U.S. Establishing Georgia As Strategic NATO Outpost In Caucasus: Analyst
Fars News Agency
October 30, 2012
Analyst: Georgia Serving NATO as Caucasus Base
U.S. Army Brigadier General William Garrett, U.S Southern European Task Force (Airborne) Commander and exercise director for Exercise Immediate Response 2008, leads Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (second from right), Georgian Minister of Defense Davit Kezerashvili (third from right) and Georgian Chief of Joint Defense Brigadier General Zaza Gogava on a tour of the Vaziani Training Area during the NATO Partnership for Peace military exercise some sixteen days before Georgia invaded South Ossetia.
TEHRAN: The US and other NATO members have increased their ties and cooperation with Georgia during the past two decades and the Caucasus state is now playing a major role in NATO’s strategic plans, analysts say.
“Right now the US and other leading NATO members are expanding their relations with Tbilisi in the political, military and technical fields and the US congress has recently approved strengthening military cooperation with Georgia and arms shipments to the Caucasus country,” Stanislav Ivanov, an analyst of Caucasus affairs, wrote in an article about NATO-Georgia relations.
He said a pro-Georgian lobby has also been established in the US congress and that the necessary financial backup has been allocated in the Pentagon’s 2012 budget for arms assistance to Georgia.
The US is not at all trying to hide its plan for turning Georgia into a NATO base in the region and is encouraging other NATO members to join efforts to strengthen the Georgian armed forces.
Georgia and North Atlantic Treaty Organization relations officially began in 1994 when Georgia joined the NATO-run Partnership for Peace. Georgia has moved quickly following the so-called Rose Revolution in 2003 to seek closer ties with and eventual membership in NATO.
Georgia opened official relations with NATO in 1998 by opening a diplomatic mission and assigning an ambassador. Following more discussions, the first joint military exercises occurred in Poti in 2001, with more in 2002.
The so-called Rose Revolution in 2003 replaced Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze with Mikheil Saakashvili, who has promoted closer ties with Western institutions including NATO. In 2004, Georgian forces worked with NATO forces in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan as part of the election security force.
Meantime the US hopes for continued cooperation with Georgia on the Iranian and Turkish-Syrian issues. The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rubin stated this while answering journalists’ questions at a briefing at the US embassy in Tbilisi in October 2012.
He emphasized that the USA and Georgia have established good relations on this issue.
“Our cooperation on the Turkish-Syrian issue is considerable,” Rubin added.