Minister urges NATO for air-defense systems
08 May, 2014
Minister urges NATO for air-defense systems
Minister of Defense of Georgia Irakli Alasania urged the NATO to provide the country with military backup. The minister made this statement at the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). Alasania stressed that Russia always creates a new reality on the ground, then they eye a new target and only then they start negotiating with the West. “Now the West has to seize the opportunity, as my colleague was saying, to create the reality on the ground by accepting membership of aspirant countries to NATO by putting some defensive, purely defensive, assets in the aspirant countries and predominantly in Georgia. We need air-defense capabilities in Georgia and then Russia will understand that you are serious,” Alasania stated.
The minister admitted that the current crisis created an opportunity – “the opportunity to again make sure that we understand why NATO was created.” NATO Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, stressed that NATO has received the message from Georgia’s Defense Minister and aims to discuss it.
Military analyst Vakhtang Maisaia believes that NATO and the international community will assist Georgia more in terms of cyber-security, rather than in the deployment of defensive measures on the Georgian territory. Maisaia states that the Ukrainian developments seriously change the NATO agenda, which is more focused on the alliance with the Baltic States.
“Russia is strongly expected to pile up its aggression against the Baltic States soon; in the wake of this, NATO has set out expanding its military presence in these states. Taking the situation into account, I doubt that the Alliance to provide us with any kind of real assistance,” Maisaia states.
Professor Korneli Kakachia told Georgian Journal that the statement should have been agreed upon within the Georgian government as well as with representatives from the international community. “Making the statement should have been preceded by consolations; otherwise it could have been taken as provocative.” The Professor is less optimistic that NATO will accept the initiative and “irritate Russia more.” However, he believes that the final response from NATO will depend on the political situation.
“If there is a Russian-Ukrainian war, the West will require these systems on Georgian territory,” Kakachia suggested.
Analyst and head of the European Research Centre, Kakha Gogolashvili, told Georgian Journal that if he did not have certain hopes in this regard, Alasania would not have made such a statement. “The chance exists
and we should wait for developments. It is difficult to say how necessary it was to openly voice this initiative. However, the initiative itself is very right and timely. We need assistance in this regard, and NATO only making supportive statements is not enough,” Gogolashvili said, stressing that the deployment of NATO air systems on the Georgian territory would also be a very positive move for Georgia because in this case NATO would create a defensive shield in Georgia,” the analyst stated. On the question how provocative the statement might be for Russia, the analyst said that the Minister’s wording might be a “signal” to Russia that Georgia does not have ordinary relations with the Alliance and can discuss and hope for very significant affairs.
Military analyst Irakli Aladashvili shares the vision that the most important mechanism that NATO can adopt to shield us from Russia’s overwhelming aggression is to provide us with air defense systems and a coast guard. However, the analyst states as well that due to the Ukrainian hardship the key states for NATO at present are the Baltic States. “Despite the fact that these states have been NATO members for ten years, they lack high-level defense equipment,” Aladashvili says.
Lincoln Mitchell, American expert working on politics and business in the former soviet union states told Georgian Journal that “My sense is that the US will begin to provide defensive weapons to Georgia. The danger represented by Russia is both unmistakable to the west and greater than ever. Additionally, American politicians in particular are looking to make gestures of strength with regards to Russia. Lastly, there is a growing sense in Washington that Georgia is moving in the right direction and towards NATO and they do not want to see Russia disrupt that.”
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