Analysis of the war in Georgia points to a fight over a major oil route as the main reason for hostilities, but also to an Israeli connection.
Channel 2's expert on the Muslim world, Ehud Ya'ari, told viewers of the central evening newscast that Russia and neighboring countries were vying for control of a strategic oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. This relatively new pipeline passes through Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey and is the only pipeline between Asia and Europe that does not pass through Russia or Iran. Israel is expecting to receive oil and gas through the pipeline.
By using the ethnic Russian population in South Ossetia to destabilize Georgia, Russia was making a play for the pipeline, he said.
The Israeli Connection
The Georgian move against South Ossetia was motivated by political considerations having to do with Israel and Iran, according to Nfc. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili decided to assert control over the breakaway region in order to force Israel to reconsider its decision to cut back its support for Georgia's military.
Russian and Georgian media reported several days ago that Israel decided to stop its support f
Russia bombed a Georgian military plant in which Israeli experts are upgrading jet fighters for the Georgian military.
or Georgia after Moscow made it clear to Jerusalem and Washington that Russia would respond to continued aid for Georgia by selling advanced anti-aircraft systems to Syria and Iran.
Hundreds of Israeli defense experts are reportedly in Georgia and Israel's military industries have been upgrading Georgia's air force, training its infantry and selling the country unmanned aerial vehicles and advanced artillery systems.
Former minister Ronny Milo was reportedly among the leading Israeli middlemen in the arms deals with Georgia and Brig.-Gen. Gal Hirsch has been training army units through a company he owns.
Russia nixes ceasefire
Georgia has ordered its forces to cease fire, and offered to start talks with Russia over an end to hostilities in South Ossetia, Georgian officials said Sunday. However, Russia has reportedly rejected the offer. Earlier in the day, Georgia said its troops had pulled out of the breakaway region and that Russian forces were in control of its capital, Tskhinvali. Georgian President Saakashvili said Sunday that his country's sovereignty is in danger.
After conducting consultations regarding events in Georgia, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Sunday that Israel "recognizes Georgia's territorial integrity." Israel also called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Georgia.
Former minister Ronny Milo was reportedly among the leading Israeli middlemen in the arms deals with Georgia.
Russia bombs Israeli-run plant
Also on Sunday, Russia bombed a Georgian military plant in which Israeli experts are upgrading jet fighters for the Georgian military. According to Nfc, the bombing was a "sharp message" to Israel.
A Russian fighter jet bombed runways inside the plant, located near Tbilisi, where Israeli security firm Elbit is in charge of upgrading Georgian SU-25 jets.
Dozens Waiting to Make Aliyah from Georgia
Eight Jews were scheduled to arrive from Georgia to Israel Sunday evening and dozens more intend to make Aliyah to the Jewish state, once they finish the required paperwork. Representatives of Russian Aliyah agency Nativ will provide the Olim with Aliyah permits. The Georgian government claims Tbilisi's international airport was damaged Sunday after being bombed by Russian jets, and it is not clear if flights will be able to take off in the coming days.
Russia's foreign minister denied the Georgian claim, Russian news agency Interfax reported.
Russia is not denying reports that it bombed a military airport in a suburb of Tbilisi twice.
Russia: Western Media is Pro-Georgian
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin said Sunday that international and western press coverage of events in Georgia were biased in favor of the Georgians.
"The West behaved strangely in the first hours of the attack on South Ossetia," Karasin said, and added that "the U.S.A.'s negative attitude" would be "taken into consideration in the future in contacts about other global questions." The US says it will ask the United Nations to condemn Russia's actions in Georgia.