Peter Hirschberg on the complications of Israeli arms sales to Georgia:
Israel’s relations with Georgia have been close, partly because there is a large Georgian Jewish community in Israel. In recent years, ties have also taken on a military dimension, with military industries in Israel supplying Georgia with some US$200 million worth of equipment since 2000. This has included remotely piloted planes, rockets, night-vision equipment, other electronic systems and training by former senior Israeli officers.
“Israel should be proud of its military, which trained Georgian soldiers,” Georgian Minister Temur Yakobashvili told Israel’s Army Radio in Hebrew shortly after the fighting erupted.
Israel is not a major supplier of arms to Georgia, with the US and France supplying Tbilisi with most of its weaponry. But the arms transfers have attracted media attention partly because of the role played by some high-profile Israeli figures, including former Tel Aviv mayor Roni Milo, who conducted business in Georgia on behalf of Israel Military Industries.
According to media reports, Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, a senior commander in the 2006 Lebanon war who resigned after the release of a highly critical report on the way the war was conducted, served as an adviser to Georgian security forces.
Further attention was drawn to the Israel-Georgia arms trade earlier this year when a Russian jet shot down an Israeli-made drone being operated by the Georgians.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
The Israelis should be careful or they will acquire a reputation for dumping their allies unde pressure.
Until now the US has held the record for consistency in that field of political action.
Is it coincidence that the US and Israel both acted over the last few years to encourage Georgia in defiance of its giant neighbor?
Israel has 80,000 immigrant Georgian Jews in its population. The defense minister of Georgia is reported to be a “former” Israeli citizen.
Bravado is the Israeli style in international relations and in managing occupations. Rashness bordering on adolescent conceit is another way to describe the style.
I guess Russia doesn’t frighten as easily as some of the entities that the Israelis usually deal with.
What did the US think it was doing encouraging little Georgia to provoke the bear?
Ask the Jacobins.
Irancove @ August 13, 2008