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Thread: Georgia's South Ossetia Conflict - Political Commentary

  1. #41
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey Carl !
    Sorry, I think your email to me got zapped by our server.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I think much depends upon the proficiency of the Russian armed forces as of this moment. If they are as inept as they were when they first went into Chechnya, things could get very complicated for Vlad.
    I agree with you and would add that although mathematically Russia outnumbers Georgia in both manpower and equipment, Georgia has been receiving training and equipment from NATO for the last 10 years. And, nobody better than Russia can related to fighting a small unit mired in the mountains.

    The Russian press is content to report that Georgia's military capabilities and training have changed little, while Baltic/NATO studies and this Deutsche Welle article would indicate otherwise.

    Today, roughly one-quarter of Georgia's functional land forces are US-trained. The backbone of the Georgian army is seven infantry battalions raised from scratch and brought by the US Green Berets from boot camp to something quite close to NATO-standard combat readiness over the years, a mass of some 5,000 men.
    This Telegraph article sums up Russia's Peacekeeping proficiency nicely:

    The Russians lack of enough force to deploy decisively from the outset has forced them to over-rely on artillery...

    The problem the Russians face in South Ossetia is that their peacekeepers have had to make the transition overnight to what is, in effect, a war-fighting force.
    Regards, Stan
    Last edited by Stan; 08-10-2008 at 06:52 AM. Reason: missing link to text
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  2. #42
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    Georgian troops have pulled back to positions at or south of those held on 6 August, when the current hostilities began, said Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7552012.stm

    If someone is interested in Soviet military maps of Georgian territory you can find those there.

    http://www.topomaps.ru/caucasus/georgia.shtml

  3. #43
    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Default Too those who know..

    It appears by following the mainstream press, that Georgia intiated the conflict with a heavy bombardment of a civilian city and the Russians responded. It is hard to be sympathetic to the Georgians based on this, but there seems to be some sympathy for them within the community. What am I missing?
    Reed

  4. #44
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    reed11b asked:

    What am I missing?
    The covering of conflict by Western and Russian media has been very poor. Biased. If we talk about the beginning of attack, I have seen only 1 scene that shows Grad shooting in the middle of darkness. Russian TV says that this is Georgian one. Maybe this is Russian one or Ossetian one? Should we call NSA?

    Due to the cyber attack Georgian MFA is sprading their info via blog and not their official site.

    http://georgiamfa.blogspot.com/

  5. #45
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    Default Never to miss printing an eye catching headline ...

    here is the Times' crystal ball

    From The Sunday Times
    August 10, 2008

    ‘Bodies are lying everywhere. It’s hell’

    Mark Franchetti, Moscow
    .......
    Why does South Ossetia want to break away?

    Most of its people speak their own language and feel closer to the Russians than the Georgians. They say they were absorbed into Georgia after the fall of the old Soviet Union. The 70,000 South Ossetians want independence – just like Kosovo, the breakaway Serbian province.

    Why are the Georgians so upset about South Ossetia?

    Because they see it as a Russian outpost funded largely from Moscow, and where most people carry Russian passports.

    Why has Georgia’s president chosen to raise the issue now?

    Because he thought everyone was focused on the Olympics and the Russians would hesitate to respond with force.

    Why has Russia been willing to go to war?

    The Kremlin is angry about western, particularly American military support for Georgia, its desire to join Nato and US plans for a missile defence shield in Europe.

    Will anyone else intervene?

    Unlikely, western armies are busy and the prospect of taking on Russia is not enticing.

    What happens next?

    The Georgians will back down looking like the bad guys. Both sides will go back to hating each other. Result: Russia 1, Georgia 0.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle4493620.ece

    Based on the CNN interview of Georgia's president (about an hour ago), the Times' end result may have some validity. He mentioned Czech 1968; I was thinking Hungary 1956 (when VOA & RFE made very sad listening).

    PS:

    from Wildcat
    I knew I should have studied Russian in college...
    I did (2 yrs), but 45 years ago. The month before 2nd year ended, our prof handed out a little Russian book (2nd grade reader), saying: "Now, for the rest of the course, you will learn how little Russian you know."

    Helps to transliterate the Cyrillic and read Fuch's useful map - beyond that, I'm hopeless.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    It appears by following the mainstream press, that Georgia intiated the conflict with a heavy bombardment of a civilian city and the Russians responded. It is hard to be sympathetic to the Georgians based on this, but there seems to be some sympathy for them within the community. What am I missing?
    Reed
    Because this has been going on for some time, the Russians have been stirring the pot and IMO goading the Georgians into an action like this. The South Ossetians are armed, trained and sometime lead by Russian military (same as the Abkhazians) and lately, there have been cross-border incidents into Georgia. I think the Georgians had enough, but then badly miscalculated and thought they could settle things on the ground faster than the Russians could sort them out?

    I am certain the Russians had plans for this months, if not years, in advance. There have been a steady stream of provocations over the last several months, that of course do not make the front page.

    That's my take, and why I don't think it is a simple case of the Georgians being the bad guys.
    He cloaked himself in a veil of impenetrable terminology.

  7. #47
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Note to self: There are still American training advisors trapped in Georgia. I talked to a friend, yesterday, and he says they are receiving sporadic artillery at the training base where they're living.

    No casualties for us, yet....

  8. #48
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    Main news from Russian "Pervy kanal" tonight showed 1 wounded US journalist in Tshinvali hospital (under control of Russians). He had entered the town with Georgian troops. Wiht him were 2 other journalists. 1 of them was from Russian Newsweek. Both are missing.

    Week ago was published 1 interesting article in Russian Newsweek "The Kremlin controls the television "in manual mode" Copy-paste following headline to Google search window and use "translate this page" of firsti link.

    Кремль управляет телеканалами "в ручном режиме"

  9. #49
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    Default What I can't help but wonder...

    ... is how the Georgians thought that a military escalation would work to their favour. I don't doubt their sense of grievance... just their common sense.

  10. #50
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question This is the very thing

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    ... is how the Georgians thought that a military escalation would work to their favour. I don't doubt their sense of grievance... just their common sense.
    Which makes me question that the Georgians would have been the ones to fire first. I'm quite certain their not in ignorance of the largess of the russian military.

    That said did anyone not expect to see something like this happen in the region considering Russia's stances recently?
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

  11. #51
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    I'm almost sure that this won't become a full-scale war, but end in a few days with a cease-fire.

    Reason:
    A full war would be detrimental to Putin's interests.
    He wants the Georgian government weakened, and eventually replaced by an at the very least neutral government.
    I admit that I was a bit puzzled when the Russians didn't accept Georgian cease-fire offers after the Russians had taken control over SO.
    Well, I assumed that the Russians wanted to test how much they could gain at the table on top of control over SO.
    I did NOT expect them to be so blatant as they apparently are. Well, strong man's negotiation style, I guess.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...efer=worldwide :
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a telephone conversation today that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ``must go,'' meaning he should be ousted from office, Khalilzad said.
    SO is an interesting region in the mid-term. The Georgians will want it back, and whatever government they get, it would be strengthened if it gets SO back.
    The Russians hold a nice piece of sugar in their hand.

    ------

    The worst nightmare of Putin regarding Georgia might be a Georgian-U.S. bilateral alliance (even if that meant that Georgia had to recognize Abchasia and SO).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
    Just another way of looking at it
    True.
    And it shows how disastrous political national security decisions of politicians can be.
    I wonder whether this head of government Saakash...something had a thorough briefing by his officers.
    I cannot find an explanation for the still open tunnel, though.

    This conflict reminds me a bit of the Falklands War.
    Last edited by Fuchs; 08-10-2008 at 08:58 PM.

  12. #52
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevely View Post
    I am sure there is an element of payback here, but I think the Russians would have been up to something like this, anyway. Absent Kosovo, this or something like this would have happened regardless, Russia has wanted to bring its "near abroad" to heel for a long time now. I guess they've started to eat their Wheaties.
    I didn't mean it as a payback thing. Several people on this board predicted that recognizing Kososvo would give every "break away republic" the idea that they all have a right to be freed from whatever country they currently fall under. That, of course, includes SO. I doubt anyone here seriously believes that Russia cares about poor oppressed South Ossetia but it does make nice pretext for Russia to pee in Georgia's Wheaties. I'm going to make a prediction that no matter who wins the South Ossetians lose.

    SFC W

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
    Georgia's regular troops may be, they've definitely got their work cut out for them.
    Not to mention Russia's ability to impose a complete air and naval blockade on Georgia (it has already partly done this).

    For a variety of reasons--in order to respond to perceived NATO and US encroachment in their sphere of influence, to highlights the limits of US power in the area, in order to signal "don't mess with us" to the rest of the CIS states, to assert that they are a superpower not to be be trifled with, to show they still have real military power, and for domestic political reasons--the Russians have every incentive to make the Georgians very miserable indeed.

    Again, perfectly predictable. Why it wasn't foreseen in Tbilisi will, I am sure, be a quite interesting story.

  14. #54
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Please forgive my ignorance, but does anyone know how the Turks are going to view all this?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    The Georgians have displayed a good deal of operational incompetence as it seems. There's only one road (actually partially a tunnel!) between Russia and SO - they should have taken that in an air assault and blocked it (if not blown up altogether).
    The mountain passes are impassable in winter - the Georgian attack in summer.
    Good analysis: even if the rest of your post was controversial.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Based on the CNN interview of Georgia's president (about an hour ago), the Times' end result may have some validity. He mentioned Czech 1968; I was thinking Hungary 1956 (when VOA & RFE made very sad listening).
    Their crystal ball looks pretty accurate to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    ... is how the Georgians thought that a military escalation would work to their favour. I don't doubt their sense of grievance... just their common sense.
    If more people had "common sense" in regards to how wars function, we wouldn't have so many of them.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a telephone conversation today that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ``must go,'' meaning he should be ousted from office, Khalilzad said.
    I wonder where they got the idea that they could invade a country just becasue they didn't like it's leader.

    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post

    Some US advisers and contractors may really get to earn their pay soon (if not already); I'm sure they'll really looking forward to that.
    IMHO, if they haven't trained and armed the Georgians to destroy armor without air superiority - ala Hezbollah - it's far too late to do anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Several people on this board predicted that recognizing Kososvo would give every "break away republic" the idea that they all have a right to be freed from whatever country they currently fall under.
    I know Lincoln is supposed to be the greatest president etc., but I don't know why anyone would want want to force people to stay in your country when they don't want to. Both Czechs and Slovaks are far better off than Georgians, S. Ossetians, Serbs or Albanians.
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Sometimes it takes someone without deep experience to think creatively.

  16. #56
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373298

    Another article on the actions before the war and intentions (the latter being obviously an expression of the author's opinion).

    ---------

    Btw, I'd like to add that I happily agree with the idea that Germany should stop doing nation-building like training foreign policemen.
    I do actually not care whether my people are good at it or not.
    Last edited by Fuchs; 08-11-2008 at 01:17 AM.

  17. #57
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question Now Rank

    Quote Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post

    I wonder where they got the idea that they could invade a country just becasue they didn't like it's leader.
    I know this is an opportunity you've been looking forward to to be able to say just this, but

    The UN with all its problems still plays a big part in representing when or how exactly that could or should take place.

    I don't exactly remember any resolutions related to Georgians
    getting out of SO.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
    I know Lincoln is supposed to be the greatest president etc., but I don't know why anyone would want want to force people to stay in your country when they don't want to. Both Czechs and Slovaks are far better off than Georgians, S. Ossetians, Serbs or Albanians.
    Wow did you really say that? I wonder how many of the Czechs or Slovak people would view that.
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

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    Default Deja vu, all over again ...

    Or, can one find truth in Pravda ?

    Just the headlines, without leads - full articles linked at link

    Georgian troops burn South Ossetian refugees alive
    [10.08.2008; today's lead]
    ....
    Putin: Georgia’s actions are criminal, whereas Russia’s actions are absolutely legitimate
    09.08.2008
    ....
    War between Russia and Georgia orchestrated from USA
    09.08.2008
    ...
    Russian tanks enter South Ossetia to oust Georgian troops
    08.08.2008
    http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/

    And whose news in Izvestia ?

    Russia's Gazprom sells stake in Izvestia newspaper
    Wed May 21, 2008 12:02pm EDT
    MOSCOW, May 21 (Reuters) - Russian gas monopoly Gazprom ... has sold its majority stake in the Izvestia newspaper to a firm linked to a businessman reported to be a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/compa...89780820080521

    Finally, the third member of the deja vu triangle

    ITAR-TASS
    [10.08.2008; today's lead]
    Tskhinvali totally cleared of Georgia troops - peacekeepers HQ.

    Tskhinvali has been totally cleared of Georgian troops that are being forced towards the administrative border of South Ossetia with Georgia, aide to the commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Force (JPKF) Vladimir Ivanov told Itar-Tass...
    http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?GroupID=146

    -------------------------
    Sorry to interrupt the White-Fuchs debate. Nothing to add to that (despite tongue biting on BoP).

    South Ossetia is about the size of my Copper Country (4 county area, 50K+ pop.) - just to provide some perspective of the real estate involved. We do have people in Georgia - and that does mean something.

    Hey Ken, based on Fuchs' map, it looks like the Georgians north of Tskhinvali didn't occupy the high ground - no Puller in command there.

  19. #59
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question By the way

    Has anyone else noticed that the cold wars back and getting warmer by the minute.
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

  20. #60
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good links, thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Or, can one find truth in Pravda ?
    . . .
    Sorry to interrupt the White-Fuchs debate. Nothing to add to that (despite tongue biting on BoP).
    That's no debate, that's my juvenile response to his juvenile and totally unnecessary non sequitur:

    ""I've observed discussions about this where people refrained about an oh-so-good U.S.-trained Georgian brigade. Well, maybe we should create a thread to identify the armies that were trained by the U.S. military and didn't afterward suck asap?I've got difficulties to remember any.""

    I figure if he's dumb enough to keep posting such petty and unhelpful displays of bias and nose thumbing, the least I can do is nit pick him every time.
    Hey Ken, based on Fuchs' map, it looks like the Georgians north of Tskhinvali didn't occupy the high ground - no Puller in command there.
    Saw that; strange dispositions -- if they're accurate...

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