Georgia is clearly the closest US ally in the South Caucasus, moving in lockstep with American interests on just about every foreign policy issue – except one: Iran. Not wanting to become embroiled in a potential regional conflict, officials in Tbilisi are trying to finesse relations with Tehran, while staying in Washington’s good graces.
All the saber-rattling surrounding Iran’s secretive nuclear program has Georgians on edge. If the United States, European Union and/or Israel try for a forceful solution of the problem, geography suggests that Tbilisi could easily get dragged into a conflict.
“They [Georgian leaders] want to avoid conflict if possible, but they don’t feel in control of the situation,” said Thomas de Waal, a longtime Caucasus observer and senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi. He is a frequent contributor to Eurasianet's Tamada Tales blog.