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“Poti crisis”: Why is Georgia to be turned into target for rockets?

Many respectable sources used to say the cold war is over, but we have to admit that after a two-decade pause, it is still to be buried forever.

According to the West’s scenario, the collapse of the Soviet Union was supposed to be followed by the collapse of Russia. And it was very close to that goal: NATO was slowly expanding eastwards and embracing not only former Warsaw Pact members, but also former USSR republics despite the promise given to the Soviet leaders not to do that. Today, representatives of the West insist they have never promised it.

Evidently, it was not that hard to outwit the leaders of Perestroika. Russia was driven out of its spheres of influence. Lots of new anti-Russian regimes with the help of “color revolutions” were cranked out all along Russia’s borders, with agents of influence being raised (they were supposed to bring the country to a complete failure).

But suddenly something went wrong. After the hard 1990s, Russia revived and that was a shock for those expecting it to die. At some point, it was not occasionally when Barack Obama called Russia a regional power, while Madeleine Albright complained that it was unfair that the Russians enjoyed so vast natural resources. They in the West would be happy to see Russia as a puppet state serving them its mineral riches. But Russia resisted and they resorted to an information war demonizing the country and its leaders.

Zbigniew Brzezinski always stressed the need to tear Ukraine away from Russia. One of the goals of the Kiev coup was to give the West control over Crimea and the Black Sea.

That plan failed. In view of its national interests, Russia acted quickly and firmly. They in the West reacted with sanctions aimed to tear the Russian economy into pieces. In the meantime, they are trying to set more and more neighbors against Russia.

The United States and NATO are very active in Georgia, with the local authorities, particularly, Chief of the General Staff of the Georgian Army Vladimer Chachibaia, having even suggested opening a NATO sea base in their port of Poti. "One of the possibilities for strengthening the capabilities of NATO in the Black Sea is frequent visits of alliance warships, but there is a restraining factor here -- the Montreux Convention. One possibility is if NATO helps Georgia and Ukraine strengthen their military fleets, which costs a lot of money. Or, for example, create a coast guard base on Georgia's coast, for example, near Poti -- a port of strategic significance," Chachibaia said.

In mid Feb, Georgia’s Defense Minister Levan Izoria sent NATO specific proposals on how his country could help the alliance to ensure security in the Black Sea. The content of the proposals is not known. While in Brussels, Izoria discussed that plan with his Romanian counterpart Gabriel-Beniamin Les as, according to some sources, Romania has been named to help Georgia to get involved into the Black Sea security program. Romania is also the supervisor of NATO’s political expansion in the South Caucasus.

It seems that they in the West are trying to turn the Black Sea into a battlefield. Once Poti already had a sea base. During WWII, the Soviet Union’s Black Sea fleet was forced to move to that small Georgian town. The last Russian ship left it in 1992.

In the Black Sea, NATO has Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. So, why Georgia? Ukraine is in chaos, Turkey is now less pro-American and will hardly agree. So, the best option is Georgia that seems to be ready for anything.

It turns out that the blood Georgia’s soldiers are shedding for NATO all over the world is not enough for membership. Now the alliance needs a generous gift in the form of a sea base in Poti.

But this project will be very expensive. The Georgians don’t have so much money. Nor do they have hopes for external support as Donald Trump is going to stop sponsoring his allies, while the European Union will hardly agree to give millions to a non-NATO nation.

Today, the guarantor of the Black Sea’s security is the Montreux Convention, forbidding non-Black Sea ships with a tonnage of more than 30,000-45,000 tons to stay in the Black Sea for more than 21 days. So, if NATO opens a sea base in Poti, it will have to change its ships every 21 days or the ships will have to be registered as Georgian.

You don’t have to be a genius to realize that Russia will react very toughly to this direct military threat. The previous reactions were the reunification with Crimea and the deployment of Iskander rockets in Kaliningrad region.

Likewise, Poti will become a target for Russia’s Iskander and Kalibr missile systems deployed in the Caspian Sea. Will this make Georgia safer?

From the military point of view, the western strategists are acting quite logically: it is always good to force the enemy to split its forces in many directions. The question is if it will be good for the Georgians to become a target for rockets and bombs and to turn their country into a battlefield.

Irakli Chkheidze (Tbilisi), specially for EADaily

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