Infantry: Training For The Wrong War


August 21,2008:  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.

The Israeli 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.


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