Trying to make sense of the Georgia War...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 13, 2008 2:55 PM GMT
    I did some research on Wikipedia to what the story behind this war in Georgia might be. It doesnt appear to be a cut and dried case of Russia just charging into another country.

    The Ossetians, who are a cultural and linguistic group, moved into this area straddling the Caucasus Mountains back in the 12th century during the Mongol invasions.

    The Abkhazians are also an ethnically separate group from the Georgians. They have a history of being in and out of kingdoms and soviet republics with the Georgians.

    In the early '90s, South Ossetia and Abkhazia opted for independence from Georgia but settled for self-autonomy within the Georgia Republic. Neither is recognized as independent of Georgia by any country.

    So we have a situation here of people who are not ethinically Georgian and who dont want to be a part of the Republic of Georgia.

    So who is right? Georgia for trying to hang on to the territory or these people who want independence from Georgia?


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    Aug 13, 2008 3:07 PM GMT
    I thought I knew my world geography well, but I must admit until I subscribed to the Economist I had never heard of Ossetia.

    Like you said Caslon6000 this is a much more complicated situation then the Russians being bullies. That being said, Russia's attitude towards its' neighbours is becoming worrisome. They seem to be reacting to their earlier humiliation in the 1980s and 1990s by becoming the local bully. Their oil revenues are allowing them to build up their military again and assert their influence over the region. Actually reminds me of a more extreme example of the Reagan years when the US started acting much more aggressively following the humiliation of Vietnam.

    Supposedly Russia's next focus will be on the Ukraine. I wonder if Chewey_Delt is following this saga in Armenia (I believe Armenia is close to Georgia).
  • tokugawa

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    Aug 13, 2008 5:36 PM GMT
    The situation in Georgia is blowback from our support of Kosovo. The United States set a precedent of supporting a breakaway region of a sovereign nation, Serbia, which was invaded in violation of international law (the Iraq invasion also was a violation of international law.) Kosovo has now declared its independence, which the United States and its allies recognize, although Serbia does not. If Kosovo can break away from Serbia, why can't pieces of Georgia do the same thing? We opened a real can of worms in the Balkans, and some of the things we did there are coming back to haunt us.

    Another complicating factor is Iran. We need Russia’s support in the U.N. to impose more sanctions on Iran. If we make a big deal about Georgia, Russia can cast a veto in the U.N. Security Council whenever we want to turn the screws tighter on Iran.
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    Aug 13, 2008 5:48 PM GMT
    tokugawa saidThe situation in Georgia is blowback from our support of Kosovo. The United States set a precedent of supporting a breakaway region of a sovereign nation, Serbia, which was invaded in violation of international law (the Iraq invasion also was a violation of international law.) Kosovo has now declared its independence, which the United States and its allies recognize, although Serbia does not. If Kosovo can break away from Serbia, why can't pieces of Georgia do the same thing? We opened a real can of worms in the Balkans, and some of the things we did there are coming back to haunt us.


    Well, this brings up the question of which is more important the "country" or the people. Many countries are historical amalgums that make no sense population-wise. So maybe they should be allowed to disintegrate and reconstitute in a way more appreciable to the people.
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    Aug 13, 2008 5:53 PM GMT
    Ossetia has basically had de-facto independence since the early 90's. What was so special now that Georgia wanted to regain control? I'm not saying Russia is not to blame, they allowed Ossetians to become Russian citizens, but when they invaded, Russian troops has no right to advance into Georgia proper... I mean they've almost split the country into two... there was no need for that, and then just today they basically rejected a cease-fire agreement. As Surreallife stated, Russia's attempts at dominating the region again are really troubling. Btw... international relations is my major, so this is like my bread and butter (that I dont let myself have anymore icon_smile.gif.)
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    Aug 13, 2008 5:53 PM GMT
    I was wondering where this all stemmed from. I didn't even know there was a war going on in Georgia until this past Monday! Thanks for the info!
  • swimbikerun

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    Aug 13, 2008 5:56 PM GMT
    The US has been secretly aiding the Georgian government.

    "Georgia would not have made any such move into South Ossetia without the backing of the US. It now seems, though, that both the US and Georgia have badly misjudged the Russian reaction and the US are unable to move."

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/
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    Aug 13, 2008 6:03 PM GMT
    shawnrt83 saidOssetia has basically had de-facto independence since the early 90's. What was so special now that Georgia wanted to regain control? I'm not saying Russia is not to blame, they allowed Ossetians to become Russian citizens, but when they invaded, Russian troops has no right to advance into Georgia proper... I mean they've almost split the country into two... there was no need for that, and then just today they basically rejected a cease-fire agreement. As Surreallife stated, Russia's attempts at dominating the region again are really troubling. Btw... international relations is my major, so this is like my bread and butter (that I dont let myself have anymore icon_smile.gif.)


    This is how it got started now...

    Beginning late on 1 August 2008, intense fighting began between Georgian troops and paramilitary soldiers of South Ossetia. On August 3, South Ossetians started to evacuate into Russia and on August 4, Russia moved its 58th Army next to the border and day later russian ambassador Yuri Popov warned that Russia will intervene if conflict erupts. [18][19] On August 7, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili offered a ceasefire, but fighting intensified. In a televised address, Mikhail Saakashvili has vowed to restore Tbilisi's control over what he called the "criminal regime" in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and reinforce order. [20] During the night and early morning Georgia launched a military offensive to surround and capture the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali.[21] Georgia claimed that South Ossetian separatists had shelled Georgian villages in violation of a ceasefire. South Ossetia denies provoking the conflict.[22][14] Russia threatened to respond to defend South Ossetians against "a genocide by Georgian forces".[23][14]

    On August 8, 2008, Russia sent troops across the Georgian border to South Ossetia to stop Georgia’s massive offensive against its breakaway territory in which up to 2,000 civilians (at least 1000[24] ) and about 20 Russian peacekeepers were killed. In five days of fighting the Russian forces recaptured the regional capital Tskhinvali, pushed back Georgian troops, and largely destroyed Georgia’s military infrastructure in airstrikes deep inside its territory.[25] Georgia retreated from its offensive in South Ossetia, then claimed to be defending itself against "Russian aggression."[26] Russia responded to the charge in the United Nations, saying Georgia had started the war by conducting a military operation against South Ossetia.[14]

    On the night of August 11, Russian paratroopers deployed in Abkhazia carried out raids deep inside Georgian territory to destroy military bases from where Georgia could send reinforcements to its troops sealed off in Abkhazia. The Russian military said they were not taking part in the Abkhaz assault on the Georgian forces. The separatist forces launched a military offensive on August 12 to oust Georgian troops out of a demilitarized zone on the border with Georgia.[25] On the August 13, Georgian official said that Georgian forces have completely left the Abkhazia.[27]

    Russian forces moved from South Ossetia into Georgia proper, destroyed military bases near Abkhazia and launched airstrikes in other parts of Georgia. The Georgian government also asserted Russian military activity in the port of Poti and the town of Gori. Russian shelling killed a Dutch reporter from the RTL channel.[28] Since Gori is along Georgia's main highway, its occupation by Russian forces would cut Georgia's lines of communication and logistics in two.

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    Aug 13, 2008 6:07 PM GMT
    Does anybody remember last year when Russia cut off Georgia's gas supplies temporarily?

    Problems between these two countries have been brewing for sometime. As long as the ex-KGB strongman Mr. Putin is in power, Russia will continue to flex its' muscles. Venezuela is of a similar bent in South America with the ex-army bully Chavez as leader.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Aug 13, 2008 6:33 PM GMT
    The Russians are attacking Georgia???? Are our RJ brothers in Atlanta all right?? What do the Russians have against peaches????icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Aug 13, 2008 6:37 PM GMT
    Well the U interest in Georgia is the oil pipeline. It brings much need fuel from C. Asia and it bypasses Iran and Russia. I thought an interesting development is that Georgia's president said that the US was going to take over the seaports and some bases to keep them out of Russian control... yet the US and the Defense dept is saying this is not true. It's getting very interesting.
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    Aug 13, 2008 6:42 PM GMT
    shawnrt83 saidWell the U interest in Georgia is the oil pipeline. It brings much need fuel from C. Asia and it bypasses Iran and Russia. I thought an interesting development is that Georgia's president said that the US was going to take over the seaports and some bases to keep them out of Russian control... yet the US and the Defense dept is saying this is not true. It's getting very interesting.

    The Russians have blockaded Georgia's coast with their ships. The Ukraine is talking about not letting the russian fleet back into their ports as a sign of solidarity with Georgia. But the Russians supply gas/oil to the Ukraine. So the whole thing could get really ugly. But I doubt Russia or anyone else wants it to go that far.
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    Aug 13, 2008 6:45 PM GMT
    One has to wonder if Ossetia was advised to underestimate the Russian reaction to independence by a "Western ally" or in fact anticipated Russia's reaction for other geopolitical purposes. There's more than a whiff of the "July Crisis" for my own comfort in the situation.

    IMHO, it just goes to show the "Cold War" is still alive in the hearts and plans of some.
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    Aug 13, 2008 7:47 PM GMT
    I don't believe anything the U.S. says anymore. It's typical they had their hands in this crap and started something because of oil money for which a lot of poor people are going to suffer.
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    Aug 13, 2008 7:54 PM GMT
    As Caslon rightly mentions the Minister of Foreign Affairs here (Ukraine) allegedly said that the Black Sea Fleet would not be allowed to return to Sevastopol as this was in violation of the treaties governing their stationing - however, this has been refuted by the Ministry of Justice stating that the treaties governing the fleet have no wording that has been violated by their departure to Georgia... so we are expecting them to return sometime soon. And no doubt they will receive a rapturous welcome.

    Re: turning of the taps, this is much more effective in the winter than in the summer .... its 31C in Kyiv now... so it would have less effect than in winter when it might hit -10 or -15. So if they are any adverse reactions from Ukraine that Russia dislikes, one suspects they will bank it until the winter!

    Ukraine is in a very delicate position, as Crimea is very pro-Russian and it an autonomous republic within Ukraine - and the Russians would love to have it back - it was allegedly "gifted" to Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine back in the 1960's.

    One thing to note, regarding Russia "flexing" it's muscles is the fact that both Ukraine and Georgia want to join NATO, which Russia views as a big threat and it will do everything in its power to ensure that this will not happen - Medvedev at least has Merkel's support on this - Germany do not want to damage their relationship with Russia and so far they have voiced the biggest opposition to Georgia and Ukraine being offered membership to NATO.... so watch this space... there are many more layers to this story than mere protection of Russian citizens (who by the way would not be welcome in Moscow or many of the other major Russian cities as they do not "look Russian".
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    Aug 13, 2008 9:20 PM GMT
    Hey, I thought I'd give my input since I've been living in Moscow for the last three months and I've been able to see the situation here. It is interesting because Georgians/Ossetians/Caucasians are all fractured between support of the Caucus peoples and of Russia. Basically all Russians hate Saakashvili because he is the epitome of what Russia fears might happen to the CIS countries, it's former allies...that is, warming to the west to the point of possible military alliance. To me, this war was a taste for any other Eastern European nation of what may happen to it if it attempts to court the west. This was not an attack against US interests in earnest, the fact that we are the main advocate of Georgian inclusion into NATO was just an added bonus for Medvedev and Putin.

    As for the actual war starting and how Russia handled it, I think Russia took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself to them. The Georgians were probably messing with the Ossetians, and Russia saw an opportunity to win more separatist hearts in Georgia and other CIS countries, so it went it, and it had the added benefit of kicking the ass of it's second biggest thorn, the first being Ukraine and Timoshenko. Did they go overboard, yeah, of course, why not? I mean, they had already pissed everyone off, and it was obvious that the US wasn't going to do anything too brash after the first day or so. They just went in and clean shop so that the Georgians think twice before attempt anything against Russia or Russian allies in the future.

    Even though the fighting seems to be ending now that all parties have made their respective point(s), I'm happy to be leaving on Sunday for home! I saw a rally today outside an EU building in Moscow with young Russians holding pictures calling Saakashvilli the antichrist and I just though, yeeaaah, it's time to go.
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    Aug 13, 2008 9:23 PM GMT
    swimbikerun saidThe US has been secretly aiding the Georgian government.

    "Georgia would not have made any such move into South Ossetia without the backing of the US. It now seems, though, that both the US and Georgia have badly misjudged the Russian reaction and the US are unable to move."

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/


    The Us has a long history of backing anyone, whom would fight Russia. Thats why thats why the world is now having trouble with the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Americans trained em, and supply em too fight Russia.

    The US. was so anti Russia, it boycotted the 1980 Moscow games. Yet they are at the Communist China games?
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    Aug 13, 2008 9:24 PM GMT
    This is only part of the story.

    During the Soviet years, particularly the Stalin years, the Russians forcibly re-settled ethnic Russians into places they'd never historically lived, including the Baltic republics, Georgia, and Ossetia, Abkhazia, and the various -stans (Kyrgystan, Kazazhstan, etc.).

    When these former provinces broke away in 1991, there remained a sizable Russian minority in them that has been continually agitating for reunification with Mother Russia. Or so the Russians would have us believe. Actually, I doubt they care as much as that, but the Russians have used that as a pretext for this war.

    In Estonia and Latvia, the nascent governments in the early 1990s invited these Russians to get the hell out of there and back home, precisely because they understood that one day Russia might use them as a pretext for re-invasion.

    And this is the exact same pretext that Hitler used for dismembering Czechoslovakia in 1938.
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    Aug 13, 2008 9:38 PM GMT
    Now from whats been said above. Is there much difference with the US A's take over of the Hawaiian Islands. They may not of used bombs, but the place is full of implanted Americans, and they keep promising to give this stolen land back, but never do.

    Is there much difference, to the USA turning Oz into the 51st state, yet no bombs have been dropped.

    US> Tanks roll on foreign land, yet if Russians do the same, there is a wrong in it?

    Oh thats right the USA is only a new culture, and Russia is a very old one, and Oz is the newest of em all.
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    Aug 13, 2008 9:41 PM GMT
    Pattison saidNow from whats been said above. Is there much difference with the US A's take over of the Hawaiian Islands. They may not of used bombs, but the place is full of implanted Americans, and they keep promising to give this stolen land back, but never do.

    Is there much difference, to the USA turning Oz into the 51st state, yet no bombs have been dropped.

    US> Tanks roll on foreign land, yet if Russians do the same, there is a wrong in it?

    Oh thats right the USA is only a new culture, and Russia is a very old one, and Oz is the newest of em all.


    What on earth are you talking about? There has been no massive re-settlement of Americans into Australia, and we never controlled Australia or were able to do so.

    Do you make these inane remarks just to get attention?
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    Aug 13, 2008 9:52 PM GMT
    jprichva said
    Pattison saidNow from whats been said above. Is there much difference with the US A's take over of the Hawaiian Islands. They may not of used bombs, but the place is full of implanted Americans, and they keep promising to give this stolen land back, but never do.

    Is there much difference, to the USA turning Oz into the 51st state, yet no bombs have been dropped.

    US> Tanks roll on foreign land, yet if Russians do the same, there is a wrong in it?

    Oh thats right the USA is only a new culture, and Russia is a very old one, and Oz is the newest of em all.


    What on earth are you talking about? There has been no massive re-settlement of Americans into Australia, and we never controlled Australia or were able to do so.

    Do you make these inane remarks just to get attention?
    There has been an invasion of Americanism on Oz soil! I live her, I know. I have seen it with my very own eyes. One is old enough to remember a time before this come to pass.

    If you want to dismiss Ones comments with attension seeking, so be it.

    But on defence of the USA. One has stated many times. The USA is damned if it does, and damned if it doesn't. But none the less. There has been a huge invasion of Americanism on Australian soil, and it has eroded the Aussie Culture.

    Some may laugh at Oz having it's own culture. But chips whom make tools, are in the early stages of developing their own culture, and like man, they can also be very cruel.
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    Aug 13, 2008 10:23 PM GMT
    Pattison said There has been a huge invasion of Americanism on Australian soil, and it has eroded the Aussie Culture.


    Let move this discussion over to http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/259831/
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    Aug 13, 2008 10:36 PM GMT
    It is one thing for people to move to a country because they wish to do so, and it is quite another to be forcibly re-settled at the order of your government.

    That's why this makes no sense. No one forces Americans to settle in Australia.
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    Aug 13, 2008 10:51 PM GMT
    This conflict baffles me, as does the internal conflict in places like Belgium where people discriminate against others for simply being from the wrong side of town, or a mountain range or national border as the case may be.

    I think that in the states we have a very hard time following and comprehending such antagonism for each other to the point of separation to join another country or become another country.

    Our horrible bout with seperationists during the civil war and our history as an amalgamation of many ethnicities, lends us to look as such things with a cock-eyed stare. At least for me it does.

    I will say that I fear this agression by Russia and their seemingly blindful youth in progressive support of their leaders with unfettered patriotism. Many of them speak as though they have lost the ability of rational thought and see their leaders as only being able to do good and capable of no wrong.

    Hmmm, sounds kind of like our own neo-cons...

    Which brings me to the US' position here. How can Bush so strongly tell Putin he was wrong to invade a soveriegn nation seeking regime change when Bush did the same thing in Iraq. Sigh. Despite Bush's actions we have to stand with the rest of the world denouncing this military action. Georgia is, afterall, a true democracy.

    And Pattison... wasn't Australia originally colonized by the people of Brittish society that Britain wanted off their land? aka prisoners, felons, crazies, and non-conformists?

    Unless you're talking about the ORIGINAL culture of Oz, the Aboriginees, I'm not sure I follow you...

    And I know that statement opens us Amuricans up to a whole debate on the Native Americans.... but I couldn't resist.




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    Aug 14, 2008 12:11 AM GMT
    Georgia invades an autonomous region, autonomous region asks help from Russia, as simple as that.

    Only thing is, why is Russia supporting Ossetian and Abkhazian freedom from another sovereign country while at the same time denying it from the Chechnyans?

    Meh.