Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Saturday, December 10, 2005

US Trains Georgian Troops for Deployment to Iraq

From a story by AFP reporter Simon Ostrovsky via L'Orient-LeJour

Twenty soldiers fire on an angry crowd and a man who has thrown a grenade into their midst. But their weapons have fired blanks. This is an exercise planned by the US Army to train Georgian troops to serve in Iraq.

They fired on the crowd. That’s not good, comments Lt. Roberto Ingham, as other US instructors evaluate the possible consequences of such an action. Two of the 538 Georgian troops trained to serve in the Coalition, as well as numerous civilians, would have been killed.

This is just one of the many situations which Georgian soldiers must face in Iraq next year. The United States, more and more visible in the Caucasus, a strategic area and formerly turf belonging to Moscow, have considerably reinforced their military cooperation with Georgia and Azerbaijan as part of the War on Terror.

The Georgians are participating in the War on Terror. They are playing a genuine role, says the US Ambassador to Tbilissi, John Tefft, who is visiting the former Soviet air base outside the Georgian capital where the training exercise is taking place. US instructors have trained nearly 3,000 Georgian troops, or one soldier in five, since the beginning of the program in 2002.

Located between Russia and Iran, the Caucasus is a strategic area lusted after by the United States, which hopes to us it as a logistics operations center for the NATO effort in Afghanistan and elsewhere, but also for its proximity to the giant hydrocarbon reserves of the Caspian Sea. In total, the USA has spent more than $250 million in military aid to Georgia and neighboring Azerbaijan, where they trained the Coast Guard and built radar installations close to the frontiers of Iran and Russia.

One of the important stakes in the region is to ensure the security of the Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, a $4 billion project supported by Washington and which is soon to start pumping Caspian oil to Western markets. It is very important for the United States and for Europe, given the enormous quantity of gas and oil that the pipeline will transmit.

Observers say that Georgia, like Azerbaijan, beset by unresolved separatist conflicts, willingly participated with the American in missions in Afghanistan and in Iraq in order to give its troops experience. Thanks to the Americans, our boys are accustomed to modern combat, terrorism and insurgency, says Alex Rondeli, Director of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies. The US has been careful to state that they support a peaceful solution to the conflict between Tbilisi and the separatist governments of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.


Blogger Postman said...

Curiously BP were not at all keen on the TBC pipeline and had actually withdrawn from the project - then they "merged" with Amoco and hey Presto, not oinly prepare their accounts in US$ but were suddenly (and I mean sudden) in favour of the pipeline.

Their principal concern was protection of the pipeline through some very unstable territory.

According to people involved with the external insulation of the pipeline (UK based)it still is.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Gothamimage said...

How did you chose your blog name? Maybe that's a dumb question. Just wondering.

12:01 PM  

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