For the last two years, Israelis
have been providing military training for the Georgian Army. The trainers were
mostly retired or reservist Israeli soldiers, hired by Israeli training firms
to provide the instruction. The Georgians wanted to learn how the Israelis conducted reconnaissance, urban
warfare and counter-terrorism operations. Apparently the Georgians were
preparing several battalions of troops to re-occupy the separatist region of
South Ossetia, and deal with any armed resistance on the part of the 50,000 Ossetians living there. The Georgians were also
expecting some of the 450,000 Ossetians living just across the border in
Russian North Ossetia, to come south and cause trouble. The Israeli training
stopped four months ago, as relations with Russia, and armed gangs in South
Ossetia, became more tense.
training was directed at dealing with low-level warfare against irregulars. But
when a division of Russian troops promptly crossed the border, accompanied by
Ossetian and Chechen auxiliaries, the Georgians found themselves involved in a
war they had not prepared for.