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Georgian army: three years after the war

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, August 18
On August 8, 2008 war became a big challenge for the Georgian armed forces. In fact because of this horrible turn of events it became clear that the Georgian armed forces had to reconsider its situation and that a new strategy was required. However since then no such steps have been taken and it is difficult to see whether the Georgian armed forces have learn the crucial lessons from the war.

To evaluate the potential of the armed forces of the country it is necessary to consider the threats this country is facing and whether the armed forces could neutralize these threats. In the case of Georgia the military threat for the country comes from Russia which at the moment is occupying 1/5 of Georgian territory. Of course the Georgian armed forces cannot neutralize this threat, however it should be able to effectively resist possible attempts of invasion in order to allow time for the international community to spring into action and stop the aggression.

Before the 2008 war, Georgia had been increasing its spending on its armed forces for several years. Many things were done to bring Georgia’s armed forces in line with NATO standards. Since the August war however the financing of the army has decreased.

After the August war, Russia managed to impose an embargo on armed sales to Georgia. Although Georgia did not buy arms from Russia and officially no international sanctions are imposed against Georgia in this regard, many countries were frightened by the Russian position and almost completely stopped supplying Georgia with modern armaments. For instance, officially USA and Europe are no longer supplying Georgia with arms while the situation with Israel is much the same. From this point of view analysts think that the Georgian army might face serious problems in equipping itself. As military analyst Giorgi Tavdgiridze mentions, currently Georgia has fewer armed vehicles than it had before 2008 which means the only solution Georgia is to purchase anti tank devices to resist possible tank attacks from Russia.

So far Georgian armed forces are equipped with soviet standard equipment and such weapons are being obtained from Ukraine. The new leadership of Ukraine under Yanukovich did not stop military cooperation with Georgia, and some analysts think Georgia can also get soviet armaments from Hungary and Poland who are now western minded and have huge reserves of Soviet arms which they no longer need.

In 2008 war Russia dominated Georgian air space and air bombings became a very serious problem for Georgian armed forces and in fact determined the eventual success of the Russian invasion.

Analysts think that Georgia definitely cannot create an air force to resist Russia but it is possible to purchase efficient anti aircraft systems which can effectively resist Russian attacks.

One thing also needs to be finalized and that is the formation of the Georgian army. Should it be made up of professionally paid soliders or should they be conscripted through national service? A country's soldiers are a crucial element of its military capabilities and needs just as much attention and care as the weapons they might one day have to fire.