Tag Archive for ‘Georgia’
In August, the Georgian navy seized a Turkish tanker carrying fuel to Abkhazia, Georgia’s former province whose declaration of independence a year ago is recognized by Russia but not the West.
The Turkish captain was sentenced to 24 years. When Ankara protested, he was released. Abkhazia has now threatened to sink any Georgian ship interfering in its “territorial waters,” but it has no navy.
Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia makes it imperative to analyze the situation in the Caucasus dispassionately and comprehensively. The mainstream media (MSM) treatment of the crisis has been predictably monolithic, however — almost as biased (“bad Russia!”) as it was shallow. A more nuanced story does exist, but it is not readily available. We bring you a few samples of the commentary and analysis that you will not find in your Gannett paper or on your prime-time news channel.
Had Georgia been in NATO when Mikheil Saakashvili invaded South Ossetia, we would be eyeball to eyeball with Russia, facing war in the Caucasus, where Moscow’s superiority is as great as U.S. superiority in the Caribbean during the Cuban missile crisis.
If the Russia-Georgia war proves nothing else, it is the insanity of giving erratic hotheads in volatile nations the power to drag the United States into war.
As of Saturday, 16 August, both the Russian and Georgian sides of the conflict over the “unrecognized republics” of South Ossetia and Abkhazia had signed a six-point cease-fire agreement stipulating that Georgian forces must move back to their bases, while Russian troops are supposed to draw back to pre-conflict positions. The agreement does, however, leave the Russians some room to take additional “security measures” and reports continue to come in of Russian troops moving closer to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Russian forces have been destroying Georgian military installations and equipment as well.
A week after Georgia’s failed attempt to conquer the breakaway province of South Ossetia, the crisis is over. The only major issue still unresolved concerns Mikheil Saakashvili’s motivation. His order to attack on the night of August 7-8 was a breathtakingly risky move; but was it a calculated, or reckless gamble? That Saakashvili acted with the tacit approval (if not active encouragement) of the United States is reasonable to assume, considering the presence of over a hundred U.S. military advisors in Georgia. Actively involved at all levels of planning, training and equipping the Georgian army, they could not have not known what was coming. Had the Bush administration wanted to stop Saakashvili it could have done so.