Saturday, August 23, 2008

Israel is concerned, so why did they involve themselves in Georgia?

I can't understand that.
I can't imagine they actually thought there would be no repercussion for their chosen actions?
Or did they believe there was going to be a different outcome?
I just don't know.

It seems the visit to Russia by the Syrian leader, and possible arms deals, does indeed have Israel concerned as Olmert is ready to go and visit Medvedev. As reported "Israel's Olmert to visit Russia soon " and also reported in Haaretz.

An interesting commentary on the Israel/ Syria/ Russia love triangle is available here:
Under Moscow's wing

some excerpts:

Israel's involvement with the Georgian military has been somewhat overlooked in light of more blatant US support, such as the airlift of some 2,000 Georgian troops from Iraq at the start of the conflict. However Misha Glenny spotted it, writing in the New Statesman that Prime Minister Putin warned President Shimon Peres to "pull out your trainers and weapons or we will escalate our co-operation with Syria and Iran" – after which Israel dutifully complied.

I am not so certain they did comply, that is highly debatable. I would speculate myself they did not, and now the result is more co-operation between Russia & Syria.

But, I find this interesting, and wonder is it true?

"Over the past few years defence analysts have kept a close eye on the Russian navy's activity at the Syrian port of Tartus. There are real fears that the Russians are keen to transform what was little more than a refuelling station into a fully-fledged Russian Mediterranean fleet naval base where they can relocate much of the Black Sea fleet currently held up in Sevastopol.

Satellite shots of Russian involvement in dredging the port to allow access to larger vessels provide more evidence to support this theory which would place an aggressive Russia right on the doorstep of Israel and in close proximity to the strategic Turkish port of Ceyhan, the terminus of a major new oil pipeline linked to the Azerbaijani port city of Baku – an incendiary combination with huge tactical ramifications."

Has Russia already been dredging the Tartus Port? The answer is yes, Russian & Greek companies are conducting a joint project to allow larger ships into the Tartus port, no satellite photos necessary, you can read it here.

The European Investment Bank recently signed a loan agreement to finance the development and modernization of the Tartus port, and Russian and Greek companies are conducting a dredging project to enable larger ships to
anchor at both ports.

It seems as if the work was already going on, and is not just Russia's work alone.
If the expansion at the port didn't start out as an opportunity for Russia, which it doesn't appear to have, it has certainly turned into one.

Back to the James Denselow article:

This makes grim reading for the lame duck leaders, Bush and Olmert, neither of whom have the political capital of the Russian Putin-Medvedev alliance. Perhaps the only manoeuvre that can undermine an aggressive Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance is the Israeli-Syrian peace talks, which are still ongoing. If they result in an unlikely peace treaty there is hope yet that this new and dangerous cold war will not emerge.


  1. Hmm... I've been thinking the same thing myself. I'm wondering if Ossetia isn't Putin's Sudetenland, if you can dig it. I'll pop a thing about it up on my blog tomorrow.

  2. Sudetenland?

    You have lost me there, but I shall go off and find out.

    Israel seems to have much to lose from this, security, access to the oil at then end of the pipeline.

    So why risk it, with a much larger, and better armed state?

  3. Seems that Olmert is visiting Russia.

    Trying to mend the broken bridges?

    Hopefully Putin et al will tell him where to shove it.

  4. OK, I googled sudetenland

    Part of Czechoslovakia, annexed off by Hitler to protect the majority German population inhabiting it.

    From what I read, though, sudetenland was more of a powerhouse in manufacturing etc, then either ossetia, and abkhazia are.

    One benefit with South Ossetia, is the proximity to the pipeline.

    But I don't get the impression that either breakaway province would fit the idea of "powehouse". They are usually described as dependant, impoverished particularly on Russia.

  5. Not quite Pen,

    I'll explain all shortly.