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Guram Nikolaishvili: NATO does not make us stronger, NATO prepares us for resolving its tasks

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Guram Nikolaishvili

“Only   persons  and the timbre of their voices  are changed, while the political scams and the strategy of deception remain the same”

On 9th August, at the end of the multinational training “Strong Soul 2019” held on the Orfolo Military Polygon, the president of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili addressed the audience and declared that “A way to NATO is a  way to global peace and stability”. As she  indicated, the main purpose and message  of the training, that   “:Power is in partnership”,  meet  the joint efforts of all participating countries, while Georgi,  as the host of the training, confirms once again its loyalty to the set course,  that means that our striving for integration to the North  Atlantic structures is an irreversible process. According to her assessments, the fact of  a share of Georgia in the international peace missions is increasing  gradually year-by-year, indicates clearly on the nonalternative  Euro-Atlantic future of the country.

“Georgia with its steps, military and political reforms, and economic sustainability, becomes more and more reliable and trustworthy partner. During our case of our defense and armament, we are guided by the NATO standards: 2% of the GDP is allocated for the defense, and 20% of the defense budget  – for the armament. We have proud soldiers, they protect peace both in the country and international peace missions and thus deserve a high respect of our partners”!  The president did not explain which military reforms and economic sustainability she implied, in conditions   when from 2012 up now, numerous experienced officers  were dismissed without reason from the military forces and, instead of them, other individuals having no relevant experience and education, are appointed on  their positions

What  the reforms were or are implemented in the military forces of Georgia and, is the president’s assessment adequate regarding the irreversible striving of the country to the North Atlantic Alliance?  – These are the issues discussed by Lieutenant General Guram Nikolaishvili in his interview with “Georgia and the World”  

-, Mr. Guram, several days ago, the president Salome Zurabishvili declared in he speech that Georgia with its economic sustainability and the reforms implemented in the military forces, makes giant steps towards NATO. What the reforms are implemented and what are the results thereof?

-,  Let’s start with speaking about the multinational military training “Strong Soul 2019”.  The USA allocated 35 MIO USD for this year only, to conduct similar trainings and peace operations, of which 2,5 MIO USD were designed  for arranging this  training in Georgia. These   trainings have a sole purpose – Joint use of the peace forces. This is what NATO needs for its international peace missions and not the one that is necessary for our security. These trainings are designed not for preparing our army for protection of Georgia but for use of our military forces in the international peace operations. To be true, I was disappointed when the president made her speech where she described everything as if  the  system in the  Georgian  army  works as a  clock. It means that even one problem will be resolved in a near future, moreover, they do not think that the problems exist. But, we remember what did Zurabishvili promise us in the pre-election period. . .

– Which promise do you mean?

– During the pre-election period, Salome Zurabishvili often indicated that Georgia must have both the marine forces and the air forces i.e. the military aviation./ Over seven months elapsed from that time. Why this promise  is re not still fulfilled? The Chief commander promises  under the oath to ;protect sea, land, and air space, but how, when you have neither aviation not marine forces and artillery, which was always the strongest part of our military forces, but is in fact  destroyed completely now  . . . I, as the former Chief of the General Staff, declare with a full responsibility that today, development of the army goes to absolutely wrong direction, its structure. purpose, division of the tasks to be fulfilled, etc., are planed incorrectly.  But nevertheless,  the president steps forward and declares impudently that the reforms are implemented successfully. What is successful: When you have these a but it is unprotected? When you cannot control your air space? This is not a reform, this is betrayal . This is a deliberate destruction of the army  that started years ago . . .

– Among successes the president listed also that the military forces are today are staffed with new,  high-level officers. What can you say about it?

– 2500 officers were dismissed from the military forces during the last two-year period, including  so highly skilled and experienced persons, whose substitutions I cannot  imagine . I say nothing about the fact that the Military Academy receives 50-58 Junkers instead of 150, during the last three years, by reason that they do not want

Now, let’s see the military technic. Tanks are  at conservation and, in fact, turned into a scrap metal. The same is true for the aviation and artillery. . .  their approach is that a heavy military equipment and  a large army are  expensive to maintain, so  light battalions with light armament should be formed .The light armament are “Javelins”   and “Stingers”. By the way,  I do not know whether they have already purchased or are going to purchase  for Tbilisi the air-defense system of the French origin, we do not know their specifications, but as I found in conversations with    the specialists, this system cannot cover the City air space with even 15%, i.e. it cannot provide an adequate defense. As to  the statements that approaching to NATO makes the Georgian military forces stronger day-by-day   let’s  glance on examples of the European countries and, we can understand what are the real requirements of the Alliance not to such a little country like us, but to considerably bigger states with higher population. The Czech Republic, for instance, has the army of  12-thousand, but, in the past, the country’s army was about 380-thousand Poland – the country with almost 40 million [population  has 30-thousand  army. The same is the situation in Romania. The Alliance is not interested that its non-leader member states’ armament be increased considerably. NATO lowered the military potential of these countries to the level only that they could conduct simple military operations within the frameworks of international peace missions. Just the sane standard they apply in case of Georgia and, the statement made by the defense minister of Georgia implies the same, saying that we must have light battalions. I served for the military forces for almost 40 years, and, it is absolutely unclear  what does a light battalion mean?  Ho can it resist to even the motorized rifle battalion which has 5-times higher fire shooting capability? – Through Javelins? An enemy will not come  at all with the tanks and armored machines  . . .

-, In conditions where the Georgian army cannot provide a safe5ty of the country and, is oriented not  at the state-level strategic tasks but  on participation in the international missions,  for which purposes the statements of the president and the political establishment can serve, that as if the rather successful reforms have been implemented in the military forces? 

– All of them – president, premier, defense minister, and others –  shamelessly deceive then population  when stating that NATO makes us stronger.  NATO  does not make us stronger, NATO prepares us for resolving its tasks. But, here is one moment, that must be underlined: In the past, wen Saakashvili’s regime was deceiving  about unavoidable integration in NATO, most of the population believed it. But, after the 2008 War  this lie was impaired  and now NATO says directly via Merkel, or Appathurai or other its high-rank officials hat we must even stop thinking about our integration in NATO. Only “Dream” remains still in this lie and thinks that it works.  In fact,   as a result of such lies, an aggression of the population towards the leading party is increasing  while the politics and diplomacy are so impaired that  the above mentioned aggression is seen to any public officer, regardless of when he/she was appointed – long ago or just recently, because, after so many false    our citizens came to conclusion that a sum is  not changed with shifting its components, that only   persons  and the timbre of their voices  are changed, while the political scams and the strategy of deception remain the same. As to way out, I have already told and may repeat it again: a military impartiality should be our foreign policy focus. We must say “no” to any block or  alliance that is directed against any country, in particular- against Russia. Otherwise, no matter which block or alliance is a case, a sharp confrontation is unavoidable. This if first, and the second and the worst:    Not the leading countries of such blocks and alliances defining the world political order will be within the scopes of confrontation, but  small nations, like we are. But, for liar president and  deceiving president or flattering minister it is not interesting – they will escape, while we will stay in this ruined and devastated country

Interviewed by Jaba Zhvania 

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