August 17, 2008
by Brian Harring
Georgia became a huge source of income, and military advantage, for the Israeli government and Israeli arms dealers.. Israel began selling arms to Georgia about seven years ago, following an initiative by Georgian citizens who immigrated to Israel and became weapons hustlers.
They contacted Israeli defense industry officials and arms dealers and told them that Georgia had relatively large budgets, mostly American grants, and could be interested in purchasing Israeli weapons.
The military cooperation between the countries developed swiftly. The fact that Georgia's defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew contributed to this cooperation. “We are now in a fight against the great Russia," he said, "and our hope is to receive assistance from the White House, because Georgia cannot survive on its own. “
Kezerashvili’s door was always open to the Israelis who came and offered his country arms systems made in Israel. Compared to countries in Eastern Europe, the deals in this country were conducted fast, mainly due to the pro-Israeli defense minister's personal involvement.
The Jerusalem Post on August 12, 2008 reported: “Georgian Prime Minister Vladimer (Lado) Gurgenidze(Jewish) made a special call to Israel Tuesday morning to receive a blessing from one of the Haredi community’s most important rabbis and spiritual leaders, Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman.” The Prime Minister of Georgia, principally a nation of Orthodox Christians called Rabbi Steinman saying ‘I’ve heard he is a holy man. I want him to pray for us and our state.’
Among the Israelis who took advantage of the opportunity and began doing business in Georgia were former Minister Roni Milo and his brother Shlomo, former director-general of the Military Industries, Brigadier-General (Res.) Gal Hirsch and Major-General (Res.) Yisrael Ziv.
Roni Milo conducted business in Georgia for Elbit Systems and the Military Industries, and with his help Israel's defense industries managed to sell to Georgia remote-piloted vehicles (RPVs), automatic turrets for armored vehicles, antiaircraft systems, communication systems, shells and rockets.
The Ministry of Defense of Israel had supplied the Georgian government their Hermes 450 UAV spy drones, made by Elbit Maarahot Systems Ltd, for use, under the strict control of Israeli intelligence units, to conduct intelligence-gathering flights over southern Russia and, most especially into a Iran, targeted for Israeli Air Force attacks in the near future.
Two airfields in southern Georgia had been earmarked for the use of Israeli military aircraft, intended to launch an attack on identified targets relating to Iranian atomic energy projects. This attack was approved by President Bush in an undertaking with the government of Israel signed in Washington, D.C., on July 4, 2006.
The thrust of this top secret agreement was that the Israeli government would have “free and unfettered use” of unspecified Georgian airfields, under American control, onto which they could ferry fighter-bombers which then could fly south, over Turkish territory (and with clandestine Turkish permission) to strike at Tehran. The distance from Georgia to Tehran is obviously far less than from Tel Aviv.
No one expected that these attacks would completely destroy Iranian military or scientific targets, but there would be the element of complete surprise coupled with serious property damage which might well interdict future Iranian atomic development and certainly serve as a serious warning to Iran not to threaten Israel again. Using Georgian bases, with the consent and full assistance of, the United States, would make such an attack much more feasible that attempting to fly from Israeli bases with overflights that might have serious regional diplomatic consequences.
Now, thanks to the irrational actions of the thoroughly unstable Georgian president, all of these schemes have collapsed and it is now believed that the Russian special forces have captured, intact, a number of the Israeli drones and, far more important, their radio controlling equipment.
In the main, Israeli military and intelligence units stationed in Georgia were mostly composed of Israel Defense Force reservists working for Global CST, owned by Maj. Gen. Israel Ziv, and Defense Shield, owned by Brig. Gen. Gal Hirsch. "The Israelis should be proud of themselves for the Israeli training and education received by the Georgian soldiers," Georgian Minister Temur Yakobashvili.
By this manner, Israel could claim that it had a very small number of IDF people in Georgia “mainly connected with our Embassy in Tiblisi.” The Russians, however, were not fooled by this and their own intelligence had pinpointed Israeli surveillance bases and when they went after the Georgians who invaded South Ossetia, units of the Russian air force bombed the Israeli bases in central Georgia and in the area of the capital, Tbilisi. They also severely damaged the runways and service areas of the two Georgian airbases designed to launch Israeli sir force units in a sudden attack on Iran.
Israel is currently a part of the Anglo-American military axis, which cooperates with the interests of the Western oil giants in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Israel is a partner in the Baku-Tblisi- Ceyhan pipeline which brings oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean. More than 20 percent of Israeli oil is imported from Azerbaijan, of which a large share transits through the BTC pipeline. Controlled by British Petroleum, the BTC pipeline has dramatically changed the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Caucusus:
"[The BTC pipeline] considerably changes the status of the region's countries and cements a new pro-West alliance. Having taken the pipeline to the Mediterranean, Washington has practically set up a new bloc with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Israel, " (Komerzant, Moscow, 14 July 2006)
While the official reports state that the BTC pipeline will "channel oil to Western markets", what is rarely acknowledged is that part of the oil from the Caspian sea would be directly channeled towards Israel, via Georgia. In this regard, a Israeli-Turkish pipeline project has also been envisaged which would link Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon and from there through Israel's main pipeline system, to the Red Sea.
The objective of Israel is not only to acquire Caspian sea oil for its own consumption needs but also to play a key role in re-exporting Caspian sea oil back to the Asian markets through the Red Sea port of Eilat. The strategic implications of this re-routing of Caspian sea oil are far-reaching
What has been planned, is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel's Tipline, from Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon.
The unmanned Israeli clandestine surveillance drones are a favorite of intelligence agencies world-wide. Their most popular drone is the Hermes 450 drone aircraft.
The Hermes 450 is a large, capable 450 kg spy drone manufactured by Elbit Systems of Israel. Able to stay airborne for a maximum of 20 hours, it has a 10.5 metre wingspan and is 6.1 metres long. It can carry a variety of different surveillance packages, including the CoMPASS (Compact Multi-Purpose Advanced Stabilised System), which is a combined laser marker and infrared scanner.
Elbit also offers Hermes with the AN/ZPQ-1 TESAR (Tactical Endurance Synthetic Aperture Radar) from Northrop Grumman of the US, a ground-sweeping radar which can detect objects as small as one foot in size and pick out those which are moving from those which aren't. Radars of this type are essential for full bad weather capability, and help a lot with scanning large areas of terrain. Electro-optical scanners such as CoMPASS tend to offer a "drink-straw" view of only small areas in detail. The TESAR is the same radar used in the hugely successful "Predator" drone, in service for several years now with the US forces.
The U.S. Army has a drone trainng school located at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, an iintelligence center located 10 miles from the Mexican border and the home of massive telephonic intelligence intercept units, aimed at Central and South America. At present there are 225 soldiers, reservists, and National Guardsmen training at this school. And on the faculty are three Israeli specialists This unit is not destined for the middle east or even Pakistan; it has been set up to conduct surveillance of northern Mexico. There are two reasons for wanting to watch our southern neighbor. The first is to watch for great treks of illegal aliens but the second, and most important, is to conduct reconnaissance of territory over which American military units might be traversing in any punitive actions that could very, very well be triggered by the growing political instability in Mexico, caused by a growing struggle between the central government and the very powerful Mexican-based drug lords, who are wreaking havoc in that very corrupt country.