Has Georgia Become the New Israel in the Caucasus?

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on September 16, 2020

Many countries throughout the Middle East that have been adversarial and in a state of Cold War with Israel have made historical and unprecedented diplomatic moves in recent weeks as one by one they announce their intentions to normalize relations with the Jewish state.  As this change makes its way through diplomatic channels will the former Soviet republic of Georgia now take the place as the Western nation with the most hostile geopolitical neighbours? 

Although Georgia is not a country on the minds of many in North America, the former Soviet bloc country and homeland of Joseph Stalin and Lavrentiy Beria since its overthrow of communism in 1991 has been a model for political reformation. Georgia has focused on developing a business friendly free market economy, and being a stalwart opponent of authoritarianism. 

Like Israel, Georgia is surrounded by countries that seek to destroy it, are hostile to one another, or are infected with overwhelming corruption and authoritarianism to the point that normalized relations with one another and Georgia seem unattainable over the long term. This excluded the additional threats from non-adjacent neighbours like Syria, Iran, and Iraq. 


Many forget that the only conventional war in Europe in the 21st century to date was fought between Georgia and the Russian Federation in 2008

The conflict was triggered by the Russia attempting to invade Georgia under the guise of protecting South Ossetia (a region of Georgia) which amounted to simply supporting Russian-backed communist separatists, against Georgia reasserting control over its own territory.

An ulterior motive often cited for the attempted full scale invasion of Georgia was the Russians wanting to punish Georgia for having pursued a NATO membership and leaving the Russia run Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Russian and separatist militaries currently occupy the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia

Russian and separatist militaries currently occupy the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia

Ever since 2008 the Russians and Georgians have been in a mostly bloodless border dispute where each country constantly pushes back and forth the borders along the South Ossetian region, referred to as “borderization.”

Georgian resident with barbed wire dividing their property along the informal South Ossetian border

Georgian resident with barbed wire dividing their property along the informal South Ossetian border

Recently protests broke out in Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi in June of 2019, due to a Russia politician being allowed to take the main podium in the Georgia parliament, which many Georgians saw as an insult as Russia is currently occupying 20% of their country’s territory. The Russian government responded by banning flights between Russia and Georgia to try and cudgel Georgia into passivity.  

Protests in Tbilisi

Protests in Tbilisi

In spite of military conflict and a soured diplomatic relations Georgia and Russia still currently trade heavily.

Georgia have not been in conflict with any of their other neighbours, and generally has good relations with them, but their poor relations among one has caused a lot of diplomatic chaos in the region.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have continuously had low level conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory between the two nations, and as recently as the summer have had further military clashes over what is typically recognized unpopulated Azerbaijani land occupied by Armenia illegally.


Georgia is unable to take either side strongly one way or another. Georgia is a major transporter and refiner of Azerbaijani oil and gas, and also trades heavily with Azerbaijan’s close regional ally Turkey, who also had poor relations with Armenia in large part because of the Armenian genocide (1915-1917), which Turkey still denies ever happening.

Although Georgia’s relationship is less economically important with Armenia than its other three neighbours it still sees Armenia as an ally, and despite Armenia politically supporting Russia in the 2008 war Georgia still trades with Armenia while Turkey and Azerbaijan have blockaded them.

In spite of the lucrative nature of Georgia’s trading relationship with Turkey and Azerbaijan the Georgians still keeps relations from getting too warm as both of those countries are run as basic dictatorships by their current leadership. 

Turkey’s president in particular, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has increasingly become a threat to regional stability. As a Muslim Brotherhood styled leader he has greatly de-secularized the Turkish military and has gotten more aggressive on the international stage.

Erdoğan has been trying to browbeat the Europeans into taking more Middle Eastern refugees off of his hands, and recently attacking the Kurdish people fighting ISIS in Syria, soon after US troops were pulled out near the Turkish border.

Erdoğan holding up the symbol of the Muslim Brotherhood

Erdoğan holding up the symbol of the Muslim Brotherhood

Georgia’s less than morally upright neighbours has cause it closely aligned itself with the United States and Israel, not only by its upholding of Western values and good governance at home, but also through its hawkish foreign policy; willing to combat authoritarianism and terrorism abroad.

An often completely overlooked figure is that the Georgian military made the second largest troop deployment during the Iraq war after the Americans, and the largest non-NATO troop deployment in Afghanistan. 

Now that Israel has normalized relations with the UAE and Bahrain, with more expected to come, the similarities between Israel and Georgia will become more noticeable. It is unsurprising Israel and Georgia have such warm relations seeing as they are practically the two most alike nations on the planet.

Georgia, the small country in the caucasus, in many respects has taken the mantel of the unlikely Western democracy thriving in the midst of geopolitical chaos, as Israel has received a respite from its own regional troubles.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

4 responses to “Has Georgia Become the New Israel in the Caucasus?”

  1. Stefan says:

    The fact that you included Armenia but didn’t bother to exclude them when talking about Georgia’s “hostile and authoritarian neighbours” is very unreliable. Armenia and Georgia have a very similar freedom and democracy index, in fact, Armenia’s democracy spot is a few places higher than Georgia’s. Secondly, calling the Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan as an inconvenience for Georgia is very insensitive for both nations that have been greatly affected by this. On a side note, please get your facts straight. Nowhere in the UN resolutions on this conflict is the state of Armenia described as “occupiers” which by the way, only refer to certain territories and not the whole disputed region and instead it only touches on some regions being controlled by armed forces of Artsakh. Armenia’s and Georgia’s relations aren’t great but they’re definitely better than how you described them to be. Russia does have a certain effect on this relationship, however this is irrelevant since there’s absolutely no any other options for Armenia when we’re talking about the existence of the country with its genocidal neighbour to the west that wouldn’t hesitate to help their little brother out (Azerbaijan).

  2. gino says:

    @stefan/others seeing this article. Some rather puzzling items as this item appeared in search results

    1. TheNationalTelegraph (TNT). Never heard of it. The website look seems knock-off and basic / limited graphics. What is it? Who is it?
      There is no "About" tab. It seems based in Canada, and authors have backgrounds mentioning Canada, and seems moreso interested in Canada but has a World tab.

    2. Why is TNT (seemingly moreso about Canada) writing about country Georgia? no idea

    3. Why is this author Wyatt Claypool (Correspondent) writing about Georgia?
      a) Editor assigned it?
      b) says "Correspondent". is / has Wyatt Claypool visited / lived /living in Georgia?
      Click on "Contributors" and you see bio mentioning university (also bio of another Contributor mentions university and an age 21) and seems like a person of age early 20’s.

    Assembling recent situation of something, in a timeline and geography, does not require longer term background, but can show lack of practical / "life" lessons (eg did this Correspondent live in the location / regions and situations for decades? and in such field of expertise?)

    1. Article title says "Georgia has become the Israel". Interestingly, the article does not mention the Khizar region, the migration of people, long-historical link of G & I.

    Back to questions, of why this article by this website and Correspondent?
    To highlight a situation? Click-bait / sensationalist title, supposed revelation, etc?
    Who knows?

  3. Lia says:

    Whose land are Georgians occupying? Who have they set up barriers against and denied access? Who is Georgia’s benefactor arming her to the teeth and giving billions of dollars per annum?
    If anything, Russia poses as Israel in this scenario of occupation, with both Putin and Netanyahu serving indefinite terms and attempting land grabs at will.
    The conflicts of Azerbaijan and Armenia have nothing to do with Georgia, and both of the aforementioned countries have very good relationships with Russia. Georgia allows Turkish, Russian, Azerbaijani and Armenian citizens very generous, visa-free travel.
    The differences between Israel and Georgia are vast.

  4. Zaur says:

    An article about nothing but to impress some in the West. Anyways to call Georgian neighbors who helped the country to stand on its foots authoritarian is simply idiotism.