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Civis pacem para bellum, or farewell to arms

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, March 11
Russia is conducting its usual policy against Georgia, accusing it of rearming and conducting aggression while continuing to build up its own arms supplies and deploying ever more servicemen in Georgia’s occupied territories and adjacent areas in the North Caucasus.

While meeting Russian Defence Ministry officials on March 5 President Medvedev expressed concern that Georgia was restoring its military potential with support from other countries. This pseudo-concern was sounded to justify the Russian Federation Government consenting on March 9 to sign an agreement about creating a Russian military base in South Ossetia with its puppet regime. A similar document was signed with Abkhazia on February 17, which stipulates that for a term of 49 years the Russian armed forces will defend Abkhazia’s sovereignty and safety against possible threats, together with local forces. This agreement will be automatically renewed every 15 years for an unlimited time, meaning the Russian base could be in Abkhazia until 2059, then 2074, then 2089 and so on. The only question which arises is if the Medvedev-Putin empire will last as long as the bases are supposed to. The Russian Empire has collapsed twice in the 20th century, in 1917 and 1991. Let’s hope that the third time will be the last - this may just be our hope but there is no embargo on hopes.

The Georgian leadership can be criticised for its mistakes and getting trapped by Russian provocations, but nobody in any Georgian Government has planned, or will ever plan, to try and defeat Russia by force of arms. Therefore Russia accusing Georgia of rearming its defence forces is a cynical ploy. While it says that Georgia is "increasing its military potential" Moscow is buying French naval assault ships costing around one billion USD each and it has been stated that The Kremlin wants four such ships. One can easily compare Georgia’s military potential with Russia's. Russia must have the incompetent servicemen ever known if Georgia's tiny forces are a threat to Moscow and its proxies.

Not many details are known about how Georgia is recovering from the military collapse of August 2008 and how it is rebuilding its forces here in Georgia. Foreign experts and analysts suggest that Georgia is continuing to increase its level of armaments, train its military personnel and adopt NATO standards with a view to ultimately joining that organisation, but most NATO members are not much threat to anyone individually. Indeed analysts suggest that Western-oriented Georgia has not received the military support it could have expected from its Western friends and has therefore decided to increase its stock of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. However Tbilisi’s needs are very unlikely to be satisfied because the major suppliers of such arms to Georgia, which are Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Israel, are slowly decreasing their military cooperation with Georgia following serious Russian pressure. The only arms supplier Georgia can rely on in the present circumstances is the USA, which has refused to accept the Russian demand for an embargo on arms to Georgia. But Tbilisi is not yet sure to what extent Washington will support it and has begun holding additional consultations with Poland as well, though no results of these are visible as of yet.

The August 2008 war firstly resulted in Georgia losing its military equipment and secondly demonstrated the faults in its military strategy and training. Georgia's military systems and equipment should be improved and modernised and most probably the West should help it do this, whether Georgia is a NATO member or not. If this does not happen the newfound scepticism towards the West in Georgia will increase further. Russia has many ways of achieving its aims, and persuading the West, and Georgians, that Georgia is a lost cause could be just as effective as outright conquest.