US embassy knew Georgians “moved forces” to South Ossetian border – WikiLeaks

29 November, 2010 — RT

georgia-wiki.jpgUS diplomats in Georgia knew Tbilisi concentrated military force prior to the war over South Ossetia in 2008, the classified documents exposed by WikiLeaks show.

Part of the new portion of materials published by Wikileaks were dedicated to the 2008 conflict over South Ossetia. The cables sent by the US embassy in Georgia to Washington show signs of intensifying military confrontation between Georgians and South Ossetians in the conflict zone in the run-up to the full-scale war.

The US ambassador to Tbilisi John Tefft reportedly urged the Georgian Foreign Minister and the Deputy Minister of Defense ‘to remain calm, not overreact, and to de-escalate the situation,’ the document reads. According to the embassy’s cable to Washington, Georgians explained their moves since august 6, 2008, by South Ossetia’s ‘shelling’ of Georgian villages in the conflict zone.

Meanwhile, foreign military observers in the region issued ‘numerous reports that the Georgians are moving military equipment and forces toward the north.’ According to the cable of the US embassy in Georgia, ‘OSCE observers indicated that Georgian forces along with GRAD artillery are on the move, either as part of a show of force or readiness, or both.’

The US diplomats had an impression that ‘Georgians are deploying troops to positions in Georgian territory to the south of the Zone of Conflict.’ They were in ‘a heightened state of readiness in order to show their resolve,’ the cable alleges.

The events developed intensively, and on August 8 the embassy had to send to Washington Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s statement to the diplomatic corps that Georgia ‘controlled most of South Ossetia.’

Russia had to defend its peacekeepers and civilian South Ossetians. After a brief armed conflict, Moscow recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

South Ossetia claims over 1,500 people perished during the conflict, RIA Novosti said. However, according to the news agency, Russian investigators confirmed the deaths of 162 South Ossetians and 48 Russian servicemen, including ten peacekeepers.

During Georgia’s attack, a total of 655 houses were destroyed and over 2,000 others partially collapsed in Tskhinval, South Ossetia’s capital.

Parts of the documents obtained by WikiLeaks have been sent to international media outlets and are expected to be published soon. Russian Reporter magazine said among the documents he had been offered, many concern the war over South Ossetia.

Despite Ambassador Tefft’s awareness of Georgia’s moves prior to the war, after it started he wrote to the US State Department that ‘a coordinated position should be prepared to respond to those who are not sure of ‘Georgia’s absolute innocence,’’ the magazine said.

Reading cables from the US ambassadors in Georgia, NATO, the European Union and Moscow gives the impression that everybody in the world knew that ‘Saakashvili started a war,’ Russian Reporter said. However, their official rhetoric contradicted ‘this understanding,’ the magazine noted.

Memories of war still fresh in South Ossetian minds – RT Top Stories

8 August, 2010 — RT Top Stories

Two years ago a brief but destructive war in the Caucasus led to a redrawing of the region’s map. It began with Georgia shelling the region of South Ossetia and destroying part of the capital.

Russia sent in troops to protect the republic’s citizens, many of which were Russian passport holders, and some Ossetians were forced to hide in basements and bombed out buildings.

In five days the Georgian troops had been pushed out and Russia recognized South Ossetia’s independence. However, two years on the memory of war still lingers among the residents who suffered the short-lived but tragic conflict.

Doctor Georgiy Gogichaev works at a clinic in the center of the South Ossetian capital Tskhinval, which two years ago was the only medical facility in the city.

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Vestiges of war still present in S. Ossetia two years after conflict – RT Top Stories

8 August, 2010 — RT Top Stories

South Ossetia is remembering the victims of the 2008 war with Georgia. Hundreds were killed and thousands displaced when Tbilisi attacked the republic with artillery and tanks two years ago.

Moscow sent forces to protect the people in the area, many of whom were Russian citizens. After five days of bloody battles, the Georgian troops were pushed back to the border.

On Saturday night, thousands gathered in the center of South Ossetian capital Tskhinval to remember the victims. Candles were lit to mark the tragic events.

Despite the war, Georgians and Ossetians still live side by side.

Yasha Dekanoidze is a Georgian, who lives in South Ossetia. He was born there and did not leave his home, even during the war. He has a small farm and keeps a reasonably-sized garden for his own needs.

‘It’s safe here. Ossetians were telling us, ‘Do not leave, stay here’. Even during the war nobody came and said, ‘You are Georgian, do leave now’,’ he said.

The overwhelming majority of the population in the Ossetian village, where Yasha lives, are Georgian. Most are farmers or small-scale traders. Some regularly travel to Georgia, as that is where their nearest hospital is.

They go through a checkpoint controlled by Russian border guards; their task is not only to secure the republic but also to guarantee free movement of the locals who live in this segment to Georgia and back. This is essential, as many people have relatives on both sides of the frontier.

The roads are bad in the postwar republic, and it can take several hours to reach the capital, so many go to Georgia to shop.

Sergey Gabiev, an Ossetian from the same village, with his Georgian friend Otari Gviniashvili said, ‘We ordinary people do not have problems, we have nothing to partition, as the people in power, the government.’

Otari agrees, ‘All we need is peace; we are all brothers and sisters.’

However, Tbilisi steadfastly refuses to recognize the sovereignty of its former territory. Yet these two old friends, Georgian Otari and Ossetian Sergey, say the time has come to restore relations between Georgia and South Ossetia – as two separate independent countries.

“We did everything to avoid the war” — South Ossetian president

8 August, 2010 — RT.com

On the second anniversary of the war in South Ossetia, the country’s president, Eduard Kokoity, spoke exclusively to RT, sharing his experience of the conflict.

He said South Ossetia was doing everything possible to avoid the worst scenario of events, but Georgia showed no signs of wrapping up the military operation against South Ossetia.

“As the supreme commander-in-chief for 40 minutes [after Georgia’s first attack], I wasn’t giving the order to counter fire, even though we knew the attack was being prepared,” Kokoity told RT. “We did not even announce mobilization so that the international community would not blame South Ossetia for provoking and aggravating the situation. We only called to arms on the [August 8].”

Georgia vs Russia: Fanning the flames By Eric Walberg

2 March, 2010 — Eric Walberg

Will there be another war in the Caucasus? This is a smoldering issue on more than one front, finds Eric Walberg, in the first of a two-part analysis of the spectre of conflict in this crucial crossroads

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world expected a new era of peace and disarmament. But what happened? Instead of diminishing, US and NATO presence throughout Europe, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Central Asia rapidly increased, and the world experienced one war after another — in the Caucasus, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan, each one hotter and more horrible than the last. And we are far from seeing the end to the savagery now unleashed by the anti-communist jinni.

Though a pokey backwater for the past millennium, the south Caucasus is now a key battleground, the “critical strategic crossroads in 21st century geopolitics”, writes analyst Rick Rozoff, the focus of ambitious energy transit projects and a military corridor reaching from Western Europe to East Asia, controlled (or not so “controlled”) from Washington and Brussel.

Surely peace in this vital region should be a paramount goal for both Russia and the West, for their own reasons — Russia because, well because it is there and its cultural and economic links are vital to Russia’s well being. The US, if only to benefit economically, since peace everywhere is a boon to economic well being and logically should be blessed by the world’s superpower, whether or not it is a benevolent one.

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Yana AMELINA: Georgia: Russia Should Finish the Job

7 August, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

The anniversary of the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia is the time to assess how the situation in Eurasia has changed since Russia and Georgia passed the point of no return on August 8, 2008.

Clearly, the relations between the two countries will never revert to their previous state. Currently Russia and Georgia are locked in a conflict tantamount to an unannounced war, and even a regime change in Tbilisi would not do for a recovery. The current political landscape has been created by serious mistakes made both by Tbilisi and by Russia, but the share of responsibility of the former is much greater than that of the latter.

Contrary to the mounting empirical evidence, the Russian leadership used to believe that the politics of appeasement in dealing with the chronically aggressive Georgia would eventually help to stabilize the situation around the then-unrecognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Moscow carelessly betrayed Ajaria when Georgia regained control over it by force. Furthermore, Russia, largely under the influence of the untamed Georgian lobby in Moscow, did not react last September when the Tbilisi regime routed the opposition including its more or less pro-Russian fractions. As a result, the part of the political spectrum in Georgia oriented towards Moscow was totally erased and currently Russia is left without potential political partners in the country.

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Andrei ARESHEV: First Anniversary of 'Five Day War' in South Ossetia

7 August, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

Tensions were running high in the regions bordering Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia ahead of the first anniversary of the last year’s ‘five day war’. Soon after the checkpoints near the capital of Tskhinval were caught under fire, Russia’s Defence Ministry promised to take adequate measures to protect the citizens of the de facto republic of South Ossetia. According to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, ‘the Georgian authorities plotted various provocations ahead of the first anniversary of the war conflict in the Caucasus’. And those could be not just armed attacks on checkpoints but also ‘peaceful marches on the occupied territories’ (like it was in the beginning of the first war with South Ossetia under Gamsakhurdia).

The way Georgia reacted to the announcements made by the Russian Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proves that Tbilisi aims to continue its active cooperation with the US and the EU on the issues of its domestic policy, although this approach led to hundreds of victims and large-scale destructions in Tskhinval last year. That bloody conflict also had a negative impact on what is called ‘Georgia’s territorial integrity’ (within the borders of the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic). Members of the EU mission confirmed that the truth was on the Georgian side, adding that the tone of statements made by the Russian side reminded them of the atmosphere just a few days before the last year’s war. In such a way the mission, headed by Ambassador Hansjoerg Haber, demonstrated its solidarity with Georgia…

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Aleksander B. KRYLOV: Five-day war: the lessons that Russia again fails to learn

7 August, 2009 — Strategic Culture Foundation

Following the break-up of the USSR and the armed conflicts of the early 1990s the situation in the South Caucasus followed the path that proved unfavourable to Russia. The United States and its allies started gaining a footing in the region and pursued a policy of gradually ousting Russia from the South and, in the future, also from the North Caucasus. Moscow pursued a laissez-faire policy, one that bore the imprint of defeatism and unjustified illusions about prospects for future cooperation with the West. The scale of the Russian Federation’s political, military and economic presence in the South Caucasus was steadily shrinking as a result.

The situation began changing in the first decade of the 21st century. The recent years seemed to suggest a radical revaluation of Russia’s policy on the Caucasus, as well as a quality-new character of that policy. Evidence of that was the Five-day war in August 2008, followed by a refusal to recognize as legitimate Georgia’s post-Soviet borders (that is the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic), by the official recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the 26th of August 2008, by concluding treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, on setting up two permanent Russian military bases in the two republics, on the joint protection of their borders etc.

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Video: The Georgian trap Pt. 2

17 April, 2009

Malkhaz Gulashvili: The US strategy was to initiate the process of Russia’s disintegration


Earlier this winter, Real News Senior Editor Paul Jay was in the Republic of Georgia to find out more about the roots of that country’s August 2008 war with Russia. Here is the second part of his interview with renowned Georgian newspaper publisher, Malkhaz Gulashvili. One outcome of the war was Russia’s recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, something Russia was previously unwilling to do. Gulashvili believes that this was an objective of the United States, as it will inspire existing independence movements in other Russian territories, leading to the inevitable disintegration of Southern Russia. In support of this view, violence between independence fighters and Russian forces in the Northern Caucasus has grown significantly since the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The important thing for Gulashvili, is that Georgia never again be the location where the US and Russia work out their energy conflicts through war.

Part One

Bio
Malkhaz Gulashvili is the Owner and Publisher of the Georgian Times, a newspaper from Tbilisi, Georgia that is published in Georgian, Russian and English.

Yana AMELINA Saakashvili vs. Opposition

13 March, 2009

Georgian opposition hopes to oust the country’s President M. Saakashvili who has no intention to step down until his term in office expires in 2013. Saakashvili’s major opponents are, for the most part, a bunch of hyperactive and absolutely disunited individuals lacking strategic vision, and, importantly, at least so far they have no financial backing from the West. At the same time Moscow has no reasons to support any of the Georgian opposition figures as neither of them can be regarded as pro-Russian or even be credited with an adequate perception of the recent and current developments.

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OSCE Report: A damning admission on the Georgian war

A report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a multinational association of 56 member states whose monitors were in Georgia when the fighting broke out, demolishes the official US account of the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war, according to which the war was an act of Russian aggression.

by Alex Lantier
(WSWS)

The New York Times on Friday carried a front-page article headlined ‘Accounts Undercut Claims by Georgia on Russia War.’ The article cited a report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a multinational association of 56 member states whose monitors were in Georgia when the fighting broke out, which demolishes the official US account of the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war, according to which the war was an act of Russian aggression.

The OSCE concluded that the conflict began on August 7 when US-trained Georgian troops shelled Russian peacekeepers and civilians in the capital of Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali.

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Sergei MARKEDONOV: Abkhazia as the Theatre of Georgia’s Terrorist Activities and Sabotage

31 October, 2008

The renewed attempts to destabilise the situation in Abkhazia against the background of the unquiet life in South Ossetia and Georgia’s territory adjacent to it, need consideration and assessment of these new threats to the security of South Caucasian states recognised by Russia and to Russia itself as a guarantor of their statehood and the right of self-determination.

***

On October 15, 2008 a group of unidentified persons opened fire in the village of Bargyab, Abkhazia’s Gala district, heavily wounding Beslan Chkonia, the chief of the local police department.

Since the end of the first Georgian-Abkhazian conflict in 1993, the lower zone of the Ghali district has been regarded the most dangerous territory of this republic. Abkhazian law enforcement agencies regard it as the most probable theatre of sabotage and acts of terror Georgia can undertake.

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Eric Walberg : The quiet Russian

The UN vote to refer Kosovo’s legitimacy to the ICJ reveals a new political constellation taking shape, observes Eric Walberg

Last week Serbia’s neighbours Montenegro and Macedonia recognised Kosovo, the world’s newest country — leaving aside South Ossetia and Abkhazia, bringing the number of its official friends to 48. However, after expelling Macedonia’s ambassador in a huff, Serbia was soon all smiles as the United Nations General Assembly supported its request that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rule on the legality of Kosovo’s independence — by an impressive vote of 77-6.

The court’s opinion on Kosovo, which experts say could take one to three years, is not binding, but it will put a break on further efforts to integrating Kosovo into the world community as an independent country.

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Immanuel Wallerstein, “The New World Geopolitical Order: End of Act I”

Monthly Review MRzine

by Immanuel Wallerstein

It would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of the agreement on September 8 between Nicolas Sarkozy of France in his capacity as current president of the European Union (EU) and Dmitri Medvedev, President of Russia. It marks the definitive end of Act I of the new world geopolitical order.

What was decided? The Russians agreed to withdraw all their troops from what are called ‘central Georgian areas’ or ‘Georgia proper,’ that is, those parts of Georgia the Russians recognize as Georgia. These troops are being replaced by 200 monitors from the EU. This is done on guarantees by the EU that there will be no use of force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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Interview with Russian President Medvedev On Euronews

Transcript of the Euronews` interview with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

September 2, 2008

PYOTR FYODOROV: Welcome to Euronews, Mr President. What is your assessment of the outcome of the EU’s extraordinary summit for future relations between Russia and Europe?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: I followed closely the development of events at the summit. I will not make a secret of the fact that I had preliminary talks with my colleagues. I think the results are two-fold in nature. First of all, they show that Russia’s motivations in deciding to respond to Georgia’s aggression and recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent subjects of international law have unfortunately not been fully understood. This is sad but not fatal, because everything can change in this world. This is one situation.

The second situation is a lot more positive in my view. Despite the different views that exist to a certain extent in the EU member countries, a reasonable and realistic approach prevailed on this issue. A number of countries were calling for some kind of mythical sanctions and punishments, but this did not go ahead, and I think that this is in the interests of Europe, the interests of the European Union above all.

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Crisis in the Caucasus – Russian Perspectives

I didn’t want to post each article, rather, I’ve supplied links instead to what I regard as informative analysis and for a change, from a Russian perspective on the upheavals since Georgia’s insane attack on South Ossetia.

2008-09-05
Pyotr ISKENDEROV
The Serbian Front in the War Over the Caucasus
“At the moment, we are witnessing the onset of the third phase of the war over the Caucasus. In the nearest time, we should expect the West to make attempts to outplay Moscow in the energy business by complicating its involvement in key international oil and gas transit projects…”

2008-09-05

Georgia: the First Step Towards Chaos Control (II)

“In all likelihood, preparations for the second phase of the US operation aimed at destabilizing the post-Soviet space are underway. Its start is tentatively scheduled for September-October, 2008 and will probably be marked by a new Georgian invasion of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, this time with the direct US support… At the same time, a provocation such as a murder of Russian sailors or a blow-up of a Russian warship will be organized in Sevastopol, the result being a civil war in Ukraine and a direct military conflict between the country and Russia…”

Impact of Five-Day War on Global Energy
The brief armed conflict in South Ossetia will have long-lasting and serious repercussions globally. The infrastructures of the energy sector have been particularly affected by the crisis. It is hard to say at the moment whether fundamental changes in the energy landscape of the Caspian and Middle East regions should be expected, but the immediate character of the reaction of exporters and transit countries shows that the military factor is bound to play a bigger role in assessing both individual energy projects and the potentials of entire regions in the global energy politics.

Georgia: the First Step Towards Chaos Control (I)
Over the past several weeks, the Russian-language expert community has published a number of worthy analytic papers addressing on a decent theoretical level practically the entire range of aspects of the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia as well as of the overall geopolitical and economic picture of the world transformed by the August, 2008 five-day war.

The West’s Monopoly on Injustice: the Conclusions of the EU Snap Summit By Elena PONOMAREVA
The date of the snap EU Summit which focused no so much on the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia as on condemning Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia – September 1 – was truly symbolic. World War II began in 1939 also on September 1.

Future of State System By Aurobinda MAHAPATRA (India)
The developments in this year would likely generate a huge turning process in international political order. With the rise in aspirations of regions to get independent, their recognitions amidst contestations the state system vogue almost for three and half centuries has received a jolt, especially with the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Russia and earlier that of Kosovo.

Raiders in Action By Irina LEBEDEVA (USA)
The Soviet disunion, the fall of the communist regimes, and the dissolution of the Eastern bloc made the actual purpose of the existence of NATO obscenely obvious. NATO is an organization acting as the global raider.

Abkhazia: the Independence Paid For by Sufferings By Aleksander B. KRYLOV
“Russia has officially recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The extremely difficult 15-year-long period in the lives of the two Republics, during which they had to exist as unrecognized states, is over. Now their international status has changed fundamentally. Another no less obvious circumstance is that after Russia’s recognition of the two new countries the problems of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are no longer regional – for years to come, they are going to play an important role in the politics of global powers…”

The Long-Awaited Decision By Irina LEBEDEVA (USA)
“No serious comments were made by the major US media on August 25 when the Russian Parliament asked the Russian President to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. As for the Russian Parliament’s address to the Parliaments of UN countries and to international parliamentary organizations, in which Russia’s position concerning the Caucasus was detailed — it was ignored by the global media completely…”

Georgia’s Economy: myths and reality By Valerian Advadze (Georgia)
Once Georgia’s economy successfully integrated into the common Soviet system of production, it exported 26% of its products to other republics of the Soviet Union. At the same time, 28% of all goods consumed in Georgia were imported from outside. It means that Georgia was less autonomous than other republics.

Back to the future: “Chaos and instability Washington’s official policy line” By William Bowles

28 August 2008

“In the operation the West conducted on Georgian soil against Russia – South Ossetians were the victims or hostages of it – we can see a rehearsal for an attack on Iran. There is a great deal of “new features” that today are being fine tuned in the theater of military operations.

“…[T]he likelihood of a war against Iran was growing with each passing day, “As a result, the situation in the region will become destabilized…causing chaos and instability” was becoming Washington’s official policy line. — ‘Russian analyst points to link between Georgian attack and Iran’.

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Georgia – Another Pawn in the ‘Great Game’ By William Bowles

14 August 2008

On August 7th, Georgia launched an unprovoked and vicious assault on the capital city of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, killing perhaps as many 2000 civilians, many of them women, children and old people and destroying much of the city including the main hospital and the university.

“Grad missile, artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire has been reported. Dozens of blasts shatter the city every minute. Tens of armored vehicles and thousands of soldiers moved into the conflict zone.” – South Ossetia: The War has Begun! by Andrei Areshev, 9 August, 2008.

But you would not have known this from mainstream media coverage, nor would you have known about the US/NATO/EU involvement in arming and training the armed forces of Georgia.

“The Ex-Soviet Republic of Georgia and its invasion over the last two days of the Russian population of South Ossetia – the second half of North Ossetia inside the Russian Federation looks to be linked to Georgia’s breathtaking increases in its defense spending over the last few years, and it looks set to beat all records this year — in 2008 alone so far they are over 1 Billion USD of GDP – the fourth largest in Eurasia. In late June of 2006, the Georgian government increased the defense ministry’s budget of 513 million laris (315 million US dollars) by 442 million laris (260 million dollars). And the money, arms and military training is not from a `new growing economy’ it’s from the US taxpayer, the Pentagon and NATO — along with the USAID — and yes [the] other NATO aspirant – Ukraine.” — TMPress International -New York -August 08, 2008. ‘The Real Reason Behind the Military Buildup of Ex-Soviet Republic of Georgia and Its Invasion of Russian South Ossetia’.

And in an excellent overview of the situation by Michel Chossudovsky we read:

“Georgia has received 206 tanks, of which 175 units were supplied by NATO states, 186 armored vehicles (126 – from NATO) , 79 guns (67 – from NATO) , 25 helicopters (12 – from NATO) , 70 mortars, ten surface-to-air missile systems, eight Israeli-made unmanned aircraft, and other weapons. In addition, NATO countries have supplied four combat aircraft to Georgia. The Russian Defense Ministry said there were plans to deliver to Georgia 145 armored vehicles, 262 guns and mortars, 14 combat aircraft including four Mirazh-2000 destroyers, 25 combat helicopters, 15 American Black Hawk aircraft, six surface-to-air missile systems and other arms.” (Interfax News Agency, Moscow, in Russian, Aug 7, 2008) – ‘War in the Caucasus: Towards a Broader Russia-US Military Confrontation?’ By Michel Chossudovsky.

Israel’s role is also central to the current situation:

“Israel began selling arms to Georgia about seven years ago following an initiative by Georgian citizens who immigrated to Israel and became businesspeople.

“They contacted defense industry officials and arms dealers and told them that Georgia had relatively large budgets and could be interested in purchasing Israeli weapons,” says a source involved in arms exports.

“The military cooperation between the countries developed swiftly. The fact that Georgia’s defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli who is fluent in Hebrew contributed to this cooperation.

“His door was always open to the Israelis who came and offered his country arms systems made in Israel,” the source said. “Compared to countries in Eastern Europe, the deals in this country were conducted fast, mainly due to the defense minister’s personal involvement.”   – ‘War in Georgia: The Israeli Connection’ By Arie Egozi.

Over a thousand US military personnel have been stationed in Georgia, ostensibly to train the Georgian armed forces as well as private military contractors, in other words, all the usual suspects are involved in the Empire’s latest attempts at destabilizing the Caucasus region and isolating and surrounding Russia.

“In addition to the trainers, 1,000 soldiers from the Vicenza, Italy-based Southern European Task Force (Airborne) and the Kaiserslautern-based 21st Theater Sustainment Command, along with Marine reservists with the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines out of Ohio, and the state of Georgia’s Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry participated in “Immediate Response 2008.”

“Operation Immediate Response 2008 was held from July 15-July 30, with U.S. personnel training about 600 troops at a former Soviet base near Tbilisi, the largest city and capital of Georgia. The goal of this operation was allegedly teaching combat skills for missions in Iraq. The Marines left already the country, but not the airmen.” ‘Israel and the US behind the Georgian aggression?’ By Shraga Elam.

Coincidence? I think not. The fact is, like so many before him, Saakashvili is yet another pawn in the ‘Great Game’ and the stakes are high, very high, for not only does Georgia sit astride the oil pipeline from the Caspian oil fields that supplies the West (and especially Israel) with oil, it is yet another strategic base highly desired by the US/NATO alliance as they attempt to expand eastwards and (yet again) encircle their rival in the Caucasus, Russia.

One has to ask the question: did Saakashvili ‘jump the gun’ or was it a calculated risk on the part of his US/EU/Israeli paymasters that Russia would do nothing about his all-out assault on the capital of Southern Ossetia? If the former, then Saakashvili really screwed things up for the empire. And if the latter then it was a disaster whose ramifications have yet to be felt, for regardless of the relentless Western propaganda campaign to vilify the Russians as the ‘aggressors’, it has propelled Russia back into the mainstream.

Mike Whitney, in his article ‘Putin Walks into a Trap’ ends by saying:

“South Ossetia was a trap and Putin took the bait. Unfortunately for Bush, the wily Russian prime minister is considerably brighter than anyone in the current administration. Bush’s plan will undoubtedly backfire and disrupt the geopolitical balance of power. The world might get that breather from the US after all.” – ‘Putin Walks into a Trap’ By Mike Whitney.

Trap? Well that might have been the intention but if so, it was a serious miscalculation especially Saakashvili’s all-out assault on Southern Ossetia, an unprovoked attack that Russia simply could not allow to go unpunished, after all he murdered not only Ossetians but also his ‘fellow’ Georgians. Had Saakashvili been a less arrogant (and clearly not a very bright individual in spite of his Harvard credentials) surrogate of the US, then he would have embarked on a less obvious ‘low intensity’ campaign, which is why I tend to think that he was not held on a tight enough leash by his masters (encouraged perhaps by the Israeli Zionists, who are anxious to get their blood-stained hands on all that oil).

My own thinking tends toward viewing the ‘event’ as a cynical diversion that had it succeeded then all well and good (for the pirates) and if not, well it’s ‘only’ Ossetians, Russians and Georgians who got sacrificed on the alter of global capital and it has to be viewed more an act of desperation than anything else.

Moreover, following the humanitarian disaster caused by Saakashvili’s actions has given the US the pretext to establish a direct and open political foothold inside Georgia under the pretext of supplying humanitarian aid. In other words, the US knew what the outcome of the Georgian attack would be and cared little about its outcome. Such an action has already come to pass and one justified (in public) by all the talk of Russia reestablishing its ‘sphere of influence’ following its humiliation after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Using Saakashvili as a Trojan Horse (or perhaps patsy would be a more accurate term), the US has, without firing a shot, gained a foothold in the Caucasus.

Georgia and the Media

What has to be factored in to this view is the seamless media presentation starting on the night of the invasion, led here in the UK by the BBC which has carried a relentless anti-Russian propaganda campaign that whitewashed the attack on Tskhinvali, in fact barely mentioning it in its ‘news’ reports, focusing instead on what it called “Russian aggression” and painted Saakashvili as some kind of patriot, defending no less, the territorial integrity of Georgia!

This was accompanied by highly misleading (ie, unidentified) video clips of the destruction with the voiceover creating the impression that what we were viewing were the results of Russian ‘aggression’. And this was relentless, round-the-clock disinformation.

The BBC reports the 7 August attack on the capital as follows:

THURSDAY 7 AUGUST

“Georgian forces and separatists in South Ossetia agree to observe a ceasefire and hold Russian-mediated talks to end their long-simmering conflict.

“Hours later, Georgian forces launch a surprise attack, sending a large force against the breakaway province and reaching the capital Tskhinvali.” –  ‘Day-by-day: Georgia-Russia crisis’, 14 August, 2008.

Given the nature of the BBC’s ‘news’ coverage, I lean toward the view that the British state were (along with the US) well aware of what Saakashvili intended as the entire media coverage has all the hallmarks of a well planned propaganda campaign and not merely a knee-jerk anti-Russian diatribe.

Big Brother Beeb hauled out all the usual neo-con suspects, especially the butcher of Yugoslavia, Richard Holbrooke who got major airplay on the BBC’s News 24 TV channel:

“The Russians deliberately provoked [the fighting] and timed it for the Olympics. This is a long-standing Russian effort to get rid of President Saakashvili.”

No counter-view was presented (aside that is from Russians, whose views are obviously ‘biased’ and hence can be safely discounted). Holbrooke’s comment that “The Russians deliberately provoked [the fighting]” was accepted without question by the BBC interviewer, though how they “provoked” Saakashvili into launching his murderous attack was not explained (a Russian peace-keeping force has been stationed in Southern Ossetia since 1994 without any major incident) so how, exactly, did the Russians provoke the fighting?

The point here is that the BBC presented the entire disaster as if it was instigated by the Russians and it’s a view followed slavishly by the print media as the following quotes from the London Independent (13 August, 2008) clearly reveal:

“Russia’s goals in embarking on the war in Georgia were twofold. It wanted to get rid of a troublesome leader who was too independent for Russia’s liking, and had attracted the personal enmity of Mr. Putin.” ‘Moscow flexed its military muscle and the left the West humiliated,’ Analysis by Anne Penketh (p.7)

She continues, firstly by contradicting the statement above when she says:

“No one in Georgia or a Western capital doubts that Moscow’s lightning retaliation when Georgian forces launched their surprise attack on the South Ossetian capital was long planned.” (ibid)

Penketh goes on:

“Mr Saakashvili ignored Western warnings””including those from the US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice”¦not to respond to Russian provocation. But in the end he fell into the Russian trap by ordering an ill-planned strike while the eyes of the world were on the Olympics. He cannot have anticipated the overwhelming response from the nuclear power across the border, involving massive firepower from tanks, warplanes and battle-hardened Russian soldiers.” (ibid)

So it’s the Russians who set the trap, but like the BBC, whose line the Independent parrots almost exactly, how the Russians ‘lured’ Saakashvili into his “ill-planned strike” is not revealed.

Toward the end of the ‘analysis’, Penketh, no doubt expressing a more circumspect opinion now doing the rounds of the ruling elite, tells us:

“But Mr Saakashvili’s headstrong and impulsive behaviour [sic!] in the crisis, following his disastrous crackdown on demonstrators last November, has eroded Western support.” (ibid)

The arrogance of Western journalists never ceases to amaze me when the slaughter of thousands is described as “headstrong and impulsive behaviour” !

But for the ‘official view’ we need to look at the Independent’s editorial:

“Perhaps the biggest mystery, though, is why Georgia decided to take on Russia now. Of course, the situation had long been profoundly unsatisfactory from Georgia’s point of view. South Ossetia and Abkhazia were outside its control and undisguised platforms for Russian trouble-making.”

/…/

If Russia intended a recent increase in skirmishing to lure the Georgians into a war they could not win, the tactic worked to perfection.” (p.30)

It ends:

“Russia’s barely contested military sweep into Georgia was a flexing of its muscles that leaves it undisputed master of the region once again.” (ibid)

So the official line is that the entire affair was a cunning Russian plot that the (by now) gullible (and let’s not forget “impulsive” ) Saakashvili fell for and if you believe this, you’ll believe anything the Western media throw at you.

See also:

Georgia Newslinks Part 2 for more on the foothold the US has gained in Georgia under the pretext of humanitarian aid.