian military intelligence believes Georgia might again attack South Ossetia, the pro-Moscow region over which the two countries fought a war last year, a powerful spy chief said Thursday.
Alexander Shlyakhturov, who in April took over command of the military's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), said the situation was strained and accused NATO countries of continuing to supply arms to Georgia.
"The situation with Georgia remains tense because the current Georgian authorities do not just refuse to recognise the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but are trying in every way to return these countries...to their jurisdiction," he said in a rare interview with state news agency ITAR-TASS.
"You have to add to this the unpredictability of attempts by the Georgian leadership, headed by (President Mikheil) Saakashvili, which may give in to temptation to use force to tame these obstinate republics as they did last year," he said.
"We do not rule out such a development," said Shlyakhturov, who controls Russia's biggest spy agency with agents across the globe and thousands of special forces troops inside Russia.
On November 9, as the Germans were celebrating the 20th anniversary of the unification of their homeland and the Western world was engaged in jubilant festivities with the old and new leaders of Russia to commemorate the end of the Cold War, Moscow’s influential news agency ITAR-TASS broke a truly sensational story. The U.S., according to ITAR-TASS, had offered Georgia arms and munitions worth more than $100 million.
The story was soon picked up by virtually the entire Russian media with various flashy headlines which stated that “according to Russian intelligence, the United States has offered Georgia arms and munitions worth more than $100 million.”
According to ITAR-TASS, “in response to Tbilisi’s request for military aid” “a large set of weapons, military hardware and ammunition” is planned to be delivered to Georgia by Chicago-based Barrington Alliance, Inc., “with the knowledge and approval of the U.S. government” but “not directly by government agencies” themselves, and that an anonymous source from the Russian intelligence service told ITAR-TASS that the above corporation “sent Georgia a proposal on the delivery of air-defense and antitank missile systems as well as machine guns and ammunition,” namely, such sophisticated antiaircraft and antitank systems as Patriot-3, Stinger, Javelin and Hellfire-2.
To make its story more credible, ITAR-TASS claimed that the general staff of the armed forces of the Russian Federation confirmed the information shared by the anonymous source with the news agency. In addition, the chief of Russia’s military intelligence, Aleksandr Shlyakhturov, informed ITAR-TASS that “Georgia continues to receive armaments from NATO countries, Israel and Ukraine”
When reporting the same story on November 9, one of Russia’s most read Internet newspapers Gazeta.ru came up with this catchy headline “The Russian Intelligence Services Accuse the United States of an Attempt to Sell Georgia Weapons Worth $100 Million,” which makes clear the most important issue of Russia’s discontent – America’s close cooperation with a country Moscow wants to isolate.
The Georgian government swiftly responded to the story. Within hours, Georgia’s foreign ministry came out with a commentary neither denying nor confirming the alleged arms deal with the United States. Rather, the department of press and information of the foreign ministry said in its statement that “beside this announcement [alleging Georgia’s rearmament] Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin recently stated that the United States continues to provide weapons to Georgia and this compels us to take appropriate measures.”
In the same statement, Georgia requested from the Russian Federation that the latter “instead of commenting on the relations between other countries, stop increasing its military potential in occupied Georgian territories, respect the principles and norms of international law…and withdraw its troops from Georgian soil.”
Russia has long been trying to prevent the strengthening of Georgia’s military ties with other countries and first and foremost with the United States, and it seems Moscow is deeply concerned that despite its tireless efforts Tbilisi’s cooperation with Washington has not receded. So far, high-ranking American officials have claimed that American military assistance to Georgia has exclusively been in the form of training Georgian troops and helping Tbilisi in strategic planning and logistics.
Nonetheless, Moscow looks alarmed by Washington’s pledge – as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Moscow – that it “will help the Georgian people to feel like they can defend themselves.”
As U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow also affirmed, “America wants to have Georgia as “a strong, independent and sovereign partner that will be able to defend itself.”
Georgians believe that their defeat during Russia’s military aggression in August 2008 was mostly due to their county’s poor antiaircraft and antitank capabilities. Furthermore, many think that had Georgia been better prepared militarily, Russia would not have resorted to war in the first place fearing high costs and mass casualties. Nevertheless, if Georgia indeed plans to buy the above-mentioned sophisticated American systems, they must be viewed as just one way of preventing Russian military aggression in the future.
Without becoming a full member of the Western collective security system with all the political, military and diplomatic assurances it entails, even a well-armed Georgia will hardly be able to prevent war with Russia and secure its sovereignty, territorial integrity and foreign-policy orientation in the long run.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili opened on Thursday a new bridge over the country's border with the former Georgian republic of Abkhazia.
The 360-meter bridge, which runs over the River Inguri, links the west-Georgian Zugdidi region with Abkhazia's Gali region. Both regions have majority sub-ethnic Georgian Mingrelian populations. Many Mingrelians were expelled from Abkhazia after the republic broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s.
The new construction replaces an old bridge, which became too dangerous for use. Before the new bridge was opened, residents of the two villages had to travel 22 km (14 miles) to visit each other.
Nevertheless, the move is seen as yet another display of Tbilisi's unwillingness to regard Abkhazia as an independent state.
The Georgian foreign ministry said Moscow will violate international law by starting direct flights to Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia which Georgia considers its "occupied" territory.
"Flights by any aircraft without the consent of Georgian authorities are a blatant violation of the [Russian-Georgian] Agreement on international air corridors," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said Georgia will undertake legal measures at the international level "to suppress violations of the country's sovereignty."
General Alexander Zelin also said that air defenses of other types had been deployed in Georgia's other Russian-backed rebel region, South Ossetia, the agencies reported.
Originally posted by Vitchilo
But... S-300s against Georgia? Really? Something might be up then...
[edit on 11-8-2010 by Vitchilo]
Originally posted by 23432
Abhazians and Georgians are of my brethen , the Caucasus people .
I do understand that Saakashvili wants to end Russian hegemony in Caucasus .
Really , Russia ought to change tactics .