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The Ossetian Conflic


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I've only been watching this out of the corner of my eye until now. Most Americans had probably never even heard of Ossetia before this tragedy hit the news. I had come across the Osstetians a while back when doing research on ancient religions and cultures. The Osstentians, IIRC, are an Iranian stock related to the Scythians. They may be the people with most legitimate claim to the title of "Scythian". Whatever the case may be in that regard, they have been where they now live for centuries. They now appear to be the people caught in this bloody crossfire.

Here's one article I came across regarding what's going on. I have to ask why the hell Israel is involved with this. That scares me. AFAIK, Debka is an Israeli-based source.

http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=1358

Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax.

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin threatened a “military response.”

Former Soviet Georgia called up its military reserves after Russian warplanes bombed its new positions in the renegade province.

In Moscow’s first response to the fall of Tskhinvali, president Dimitry Medvedev ordered the Russian army to prepare for a national emergency after calling the UN Security Council into emergency session early Friday.

Reinforcements were rushed to the Russian “peacekeeping force” present in the region to support the separatists.

Georgian tanks entered the capital after heavy overnight heavy aerial strikes, in which dozens of people were killed.

Lado Gurgenidze, Georgia's prime minister, said on Friday that Georgia will continue its military operation in South Ossetia until a "durable peace" is reached. "As soon as a durable peace takes hold we need to move forward with dialogue and peaceful negotiations."

DEBKAfile’s geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in tiny Georgia and its 4.5 million inhabitants. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.

The Russians may just bear with the pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili’s ambition to bring his country into NATO. But they draw a heavy line against his plans and those of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route the oil routes from Azerbaijan and the gas lines from Turkmenistan, which transit Georgia, through Turkey instead of hooking them up to Russian pipelines.

Saakashvili need only back away from this plan for Moscow to ditch the two provinces’ revolt against Tbilisi. As long as he sticks to his guns, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will wage separatist wars.

DEBKAfile discloses Israel’s interest in the conflict from its exclusive military sources:

Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azarbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel’s oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean.

Aware of Moscow’s sensitivity on the oil question, Israel offered Russia a stake in the project but was rejected.

Last year, the Georgian president commissioned from private Israeli security firms several hundred military advisers, estimated at up to 1,000, to train the Georgian armed forces in commando, air, sea, armored and artillery combat tactics. They also offer instruction on military intelligence and security for the central regime. Tbilisi also purchased weapons, intelligence and electronic warfare systems from Israel.

These advisers were undoubtedly deeply involved in the Georgian army’s preparations to conquer the South Ossetian capital Friday.

In recent weeks, Moscow has repeatedly demanded that Jerusalem halt its military assistance to Georgia, finally threatening a crisis in bilateral relations. Israel responded by saying that the only assistance rendered Tbilisi was “defensive.”

This has not gone down well in the Kremlin. Therefore, as the military crisis intensifies in South Ossetia, Moscow may be expected to punish Israel for its intervention.

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I've only been watching this out of the corner of my eye until now. Most Americans had probably never even heard of Ossetia before this tragedy hit the news. I had come across the Osstetians a while back when doing research on ancient religions and cultures. The Osstentians, IIRC, are an Iranian stock related to the Scythians. They may be the people with most legitimate claim to the title of "Scythian". Whatever the case may be in that regard, they have been where they now live for centuries. They now appear to be the people caught in this bloody crossfire.

Here's one article I came across regarding what's going on. I have to ask why the hell Israel is involved with this. That scares me. AFAIK, Debka is an Israeli-based source.

Hi Atlas,

What makes me laugh is the fact that Georgia was able to leave the USSR and set it's own government up so it had self determination, but it now refuses to allow South Ossetia to unite with it's brother North Ossetia, even though the South Ossetian's are the majority in that region outnumbering the Georgians 4 to 1. That's democracy working for you kid.

Or is it to do with the fact that Russia doesn't like the fact that Azerbaijan is supplying oil through Georgia to the Caspian Sea and Europe, thus lowering the price and control of oil prices in that region and maybe loosing Russia a lot of profit.

Regards, Danny

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I've only been watching this out of the corner of my eye until now. Most Americans had probably never even heard of Ossetia before this tragedy hit the news. I had come across the Osstetians a while back when doing research on ancient religions and cultures. The Osstentians, IIRC, are an Iranian stock related to the Scythians. They may be the people with most legitimate claim to the title of "Scythian". Whatever the case may be in that regard, they have been where they now live for centuries. They now appear to be the people caught in this bloody crossfire.

Here's one article I came across regarding what's going on. I have to ask why the hell Israel is involved with this. That scares me. AFAIK, Debka is an Israeli-based source.

Video - Georgia-Russia - Why You Should Care

The first catalyst was recognition of Kosovo's February declaration of independence by the United States and European powers. Vladimir Putin, then Russia's president and now its powerful prime minister, had warned for years of the danger of recognizing Kosovo without Serbia's agreement. After it occurred, James Traub writes in the New York Times, "Mr. Putin responded by leveling a blow at America's Caucasus darling." Putin set in motion moves to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and stepped up patrols of Russian forces—ostensibly peacekeepers—in those regions. Russia expert Dmitri Simes of the Nixon Center told a CFR meeting late last year that Western recognition of Kosovo would have to be followed by a "quid pro quo in the Caucasus or where we are [is] a new era in international relations" between Russia and the West.

A second international catalyst for Russia's offensive in Georgia was a decision at NATO's Bucharest summit in April. The alliance, in a bow to Russia, declined to consider Georgia and Ukraine right away for a Membership Action Plan, or MAP. But a NATO statement pledging to reconsider the two countries' bids in December infuriated the Kremlin. Russia followed that decision by stepping up moves to upgrade its relations with the two breakaway Georgian regions, which it already provided with crucial economic support.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/152216

Georgia leader to accept cease-fire plan

Troops seen moving to gorge in west; death toll said to reach 2,000

TBILISI, Georgia - Declaring "the aggressor has been punished," the Kremlin ordered a halt Tuesday to Russia's devastating assault on Georgia — five days of air and ground attacks that left homes in smoldering ruins and uprooted 100,000 people.

Georgia said the bombs and shells were still coming hours after the cease-fire was declared, and its President Mikhail Saakashvili said Russia's aim all along was not to gain control of two disputed provinces but to "destroy" the smaller nation, a former Soviet state and current U.S. ally.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking in Moscow, said Georgia had paid enough for its attack on South Ossetia, a separatist region along the Russian border with close ties to Russia.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26116598

It's a power play with potential serious repercussions for Europe and the United States, partially because of the oil pipeline in the region (operated by British Petroleum) that goes from Georgia through Turkey, and supplies natural gas to France. It's notable that France brokered the cease-fire agreement.

When the pipeline was built, the United States successfully argued to have it pass in territory outside of Russia. Now that Russia is no longer a debtor nation as it was at the time the pipeline was planned and built, it has apparently decided to flex its political muscle similar to the old days.

Edited by eternal light
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Hi Atlas,

What makes me laugh is the fact that Georgia was able to leave the USSR and set it's own government up so it had self determination, but it now refuses to allow South Ossetia to unite with it's brother North Ossetia, even though the South Ossetian's are the majority in that region outnumbering the Georgians 4 to 1. That's democracy working for you kid.

Or is it to do with the fact that Russia doesn't like the fact that Azerbaijan is supplying oil through Georgia to the Caspian Sea and Europe, thus lowering the price and control of oil prices in that region and maybe loosing Russia a lot of profit.

Regards, Danny

Even though the President of Georgia is a friend of the United States he is a bit of a loose cannon. Seems like he made a calculated gamble and the Russians called his bluff. I actually think the Russians had to take this action in order to prove a point. For them this is not just about South Ossetia, but also any possible break away regions as well.

We are well advised to stay out of Russia's business on this deal in my opinion.

Edited by Del Zeppnile
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That's not a very open way to discuss this matter, which is why I normally decline engaging in these type of subjects. If I'm mislead, or you're Iranian or something - just say it?

I am American. Iran has done nothing to threaten me.

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The Chief of Russian ground forces, Igor Konashenkov, claims Georgian military action in Tskhinvali has destroyed all hospitals, killing many children. He also says the South Ossetian capital is almost ruined and left without water or electricity.

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This strikes me as complete Western elitist propaganda spew. Note that they are telling us that Russians are bombing the Ossetians, and the Ossetians are fleeing into Russia.

This looks like another case of "western" covert destabilization.

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Bush says US military will deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia

• Mission to include Pentagon aircraft and naval vessels

• Condoleezza Rice dispatched to Tblisi

Elana Schor in Washington

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday

George Bush today said the US military would start delivering humanitarian aid to Georgia amid reports that Russia has broken the terms of a ceasefire in the Caucasus conflict.

Bush also has dispatched Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, to Tbilisi "to rally a free world in defence of a free Georgia", as he put it. Rice will first meet with French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who helped orchestrate the ceasefire that Russia is accused of breaking.

"The US stands with the democratically elected government of Georgia and insists the territorial sovereignty of Georgia be respected," Bush said.

"We expect Russia to honour its commitment to let in all forms of humanitarian assistance."

The US military's humanitarian mission to Georgia will include Pentagon aircraft and naval vessels, Bush said. It is unclear when the first shipment of aid can arrive in the embattled nation and whether Russian forces will perceive the assistance as a US intervention.

The US military's humanitarian mission to Georgia will include Pentagon aircraft and naval vessels, Bush said. It is unclear when the first shipment of aid can arrive in the embattled nation and whether Russian forces will perceive the assistance as a US intervention.

Bush's promise of aid comes as Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili expressed frustration with the pace of the American response to the Caucasus conflict. The US-educated Saakashvili has touted his closeness to western leaders, including Republican presidential nominee John McCain, and appeared dismayed at his allies' failure to intervene in the crisis.

"Yesterday I heard Senator McCain say, 'we are all Georgians now'," Saakashvili told CNN today, referring to a speech in which the Republican candidate declared solidarity with Tbilisi.

McCain has accused Democratic rival Barack Obama of mounting an insufficiently vocal defence of Georgia as Russian troops crossed into its independent territory this week. The Republican's closeness to Saakashvili has also drawn criticism: the senior foreign policy adviser to McCain was a paid lobbyist for Georgia until three months ago.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Bush criticised early reports that Moscow already has violated the terms of the French-brokered ceasefire, obstructing parts of the city of Gori and threatening Tbilisi. He sternly warned Russian fighters to refrain from harming Georgians who are caught in the crossfire.

"All forces, including Russian forces, have an obligation to protect innocent civilians," Bush said.

The US is facing questions this week about whether its public engagement with Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili gave the small nation misguided hope that America would defend them in case of hostilities with Russia.

Rice made a high-profile visit to Tbilisi last month, as Saakashvili escalated a push to hold onto the breakaway province of South Ossetia. But Rice sent a deputy to warn Georgia against sending forces to Ossetia, the New York Times reported today.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/1...rgebush.georgia

Edited by eternal light
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Ex-communist states' backing for Georgia rooted in Soviet trauma

WARSAW (AFP) — A traumatic history at the hands of the Kremlin and enduring fears of Russia are the root of the staunch backing for Georgia offered by Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine, analysts say.

In an unusual step Tuesday the leaders of ex-communist Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine went to Georgia for what they called a called a show of support for the former Soviet republic after Russia's assault.

"Our visit is a sign of the solidarity of our five countries with the Georgian nation, which has been a victim of aggression," Poland's President Lech Kaczynski told reporters.

"Once again, Russia has shown its true face," he said.

On Saturday, Poland and the Baltic states had as "former captive nations" of the Soviet Union issued a joint statement calling on the EU and NATO to oppose Russia's "imperialist" policy towards Georgia.

Fear of Russia cuts deep, said Bartosz Cichocki, an expert at the Polish Institute for International Affairs.

"These nations still remember how in 1939 the Soviet army crossed into their territory to purportedly defend the rights of ethnic minorities," he said, referring to the invasion at the start of World War II, when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union sealed a pact to carve up Poland and the Baltic states.

"And they still remember their dependence on Moscow," which lasted five decades, he told AFP.

Poland, which broke free from Moscow's orbit in 1989, and the Baltic states, which like Georgia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union until it collapsed 1991, are all firm supporters of Tbilisi.

"In the Baltic states and Ukraine, independence is still seen as something fragile and not necessarily built to last. So if it's not defended actively, it can't last," Cichocki explained.

Poland and the Baltic states are solidly anchored in the West.

Warsaw joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004, while the Baltic trio entered both in 2004. They back Georgia and Ukraine's efforts to obtain what they see as those crucial shields.

"People are certainly afraid that Russia could attack Lithuania just like Georgia. And you see that kind of view among politicians," said Lithuanian political scientist Kestutis Girnius.

While arguments rage between Moscow and Tbilisi about who started fighting, Poland and the Baltic states see Georgians as the victims.

"We're Georgia's closest friend in the region. We've suffered the same kind of violence," senior Lithuanian foreign ministry official Zygimantas Pavilionis told AFP.

The Baltic states were scarred by Soviet rule.

On June 14, 1941, tens of thousands of their people were herded onto cattle trains and shipped out to the far eastern reaches of the Soviet Union, where many died.

Moscow's deportation drive was cut short when the Nazis turned on their erstwhile allies on June 22, 1941, pushing the Red Army out of the Baltic states as they invaded the Soviet Union.

In 1944, however, the Soviets ended the Nazis' own bloody occupation, and began a new wave of deportations lasting into the 1950s.

Poles, meanwhile, remember the Soviet killing of some 22,000 Polish POWs in 1940 in what became known as the Katyn massacre, as well as the brutality of communist rule after the war.

Moscow has argued that its assault on Georgia was in part meant to protect Russian citizens in South Ossetia, a breakaway region that Tbilisi had tried to bring to heel.

That rattles Estonia and Latvia, in particular, because Russian-speakers make up around a third of their populations -- a legacy of a Soviet-era settlement drive to tip the ethnic balance.

"If military aggression is being justified by the need to protect Russian citizens, then this should cause concern for all countries with Russian nationals living within their borders," Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said Saturday.

Lithuania's President Valdas Adamkus on Tuesday said the West must remember past failings.

"We can't allow a second Munich, when the international community climbed down to Hitler. That led to World War II, to a huge tragedy and millions of victims," he said.

He was referring to the 1938 Munich conference, when Western nations tried to ward off war by accepting Adolf Hitler's demands that Nazi Germany be awarded Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland region.

Hitler argued that he was defending the interests of the region's mainly German-speaking population.

Girnius said such fears are "baseless" today.

"The Baltic states are members of NATO and Russia knows it. Russia wouldn't dare to do there what it did with South Ossetia. Georgia isn't in NATO," he said.

edited to add source

Edited by Uncle Bill
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Moscow has argued that its assault on Georgia was in part meant to protect Russian citizens in South Ossetia, a breakaway region that Tbilisi had tried to bring to heel.

I have to question whether those "Russian citizens in South Ossetia" are anything more than the recently mobilized military "peacekeeping" troops that Russia has placed there. It seems more as if Russia is interested in annexing free states against their will. Why would anyone need to bomb hospitals and a university to "punish" people? That only hurts civilians.

It's doubtful that Russia is playing with a full deck of cards in this situation. We are witnessing a brutal, raw power grab by Russia's recently dusted-off military machine, the same one the world has always loathed. Interestingly, one or two of the free adjoining states are using rubles for their currency and Russia issues passports to them in addition to their own.

George Bush had reminded everyone of the time that Russia invaded Czechoslavia in 1968. I don't know if he mentioned the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956. One of my neighbors fled Hungary while she was pregnant and her husband carried their first-born son to escape through the land-mined fields.

A FEW hours after it happened, the Czechoslovaks staged a haunting protest. They froze. Wherever they were, at work or in the streets, they stood still for a minute, in a silent outcry against the invaders. When news spread of what the Russians had done, the world, too, froze for an instant.

It was an instant of fear and incredulity. The event, though discussed and weighed as a possibility, had seemed unlikely. After all, it was 15 years after Stalin's death, twelve years after Hungary. The West had come to accept the "new maturity" of Russia's leaders. The relative liberalization of Soviet society and the increasing autonomy of Moscow's erstwhile satellites in Eastern Europe had also been taken for granted as an irreversible reaction to the harsh rigidities of the Stalinist past. The softening of Communism ("They are getting more like us, and we are getting more like them") had become one of the dubiously hopeful cliches of the day. In one brutal night's work, Moscow undercut, if it did not erase, all such assumptions. For all the changes, the Soviet Union still could not bear the contagion of freedom from Czechoslovakia spreading into other Eastern European countries and into Russia itself (see THE WORLD).

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...,844568,00.html

November 4, 1956

1956: Soviet troops overrun Hungary

The Soviet air force has bombed part of the Hungarian capital, Budapest, and Russian troops have poured into the city in a massive dawn offensive.

At least 1,000 Soviet tanks are reported to have entered Budapest and troops deployed throughout the country are battling with Hungarian forces for strategic positions.

The Soviet invasion is a response to the national uprising led by Prime Minister Imre Nagy, who has promised the Hungarian people independence and political freedom.

Mr Nagy's anti-Soviet policies, which include withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, have been worrying Eastern Bloc countries and Moscow has demanded his government's capitulation.

Appeal to the West

News of the attack came at 0515 local time on Radio Budapest in an urgent appeal by Mr Nagy himself for help from the West.

Despite an apparent withdrawal only last week, Soviet troops deployed outside Budapest swept back into the capital with Russian and Romanian reinforcements between 0400 and 0800 local time.

The Times newspaper reports that artillery units pounded Budapest from the surrounding hills as Soviet MIG fighters bombarded the capital from the air.

Sources say Soviet infantry units stormed the Parliament building, a key strategic and symbolic target, early this morning.

'Crushed'

Reports that Mr Nagy and other members of his cabinet were captured in the attack have not been confirmed.

But in an unscheduled newscast on Moscow radio shortly after 1200GMT, Russia claimed to have "crushed the forces of reactionary conspiracy against the Hungarian people".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/s...000/2739039.stm

The Kremlin has used this type of propaganda before, claiming that it is protecting citizens in an attempt to mask the true nature of their military invasion designed to overthrow free states and annex their territory.

Edited by eternal light
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This strikes me as complete Western elitist propaganda spew. Note that they are telling us that Russians are bombing the Ossetians, and the Ossetians are fleeing into Russia.

This looks like another case of "western" covert destabilization.

Covert destabilization?

We would "covertly" help Russia...really? Thats what you think?

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I tend to agree with this appraisal, particularly the bold section.

What Russia's war reveals

The choice to invade Georgia exposes the raw disdain for democracy that drives Moscow’s authoritarian government. The world must wonder, who’s next?

By Leon Aron

With Russia's agreeing to the France-brokered peace plan to halt its war on Georgia, the hostilities might be at an end. But the echo of this war is likely to reverberate in this part of the world for many years to come. Regardless of who started it and who, ostensibly, sought to "protect" whose "citizens," what has become Russia's war on Georgia has already revealed, or confirmed, a few crucial and troubling things about the Moscow regime that the West must take into consideration from this point forward.

The most important one has been Vladimir Putin's role. Not only was he a de facto commander in chief and the spokesman for the Kremlin (the roles that constitutionally belong to President Dmitry Medvedev, elected in March), but the Russian news media also have gone out of their way to play up this pre-eminence of the prime minister, who is supposed to be working for the president and could be fired by him. Putin flew from the opening of the Olympics in Beijing (where he was the only unelected prime minister among heads of states) directly to the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz to lead the war. He was then shown on Russian television conferring with the local military and civilian leaders, instructing Medvedev about what needs to be done, talking to the refugees from South Ossetia and visiting with the wounded in a hospital. And, of course, angrily rebuffing the U.S criticism of Russia's actions.

Setbacks for democracy

Thus, "Prime Minister" Putin confirmed to Russia and the world what many have suspected: The elections in Russia are a sham, and so is the constitutional division of power. Buried under the rubble in the Georgian city of Gori are also the vague hopes of Medvedev's trimming at least the excesses of Putinism with domestic "liberalization" and a more accommodating foreign policy that his speeches had seemed to imply. All his words about the "rule of law" and "freedom of speech" and "anti-corruption" appear today to have as little credibility as the man who said them. To the extent that there were the "liberals" and the "hard-liners" among the Russian leadership, the distinction seemed to matter little when a decision was made to choose war. Most disconcerting, the Georgia incursion is a colossal setback for the already weak forces of democracy inside Russia.

This outcome augurs very badly for Russia's behavior in the world as well. Plenty of authoritarian regimes have been relatively content to fulfill their domestic agendas, without indulging their foreign policy ambitions. Neither under czars nor under the Soviets could Russia be counted among such political systems. Russian authoritarianism historically seems to be wedded to warmongering, conquests, victories and defeats. Long before this war, Putinism had instilled the Russian policy, politics and public opinion with the key elements of what might be called a "restless" and imperial-minded authoritarianism:

*

The intensely personal system of power, in which the "national leader" rather than democratic institutions rule.

*

The state propaganda themes of loss and imperial nostalgia (Putin declared the demise of the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century).

*

The idea of the besieged fortress Russia surrounded by cunning, ruthless and plotting enemies on every side.

*

Spy mania.

*

The labeling of political opposition as the "fifth column" traitors.

Even so, until this past week, Moscow had not sought to alter the rules of the game or change the partners: It denounced the pro-Western regimes in the Baltics, Georgia and Ukraine, but did not seek to punish or replace them by force. Now the line might have been crossed. Russia is not likely to walk away from this conflict without substantially and, more likely, fatally damaging Georgia's ability to conduct independent policies inside and, especially, outside the country. Moscow's insistence, from the very beginning, that "genocide" was committed by the Georgian leadership and that it intended to punish the perpetrators seems to have laid the ground for a longer-term intervention.

Will Ukraine be next?

If Russia indeed has reverted to the traditional role of warlike authoritarianism and if, as seems to be the case, it pays no or a very small price internationally for this war, then the next victim is not at all hard to name. It is the pro-Western, struggling democracy of Ukraine, teeming with millions of ethnic Russians (or Russian-speakers). In fact, in the past few months a steady and increasingly loud propaganda drumbeat has sounded in Moscow, echoed in the parliament, the Duma: Do not vacate the Black Sea fleet's base of Sevastopol and, furthermore, reclaim the entire Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine! ("George," Putin reportedly told President Bush at the NATO summit in April in Romania, "Ukraine is not even a real state!") That is why Kiev has been so vociferous in its support for Georgia.

There could be big trouble ahead and the United States, regardless of who the next president will be, should be ready.

Leon Aron is resident scholar and director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Russia's Revolution: Essays 1989-2006

source

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The most important one has been Vladimir Putin's role.

Putin's Career Rooted in Russia's KGB

By David Hoffman

Washington Post Foreign Service

Sunday, January 30, 2000; Page A1

DRESDEN, Germany – In the gray villa at No. 4 Angelikastrasse here, perched on a hill overlooking the Elbe River, a young major in the Soviet secret police spent the last half of the 1980s recruiting people to spy on the West.

Vladimir Putin looked for East Germans who had a plausible reason to travel abroad, such as professors, journalists, scientists and technicians, for whom there were acceptable "legends," or cover stories.

The legend was often a business trip, during which the agents could covertly link up with other spies permanently stationed in the West. According to German intelligence specialists who described Putin's task, the goal was stealing Western technology or NATO secrets. A newly revealed document shows Putin was trying to recruit agents to be trained in "wireless communications." But for what purpose is not clear.

Putin defends the Soviet-era intelligence service to this day. In recent comments to a writers' group in Moscow, he even seemed to excuse its role in dictator Joseph Stalin's brutal purges, saying it would be "insincere" for him to assail the agency where he worked for so many years. Fiercely patriotic, Putin once said he could not read a book by a Soviet defector because "I don't read books by people who have betrayed the Motherland."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl...iagov/putin.htm

His influence arguably led to the bombing of hospitals and a university during this current military invasion of free states. That is an assault on civilians.

Edited by eternal light
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His influence arguably led to the bombing of hospitals and a university during this current military invasion of free states. That is an assault on civilians.

I'm hearing a lot of conflicting information on this. Some people are claiming that accounts of atrocities are grossly exaggerated, or completely fabricated. Human Rights Watch said earlier today that they believe the number of fatalities was significantly inflated. Bear in mind that lies, distortions and other forms of disinformation are just as much weapons of war as are bombs and guns.

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If Russia indeed has reverted to the traditional role of warlike authoritarianism and if, as seems to be the case, it pays no or a very small price internationally for this war, then the next victim is not at all hard to name. It is the pro-Western, struggling democracy of Ukraine, teeming with millions of ethnic Russians (or Russian-speakers). In fact, in the past few months a steady and increasingly loud propaganda drumbeat has sounded in Moscow, echoed in the parliament, the Duma: Do not vacate the Black Sea fleet's base of Sevastopol and, furthermore, reclaim the entire Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine! ("George," Putin reportedly told President Bush at the NATO summit in April in Romania, "Ukraine is not even a real state!") That is why Kiev has been so vociferous in its support for Georgia.

In the end it is all about oil it would seem.

Israel backs Georgia in Caspian Oil Pipeline Battle with Russia

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

August 8, 2008

Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax.

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin threatened a “military response.”

Former Soviet Georgia called up its military reserves after Russian warplanes bombed its new positions in the renegade province.

In Moscow’s first response to the fall of Tskhinvali, president Dimitry Medvedev ordered the Russian army to prepare for a national emergency after calling the UN Security Council into emergency session early Friday.

Reinforcements were rushed to the Russian “peacekeeping force” present in the region to support the separatists.

Georgian tanks entered the capital after heavy overnight heavy aerial strikes, in which dozens of people were killed.

Lado Gurgenidze, Georgia's prime minister, said on Friday that Georgia will continue its military operation in South Ossetia until a "durable peace" is reached. "As soon as a durable peace takes hold we need to move forward with dialogue and peaceful negotiations."

DEBKAfile’s geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in tiny Georgia and its 4.5 million inhabitants. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.

The Russians may just bear with the pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili’s ambition to bring his country into NATO. But they draw a heavy line against his plans and those of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route the oil routes from Azerbaijan and the gas lines from Turkmenistan, which transit Georgia, through Turkey instead of hooking them up to Russian pipelines.

Saakashvili need only back away from this plan for Moscow to ditch the two provinces’ revolt against Tbilisi. As long as he sticks to his guns, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will wage separatist wars.

DEBKAfile discloses Israel’s interest in the conflict from its exclusive military sources:

Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azarbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel’s oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean.

Aware of Moscow’s sensitivity on the oil question, Israel offered Russia a stake in the project but was rejected.

Last year, the Georgian president commissioned from private Israeli security firms several hundred military advisers, estimated at up to 1,000, to train the Georgian armed forces in commando, air, sea, armored and artillery combat tactics. They also offer instruction on military intelligence and security for the central regime. Tbilisi also purchased weapons, intelligence and electronic warfare systems from Israel.

These advisers were undoubtedly deeply involved in the Georgian army’s preparations to conquer the South Ossetian capital Friday.

In recent weeks, Moscow has repeatedly demanded that Jerusalem halt its military assistance to Georgia, finally threatening a crisis in bilateral relations. Israel responded by saying that the only assistance rendered Tbilisi was “defensive.”

This has not gone down well in the Kremlin. Therefore, as the military crisis intensifies in South Ossetia, Moscow may be expected to punish Israel for its intervention.

http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=1358

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Not the Russian soldiers but the Goergian ones have already killed 2000 peaceful people. They have started the war, not Russia. Obvoiusly, the President of Georgia just wants to become a NATO member so he needs some territory. He wouldn't do all that stuff without support of the President of the USA. Soon everybody will know the truth.

Peace.

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