Weapon Trafficking in Georgia and Larger Games
Jeffrey K. Silverman
The headline is but the tip of the iceberg, "Saakashvili Protege Helped Lead Georgia to War With Russia
Steve LeVine, published this otherwise revealing headline November 1, 2010, on an investigative website, Main Justice, and a few snips are included here and there to compliment the commentary.
However, for those who know this story from the big picture perspective this is small stuff, and Davit Kererashvi, former Georgian Minister of Defense, is but a fall guy as part of a larger network, and a pawn in a larger game. It is even possible that he may end up dead as part of the ongoing cover up, as too many larger players are implicated.Steve Levin writes, "the 32-year-old Kezerashvili has lain low since leaving the defense post under heavy criticism following the August 2008 war, in which the armed forces that he and President Mikheil Saakashvili had carefully armed and trained fled the battlefield in panic."
This is far from the truth, solider fought and only the officers cut and ran, leaving the boots on the ground to fend for themselves, and even an order was given to withdraw when the war was actually going in the favor of Georgia. This story, as to Davit Kererashvili, and it quotes are part of a larger pattern, or perhaps just a reflection of trying to write remote articles without up close fact checking and buying into the story line that one guy is somehow responsible for the larger military and political debacle.The Main Justice article continues that "Kezerashvili had relied in considerable part on relationships with Israel to build up Georgia's fighting capability. He attended high school in Israel in the early 1990s and became fluent in Hebrew."
No mention is made as how he had to escape Georgia in his youth to keep from being arrested for drug dealing and that his university days were marked by fits of rage, perhaps under the influence of drugs, and how he even threatened one of his female professors for refusing to put down high marks for him when he had not even attended lectures, and that was even before the so-called education reform and rooting out corruption in the system of higher education.
The weapons business in Georgia in multi-faceted, and has been booming in Georgia for many years, and with direct knowledge and US involvement. The Georgian-Russian war of 2008 only provided the opportunity to bring us up to speed on the larger scale of things, including funding mechanisms, and now many US defense contractors are involved in this lucrative and deadly business. It is about location and topography, and it is clear that Kezerashvili is but a pawn in this game and only need to look at who will be appointed as the next Ambassador to the United States as part of the damage control, Jakobashvili, Minister for Territorial Reintegration and how is that possible with his links with the traders of weapons and Israeli players. There are also links to other Georgian Jews with sorted histories.
As a cover for the lost of many weapons, including those pre-positioned here for eventual use against Iran. the drumbeat was to be expected. "territorial integrity" restoring constitutional order and overcoming the lawlessness in the breakaways of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It was clear from on-site visits behind the Russian lines during the war of August 2008 that far more weapons stockpiles fell into Russian hands than admitted, and this begs the question as why were they stationed there in the first place. This was the first real on-site confirmation of the illegal procurement and distribution network that involves many countries in the trafficking and illicit trade of weapons.
It is still officially debatable whether the vast amount of weapons were intended for Georgain defensive purpose or just part of a larger shell game of producers and end users who find that the situation in Georgia is perfect for trans-shipments of weapons to other conflict zones outside of the region. One of the key players, with links with Vicktor Bout and Serbia is the Melvale Corporation, which is a well-known intermediary company for this trade. This black market dealer of weapons works under the umbrella of contracts concluded before the last Minister of Defense was even aware of the business opportunities in his new job.
It also confirms that links between Russian Military intelligence and Georgian plants, not low level agents but those who are fixed in key positions in the Georgian defense establishment. The main point in some of the end user certificates is from where any full-fledged investigation should start, and not on the surface of some commissions trading hands but where did the shipment to Georgia actually end up. "The end user of the cargo herwith guarantees that the cargo as described will not be given, re-exported, lent, rented or [gifted] t other persons, subjects or countries without the written consent of the authorized organs of Georgian and Jordan. Moreover, the Georgian Ministry of Defense further guarantees to accept the materials in its warehouses and to keep them under its security after the delivery to Georgia.?
Does that mean placing them in villages, near schools and other places to be captured by the Russians, as was the case during the war of August 2008, and if captured then no laws have been violated in the terms of the certificate of end user, and if now they end up on the international market, only the Russians and South Ossetians can be blamed. The paperwork cannot be clearer, "After accepting the cargo, the Ministry of Defense will confirm the delivery in writing through a certificate to the supplier, confirming the realization of the delivery."
It is understood why Saakashvili posted a slimy and unless drug user as the top man in the Ministry of Defense, again quoting from the recent Main Justice Story, "Returning to his native Georgia, Kezerashvili formed a friendship with Saakashvili, who was making his way as a young politician after earning a law degree in the United States. As Saakashvili rose, so did his young protégée.
I would beg to differ, and "when Saakashvili was justice minister under Eduard Shevardnadze, Georgia's first post-Soviet president, Kezerashvili served as head of his information department. He served as an assistant to Saakashvili when the latter was chief of the Tbilisi city council. And when Saakashvili formed a new political party in 2001 â the United National Movement and Kezerashvili became a founding member.
The president elect knew this persons capabilities well and how he would provide the perfect cover in case anything would go wrong, the perfect scapegoat, and when push came to shove that he could run to Israel and not be deported, as it is illegal to deport a Jew from the homeland. The Main Justice Article only tells part of the story, and the rest can be confirmed by human rights watchdogs. The semi-true part describes, "leading up to the August 2008 war, Israel provided niche materiel and training to Georgia. According to the respected Israeli newspaper. Haaretz, Israeli weapons and training cost Georgia some $500 million from 2000 through 2008. They included pilot less drones and night-vision equipment, in addition to tactical and urban warfare training starting at the end of 2007."
What about the m-85 cluster bombs sold to Israel, many of them being duds and how there was a wholesale failure of the accompanying "grad" style multi-launch system that brought these cluster bombs down on the heads of Georgian soldiers and civilians like and outside of the direct zone of conflict, and where they were claimed to have been used. The concerted effort by the Georgian government to blame this on the Russians is well documented dating back to 2008 but the official story has never held water.
HR watch and the Georgian human rights center confirmed the use of cluster bombs outside of the region of the Roki tunnel and it is clear that this has never been investigated as a war crime. It is also debatable, as daring and educated, having cheated his way through the university threatening a female aged professor with violence is this Kezerahvli, and how can such a statement as this be made in the Main Justice Article, "Then, in 2006, Saakashvili elevated the just 28-year-old Kezerashvili to the defense portfolio. He said Kezerashvili was a young but daring, educated and firm.
The problems of Kezershvili are minor in comparison to the big picture, and how a so called US ally, Jordan is so much involved in the weapons trafficking and as a result of the calculation to not win the war of August 2008, weapons that were sold to Georgia, mostly Serbian are being traded in the international market.
The unanswered question now is, why has so many weapons been sold to Georgia, at least on paper, where are they now, and how were they exported directly from Jordan" Few then and even fewer now, ever thought they were to be used for territorial integrity or training purposes. One may speculate some other possibilities: Iran, Northern Iraq (Kurdistan), and points beyond. This is only the beginning of the list of end users and interesting stakeholders.