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Georgia caught in kickbacks?2010-08-23 13:22
Georgia again found itself in the center of an arms scandal. This time, the media leaked information that Georgian law-enforcement agencies started investigating the case of American rifles resale. Some of the oppositionists say representatives of the top governmental echelons are also involved in the scandal.
The United States have been training the Georgian army for over ten years; however, the attack of Georgian armor against Tskhinval in August 2008 left many people pondering over the soundness of such "friendly assistance".
The experts believe, for instance, that Victor Yanukovitch, who is gradually mending relationship with Moscow and is not straining after crony friendship with Mikheil Saakashvili, will soon refuse to arm Sakartvelo. As became recently known, Israel will no longer procure arms to Tbilisi as well. According to Head of MFA of Israel Avigdor Liberman, such position is attributed to an utterly sensitive situation in the Caucasus.
What we can be one hundred percent sure about is that Washington is not going to give up the plans of dealing with the Georgian army. Last autumn, Russian special services came to know about an arms deal between the U.S. and Georgia to the amount of 100 million dollars. The arms were planned to be delivered with the authorities' consent and approval but not in the line of the American government. An interesting deal, is it not?
It is also notable that the treaty was initiated by a Barrington Alliance company, which offered to supply Georgians with air defense complexes, Patriot, Stinger, Javelin и Hellfire antitank missile systems, as well as automatic small arms and ammunition.
The end of this shady story is unknown but too many questions remained unanswered. First, it is not quite clear why Georgia's good and old friend decided to help it through Barrington Alliance. Second, why did Tbilisi need arms procurement a year after the five-day war? And, finally, how was Sakartvelo going to pay the American company?
This May, the case initiated on the fact of corruption in the arms trade process has acquired an official status. The principle culprit Daniel Alvires is accused of making corruption deals, including those with the Georgian government, Georgia and World periodical reports.
Whether these stories are interrelated or whether it is mere coincidence, Georgian media reported an investigation on arms procurement from abroad almost a year ago. Ministry of Defense is keeping silent, while the opposition is making active statements. According to leader of Tetrebi movement Temur Shashiashvili, during the war in 2008 Georgia could have written off the weapon that was actually sold to foreign countries, which might dissatisfy the US President Barack Obama's administration. Besides, the oppositionist suspects the state authorities and former state officials of backstairs politics.
Indeed, the kickback system has been set up ideally. When you make a deal that is non-beneficial for you in the first face you can agree upon a kind of reverse bonus you get for effecting it. Could Georgia possibly agree to something like that by purchasing arms from the United States? This was discussed by GeorgiaTimes correspondent with Georgian military expert Gia Melitauri.