The US military provided combat training to 80 Georgian special forces commandos only months prior to Georgia’s army assault in South Ossetia in August.
The contractors – MPRI and American Systems, both based in Virginia – recruited a 15-man team of former special forces soldiers to train the Georgians at the Vashlijvari special forces base on the outskirts of Tbilisi, part of a programme run by the US defence department.
MPRI was hired by the Pentagon in 1995 to train the Croatian military prior to their invasion of the ethnically-Serbian Krajina region, which led to the displacement of 200,000 refugees and was one of the worst incidents of ethnic cleansing in the Balkan wars. MPRI denies any wrongdoing.
One would think that someone in the US military should have have been "watching the ball" in terms of unrest in South Ossetia and wondering if Saakashvili might consider using these US-trained troops in some kind of an attempt to throw Georgian military weight around in this region.
If these troops were being readied for service in Afghanistan, why were they not being trained in Afghanistan??
We are beginning to see - and hear - documented stories of Georgian atrocities in South Ossetia. Looking at the outcome of MPRI's training of the Croatian military in the late 90s, what we are seeing and hearing about ethnic cleansing in South Ossetia shouldn't come as a surprise.