More On Israeli-Georgian Co-operation

Georgia/Israeli involvment began about 2001, when Georgians who had moved to Israel pointed out to Israeli arms companies the relatively large budgets available in Georgia to purchase arms. As well, the Georgian defense minister, was Jewish and Hebrew speaking, with close ties to Israel. A close working relationship developed followed by substantial arms trade. Deeply involved were arms traders formerly officials in the Israeli Department of Defense. (Source) 

In 2004, Israel’s Elbit Systems and Georgia’s Tiblisi Aerospace Manufacturing (TAM) teamed up to ‘westernise’ a Soviet-era jet, the Sukhoi SU-25KM, still produced at Tiblisi. This would give it modern electronic and navigation equipment compatible with western produced avionics systems.

By 2008, close cooperation was paying off for Israeli arms traders. Georgia had placed orders for 70 million rounds of ammunition, Merkava tanks, Armoured Personel Carriers, helicopters, (weapons) fire control systems, drones, and night vision devices.

But when Georgia used Israeli drones to do surveilance in Russian controlled territory, the Russians became very angry, and the Israel Foreign Ministry among other pressured to Defense Ministry to stop sales of offensive weapons. In August 2008, Israel received an indirect but very clear warning from Russia that if Israel continued to supply Georgia with weapons, Russian would review its policy of not supplying weapons to certain of Israel’s adversaries. Israel stopped approving sales of contentious weapons to Georgia.

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