Hidden Victories In Georgia
August 17, 2008: Russian troops beat the Georgians on the ground, not so much because of superior numbers, but because the Russians had more troops with combat experience, and very recent experience in fighting this kind of war. The Russians got this way by fighting a successful campaign just across the border, in Chechnya. There, several hundred thousand Russians and pro-Russian Chechens have gotten valuable combat experience. The Chechen rebels (a mixture of nationalists, gangsters and Islamic radicals) have been reduced to a few hundred hard core fighters. The Russians basically use Chechnya as a training ground where their “contract soldiers” (volunteers, who are much more effective than conscripts) can get some combat experience. These volunteers are particularly common in paratrooper and commando units. Both were apparently used in the ground operations that pushed the Georgians out of South Ossetia, and conquered key areas elsewhere in Georgia. Some of the “Russian” troops were apparently Chechen paramilitary units.
The Georgian troops had received training and weapons from the U.S. and Israel over the last few years. But the U.S. training was mainly for peacekeeping operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was of limited use against experienced Russian counter-terrorism troops. A small number of Georgians received special operations training, but not enough of these troops were available to defeat the Russian advance.
The Georgians did better in the air and at sea, even though they were greatly outnumbered there as well. Georgian warplanes shot up the Russians pretty badly (killing the commander of Russian ground forces, for example) before the Russians were able to shut down the Georgian air force. But in the process Russia lost at least four aircraft destroyed, and a number of others badly damaged.
At sea, Georgian missile boats hit several Russian warships, which had not been equipped with equipment, or crews, that were capable of dealing with this kind of threat. Two Russian warships were damaged sufficiently that they had to withdraw from the area. Within a few days, however, Georgia’s miniscule navy and air force were destroyed, largely by the much larger Russian air force.
The Russians ran a large scale Information War campaign, shutting down Georgian access to the Internet for several days, and blanketing the world media, and Internet, with Russian spin on what was going on in Georgia and why.
The Russians apparently wanted to intimidate the Georgians into electing a less pro-West government. There are some Georgians who are more inclined to do whatever the Russians want, but it’s unclear if this faction has a majority of the votes yet. Some Georgians believe that the Russians are still angry about Josef Stalin, a Georgian who killed more Russians than Adolf Hitler. Stalin is still a hero to Georgians.
Russia has now shown itself to be a bully. Russia has been trying to annex two parts of Georgia that border Russia, and this war was all about showing Georgians that Russia would rather fight than give up this land grab. The UN was created to deal with this sort of thing, but Russia is doing well, so far, intimidating the UN into inactivity.
It’s not a clear win for the Russians, but, short-term, many things appear to be going their way. Long term, things are rather more murky. Europeans have been reminded that the Russian bully they have feared and despised, for so many centuries, is back in town. That could have interesting consequences down the road.
Israel to US. Give us bunker busters, Advanced radar and fly over assurances and you dont have to worry about Iran
“It [United States] does not see an action against Iran as the right thing to do at the moment,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.
Barak, who met senior administration officials in late July, appeared to confirm a report in the Israeli daily Haaretz on Aug. 13 that Washington refused Israel’s request for the advanced U.S. systems. Haaretz also reported that the administration rejected an Israeli request to use Iraqi air space for an attack on Iran.
“It would not be right to talk about these things,” Barak said.
Other officials said the administration’s decision in July 2008 was the latest in a series of rejections of Israeli requests for advanced U.S. systems required for long-range strikes. They said Washington has denied Israeli requests for advanced reconnaissance systems, airborne radars, deep-penetration ordnance and equipment to detect underground activity.
“The administration policy is not to sell us anything that would augment our offensive capability,” an official said. “It has been this way for quite a few years, and the increased threats against Israel has not changed this.”
A U.S. source close to the Bush administration confirmed its rejection of the latest Israeli request. The source said Israel sought U.S. systems that could detect and destroy Iranian nuclear bunkers and tunnels.
“The Americans assert that their systems could detect activity deep underground,” the source said. “But this is not correct, and they don’t want Israel to find this out.”
The U.S. source said the administration also rejected an Israeli request for bunker-busting bombs that could destroy Iran’s underground nuclear weapons facilities. The Israeli request was said to have included an assurance that the bombs would be used only against Iran.
“The Israelis got some earlier bunker-buster models, but not the latest weapons systems,” the source said.
Instead, the administration has offered to examine Israel’s requests for defensive systems. They included an X-band radar for long-range early-warning of enemy missile launches.
Officials said the U.S. administration, maintaining that Teheran was at least two years away from nuclear weapons capability, relayed a warning to Israel against a unilateral attack on Iran. The American message, they said, asserted that such an attack would destabilize the region and harm U.S. interests.
The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been divided over whether to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The Foreign Ministry has warned that such an attack could fail and instead result in massive international condemnation of Israel and blanket approval for Teheran’s nuclear efforts.
The Defense Ministry and military have assessed that the most favorable period for an Israeli strike was late 2008 or early 2009 before Bush leaves office. The Israeli intelligence community has determined that Bush, and particularly Vice President Richard Cheney, would support such an Israeli attack despite the U.S. embrace of a diplomatic option toward Teheran.
“Bush can’t act against the advice of his secretary of defense and secretary of state,” an official said. “But once Israel attacks, he will stand by Israel’s side as he did during the Lebanon war [in 2006].”
U.S. nixed Israel’s request for bunker-busters
I am repost this story with video to show how it really bothered the Russians that ISrael was selling to Georgia. The Video of from a Russian News Station
Russia angered by Israeli drone sale to Georgia
Georgia has credited Israeli military assistance after claiming the destruction of at least 11 Russian combat aircraft and 50 main battle tanks.
“Israel should be proud of its military, which trained Georgian soldiers,” Georgian Reintegration Minister Temur Yakobshvili told Israel Army radio on Aug 10.
“We killed 60 Russian soldiers just yesterday. The Russians have lost more than 50 tanks, and we have shot down 11 of their planes. They have sustained enormous damage in terms of manpower.”
Russia has complained of the Israeli UAV sale to Georgia. In May 2008, the Russian Army shot down an Israeli UAV along the Georgian border. The UAV was not identified.
The Russian demand for Israel to stop military sales came amid the intensification of fighting with Georgia and carried with it the implicit threat of increased aid for Israel’s enemies.
Israel has countered with complaints about Russia’s military exports to Iran and Syria. Moscow, like Israel, has responded by insisting it sells only defensive systems.
Meanwhile, Israel has been divided over whether to continue weapons sales to Georgia, Middle East Newsline reported.
Officials said the debate pits the Defense Ministry against the Foreign Ministry. They said the Foreign Ministry has advocated a suspension of all weapons sales and support services to Georgia while the Defense Ministry sought to continue exports.
“The question is whether there should be a temporary suspension of arms exports to Georgia during the war with Russia,” an official said.
In addition to UAVs and other defensive systems, industry sources said Israeli firms have also sold rockets as well as night-vision systems to Tbilisi.
On Aug. 10, the Israeli Defense Ministry, which has overseen an estimated $200 million in military exports to Georgia, convened senior staffers to review the Foreign Ministry recommendation. Officials said the ministry decided to continue to approve exports for non-lethal systems for military and security applications in Georgia.
“The Defense Ministry has been conducting a very wise policy,” Amos Gilad, director of the Defense Ministry’s political-military bureau, said. “It has taken all factors into account. Defensive systems have been sent, and they have not upset the strategic balance.”
Moscow has also asserted that Israeli trainers were advising the Georgian military on how to shoot down Russian combat aircraft and disable main battle tanks.
In December 2007, Israel decided to end the sale of offensive military systems to Georgia, but did not cancel any contracts. Officials said Israel came under pressure from Russia, who warned that such sales would be deemed a hostile act. France and the United States have been leading arms exporters to Georgia.
Still, Russia has pressed Israel for a complete military embargo on Georgia. Officials said the Israeli Foreign Ministry was concerned that Moscow could retaliate by selling advanced weapons to Iran and Syria.
“The Foreign Ministry, and this includes the minister, does not want to give Russia a pretext for selling advanced systems to Iran and Syria,” the official said.
For its part, Israel has warned Russia not to export the S-300PMU-2 air and missile defense system to Teheran. Western intelligence sources said S-300 components have already arrived in Iran and were expected to be assembled into operating systems in early 2009.
Russia today is an Russian/English News site. Its pro Russian so expect a bias. Story from Aug 10th
Included is sample of Russian News Coverage
Did mercenaries help Georgia?
The president of South Ossetia claims mercenaries took part in Georgia’s offensive against the breakaway republic, according to Russia’s RIA news agency. Eduard Kokoity says Ukrainians, people from the Baltics as well as nationals from other countries were involved.
Kokoity said: “After the fighting in the city we found several bodies of citizens of the Baltic states and Ukraine. Later on I was informed that the bodies of several black men were found at the scene of a battle near school number 12″.
He also said some corpses had narrow eyes, typical of people of Asian origin.
South Ossetian officials say more than 2,000 of their civilians were killed in the attack. Georgia disputes this figure.
The Russian envoy in South Ossetia, Dmitry Medoyev, says the scene in Tskhinvali is horrific.
“The town looks like Stalingrad during WW2, with fallen trees, power lines, burnt Georgian tanks all over the streets. The dead bodies of Georgian soldiers are lying everywhere,” Medoyev said.
He also confirmed the South Ossetian President’s claim that foreign mercenaries took part in the onslaught.
“In yesterday’s attack, the advancing tanks were supposedly crewed by Ukrainians. Two unidentified bodies found today are said to have black skin. Possibly they are Americans but we can’t say for sure yet. We will be able to publish the official conclusions after carrying out special tests,” Medoyev said.