On the Verge of Cold War
21 April, 2011
On the Verge of Cold War

End to Military Collaboration with Israel?!

It is hard to interpret the situation any other way when representatives (even if from the private sector) of Israel, the country facing difficulties quite similar to Georgia, being bombed daily and suffering from terrorist acts, establish open ties with a separatist regime functioning on the territory of our country and plan to strengthen it. It is easy to imagine how poignant the reaction of homeland-loving Israelis could be if any private Georgian company sells

even a mineral water in Ghaza Sector disregarding official Tel-Aviv.
First, Israeli generals used to train Georgian troops. Now, as it seems, they are going to coach the separatists?! In fact, Israeli Holding Global CST is composed of former high ranking officials. Its president and founder is the former head of operations division of Israeli Army Headquarters, Major General Israel Zivi, and general director is Major General Meir Cliff who used to be military secretary of Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu in 2007-2010.
Management of this Israeli company met with Sergei Baghapsh, leader of separatists in Abkhazia, in Moscow on 13 April. The negotiations continued in Sokhumi. The holding is specialized in arms trade, training of special forces and military consultations on intelligence system formation. That is why they won’t fool anybody if they say that they met with the separatists to share the know-how of modern cultivation of mandarins or banana. Israeli Embassy in Georgia ruled out even possibility of arms trade and stated that Israel did not recognize separatist regimes in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. However, it did not rule out visits of private persons to those places. Such persons, however, do not represent the Israeli State.
Anyway, suspicions arise in the general public that most probably, Israeli Government had been aware of the company’s meetings in advance. These suspicions are strengthened by the 4 March sensational report of the Qatari TV Channel Al Jazeera (based on Israeli newspaper Ediot Ahronot), which claimed that it was this Global CST to which Libyan Leader Gaddafi paid 5 billion dollars for the recruitment of 50 thousand mercenaries for defense of Gaddafi regime.
Furthermore, on 15 April Israeli newspaper Haaretz found interesting new Wikileaks cables according to which at the end of 2009 in Panama the American Ambassador in this country compellingly advised the President of this country to stop collaboration with Global CST, threatening to freeze military collaboration between America and Panama. Moreover, the American diplomat suggested to the Panama Authorities to obtain information about this Israeli company from the top officers of Columbian police. The Panama Authorities followed the advice and received extremely negative accounts from the Columbians about the company in question. After that Panama terminated all contacts with Global CST.
At the end of January of this year, interesting news broke in the Russian media. The Georgian Authorities could have heard it only by chance, if they did it at all. In Moscow, high ranking Russian intelligence officers met with the representatives of Global GLS and talked about security of Sochi 2014 Olympics and 2018 World Cup Championship. No wonder, because in the past years Global GLS provided security of such worldwide events as Atlanta and Athens Olympic Games. Interestingly, Global GLS is affiliated to Global CST, the company that we mentioned in the beginning of this article. We can assume that former high-ranking Israeli officials, who have just visited the separatist regime in the capacity of Global CST company representatives, indeed are requested to provide security for Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. However, it does not rule out chances that they may train the special forces of the separatist in parallel, and perhaps even supply special arms to them. It is easy to guess that the separatists in Sukhumi see only one real enemy, which is the mainland Georgia. So, what should we expect of all these – a new breed of armed separatists comfortably brandishing Israeli Uzis and Tavors and bravely exhibiting habits of Israel-coached special troops, riding easy along the so called borders? Such prospects look really odd if we recount a short period before the August war, when one of the retired Israeli generals and his team used to train Georgian servicemen in the selfsame combat skills against exactly same separatists…. It was happening as recently as at the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008.
Grievances of Israeli Elbit against official Tbilisi
Before the furtive Sokhumi visit of retired Israeli generals got known, another Israeli company Elbit Systems appealed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to sue the Georgian Authorities for the failure to abide by the commitments of the 2007 contract concluded between the company and Georgian Government. The Israelis demand unpaid 100 million US Dollars.
Last year Elbit sold products worth of 2.67 billion dollars, commensurate to over a half of Georgian State budget for the same year. This goes to show how serious situation could get if such a company decides to appeal to court.
In the spring of 2008, Russian destroyers and rocket fire systems shot down three unmanned Georgian intelligence planes flying over Apkhazeti. After examining their fragments, Russian intelligence services concluded that they were Hermes-450 type unmanned surveillance planes manufactured by Israeli company Elbit. Following this discovery, the Georgian President revealed in one of his interviews that Georgia purchased 40 of such planes, falling short of indicating their exact type.
The second large project, which started also in 2007, aimed at modernizing Georgian tanks. Elbit upgraded a part of Georgian T-72s into T-72 Sim1s. Accordingly, the Elbit claims relates to these or other two major contracts (i.e. unmanned planes and tanks’ upgrade).
Georgian-Israeli Military-Technical Collaboration and Russian Interests
During the 2008 Russian-Georgian August war the Georgian side used the Israeli armament and equipment more or less successfully. Most intensively we utilized LAR-160 class reactive salvo systems, T-72 Sim1 modernized tanks, camouflage nets to mask artillery and Spider class air defense missile system. The Georgian destroyer Mimino, upgraded by Elbit, made only one bombing round, while operation of the unmanned planes was occasional.
Subsequently, Moscow got seriously interested in Israeli-made unmanned surveillance planes and purchased scores of them from several Israeli companies including Elbit, paying a total of 100 million Dollars.
Do you think Israeli companies, including Elbit, would have any interest in maintaining collaboration with a country like Georgia if the vast Russian market is opened to them? We should keep in mind that the Kremlin would demand complete termination of all Israeli-Georgian military-technical contacts. Besides, there were much more important reasons. If Israel did not supply arms, especially Spider air defense missile system, to Georgia, Moscow would not likewise supply Iran with its C-300. This is exactly what happened. The Georgian-Israeli military-technical collaboration slowed down nearly to zero after the August war. However, after the recent events (Sokhumi visit of retired Israeli high-ranking militaries and Elbit court appeal against the Georgian Authorities) every trace of cooperation may vanish in thin air…

 

 

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