Georgia: NATO transit corridor
By Messenger Staff
Monday, February 17Georgia will become a NATO Rapid Response Task Force member from 2015. Georgia also offered NATO the use of its territory as a transit corridor. This is the major result of a NATO military delegation’s recent visit to Tbilisi, the first NATO military high-ranking visit to Georgia.
If eventually, NATO accepts the idea of using Georgia as the transit corridor, this will be yet another step for Georgia towards NATO. Moreover, this will also provide Georgia financial benefits as well, which is good for the country.
Logistic support to the NATO forces in Afghanistan is a complicated headache for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Most of the cargo designed for NATO forces enters Afghanistan through Pakistan (around 70%). This route is complicated by Taliban militants.
The second route is Eurasian – passing through Russia and Central Asia. This is also quite a long journey. Through Georgia the third option – it is shorter and presumably more secure. Apart from Georgia, this route requires the consent of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
This route has already been considered for some time under the Georgian initiative. Already, a certain amount of cargo has been transported via this route. However, the amount of cargo has been insignificant so far.
If NATO agrees, analysts point out several drawbacks. Irakli Aladashvili thinks that arms and drugs could also be transported through this way, and Vakhtang Maisaia expresses concern that Taliban militants along the route could become active.
However, there are more advantages to this project that off-set the risks: It will bring Georgia closer to NATO and prove Georgia as a stable country. And it would also attract finances in the country’s direction as well.
It is NATO’s turn now to evaluate all the pros and cons of the project and give its final decision.
As for Georgia’s inclusion into the NATO Rapid Response Task Force from 2015, this also will be a positive step for Georgia. The soldiers of this regiment will be trained and sponsored by the US. It also means that the country will have a ready unit for all occasions, one that will take part in the operations led by NATO around the world.
In other words, Georgia will eventually become an essential part of NATO’s military activities- be it the ISAF mission in Afghanistan or any other mission after NATO withdraws from Afghanistan.
The Rapid Response Task Force operations are designed to combat against piracy, terrorism and generally international crimes, which require a quick reaction under pressure. Of course this will make Georgia an essential part of the NATO military strategy, which is a great advantage for the country.
However, it should be clear to the Georgian population that this participation in NATO military operations does not necessarily mean that the latter will make any commitments in the case that Georgia gets involved in combat activities around the country.