Georgia: Security Risk Assessment After Islamic State Suspects Arrested in Batumi

Georgia, Islamic State's supporters arrested in Batumi
A moment of the arrest of the two Islamic State supporters (Credits: Kavkazskiy Khrebet Telegram Channel)

Kavkaz Files ISSN 2975-0474 Volume 24 Issue 3
SpecialEurasia OSINT Unit

Executive Summary

The security landscape of Georgia has experienced notable developments, particularly concerning the threat of terrorism. The recent detention in the city of Batumi of suspected terrorists linked to the Islamic State and the implementation of stringent anti-terrorism measures, highlight the country’s proactive stance.

Despite historical improvements in its terrorism risk profile, Georgia remains vigilant in addressing potential threats, balancing its geopolitical challenges with efforts to align more closely with Western institutions.

Georgia: Security and Domestic Scenarios

On June 6th, 2024, the State Security Service of Georgia detained two citizens on suspicion of terrorism. Authorities discovered firearms, hand grenades, and symbols associated with the Islamic State in their possession. These suspects face severe legal repercussions, with potential imprisonment ranging from 10 to 17 years. This incident follows the 2021 apprehension of five terrorist group militants intending to join a camp in Syria, demonstrating a persistent though controlled threat.

Concurrently, Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze has fortified measures against terrorism financing. The new resolution mandates the Georgian Ministry of Justice to oversee the suppression of such financing through notaries and the Public Registry Agency. Amendments to the law on preventing money laundering and terrorism financing have been enacted, compelling the National Agency of Public Registry and notaries to rigorously verify client identities and transactions, assess risk levels, and ensure compliance with preventive measures.

The Ministry of Justice’s Internal Audit Department now supervises adherence to these regulations, with authority to inspect, recommend improvements, and enforce compliance. These actions signify Georgia’s comprehensive approach to mitigating financial channels that support terrorism.

Security and Terrorism in Georgia

Georgia has made significant strides in improving its terrorism risk profile. According to the Global Terrorism Index, Georgia ranks among countries with zero terrorism incidents as of 2024, a substantial improvement from its position in 2012. This positive trend reflects the country’s enhanced counterterrorism strategies and international cooperation, particularly with the United States. The State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG) thwarted a notable assassination attempt in 2022 linked to Iranian operatives, further underscoring the nation’s vigilance.

The country’s 2022-26 National Counterterrorism Strategy and Action Plan introduces harsher penalties for false terrorism reports and strengthens anti-money laundering and counter-WMD efforts. Georgia’s collaboration in international security exercises and training, particularly with U.S. agencies, bolsters its border and maritime security.

The South Caucasus region, encompassing countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, has been plagued by various security issues, including terrorism. Governments in the region actively combat terrorism, prevent attacks, and disrupt terrorist activities within their borders.

However, they face significant challenges and terrorism is a permanent threat. For instance, in July 2023, the Azerbaijani State Security Service detained an Afghan citizen who had been planning a terrorist attack within the country.

In Georgia, a predominantly Christian nation with a significant Orthodox Christian population, the Muslim minority faces considerable pressure. This is especially true in regions like Adjara, where approximately 30% of ethnic Georgians follow Islam. The strong association of Christianity with Georgian national identity leads to tensions and negative reactions towards visible expressions of Islamic faith, such as wearing the hijab.

Given these dynamics, Georgia must remain vigilant against jihadist propaganda and radicalisation, particularly within the local Muslim community and among societal groups most susceptible to disillusionment. Authorities must pay close attention to these factors to prevent the spread of terrorism propaganda and mitigate geopolitical risks.


Georgia’s terrorism risk remains relatively low but is not negligible. The country’s robust counterterrorism measures and international cooperation have substantially improved its security landscape.

However, Georgia’s geopolitical risks remain intricate due to unresolved territorial disputes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a complex relationship with Russia, and economic challenges. The recent adoption of the ‘foreign agents law’ has also sparked concerns about Georgia’s democratic trajectory and Euro-Atlantic integration aspirations. The forthcoming parliamentary elections in October 2024 are critical in determining the country’s political direction and its relationships with both the EU and Russia.

The commitment to aligning with Western institutions, coupled with stringent internal security measures, positions Georgia to mitigate terrorism risks effectively while navigating its complex geopolitical environment.

If you require additional information, reports, or consulting regarding Georgia, please do not hesitate to contact us at

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