Tbilisi has asserted that Israel continued to ship weapons and platforms
to Georgia throughout the Russian war. But Georgian President Mikheil
Saakashvili reported delays in the supply of Israeli unmanned aerial
vehicles to his country.
"The Israeli weapons have proved very effective," Saakashvili told a
news conference on Aug. 13.
So far, the diplomatic sources said, Putin has been careful to limit
Russian military sales to Iran and Syria to defensive systems. In 2007, they
said, Putin, who remains in charge of defense export policy, vetoed efforts
by the Defense Ministry and the state-owned arms agency Rosoboronexport to
sell the Iskander-E long-range rocket to Syria.
"Putin will now offer Iskander to Syria," another Russian source said.
"Whether this will be a serious offer or something just to scare the
Israelis we'll know in another few months."
In December 2007, Israel agreed not to sign new contracts for offensive
weapons to Georgia. But the Israeli Defense Ministry, supported by the
United States, maintained it would honor existing arms deals with Tbilisi.
"We told the Israelis that this was a very unwise move and that Russians
were being killed because of Georgia's policy," the Russian source said.
"They didn't take us seriously, probably because they were encouraged by the
"In 2007, Israeli experts trained Georgian commandos in Georgia, and
there were plans to supply heavy weaponry, electronic weapons, tanks and
other arms at a later date," Nogovitsyn told a news conference on Aug. 19.
"But the deal didn't work out."
Officials said Moscow's assertion was based on a review of weapons and
military installations captured in Russia's invasion of Georgia. They said
Israel also trained Georgia's military, particularly its special forces.
At the news conference, Nogovitsyn did not identify the Israeli UAVs.
Israel has acknowledged the sale of UAVs to Tbilisi.
The Russian deputy chief said Israel also exported bombs, mines and
mine-clearing systems to Georgia. He said the systems were comprised of
munitions that could explode landmines.
In late 2007, Israel agreed to end the sale of offensive military
systems to Georgia. The decision by the Israeli Defense Ministry did not
affect weapons already ordered by Tbilisi.
On Aug. 20, Russia and Syria were scheduled to begin a two-day summit
meant to focus on defense and military cooperation. Syrian President Bashar
Assad was scheduled to meet Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin in what officials said could result in arms sales to
"The significant military aid provided by Israel to Georgia in its war
against Russia will affect in the future — probably in the near future —
relations between Russia and Israel, as well as Russia's attitude toward
Arab states," an unidentified Russian analyst said in an interview to Syrian
state television on the eve of Assad's visit. "Russia will reassess its
relations with Israel, and it is likely that Moscow will decide to increase
its military aid to Arab countries in conflict with Israel, including