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Israeli factor in Abkhazia
Material posted: Publication date: 08-06-2011

In recent years, certain trends visible in the strategy of Israel in the South Caucasus. Many analysts determine that the Georgian-South Ossetian war of 2008. In the postwar period, Washington in a certain way cooled relations with Georgia, trying not to go for confrontation with the Kremlin.

1. New trends in the relations of Israel-South Caucasus

Moreover, Washington has ceased to accept Georgian President Saakashvili on the same high level. In the context of these developments the leadership of Israel perimetral its South Caucasus strategy, increasing cooperation with Georgia to a sufficiently low level. Significantly reduced the visits of senior Israeli officials in Tbilisi, the frozen bilateral military cooperation. In August of 2010. the Minister of foreign Affairs of Israel Avigdor Lieberman during a meeting with Minister of regional cooperation and infrastructures of Georgia Ramaz Nikolaishvili said that "in the conditions prevailing in the middle East and the Caucasus delicate situation, the question of military cooperation is not included in the agenda of bilateral relations".

Along with the weakening of cooperation with Georgia, the Israeli side has improved relations with Moscow. About the change in the Israeli South Caucasus strategy also say the visits of the President of Israel Shimon Peres and foreign Minister Lieberman to Baku. For two years the Prime Minister Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (he joined to the post 31 March 2009). he has already managed three times to visit the Russian Federation.

The Russian side, in turn, is very interested in cooling of relations Israel-Georgia. This plan emphasizes the importance of establishing relations of Israel with Abkhazia, marked the beginning of a qualitatively new process in the relations of Israel-the South Caucasus. This will contribute to increase the international weight of Abkhazia and, consequently, the strengthening of Russian positions in the region. On the other hand, the intensification of the Israeli factor in Abkhazia is related to development of Iran-Abkhaz relations (which was most markedly, particularly in 2009 and 2010.), and with the competition of the Russian-Turkish interests in this direction.

2. The cooling of relations Israel-Georgia

As noticed by some analysts, the transformation of the former positions of the Israeli side in the South Caucasus, including the intensification of the Israeli factor in Abkhazia are a direct consequence of the cooling of bilateral relations Israel-Georgia. We are talking about the arrest in October 2010. in Batumi, a major Israeli businessmen Ron Fuchs (honorary Consul of Turkey in Eilat) and President of the company Nirrnetco (O-verseas) Xena Frenkel: they were prijavljena the charges in the attempted bribery of Deputy Finance Minister of Georgia Avtandil Charize. April 1, 2011. the decision of the Tbilisi court of Israeli businessmen were sentenced to 7 and 6.5 years of imprisonment respectively, and agreed to pay a fine in the amount of $0.5 million background the incident dates back to the presidency of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, when Fuchs and Frankel in 1991. managed to get indefinite exclusivity agreement on the management of existing on the territory of Georgia truebloodhbo and processing of all hydrocarbon deposits. In connection with the agreement, problems arose already in the result, initiated by President Saakashvili's anti-corruption policy. Note that in October 2010, for 7 months before the arrest of Israeli businessmen, the case was heard at the international center for investment disputes, where the dispute was smoothed to the detriment of the Georgian government, which agreed to pay the business about $100 million Official Tbilisi, however, challenged this decision. Israeli businessmen promised to give the Deputy Minister of Finance of Georgia, Charize a bribe of $7 million for failing to challenge the decision by the Georgian government, which was solved with the help of the installed camera. In October of 2010. immediately after their detention, the interior Ministry released a video held a few weeks ago in one of Istanbul hotels meeting of Fuchs and Frenkel, Charize.

With the issue of the release of Fuchs and Frenkel to the leadership of Georgia addressed the President of Israel Shimon Peres and foreign Minister Lieberman that has not yielded any positive results. We should not forget that Ron Fuchs has a longstanding relationship with Shimon Peres. In Lieberman's message to his Georgian counterpart Grigol Vashadze stated: "the Fact that the Georgian authorities are invited Fuchs and Frenkel in their country, and then arrested them, can become a serious obstacle in the development of relations between the two States. It will suspend all economic ties between the two countries, which in recent years has developed so quickly". On the occasion of the arrest of its Consul also expressed dissatisfaction with Turkey.

In response to the actions of the authorities of Georgia, the Chairman of the Association of Industrialists of Israel Shraga Brosh at the beginning of 2011. called on the government to reduce the volume of cooperation with Georgia and visits of Israeli businessmen. And in March, Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin advised his Georgian counterpart David Bakradze to cancel their planned visit to Israel. In turn, the Minister of tourism of Israel Stas Misezhnikov declared that does not intend to meet with the Minister of economy and sustainable development of Georgia Veronica Kobalia.

In addition to the arrest of Fuchs and Frenkel, on the Georgian-Israeli relations were negatively impacted by the fact of removal in August 2010. from Tbilisi in Georgia, the current Israeli construction company Ashtrom International. According to unofficial data, with the activities of this company in the Caucasus is one of the major figures of the ruling coalition of Israel. And in November 2010. a Tbilisi court for non-payment provided from the sale of the real estate taxes charged by Israeli billionaire Abram, Nanikashvili and former Knesset member Ephraim Guru. Georgian-Israeli relations even more strained when in March this year in Israel has received a delegation sent by the leadership of Abkhazia. The Abkhazian delegation's visit took place against the backdrop of cancellation of visits of the speaker of the Georgian Parliament David Bakradze and Minister of economy Veronika Kobalia.

3. The first contacts with the Israeli side with Abkhazia

The authorities of Abkhazia, in an effort to raise the country's international image, sent messages to the Israeli side about the intention to establish a relationship with her for 4 years before the Kremlin's recognition of independence of this respubiki. At the end of July 2004. with the aim of cooperation in Abkhazia arrived headed by Israeli Ambassador to Georgia Rivka Cohen, the delegation, which included the head of representation of Agency "Sokhnut" in Georgia and Armenia Dov Pikulin, head of the American Jewish organization "joint" in the South Caucasus Meir of the Ridge. During the meeting former Vice-President of Abkhazia Valery Arshba expressed hope that "Israel will be one of the countries who are first to recognize the independence of Abkhazia". And in August 2008. after the Georgian-South-Ossetian war, the then foreign Minister of Abkhazia Sergei Shamba said that "Israel is for Abkhazia one of the most promising areas".

In 2010. mutual visits of the parties became more frequent. Last year, Abkhazia several times visited the Israeli initiative group headed by businessmen Elia Yuda and mark Burle. During the visits they held meetings with Prime Minister Sergey Shamba and leader of government office of the Daura Cove. The initiative group has submitted proposals on development of the fields of business, medicine and agriculture in Abkhazia. Another visit Elia and Yuda Brand Burla was held on 23 December 2010. Businessmen were accompanied by specialists of the medical sphere, with extensive experience in the establishment of diagnostic centers all over the world. The result of the agreements reached provided for import into Abkhazia of modern medical technologies and equipment. 18 Jul 2010. in Israel, with Knesset members and businessmen met the first delegation of the Abkhazian government headed by Vice-Premier Daur Carboy. As a result of negotiations, Israeli businessmen have expressed interest in investing and business development in Abkhazia.

Cooperation between the parties intensified in the first half of this year. 14 APR delegation authoritative Israeli company Global CSTthat specializes in the fields of defence and security, visited Abkhazia. The company intends in the near future to cooperate with Abkhazia in both defence and socio-economic spheres. After negotiations representatives of the company Global CST said that an agreement was reached on the supply to Abkhazia of defense technology non-offensive nature, providing for the security equipment, innovative medical technologies. As a result of negotiations, the company expressed the intention to invest in agriculture, tourism, mining Abkhazia.

We believe that the two words also show the company Global CSTto emphasize the importance of the visit to Abkhazia and held talks. The company is headed by former high-ranking officers of the Israel defense forces. The head of the company, former chief of the operational Directorate of the General staff of the Israel defense forces Israel Ziv maintains close ties with the ruling elite of the country. The company aims, in particular, on the supply of military technology and military equipment and for training of special units (for example, in Guinea and Colombia). According to some reports, the Israeli side may agree to convey to the Abkhaz side, including unmanned aircraft. At a meeting in Sukhumi negotiations, the Israeli side was represented by Yisrael Ziv and former military Secretary to Benjamin Netanyahu Meir cliff (CEO). President Sergei Bagapsh and Prime Minister Sergey Shamba said that "Israeli companies are going to be involved in the processing of mineral resources of the country, and to this end planned in the near future the visit of a group of Israeli experts to develop joint projects in the field". We are talking about exploitation of coal, lead, zinc and molybdenum ore deposits of barite, silver, Nickel and copper. Note that the day before the visit of the Global CST in Abkhazia, April 13, in Moscow, held talks with President of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh and leadership, Global CST, which is again from the Israeli side was represented by Yisrael Ziv and Meir cliff. During the meeting, Yisrael Ziv stressed the readiness of the company in the supply of equipment and defense technology non-offensive character in the sphere of security of Abkhazia. But the Moscow meeting was preceded by an official visit of Abkhazian officials in Israel (in March), led by assistant and Advisor to the Prime Minister of Abkhazia Beslan Eshboy. Eshba coordinates Israeli economic cooperation.

Insights

The cooperation of the Israeli side with Abkhazia speaks about the expansion of Israel's involvement in the South Caucasian development. The emergence of the Israeli factor in Abkhazia testifies to certain changes strategy in the region, Israel. Of course, as noticed most experts, to put it mildly, unrealistic to assume that Israel may recognize the independence of Abkhazia. However, the fact that the deepening of cooperation by the Israeli side with Abkhazia in the near future will lead to higher regional and international image of Abkhazia, is well founded. On the other hand, by getting involved in the Abkhazian development, the Israeli side makes a serious bid for it to conduct its relations with Georgia on the planned way and thus to considerably expand previous capabilities of maneuvering the Israeli factor in our region. Soon serious and favorable prerequisite for the revitalization of the Israeli factor in the South Caucasus will be the circumstance of deepening cooperation by the Israeli side with Baku and Moscow.

 

Karen Veranyan

Source: http://www.noravank.am/rus/articles/detail.php?ELEMENT_ID=5834

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