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Pentagon to assist Georgia

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, March 31
The Pentagon is conducting special assistance programmes for Georgia and the Baltic countries to increase and make more efficient the military potential of these states. The Pentagon has applied to the US Congress for endorsement of this project. Of the countries covered by the assistance programme Georgia is in the most difficult situation and it would be very important for Georgia to receive this support.

The Pentagon has stated that the assistance offered to Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia and Hungary is designed to ensure the success of the Afghanistan military operation. It is envisaged that USD 350 million will be allotted for this programme but further details of the projected expenditure are not yet known.

Some Georgian political commentators think that the French decision to sell the Mistral warship to Russia has forced USA to revisit its military and political priorities. Of the countries covered by this programme only Georgia has territory occupied by the world’s most militaristic state - Russia. It is understandable that rendering military assistance to Georgia should be studied with caution, taking into account the August 2008 Russian aggression.

No professional analytical research has been done about the August war here in Georgia but in the USA several studies have been produced. The major conclusions of the American analysts are very similar. The main thrust of these is that the staff policy of the Georgian military is inappropriate because privileges are given not to professional officers but to unqualified people loyal to the Government. The management of the Georgian armed forces is indeed absolutely feeble. Georgian armed units trained by the Americans for the peacekeeping operations failed in combat engagements and Georgia needs effective anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. The Pentagon has taken some steps here, sending Georgian officers to some American military schools and making certain changes and modifications in the training of the armed units. But this is unlikely to be enough.

Georgian troops are now learning combat rather than peacekeeping skills. New radar systems have also been installed in Georgia. However radar systems alone can do nothing if there is not the appropriate missile potential to repel the attack the radar identifies. Even more necessary is to install anti-tank systems. As is known the most modern Russian T-90 tanks are deployed on Georgian territory at present, and will meet no effective resistance if they decide to stray further into the country.

The Georgian media says that the country is losing its traditional arms suppliers, Ukraine and Israel. Analysts are continually discussing what types of systems the Georgian Army will be using in the future: US-made anti-aircraft and anti-tank systems or Soviet models of armament, which Georgia can get cheap from Central European countries who are now transforming their armed forces to NATO standards and therefore want to get rid of old Soviet equipments. The latter course, obviously, is hardly likely to help Georgia integrate with NATO.

Analysts have different opinions on these questions but hopefully in the near future the picture will become clear. Georgia needs to make up its mind what it wants to do, and do it, before events move beyond its control.