Intel: US Shuts Down Arms Shipment to Georgia

Reliable sources are telling me the US recently shut down a massive arms shipment to the Republic of Georgia because the country was working with the Israelis on a strike against Iran.

My weapons and private security sources tell me that Georgian officials were stunned when the Obama administration halted the flight of a planeload (or several) of weapons, including small arms, helicopters and "heavy weapons." Apparently, the shipment of US-made equipment was stopped by the White House, going around DoD and State, my sources tell me.

The reasons are twofold and admittedly speculative, since my sources are talking to the Georgian side who are perplexed. One, the Russians may have pressured the administration to halt the deal, preferring to sell the arms to the Georgians themselves -- or NOT have the US sell the weapons to them. Second, and more controversial, apparently the Israelis have been in close negotiations with the Georgians to use airfields around Tbilisi as a hopping point for a strike against Iran's nuclear capability. My sources say 3,000 Israeli advisors and military people are in Georgia right now.

If you look at a map, it's a long route, but Israeli planes would have to fly over Turkey (which is a very close ally) and Georgia and a very small sliver of Russia to reach the Caspian, where it can fly unencombered to points in Iran. My back of the napkin/Google Earth calculation is that the trip would be a little over 2,000 miles from Jerusalem to Esfahan. How would Russian let Israeli planes fly over its territory on a trip to blow up Iranian reactors which Moscow has helped build? My sources aren't sure, but maybe the diplomatic hassle of doing business with Iran is outweighed by an under the table agreement to buy Georgia's arsenal through Russian companies and transport, thereby handing more control of Tbilisi's affairs to Moscow.

More as it unfolds.

-- Christian

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