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2022: Georgia in the U.S. State Department Report on Terrorism

The U.S. State Department’s 2022 Country Reports on Terrorism highlights that “the terrorism situation in Georgia remained quiet and stable” last year. In the detailed overview of the global counterterrorism environment prepared for Congress, Georgia is described as a “strong U.S. security partner”.

The report notes significant counterterrorism successes in Georgia, including the foiled November assassination attempt on an Israeli citizen in a plot allegedly led by Iranians linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It also notes that in 2022, Georgia convicted five Georgian citizens who had been detained in 2021 for affiliation with ISIS and arrested another individual on similar charges.

The State Department positively assesses the adoption by Georgia’s of 2022-2026 National Counterterrorism Strategy and Action Plan, and notes that the country has worked over the past year to improve its land border and maritime security by participating in international exercises and U.S.-led training.

The report notes that “because Russia occupies the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia does not control a portion of its internationally recognized land border with Russia and therefore must enforce security along administrative boundary lines with its occupied territories.” The report says that Georgia’s Border Police and Coast Guard, “both competent and organized”, provide the initial response capability along Georgia’s land and maritime borders, except along the occupied territories.

It is noted that in 2022, Georgia worked to improve its land border, aviation, and maritime security and finalized the 2023-27 Integrated Border Management Strategy in December.  Early in 2022 “the country operationalized its Advanced Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record systems in close cooperation with airlines, international partners, and relevant government agencies”. Additionally, the report notes that in May, NATO recognized Georgia’s Border Police Coast Guard Boarding Team as an Operational Partner to the NATO-led maritime antiterrorist operation “Sea Guardian.”  

As for border control along the neighboring states, the installation of a 24/7 video surveillance system along the border with Azerbaijan is mentioned, as well as the construction of electronic fences and barrier trenches along the entire perimeter of Georgia’s southern border.

The report highlights that the Ministry of Internal Affairs seeks U.S. support to tackle border security challenges. This includes acquiring iris readers for airports, new engines for patrol boats, and gear for Rapid Response teams. It is also noted that from 65 border outposts, roughly 10 in high-altitude areas along the northern border with Russia are “in are primitive or in poor condition” and “inadequate for housing personnel year-round”. As a results “sections of the border in high-altitude locations along the northern border with Russia cannot be manned during the winter months, leaving these areas open to illicit activity.”

The U.S. State Department says Georgian law enforcement successfully prevented the far-right, pro-Russian group Alt-Info from disrupting Tbilisi Pride in June 2022.  Alt-Info is is also a group associated with violent extremism including with the organization of and the execution of violent attacks against dozens of journalists and activists during the July 5, 2021 Tbilisi Pride event and a July 6, 2021 protest against the July 5 violence. 

The report notes that the organization, which is “associated with violent extremism,” was not held legally responsible in 2022, along with the other organizers of violence at the 2021 event. It also notes that “Alt-Info and its political party arm Conservative Movement also expanded its presence throughout the country.”

Finally, the report emphasized that “Georgia is generally capable of detecting, deterring, and responding to terrorism incidents.” It also took notice of the State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG), which was assessed as “generally well equipped and well trained”. It’s Counterterrorism Unit is recognized for receiving continues trainings and further developing, by cooperation in certain areas with the international partners.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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