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Mishiko treats his people like cannon fodder2011-06-07 19:11
While peacekeepers of NATO member states and their allies get killed in Afghanistan, president of Georgia decides to send one more battalion of soldiers to the Islamic republic. Thus, Sakartvelo will be ranked first among NATO non-member states for the strength of its military contingent involved in the peacekeeping operation. What dividends will the Georgian president get?
Mishiko's intention to reinforce the peacekeeping group in Afghanistan was reported in a press release of the White House in the aftermath of the meeting between US vice president Joe Biden and Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili in Rome. The document states that Washington expresses appreciation to President Saakashvili for Georgia's significant new contribution of forces to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, which will make Georgia the largest non-NATO contributor to ISAF.
According to the information that leaked to mass media, this is an entire battalion of land troops comprising 600-650 soldiers. Presently 925 Georgian soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan plus 11 artillerists. Consequently, soon Georgia's contingent in the Islamic republic will be more numerous than the Australian group of 1550 soldiers.
Mishiko's desire to please Washington is known well. Despite eight Georgian deaths as a result of the mythical struggle for democracy in Afghanistan, the leader of Sakartvelo is not giving up. The proclaimed priority of NATO entry is Saakashvili's idée fixe. He will spare no effort to become a NATO member. However, compared to a few years ago when aspirations of the country leader had some basis, now, after the war unleashed against South Ossetia in 2008 Georgia's chances to join the bloc shrank to zero. There is only one way out - to be admitted into NATO without two Transcaucasian republics, though the ambitious regime won't accept that. Advocating bygone "territorial integrity, Saakashvili and his team have reached a deadlock. And sending battalions to Afghanistan is not a solution.
Every day the president's feverish attempts to gain the West's trust are criticized with more severity. Inside Georgia - by the way. Not long ago Nestan Kirtadze, international secretary of the Labor Party openly stated that increase of the group of Georgian peacekeepers abroad is absolutely unjustified. According to her, build-up of military force has one political goal - to let the current leaders last at the cost of lives of Georgian soldiers and officers. "The president of the country is fully responsible for victims", - she remarked. - This is not our war. Georgia has nothing to do with it".
Specialists are skeptical too. Irakli Sesiashvili, a military expert, agrees with Kirtadze and thinks that bringing democratic order to Afghanistan plays into the hands of president, not people of Georgia. "All that means that the Georgian side makes sacrifices, as alleged, but in reality only the authorities and the president win", - he says. - I think the price for pointless deaths of our soldiers is an attempt to avoid international criticism".
In reply, the Georgian leaders speculate on experience the soldiers will gain in Afghanistan and apply in possible confrontation with Russia. Yet, these words have no grounds. "Georgian soldiers will not learn much there, they deal with guerillas in Afghanistan", - Irakli Aladashvili, editor-in-chief of Arsenali military and analytical independent magazine is quoted by Kommersant.