Omega Special Task Force

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The Special Task Force "Omega" (Georgian: განსაკუთრებული დანიშნულების ქვედანაყოფი "ომეგა") was a Georgian élite Special Forces unit, one of the first such formations in the country, created in 1993.

History[edit]

The Omega unit was formed 1993 under the supervision of Georgia's Information-Analytical and Reconnaissance Bureau, a successor to the Georgian branch of the former Soviet KGB (Committee for State Security), chaired by Irakli Batiashvili. The unit was specialized primarily in counter-terrorism and covert operations, also oriented to counter organized crime and illicit trade. Its operatives cooperated with United States and British Special Forces which also provide the group's special armaments. The Omega force was subordinated to the Georgian Ministry of State Security and was responsible for numerous successful special operations.[1]

After the major reshuffle in Georgia's military leadership following the Georgian civil war and the government’s temporary reorientation to Russia, the Omega group fell in disfavor, especially under the Security Minister Igor Giorgadze, who gave preference to the Russian-trained special forces unit ALFA. The Omega leadership was perceived to have been disloyal to the government. In September 1995, several of the Omega officers were accused of having been involved in the August 29, 1995 assassination attempt of Eduard Shevardnadze, Georgia's head of state. Its commander, Nikoloz Kvezereli, was arrested and charged with organization of the attack on Shevardnadze.[2] The court, however, did not find him guilty and sentenced him to seven years' imprisonment for the alleged abuse of office. Later, several other Omega officers were also arrested, and some of them were found dead in suspicious circumstances.[3] Kvezereli was later pardoned and released. He was a member of the Parliament of Georgia from 1999 to 2008.[4] In 1996 the unit received fresh cadres with only a handful veteran members remaining. Shortly after it got dissolved for unspecified reason when one hostage got injured during a bus hijack.[5] Despite the successful rescue operation which included the defusing of a bomb, Omega group was declared too ineffective in dealing with such crisis. The members of the disbanded unit were then deployed in a newly created anti terror force which by that time had no official designation. Afterwards as a result of major reforms in 2005, the Counterterrorist Center, now part of the State Security Service was officially established. The operators of this unit had undergone training and joint operations with foreign agencies and special services from various NATO countries and organisations such as the UN and OSCE.[6] General Zaza Gogava, a former Chief of Joint Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces from 2006 to 2008, also served in the Omega group.[7]

See also[edit]

State Security Service of Georgia

Comparable units[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Karkoszka, Andrzej (2004). "National Democratic Security Structures in the Making: Achievements and Obstacles in the Black Sea Region". In Pavliuk, Oleksander; Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ivanna. The Black Sea Region: Cooperation and Security Building. M.E. Sharpe, EastWest Institute. p. 172. ISBN 0765612259. 
  2. ^ Georgia: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2000. United States Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. February 23, 2001. Retrieved on 2008-05-31.
  3. ^ Darchiashvili, David et al. (March 1999). The Army and Society in Georgia. Caucasian Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development. Retrieved on 2008-05-31.
  4. ^ "The court passed a two month arrest sentence against Nika Kvezereli". Humanrights.ge. Interpressnews. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  5. ^ https://transit-safety.fta.dot.gov/security/SecurityInitiatives/DesignConsiderations/CD/appa.htm
  6. ^ http://police.ge/en/ministry/structure-and-offices/counterterrorist-center
  7. ^ "Major General Zaza Gogava" (PDF). Marina Militare Italiana. Ministry of Defence of Italy. Retrieved 3 August 2014. .