Mishiko bribes NATO with battalions22.09.2011 | 13:55
Georgia reconfirms its intention to send another peacekeeping battalion to Afghanistan making politicians of Sakartvelo openly admit: this is done to please the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In the meanwhile, Mikheil Saakashvili keeps repeating that the combat experience of Kabul and Kandahar is good for "reinforcement of the army and the country". GeorgiaTimes correspondent discusses Georgia's bloody path to NATO with Konstantin Sivkov, Russia's well-known military expert.
Saakashvili's first promise to send another 650 soldiers to Afghanistan was made in June, at the time of the president's visit to the United States. Naturally Pentagon was pleased to hear that: now that US troops are leaving the Islamic republic, peacekeepers from the alliance's member states must replace them. Knowing Mishiko's ardent desire to join NATO, there is no better option, particularly now that interests of Western democracy in Afghanistan are defended by 925 Georgian soldiers + 11 artillerists.
The fact aroused natural protest of the opposition. As Kakha Dzagania, ideological secretary of the Labor party, stated, Sakartvelo turned into a cannon fodder factory for NATO and USA long ago. "Most NATO member states don't send their army to Afghanistan. Saakashvili does it taking our children there", - he remarked adding that the president of the country was preserving power at the sacrifice of soldiers' lives fighting in Afghanistan.
Petre Mamradze, a oppositional parliamentarian, emphasizes that Saakashvili sends an unproportionally large contingent per capita. "We are ahead of all NATO members here", - he says. - This fact attracts attention and has one goal: to make the West, the United States primarily, ignore violations of human rights and Saakashvili's authoritarian regime in Georgia".
It became clear at the end of last week that despite all protests a new battalion will go to Afghanistan as announced by Georgian vice PM Georgi Baramidze, now on a trip to the USA. "This will make Georgia, a non NATO member, the most active participant of NATO operations", - the politician said. - We are ahead of Australia here".
Indeed, presently the Australian contingent consists of 1,550 soldiers, almost 50 fewer than Georgians. But is it the reason for pride? According to Saakashvili, Georgian soldiers can "gain a unique combat experience" only in joint operations with the world's best armies deployed in the Islamic republic "People ask me what Georgian soldiers do in Afghanistan", - the Georgian leader stated recently. - I often hear people say that soldiers are there only for the government to win political points and for Saakashvili to retain his seat sacrificing lives of Georgian soldiers. But my seat and my life cost nothing to me when it comes to Georgia and its supreme interests".
Firstly, why do soldiers need this experience? For another attempt to regain control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Does Mishiko involuntarily confirm his plan of revenge for August 2008? Secondly, 9 soldiers have died over the time of Georgia's involvement in the counterterrorist operation in the name of Sakartvelo's "supreme interests". The death toll will undoubtedly grow. But is it an argument for Saakashvili?
As Konstantin Sivkov, vice president of the Academy of geopolitical problems said in an interview with GeorgiaTimes, Mikheil Saakashvili plans to pay for his political future and his influence in the West with the blood of Georgian soldiers. Besides, Sivkov remarks, it's incredibly extravagant to have one and a half thousand soldiers in Afghanistan. "We must not forget one simple thing: it costs a lot to pay for a military contingent. It's clear that Mr. Saakashvili is toadying to his masters overseas. Nothing else", - the expert believes.
Reconfirming our apprehensions, this is what Sivkov replied to a question whether Georgian soldiers need experience obtained in Afghanistan: "If the country's army is going to make war against its people or nations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the obtained knowledge will be of use, no doubt".
The Georgian Party still cherishing hope to have Mikheil Saakashvili's regime dethroned, touches the hottest buttons of current leadership. And the most painful issue is that Mikheil Nikolozovich has not moved a finger to make the life of his country better. Instead, he keeps toadying to Washington that is used to taking these curtseys for granted. Besides, Georgia's activity in Afghanistan is number one reason why the USA don't want to put direct pressure on Sakartvelo's leader in his counteraction with the opposition, for instance. As we know, in a number of operations US and Georgian soldiers died together in Afghanistan. That means they act in mixed battle groups. This level of military cooperation makes Washington treat any issues connected with Tbilisi with care and be careful not to push away or offend this loyal doggy that sacrifices its army to save Americans. This is what it all relies on.