Likely Threats to Georgia from Kavkaz-2012
12 April, 2012
Likely Threats to Georgia from Kavkaz-2012

Georgian Authorities fear that Russian military drills Kavkaz-2012 may grow into another aggression because they coincide with the period of Parliamentary elections. Part of the public believes that the Authorities are trying to divert attention of the population to the alleged Russian threat and collect political dividends. In any case, dangers coming from Kavkaz-2012, cannot be disregarded.

 

According to the Russian military HQ, in September this year they are going to hold joint strategic military command drills Kavkaz-2012 together with separatist troops from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, as well as Russian occupying forces stationed in these two breakaway regions.  Normally, it’s not something extraordinary to happen. Yet, similar drills in 2008 ended in the open Russian aggression into the Georgian territory. Although it’s quite a long time till September, Moscow may quickly proceed to Kavkaz-2012 operations in territories of both Northern and Southern Caucasus, should situation in the world change fast. One of the factors behind such fast change could be the launch of military operations against Iran when Russian armed forces would be activated in the South Caucasus (namely, Armenia), the region that borders Iran. Unlike Russia, Iran is a direct neighbour of Armenia. So, if Russia decides to embark on active military operations in case of American-Israeli onslaught on Iran, Georgia would be in the thick of it willingly or unwillingly.

The attack against Iran would be the best natural excuse for Russia to tread into the South Caucasian region, especially, Georgia because Iran would have most of the attention of America and Europe. To be specific, military units of Russian Southern Military Region may cut a corridor via Georgia towards their Giumri Military Base in Armenia. Moscow already gives such signs, if only in the form of its military experts so far. Indeed, many of them are associated with Russian military HQ. The main purpose of this corridor over Georgia would be boosting the number of Russian military units near the Iranian border and enforcing their readiness.

The land corridor may take one of the following several routes. The most real among them starts from the occupied Akhalgori district, where Russians would amass additional forces using the Roki tunnel that connects two sides of the Caucasian mountains. This military expedition enforced with tanks and other armoured vehicles and protected by helicopters from the air would attempt to cross Khashuri, Borjomi, Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki district to reach Armenia. This route lacks strong grouping of Georgian military forces capable of hindering advancement of the armoured Russian units.

Apart from forcible creation of the land corridor, Russia would have its military aviation, including strikers and destroyers, fly from Russian territory to air strips in Armenia, including those located in Giumri, Zvartnots and Erebuni, through the Georgian air space. Even if the Erebuni airport hosts 18 Russian MIG-29 destroyers, Moscow would need their major qualitative and quantitative upgrade to ensure permanent patrolling of the Armenian skies with Russian destroyers, so that Washington and Tel-Aviv should acknowledge that military forces positioned near the Iranian border are to be counted with.

Today oil products for Armenia basically come from Iran. The Russian military base in Giumri is likewise dependent on them. But things may change because the United States introduced strict sanctions on selling Iranian oil and any company or country which will continue buying Iranian oil products is going to suffer from dire economic consequences from these sanctions. If Armenia ceases purchasing Iranian oil under American pressure then the Russian military base in Armenia would have hard time.

This may be yet another argument for Kremlin to really try to use force in the creation of a military corridor to Armenia via Georgia during strategic Kavkaz-2012 military drills.