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Old 06-08-2007   #1
Jedburgh
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Default Georgia's South Ossetia Conflict - Political Commentary

ICG, 7 Jun 07: Georgia's South Ossetia Conflict: Make Haste Slowly
Quote:
...The Georgian-Ossetian conflict has entered a new phase. Tbilisi has made strong moves to change the status quo, succeeding in sensitising the international community to its conflict with Russia and the need to change the negotiation and peacekeeping formats. It has increased the players in the zone of conflict, establishing a new temporary administrative unit in the areas of South Ossetia it controls, with an ethnic Ossetian, Dmitri Sanakoev, at its head. It is focusing on containing Russia and promoting Sanakeov, while delegitimising the de facto Ossetian leader, Eduard Kokoity. Because Tskhinvali appears ever more dependent on Moscow, however, Tbilisi says meaningful dialogue with it is impossible. But Tbilisi is making a mistake in failing to engage with Tskhinvali and with the Ossetian constituency in the areas it controls. The Georgian government’s steps are non-violent and development-oriented but their implementation is unilateral and so assertive that they are contributing to a perceptible and dangerous rise in tensions....
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Old 10-16-2007   #2
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Default Georgia and Russia

CACI, 15 Oct 07: The August 2007 Bombing Incident in Georgia: Implications for the Euro-Atlantic Region
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On August 6, 2007, an unidentified aircraft dropped a large air-to-surface missile near a newly upgraded Georgian military radar station, in the vicinity of the South Ossetian conflict zone. The bomb failed to detonate.

Subsequently, two groups of independent experts commissioned by European and American governments confirmed the Georgian government’s allegation that the military aircraft and explosive device, both of types not possessed by Georgia, entered Georgian airspace from the Russian Federation, fired rather than jettisoned the device, and then returned back to Russian airspace. A separate group of experts, convened by the Russian government and consisting only of Russians, nevertheless disputed these conclusions, finding no evidence of Russian involvement.

Why does this incident merit the publication of a Silk Road Paper? Several reasons make this relevant. First, the incident was not an isolated event, but rather part and parcel of an increasingly aggressive effort by Russia’s foreign policy establishment to undermine Georgia’s western orientation. Second, the broader context of the incident has important implications for Euro-Atlantic security interests. Third, the international reaction to the incident – particularly on the part of multilateral organizations such as the OSCE and EU – remained grossly inadequate. Fourth, it is imperative that the Euro-Atlantic community draw the right conclusions from this incident, for at least two reasons: to be better prepared for similar incidents in the future; and to avoid the adoption of policies that may inadvertently encourage this type of actions.

The incident constitutes a flagrant violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and is difficult to interpret as anything other than an act of war. In spite of this, European policy-makers, and particularly multilateral institutions, refrained from identifying, let alone condemning the aggressor. In so doing, they implicitly gave credence to Moscow’s seemingly outrageous assertion that for the second time in six months, Georgia bombed itself with aircraft and weaponry it does not possess, and for the sole purpose of blaming Russia for it. That assertion is eerily reminiscent of an incident that took place in 1993, during the war in Georgia’s breakaway republic of Abkhazia, when unmarked aircraft regularly pounded Georgian positions. Russia’s thendefense minister asserted that Georgia attacked its own positions in order to put the blame for its military weakness and territorial losses on Russia. When Georgian forces succeeded in downing a plane, they dragged out of its cockpit a Russian air force pilot in full uniform, with detailed instructions in his uniform pocket that unequivocally indicated his point of departure – an air base in southern Russia – and mission, to pound Georgian forces along the frontline......
Complete 83 page paper at the link.
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Old 11-08-2007   #3
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Default More on Georgia and Russia (and the USA ?)

"MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - The speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament said on Thursday that Georgia's claim that the Kremlin orchestrated mass unrest in Tbilisi was prompted by the United States."

Although no surprises in the article dumping blame, an interesting correlation that backs the Estonian claims of 'Russian-funded' unrest and violence.

Quote:
Before declaring a 15-day state of emergency in Georgia, Saakashvili said on national television that Russia's special services were behind events in Tbilisi, where thousands of protesters had rallied for six days, calling for the president's resignation.

Saakashvili also said that according to Georgian special services, "an alternative government" has been formed in Russia, which "sent money and instructions."

Gryzlov expressed concern over clashes between protesters and riot police, who used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse the rally on Wednesday. A total of 589 people were injured in the clashes, and 29 protesters remain in hospital, the country's Health Ministry said on Thursday. Police in Tbilisi detained 32 protesters.

The speaker stressed that Russia and its citizens are "not indifferent" to developments in the neighboring countries, and warned that the crisis in Georgia was "the beginning of bloodshed."

Last edited by Stan; 11-08-2007 at 03:49 PM. Reason: forgot a link
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Old 11-08-2007   #4
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Default U.S. aggravating situation in Georgian conflict zones

MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) - American interference is aggravating relations between Georgia and its two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the chief of the Russian General Staff said on Wednesday.

Quote:
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is pushing his country for NATO membership, enjoyed until recently Western backing in his ongoing disputes with Russia, in particular over two breakaway regions that have strong ties with Moscow.

"Events in Georgia are occurring with the interference of the United States," Gen. Yury Baluyevsky said. "Who finances Georgia's $820 million military budget? Who is creating this force, which tomorrow might be used against its own people? I am not ruling this out."

Baluyevsky also said that an incident involving Russian peacekeepers in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia in late October was incited by Tbilisi.
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Old 11-17-2007   #5
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Russia Profile Weekly Experts Panel, 16 Nov 07: Is Russia Behind an Orange Revolution in Georgia?
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....It is clear that Saakashvili has upstaged the opposition by scheduling an early presidential election, for which the latter is unprepared. And it is likely that he will retain his post as the country’s president.

But the question remains – was Russia in any way involved in fermenting the unrest in Georgia and mobilizing the opposition that almost succeeded in brining down the pro-American president that Moscow so much disliked? Has Russia the capability and the resources to help stage its own version of an orange revolution in a post-Soviet state? Or is Moscow simply benefiting from a swell of genuine popular discontent against a leader who has clearly overstepped his boundaries? How will the West react to the opposition’s victory in Georgia? Will the new political regime be pro-Russian or continue the pro-Western and pro-NATO policies that Saakashvili introduced in 2004? How would Russia benefit from such a change in regime?
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Old 06-07-2008   #6
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Default Georgia and Russia: Clashing Over Abhazia

ICG, 5 Jun 08: Georgia and Russia: Clashing Over Abhazia
Quote:
....Moscow deployed additional troops and military hardware, allegedly in furtherance of its peacekeeping mandate, to Georgia’s breakaway territory of Abkhazia in April 2008, thus continuing a pattern of escalating tensions. This includes former President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Russia would formalise ties with Abkhazia and statements by Kremlin officials that Moscow was prepared to use military force to protect its citizens in Abkhazia and South Ossetia if hostilities resumed. How close to that kind of conflict the region may be is suggested by a series of incidents in which unmanned Georgian aircraft have been shot down over Abkhazia, at least once by a Russian jet.

Tbilisi has responded with a diplomatic offensive, enlisting high-level Western political support, while repeating that it wants to resolve the frozen conflicts peacefully. It shares blame for the escalation, however. It has quietly been making military preparations, particularly in western Georgia and Upper Kodori. A number of powerful advisers and structures around President Mikheil Saakashvili appear increasingly convinced a military operation in Abkhazia is feasible and necessary. The option they seem to favour would aim at regaining control of the southern part of the territory so as to establish at least a temporary partition. The Georgians have been warned by their Western partners against attempting a military solution. But there are strong feelings in Tbilisi that something must be done to change a status quo in which Russia challenges the country’s sovereignty with virtual impunity. The risk of miscalculation by either side leading to unintended fighting is also serious....
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Old 06-27-2008   #7
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Eurasia Daily Monitor, 26 Jun 08: The West is Confused About What to Do in Abhazia
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......There do not seem to be any points of agreement between the sides on how to avoid future escalation of the conflict. What is worse, the sides are hardly speaking to each other, let alone listening. Vashadze said that Moscow had indicated that it might allow Georgia to retain nominal sovereignty over Abkhazia and South Ossetia but only if it repudiated its bid to join NATO. Last January in a national referendum, however, over 70 percent of Georgians voted to join the alliance, and the government in Tbilisi is in no position to ignore their expressed will.

The West is at present annoyed by the growing tension but not ready to intervene seriously. The Georgians want to replace or supplement Russian peacekeepers with a multinational force, but EU nations do not have extra troops to send and also believe that Afghanistan, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran are more serious problems. Meanwhile, according to OSCE observers in South Ossetia, there are shooting incidents virtually every day.

In Moscow generals and diplomats do not issue threatening statements without explicit authorization from the top leaders. The language of General Burutin's statement may indicate that Moscow has already made a tentative political decision to commence serious military action in Abkhazia and/or Ossetia in the coming months. Western indifference may be ill-timed.
23 Jun 08: Gazprom's Move on Abhazia: More Reasons for Georgia to Block Russia's WTO Accession
Quote:
Russia’s Gazprom has announced its intention to launch exploration for oil and gas in Abkhazia on July 1, apparently offshore in the Black Sea. According to a notice just circulated by Gazprom’s board, the June 27 shareholders’ meeting will discuss plans by Gazprom, its subsidiary Promgaz, and the Abkhaz authorities to conduct a “technical and economic assessment of the resource base in hydrocarbons of the Republic of Abkhazia and the development of proposals regarding the forms of cooperation between OAO Gazprom and the Republic of Abkhazia in the areas of geological exploration work, production of hydrocarbons, supply of gas and gasification.” Promgaz will undertake this work from July 1, 2008, to December 31, 2009, “in accordance with instructions from OAO Gazprom”....
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Old 07-01-2008   #8
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Georgia claims Russian de facto control of Abkhazia:

http://en.rian.ru/world/20080701/112744626.html
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Old 07-15-2008   #9
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Russia Profile, 14 Jul 08: A Conflict of Interests
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South Ossetia, which is essentially a patchwork of ethnic Ossetian and Georgian villages with a total population estimated at 70,000, has been trying to break away from Georgia since the early 1990s. The recent assassination attempt against the pro-Georgian head of the Provisional Administration of South Ossetia, Dmitry Sanakoyev, shows that the conflict is heating up. Meanwhile, Russia’s support of the separatist authorities is unlikely to decrease, as Moscow wants to maintain its leverage in the region....
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Old 07-22-2008   #10
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Network World, 21 Jul 08: Georgia President's Website Falls Under DDOS Attack
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The Web site for the president of Georgia was knocked offline by a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack over the weekend, yet another in a series of cyberattacks attacks against countries experiencing political friction with Russia.

Georgia's presidential Web site was down for about a day starting early Saturday until Sunday, according to the Shadowserver Foundation, which tracks malicious Internet activity.

Network experts said the attack was executed by a botnet, or a network of computers that can be commanded to overwhelm a Web site with too much traffic.....
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Old 07-22-2008   #11
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ARAG, 14 Jul 08: Georgia and Russia: A Further Deterioration in Relations
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Key Points

* Moscow’s attempts to destabilise Georgia have not declined since the accession of President Medvedev.

* Two recent incidents: the introduction of Russian railway troops without informing or seeking permission from Tbilisi, and the arrest of Russian peacekeepers carrying unauthorised anti-tank missiles have further exacerbated the situation.

* With the Russian Gazprom planning to prospect for oil and gas off the coast of the unrecognised Republic of Abkhazia, the stage is set for a further escalation.
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Old 08-05-2008   #12
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EDM, 4 Aug 08: Moscow Orchestrates War Scare in South Ossetia
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Since July 31, Russian state television channels have been airing inflammatory stories about Georgian forces firing on South Ossetia’s administrative center Tskhinvali, inflicting civilian casualties and causing a refugee exodus to North Ossetia. The allegations are not verified by any independent source nor can they be, given Russia’s exclusion of any meaningful international monitoring in South Ossetia, disabling the OSCE and precluding Georgian air surveillance.

Moscow’s propaganda wave closely resembles previous ones in the continuing political warfare against Georgia. For their part, leaders in Tskhinvali threaten to escalate the hostilities deeper inside Georgian territory, using “their own forces,” that is, a proxy war. “We will force [the Georgians] out from the conflict zone ourselves. I state once again that we have the necessary troops and equipment [sil i sredstv] to do this,” the South Ossetian “president” Eduard Kokoity warned.....
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Old 08-08-2008   #13
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Default (Open) War in the Caucasus?

Most of you will find this an obscure piece of news, but for Russia and the Caucasus this could be momentous: Last night open fighting broke out between the "separatist" forces of South Ossetia and the armed forces of Georgia.

This morning Russian TV showed Katyusha attacks during the night (by whom? on what? can't say -- do not trust propaganda! Russia says Georgia started). At the brake of daylight South Ossetian Su-25 attacked targets in Georgia. The U.N, security council is meeting just now they say (0430h GMT). Developing.

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2....3105&PageNum=0
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Old 08-08-2008   #14
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BBC, 8 Aug 08: Heavy Fighting in South Ossetia
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Georgian forces and South Ossetian separatists have been exchanging heavy fire just hours after agreeing to a ceasefire and Russian-mediated talks.

Russian media reports said Georgia had launched a tank-led attack on the separatist stronghold of Tskhinvali, with at least 15 killed in shelling.

Georgia says its aim is to finish "a criminal regime" and restore order.

Moscow has called on the international community to jointly work "to avert massive bloodshed and new victims".

At Russia's request, members of the UN Security Council are to hold a rare emergency session shortly to discuss a response to the escalating violence.....
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Old 08-08-2008   #15
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Let's wait what will say Lavrov, Medvedev and Putin.

When someone starts war, then he must vision the peace after war ... Which side started the war?

Felgenhauer writes:

Quote:
Kokoity and other Ossetian officials seem to be bent on provoking a major Russian intervention, but apparently not everyone in Moscow is ready to plunge headlong into war.
http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373294

If this is the truth, how will other participants save the face?

Quote:
Dan Fried, the US assistant secretary of state, said Washington and Moscow would jointly work to end the fighting. “It appears that the South Ossetians have instigated this uptick in violence,” he said. “We have urged the Russians to urge their South Ossetian friends to pull back and show greater restraint. And we believe that the Russians are trying to do just that.”
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6e29e178-6...nclick_check=1

Last edited by kaur; 08-08-2008 at 06:57 AM.
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Old 08-08-2008   #16
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How to win international support?

Georigian site in English.
http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=18957

Russian site in English.
http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/28640
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Old 08-08-2008   #17
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It's interesting that this is happening when the world's media is focused on the opening of the Olympic games.
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Old 08-08-2008   #18
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If the Georgians are calculating that the Russian response will be muted because of the Olympics, I think they're badly miscalculating.

Nice footage of a Georgian BM-21 (?) battery fire at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7546639.stm (the BBC also have raw footage of Georgian CAS and Russian armor reinforcements).
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Old 08-08-2008   #19
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Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
If the Georgians are calculating that the Russian response will be muted because of the Olympics, I think they're badly miscalculating.
More likely Georgia decided that the best time to establish population control is when the media isn't watching. I suspect that's because they're not planning to emphasize winning hearts and minds.
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Old 08-08-2008   #20
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Eurasia Daily Monitor reported last week that battalion of Russian Railroad Troops had finished a two month's reconstruction of a railroad that had been out of service since fighting back in 1992. With the 58th Army on the frontier, once that railroad was finished, the Georgians knew it was on. The Olympics of course are convenient to deflect international public opinion from Russian activities.

Apparently, the Russian reconnaissance battalion leading Russian troops into the South Ossetian capital today has been caught in a bit of a snare laid by the Georgians. Things are getting real interesting. I wonder if news from Abkhazia may not be far off.

Now I'm waiting to see what happens in Eritrea, too, with the imminent departure of the UN force there.
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