Not so long ago the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili said about the veto on the new Constitution adopted on September 26. The President’s statement was broadcast on all major TV channels of the country. His reaction was predictable: he demanded to make a number of changes. In particular, the President insisted on the abolition of the paragraph on the election of the President by the special electoral college instead of popular election.
The opposition reacted sharply to the statement of the President, which made us wonder about the possible aggravation of the situation in the country. The head of the political Council of the opposition party of Mikheil Saakashvili “United national movement” Nika Melia warned that the opposition wouldn’t allow to establish “the authoritarian regime of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili” in the country, who is considered the informal head of the Parliament. The leaders of the “Georgian dream” party said they would make efforts to cancel the President’s veto.
In turn, the opposition has threatened that in case of overcoming of the presidential veto, the supporters would go on the streets for a riot. Also, there are some rumors about the upcoming failure of the meeting of the Tbilisi City council: members of parliament will tear the mandates and to call the people to protest actions. The years go by, and the “UNM” methods do not change: protests, clashes and riots, victims, both from the protesters and law enforcement. Deliberate aggravation of the situation by the opposition and the President shows that they understand the weakness of his position, unwillingness to negotiate, and to compromise.
For Georgia as one of the leading players in the politics of the South Caucasus region, it is necessary to maintain a balance in relations with other global actors. In particular, with Turkey and the United States. And now there is a rather problematic situation for Georgia in choosing the most important ally.
Diplomatic scandal broke between Turkey and the United States that led to almost complete cessation of reciprocal issuance of visas.
The United States and Turkey scaled back visa issuing services in each other’s countries in a deepening diplomatic row sparked by the arrest of a Turkish staffer at the American mission in Istanbul.
The American embassy in Ankara said that “recent events” forced the US government to reassess Turkey’s “commitment” to the security of US mission services and personnel in the country.
In order to minimize the number of visitors while the assessment is carried out, “effective immediately we have suspended all non-immigrant visa services at all US diplomatic facilities in Turkey,” it said.
Non-immigrant visas are issued to all those traveling to the United States for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study. Immigrant visa services are only for those seeking to live in the US permanently.
Turkey responded by suspending “all visa services” for Americans in the US, saying the measures also apply to visas issued online and at the border.
The deterioration of relations always entails the need to choose a side, and despite close cooperation with Turkey, the government of Georgia will surely side with the US, because it understands that the aggravation of relations with America that is so deeply ingrained in political and economic segments of Georgia can lead to serious consequences. At least in the form of distancing the prospects of Georgia’s accession to NATO and refusing of the “best” loans.
Recent years, media reports have noted the activity of the United States in the opening and expanding a network of military biological laboratories in the CIS. They conduct researches threatening the life of the people under the guise of improving the quality of agricultural products in the countries.
Bio labs operate in the secret mode because they are excluded from the jurisdiction of the states.
At this time the laboratory opened on the territory of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Also last year three biological laboratories where opened in Armenia (Yerevan, Gyumri and Ijevan) with funding from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the United States. The number of cities with bio labs is growing. However, it’s pretty hard to assess the scale of the threat due to the absence of any public reports of the activities of these structures.
Such actions of the Pentagon can be interpreted as the act of aggression and violation of the Geneva Convention of 1972 on the prohibition of bacteriological and toxic weapons. The Convention has banned biological weapons, but in reality it is not able to provide fully controlled regime of the non-proliferation in the world. In addition to the fact that many signatories have not yet adopted domestic measures to meet its requirements and at the moment, the half of participants didn’t provide information about its activities in the field of biotechnology that they have to do annually. The United States use these holes in world politics in the field of biological threats.
Thus, there are incredible opportunities affect the world of plants and animals, control local and global epidemics, as well as participate in sabotage operations, the purpose of which is to harm the economy of the country concerned with the help of viruses and bacteria.
Relations between Georgia and Armenia are on the upward development.
This is evidenced by numerous high-level meetings and agreements on the deepening of relations in different spheres, from tourism to economy, from politics to culture. However, there are a number of problematic aspects impeding their development. In most cases, both parties are not willing to comment on these issues. But it’s not clear what is the reason of such a situation.
The main factor affecting the relationship between these countries is their divergence from the point of view of the global distribution of geopolitical forces. Yes, Georgia is trying to vary among neighbours, maintaining good relations with all but its Pro-American direction remains unchanged. And in the “National Security Concept of Georgia” the role of a strategic ally in the region allotted to Baku and Ankara. Yerevan is not even considered.
The fact of the delay in granting agrément to the new extraordinary Ambassador of Armenia Sergey Minasyan can be considered as example of this “stumbling blocks” . Yerevan believes its candidate is suitable, but due to the fact that a number of experts associated Minasyan with the revitalization of the community of Armenians in Georgia, Ankara and Baku consider it necessary to replace it with a less agile Ambassador. At the same time, radically-minded forces of Georgia do believe that Minasyan is “the protege of Moscow”, which is equivalent to the status of persona non grata.
It is impossible not to say about the serious impact of Turkey and Azerbaijan in Georgia. Economic and political expansion of Ankara and Baku creates a negative background in the relations between Tbilisi and Yerevan.
However, while experts speculate, that countries work towards mutually beneficial cooperation, where there are such priorities as trade and tourism. In the economic sphere there is a positive attitude, despite political differences, suppressed by both sides.
Georgia participates in international NATO exercises. Georgia adapts the economy to the EU. Georgia takes domestic reforms, preparing to enter NATO and the EU. These titles appear in leading international media. This leads to the analysis of the real possibilities of Georgia. If we are talking about European integration and NATO membership, it would be logical to consider the financial situation of the country and its defense.
Speaking about the economy, you can find out information about enormous external debt of Georgia. The expected national debt, spelled out in the draft budget 2017, set the new record for the country. In the draft budget an amount of debt equals to $6 663,3 million, 6% higher than in 2016. According to the last year facts, the national debt was equal to 42.6% of GDP. In the draft budget 2017 it’s 42.1%. The size of public debt relative to GDP will again exceed 40%.
In addition, the internal debt is defined at the level of $1402,9 million.
Thus, we can conclude that Georgia’s economy is in poor condition. Of course, it is impossible to predict the development of events, similar to Greece, only on this indicator if the EU adopts Georgia as its member. However, the EU economy needs reliable and stable members. And Georgia is not one of them yet.
Concerning defense, it should be noted that Georgia is one of the main partners of NATO, not included in its organization. Georgia provides a large contingent in the peacekeeping and military missions, even larger than some of member countries. It participates in many international exercises (now Georgia is holding the “Agile Spirit-2017”), the training center of NATO is located on its territory. It regularly produces skilled soldiers of NATO countries and their partners.
But there are some nuances.
Firstly, the portal “Global Firepower” this year has assigned 82 to the armed forces of Georgia from the point of view of its defenses. The portal updates the database annually, analyses all received information (with the exception of nuclear weapons) and makes its rank list, which has more than 130 armies of the world now. Based on this analysis, Georgia needs the NATO troops instead of the army. Its army is in bad conditions and requires huge investments.
Secondly, Georgia has some weaknesses in anti-terrorism policy. There are a lot of people from Georgia (especially from the Pankisi Gorge) who have joined the ISIS terrorists, and some of them have become even the leaders of it. For example, one of the most influential field commanders of ISIS is Albar Al Shishani. Another one is Umar Al Shishani, who has become the so-called Minister of defense of ISIS. It’s honorable for women from the Pankisi Gorge to marry a terrorist and to go with him to Syria or Iraq. Many residents of the Georgian village of Duisi are directly or circumstantially bound with the terrorists of ISIS. The fact that the Georgian authorities take virtually no action to change the situation makes us think and one gets the impression that they are engaged in the concealment of terrorist activities.
Thirdly, it is impossible to disregard the fact that Georgia is in a conflict state with Russia over territories, which the Georgian party considers as annexed one, and the other party considers as independent republics.
Thereby, it’s not clear what the intentions of the EU and NATO are. The Georgian economy is failing, its antiterrorism policy doesn’t correlate with the European, and this country has weak armed forces that are not able to perform the tasks of defense. However, the media says that Georgia is doing everything possible to join NATO and the EU. But in Europe many people believe that it looks like Georgia is trying to get into organizations in order to receive the undeserved benefits.
Georgia is holding the Agile Spirit military exercises. In July, as a preparatory stage, it held the Noble Partner. In the framework of the exercise in Georgia, the US deployed its troops and military equipment.
The exercises and expansion of personnel were the result of decisions of the NATO summit in Wales. Georgia joined the rapid reaction Forces of NATO. Although participation in these Forces has symbolic character (only one company of the Georgian armed forces is certified to attend – 130 troops), it is politically significant. A rapid reaction forces are applied by the North Atlantic Council. In other words, the Georgian soldiers embedded in that Forces are now under the NATO command. In fact, since 2014 Georgia was part of a policy of deterrence, which NATO adopted in relation to Russia.
It should be noted that Russia does not leave all these military preparations without reaction; it is strengthening its military presence in the Caucasus.
Russian military base in South Ossetia has been rearmed. It conducts exercises that are exceeded those one in Georgia. At the same time Georgia is concerned that Russia has deployed in Abkhazia the S-300 system, and has increased the capacity of the Russian military base in Gyumri (Armenia).
But the exercises with thousands of pieces of equipment also have a political message to NATO. The meaning of the message is that Georgia can only negatively affect NATO.
You need to understand that because of the Russian military predominance in the Caucasus NATO doesn’t strengthen its own security; it only takes responsibility for the defense partner, which can’t protect itself.
The attempts to compensate the weakness of Georgia could be easily understood in those circumstances. The Noble Partner and Agile Spirit exercises, providing the transfer of American military equipment to Georgia, in fact, consider the planning of direct military help from the US.
Diplomatic initiatives have been taken on the inclusion of Georgia in the Unions, not directly connected with NATO, but under its patronage. They are theoretically able to strengthen the position of Tbilisi in a possible confrontation with Russia.
In these days one can witness frosting of relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia. Some European experts consider that it is connected with the fact that Azerbaijan follows the “Asian” vector of development and Georgia follows the “West” one which is opposite. Georgia aspires to become a NATO member and to integrate into Europe. Baku repulses it and follows the policy of “balancing” and nonalignment.
The military of Azerbaijan ignored the NATO-led “Noble Partner-2017” military exercises held in Georgia in August, 2017. Azerbaijan pretended not to pay attention on these military exercises but of course it keeps a record of equipment officially delivered by the US to Georgia. Say nothing of weapons and ammunition allegedly left in places where exercises were held. The US refuses to supply Azerbaijan with equipment which triggers concerns in Baku.
It is obvious that Georgia has already become a puppet of the US which is aimed at expanding the NATO presence in the South Caucasus. The next is Azerbaijan as its location allows to impact on Russia, Iran, and Turkey. The Azerbaijani hydrocarbon supplies to the EU bypassing Russia and the transit from the Central Asia will have an impact on the energy security of Europe without any doubts. As with Tbilisi the US does not cooperate with other states but strives to keep them in hand. The US has already steamrolled Georgia, Azerbaijan is the next.