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Thread: Georgia's South Ossetia Conflict - Political Commentary

  1. #401
    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    Default Ukraine ‘censored’ arms sales documentary

    Ukraine ‘censored’ arms sales documentary

    A Russian film-maker claims the Ukrainian authorities prevented him from screening a documentary revealing the extent of Ukraine's arms sales to Georgia. Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko has already admitted her country’s behaviour during the war in South Ossetia was suspicious.

    http://www.russiatoday.com/features/news/33200

  2. #402
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    Default Suspicious...

    to who? or should that be whom...

  3. #403
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    It's internal politics. Tymoshenko and others are trying to pin the sales of arms to Georgia on Yuschenko, the President (and her rival for that position in the next election). It's conceivable that she's in cahoots with this Russian film-maker or Russian authorities to get the "Pro-Western" Yuschenko out of power.

  4. #404
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default That was my point...

    You were there, I have not been but my perception is that the truth is inside several eggs...

    Given that Yulia seems to lean a little pro Ros, I suspected that what you said might be the case.

    Dunno -- but my guess is still that whole thing was a really well set up and long term FSB operation that the Army did an okay job of executing. To include any involvement of the Ukraine and others...

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    truth is inside several eggs...
    more like a Russian doll (Matrioshka). Yulia is playing a lot of cards. She's practical and opportunistic. But I'm not sure she can get away with it.

  6. #406
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Georgia Without the Spin

    By Charles King
    "It’s time for the West to realize that Mikheil Saakashvili is no saint and that Georgia is not quite an innocent victim."

    Last August’s brief war between Russia and Georgia was fought not only on the rolling hills of South Ossetia, but also on a second front in the international print and broadcast media. If Georgia’s military didn’t exactly distinguish itself on the first front, its government, particularly its president, thoroughly dominated the second.

    The Russian military response was precipitous and brazen, and has rightly been condemned by outside powers, but the next U.S. administration must learn that brinkmanship is a game that countries can play with friends as well as adversaries.

    Western governments would do well to heed the voices of Georgians themselves. They should realize that support for President Saakashvili, support for Georgia’s de jure borders, and support for Georgian democracy are no longer synonymous positions and might even be mutually exclusive. Georgia’s friends should take heed of how Georgian citizens have come to define their national interests—in ways that are more sophisticated, varied, and pragmatic than their leader would prefer.

    Mikheil Saakashvili has overseen important reforms and has inched his country closer toward becoming a genuine European democracy, but the United States is now badly in need of a Georgia policy based on both countries’ real interests, not one man’s savvy marketing campaign.
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    ICG, 26 Nov 08: Georgia: The Risks of Winter
    The situation in and around Georgia’s conflict areas remains unstable. Violent incidents are continuing. Shots were fired near a convoy carrying the Georgian and Polish presidents on 23 November. European Union (EU) monitors are being denied access to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Unambitious multi-party negotiations focusing on security and internally displaced person (IDP) return have gotten off to a slow start in Geneva. For the moment, however, domestic politics are the capital’s main preoccupation. President Mikheil Saakashvili’s position is at least temporarily secure, but his administration is likely to be severely tested politically and economically in the winter and spring months ahead. The August 2008 war with Russia and the global financial crisis have seriously undermined Georgia’s economy and the foreign investment climate. Social discontent could rise as economic conditions worsen unless the government pushes forward with economic and political change.

    The medium to longer term is in any event highly unpredictable. This briefing provides a snapshot of the current situation with regard to ceasefire implementation, but also and particularly to internal developments, because attention is shifting from the conflict zones to Tbilisi. Russia’s recognition on 26 August of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (condemned by Western countries) temporarily strengthened Saakashvili’s position, because it kept public attention and anger directed at Moscow. However, Georgia’s myriad opposition groups are ratcheting up their criticism of the president and his administration, beginning to pose pointed questions about whether the war could have been avoided and in some cases calling for Saakashvili’s resignation......

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    BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus examines the underlying tensions within NATO about its essential role and purpose.

    NATO Foreign Ministers will be trying to decide this week how to bring Georgia and Ukraine closer to the Alliance. The fate of these two aspiring members is dividing NATO as never before.
    Approx. 9 minute audio at the link
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    Caucasus Analytical Digest, 17 Dec 08: Perspectives on the Georgian-Russian War
    ■ Analysis
    European Policy towards the South Caucasus after the Georgia Crisis

    ■ Opinion
    On Razor’s Edge: An Armenian Perspective on the Georgian-Russian War

    The Georgia-Russian Conflict: A Perspective from Azerbaijan and Implications for the Region

    ■ Opinion Poll
    Georgian Attitudes Towards Foreign Aid

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    Georgian leader may come under Obama scrutiny

    The Bush administration has been "unthinking and unblinking" in its support for Saakashvili, and was sorely let down in August when Georgia moved against pro-Russian separatists in breakaway South Ossetia, said James Nixey, a research fellow on the Russia and Eurasia Program at London's Chatham House.

    Critics suggest Bush might have failed to make clear the limits of his indulgence, with disastrous consequences. Georgia's former envoy to Russia told a parliamentary inquiry Saakashvili believed he had U.S. backing for the strike on South Ossetia.
    "I can see the departure of the Bush administration changing Georgians' view of Saakashvili," Mankoff said. "With the new administration coming in, his ability to turn to the U.S. administration for support diminishes."
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/email/...BrandChannel=0

  11. #411
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaur View Post
    Georgian leader may come under Obama scrutiny
    http://uk.reuters.com/article/email/...BrandChannel=0
    This along with the recent arrest of Georgian Engineers (officers) makes the current picture look a tad bleak. But the enormous amount of money already being used for procurements and training doesn't jive with this article. This time around NATO began funding before the US started asking
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  12. #412
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    Given this info, I'm curious to hear perspectives on how things will go forward in Georgia, especially in regards to USG assistance. I assume that the USG will continue to support the current government, but with greater emphasis on reforms and some strings attached. I imagine the priority will be on humanitarian relief, IDPs, strengthening civil society and promoting economic growth.

    What happens if the current Georgian govt doesn't play along? What if they do, like they did in Ukraine, but don't really reform in any substantive way? Will the US and EU partners follow through on their AID pledges ($4.5 billion)?

  13. #413
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    By the way, here's a summary of USG pledges as of December 10, 2008.

    "Georgia: $1 Billion Assistance Commitment (Taken Question)

    Question:How much of the $1 billion U.S. assistance package for Georgia has been received? How much has been used? On what has the money been spent so far?

    Answer: To date, approximately $310 million has been provided as part of the $1 billion U.S. assistance package to Georgia. Another $447 million has either been allocated for specific projects and activities or is in the process of being allocated. The $243 million balance of the U.S. commitment will need to be requested by the next Administration and appropriated by the next U.S. Congress. All of the assistance is subject to standard U.S. Government monitoring and oversight......
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 06-24-2009 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Added link.

  14. #414
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey Eric,
    Pie Charts, et al

    Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: Georgia

    This minuscule sum has nothing to do with the Bongo Bucks at NATO
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  15. #415
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    Default Go Pie Charts!

    Stan,

    Thanks for the link.

    Best,

    Steve
    Sapere Aude

  16. #416
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey Steve,
    Did you happen to bite your tongue on this one

    Assistance to Conflict Areas:

    * Promote confidence building in the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to promote the peaceful settlement and reintegration of these areas into a unified Georgia.
    We used to do that with Field Artillery too (when Ken was a Corporal)

    Regards, Stan

    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    Stan,

    Thanks for the link.

    Best,

    Steve
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  17. #417
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default That was

    the other Georgia...

  18. #418
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    Default The wonders of the internet...

    Natural Gas from wikipedia

    Natural gas is a gaseous fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane but including significant quantities of ethane, propane, butane, and pentane—heavier hydrocarbons removed prior to use as a consumer fuel —as well as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, helium and hydrogen sulfide.[1]

    Fossil natural gas is found in oil fields (associated) either dissolved or isolated in natural gas fields (non-associated), and in coal beds (as coalbed methane).
    When methane-rich gases are produced by the anaerobic decay of non-fossil organic matter (biomass), these are referred to as biogas (or natural biogas). Sources of biogas include swamps, marshes, and landfills (see landfill gas), as well as sewage sludge and manure by way of anaerobic digesters, in addition to enteric fermentation particularly in cattle.

    The price of natural gas varies greatly depending on location and type of consumer. In 2007, a price of $7 per 1,000 cubic feet (28 m3) was typical in the United States. The typical caloric value of natural gas is roughly 1,000 BTU per cubic foot, depending on gas composition. This corresponds to around $7 per million BTU, or around $7 per gigajoule. In April 2008, the wholesale price was $10 per 1,000 cubic feet (28 m3) ($10/MMBTU).[2] The residential price varies from 50% to 300% more than the wholesale price. At the end of 2007, this was $12-$16 per 1,000 cu ft (28 m3).[3] Natural gas in the United States is traded as a futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Each contract is for 10,000 MMBTU (gigajoules), or 10 billion BTU. Thus, if the price of gas is $10 per million BTUs on the NYMEX, the contract is worth $100,000.

    The world's largest gas proven reserves by far are located in Russia, with 47.57 x 10×1012 m³ (1.6×1015 cu ft). Russia is also the world's largest natural gas producer, through the Gazprom company. Major proven resources (with year of estimate) (in billion cubic metres) are World 175,400 (2006), Russia 47,570 (2006), Iran 26,370(2006), Qatar 25,790 (2007), Saudi Arabia 6,568 (2006) and United Arab Emirates 5,823 (2006).

    The world's largest gas field by far is Qatar's offshore North Field, estimated to have 25 trillion cubic metres[20] (9.0×1014 cu ft) of gas in place—enough to last more than 200 years at optimum production levels. The second largest natural gas field is the South Pars Gas Field in Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. Connected to Qatar's North Field, it has estimated reserves of 8 to 14 trillion cubic metres[21] (2.8×1014 to 5.0×1014 cu ft) of gas.
    The Nabucco Pipeline from wikipedia

    The Nabucco pipeline is a planned natural gas pipeline that will transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. It will run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March, a major natural gas hub in Austria. This pipeline is a diversion from the current methods of importing natural gas solely from Russia. The project is backed by some of the European Union states and the United States.[1][2]

    The preparations of this project started in February 2002 when first talks took place between Austrian OMV and Turkish BOTAŞ. In June 2002, five companies (OMV of Austria, MOL of Hungary, RWE of Germany, Bulgargaz of Bulgaria, Transgaz of Romania and BOTAŞ of Turkey) signed a protocol of intention to construct the Nabucco pipeline, followed by the Cooperation Agreement in October 2002. In December 2003, the European Commission awarded a grant in the amount of 50% of the estimated total eligible costs of the feasibility study including market analysis, technical, economic and financial studies. On 28 June 2005, the Joint Venture Agreement was signed by five Nabucco Partners. In February 2008, German RWE became a shareholder of the consortium. On 11 June 2008, the first contract to supply gas from Azerbaijan through the Nabucco pipeline to Bulgaria was signed.[3]

    On January 19, 2009, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey stated that Turkey may withdraw from the Nabucco project if the country's talks of EU accession "remains blocked". "If we are faced with a situation where the energy chapter is blocked, we would of course review our position," he said, claiming that Turkey will block the Nabucco project unless the energy talks with the EU were "not opened". [4]
    The South Caucasus Pipeline from wikipedia

    South Caucasus Pipeline (also: Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Pipeline, BTE pipeline or Shah-Deniz Pipeline) is a natural gas pipeline to transport natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Turkey.

    The pipeline is commissioned by a consortium led by BP and Statoil. The shareholders of the consortium are:
    · BP (UK) 25.5 %
    · StatoilHydro (Norway) 25.5 %
    · State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) (Azerbaijan) 10 %
    · LukAgip,a joint company of Lukoil and Eni (Russia/Italy) 10 %
    · TotalFinaElf (France) 10 %
    · Oil Industries Engineering and Construction (OIEC) (Iran) 10 %
    · Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı (TPAO) (Turkey) 9 %
    The technical operator of pipeline is BP and commercial operator is Statoil.
    The other other Georgia, from wikipedia

    Georgia ( /ˈdʒɔrdʒə/ (help·info); Georgian: საქართველო, Sakartvelo) is a transcontinental country in the Caucasus region, situated at the dividing line between Europe and Asia.[2] Georgia is bordered by the Russian Federation to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, Armenia to the south, and Turkey to the southwest.[2] Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 km²; its population, excluding Abkhazia and South Ossetia, is 4.4 million, of whom nearly 84% are ethnic Georgians.[4]
    Turkey, from wikipedia

    Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye), known officially as the Republic of Turkey ( Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (help·info)), is a Eurasian country that stretches across the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia and Thrace (Rumelia) in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Azerbaijan (the exclave of Nakhichevan) and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea and Cyprus are to the south; the Aegean Sea and Archipelago are to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north. Separating Anatolia and Thrace are the Sea of Marmara and the Turkish Straits (the Bosporus and the Dardanelles), which are commonly reckoned to delineate the border between Asia and Europe, thereby making Turkey transcontinental.[4]

    Due to its strategic location astride two continents, Turkey's culture has a unique blend of Eastern and Western tradition. A powerful regional presence in the Eurasian landmass with strong historic, cultural and economic influence in the area between Europe in the west and Central Asia in the east, Russia in the north and the Middle East in the south, Turkey has come to acquire increasing strategic significance.[5][6]

    The Turkish Armed Forces is the second largest standing armed force in NATO, after the U.S. Armed Forces, with a combined strength of 1,043,550 uniformed personnel serving in its five branches.[48] Every fit male Turkish citizen otherwise not barred is required to serve in the military for a time period ranging from three weeks to fifteen months, dependent on education and job location.[49] Turkey does not recognise conscientious objection and does not offer a civilian alternative to military service.[50]
    And for those of you who are kicking back this evening and enjoyed Robert E. Howard’s incarnation Conan, wikipedia has an entry on the Cimmerian’s. One of my English teachers was completely appalled that I bothered to write about ‘that trash’ but here you go…

    The Cimmerians (Greek: Κιμμέριοι, Kimmerioi) were ancient equestrian nomads who, according to Herodotus, originally inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea, in what is now Ukraine and Russia, in the 8th and 7th centuries BC.
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 01-24-2009 at 04:11 AM.
    Sapere Aude

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    January 23, 2009

    This 200-page report details indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks by both Georgian and Russian forces, and the South Ossetian forces' campaign of deliberate and systematic destruction of certain ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia. It also describes Russia's failure to ensure public order and safety in areas of Georgia that were under its effective control. The report is based on more than 460 interviews done over several months of field research.
    http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/01/22/flames-0

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    CACI, Feb 09 The Russian-Georgian War: Political and Military Implications for US Policy
    The purpose of this Policy Paper is to examine some of the strategic implications resulting from the war between Russia and Georgia from a military and security perspective and in so doing provide some policy recommendations as one looks beyond the crisis and its immediate aftermath.

    Since there has been and will be written much on operational-tactical details of the conflict, this Policy Paper rather lays out some of the key aspects that the U.S. and NATO face with regard to Georgia, the South Caucasus, and the Euro-Atlantic security community. This is done from a defense policy and military strategy perspective with focus on Eurasian political military affairs.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 06-24-2009 at 02:22 PM.

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