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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