The Battle of Ossetia

|

John Edwards picked a pretty good day to admit his caddishness. Not only is it a Friday—the preferred day for dropping ugly and/or embarrassing stories—and the start of the Beijing Olympics, but Vladimir Putin, errr, Dmitri Medvedev sent Russian troops into the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia. Georgia claims it is in control of the Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. The London Times has details:

Russia sent troops and dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles into the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia today, vowing to protect its citizens in a move described by Tbilisi's pro-Western Government as an act of war.

A South Ossetian rebel minister said that more than 1,000 people had been killed in overnight shelling of the city of Tskhinvali, the separatist capital which Georgia claimed today to have captured.

In probably the most serious regional crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, at least 50 Russian tanks—and possibly many more—rumbled through the Roki tunnel, which cuts through the Caucasus mountains separating South Ossetia from the Russian province of North Ossetia.

The London Times on "why this conflict matters to the West." More background from The Economist.

NEXT: A Hayekian Case for Central Banking?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Aw, crap.

  2. Ater Kosovo the West has no justification to deny Ossetia’s independence from Georgia.

  3. I can’t believe some jokers want to bring Georgia into NATO!

    If we had done that, we’d be looking at World War III.

  4. Isn’t this really similar to the plot of one of the Splinter Cell games?

  5. Thank God Georgia isn’t a member of NATO yet.

    From what I know of the situation, South Ossetia wants to be part of Russia and the conflict started when Georgia attacked Russian peacekeepers.

    If this is true, then I would say that our “ally” Georgia is at fault.

    At any rate, like Chechnya and Afghanistan, my message to South Ossetia: Welcome to the Stone Age.

  6. Ater Kosovo the West has no justification to deny Ossetia’s independence from Georgia.

    I don’t recall either one asking us.

    Are the Georgians committing a genocide against Russians?

  7. Man, it’s like Sherman’s march all over again.

  8. “Thank God Georgia isn’t a member of NATO yet. ”

    While we’re at it, lets keep the Ukraine and every other part of the former Soviet Union sans the Baltic States (which are a bit different) from joining.

  9. What BDB said. The Baltics part, too.

    The Warsaw Pact states are one thing, but…let’s not push it here.

  10. I actually think a Kosovo-style multi-national peacekeeping force is needed for South Ossentia.

    As for Kosovo’s independence, I’ve been wondering if they should just partition the province – allowing the Northern, mostly Serb part to remain part of Serbia, and the Albanian part to become independent. If it is basically an ethnic-religious-sectarian conflict, and most people from each sect don’t want to live in a country where the other is a majority, that strikes me as a pragmatic solution. Of course there are mixed areas so some people would still feel out of place or tempted to migrate. But if that is inevitable, its alot easier for a few people to move than millions.

    Or will the Serbs come around and acccept living in an Albanian-dominated independent Kosovo?

    I don’t know enough about South Ossetia to know if such an idea is applicable to that situation though.

  11. What BDB said! How dare we get in the way of Tsar Vladimir the Checkist’s imperial ambitions?

  12. While we’re at it, lets keep the Ukraine and every other part of the former Soviet Union sans the Baltic States (which are a bit different) from joining.

    Do you know what the Ukraine is? It’s a sitting duck. A road apple, Newman. The Ukraine is weak. It’s feeble. I think it’s time to put the hurt on the Ukraine.

  13. thoreau

    Ukraine is joke to you?

    Shouldn’t there be a Russian dating service ad on this thread? Maybe when I come back later.

  14. You left out the part that Georgia started the hostilities. Not that it matters much.

    We should just stay out of it. Those people have been each others’ throats time immemorial and nothing we do can change that.

  15. South Ossetia figured as the backdrop to this article in the Atlantic Monthly a couple of months ago. It’s about smuggling of highly enriched uranium out of Russia.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200804/uranium-smuggling

  16. Georgia’s other breakaway province apparently has monkey’s.

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=georgias-lab-apes-languis

  17. If I remember correctly, S Ossetia has held at least two referendums on independence from Georgia. Every time the vote went for independence, and I know at least one of them was heavily monitored by international observers.

    If Kosovo, then Ossetia. The logic is the same…. And no, Ossetia does not want to join Russia, although they have fellow Ossetians on the other side of the tunnel.

  18. If wouldn’t surprise me that, if South Ossetia gained independence, it would want to join to North Ossetia as one republic; at which point, Russia would likely fight it. And who knows, maybe Georgia would then come to its aid, incorporate it — and then we’re back to where we started. 🙂

  19. What’s the difference who’s selling the oil?

  20. It seems a top McCain adviser is a lobbyist for Georgia:

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/election2008/story/46982.html

  21. Wow dude this would make a great video game.

    JT
    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

  22. What’s the difference who’s selling the oil?

    1 million bbls/day of oil go through Tblisi, Georgia to the Caspian.

  23. Dear Ultimate-Anonymity guy,

    Fuck you and get out of my life.

    Respectfully yours,

    Dog’s New Clothes

  24. Maybe we can send John Edwards over there on one of those Jimmy Carter style personal diplomacy missions. Showing them what American dental care can do might be a big goodwill point for us.

  25. Are the Georgians committing a genocide against Russians?

    Yes. Georgians allegedly killed about 3% of the SO civilian population in one night. Only then did Russia interfere.

  26. First Little Pig,

    If Kosovo, then Ossetia. The logic is the same

    If Kosovo…what?, then Ossetia…what?

    We didn’t go to war to secure Kosovar independence, but to stop Operation Horseshoe.

  27. Even if you back S.O. against the Georgians, how do you defend Russia’s involvement? The conflict between S.O. and Georgia is/was taking place within Georgia’s internationally recognized territory. S.O.’s independence is not recognized by anyone other than Georgia’s other seperatist region and Russia. Sounds like an internal dispute/civil war that Russia is using as an excuse to increase it’s own reach and influence. This is an internal dispute that has been used by Russia as an excuse to launch a war of agression against Georgia.

  28. This is an internal dispute that has been used by Russia as an excuse to launch a war of agression against Georgia.

    First, Georgia has killed a dozen of internationally mandated Russian peacekeepers.
    Second, Georgia is allegedly killing hundreds of civilians. Preventing a genocide is a generally recognized justification for intervention. Of course, it’s only an excuse, but it was very stupid of Saakashvili to give Russia such excuse.

  29. First, Georgia has killed a dozen of internationally mandated Russian peacekeepers.

    proof?


    Second, Georgia is allegedly killing hundreds of civilians. Preventing a genocide is a generally recognized justification for intervention. Of course, it’s only an excuse, but it was very stupid of Saakashvili to give Russia such excuse.

    again, proof? Civilians or rebels? 100s hardely qualify as genocide, who were the people allegedly killed and were they killed due to their ethnicity or their actions?

  30. Preventing a genocide is a generally recognized justification for intervention.

    TThis is clearly an invasion, not an Intervention.

  31. Russia has claimed the Georgian military “invaded” South Ossetia to seize control of its capital, Tskhinvali, but Georgian officials say South Ossetia has never ceased to be part of a sovereign Georgian Republic. Russia’s military says it has “liberated” the city from Georgian forces, while Georgia claims to remain in control of the breakaway capital.

    http://www.casavaria.com/cafesentido/2008/08/09/567/russia-georgia-tensions-intensify-as-jets-strike-georgian-town-civilians-killed/

    And the Georgians would be correct. Or is Russia prepared to say goodbye to Chechnya?

    Has Russia even mentioned genocide as the reason behind it’s invasion?

  32. again, proof? Civilians or rebels? 100s hardely qualify as genocide, who were the people allegedly killed and were they killed due to their ethnicity or their actions?

    Well, you can read all the news stories with all the numbers. Of course, you can argue that these numbers are biased, but so were the numbers justifying Kosovo intervention.
    Hundreds (in fact, about 2000), _is_ genocide, given the total size of the population. The number of civilians killed is getting close to 5% of all population — imagine 20 millions of Americans killed in two days.

    The people allegedly killed were citizens of South Ossetia’s capital, such as those who stayed in the hospital that Georgian’s forces destroyed. In short, Georgians pretty much leveled that whole city.

  33. How many South Ossetians civilians are being killed by Russian Heavy Artillary and Rockets? How many were killed in the last week during Georgia’s own police action within it’s own territory?

    Russia’s not fooling anyone.

  34. Has Russia even mentioned genocide as the reason behind it’s invasion?

    Yes. Well, they didn’t say this particular words, but the need to save the lives of the Russian citizens (90% of Ossetians have Russian passports) was the main excuse given.

  35. How many were killed in the last week during Georgia’s own police action within it’s own territory?
    About two thousands. And of course the fact that it’s their own territory changes a lot. Just ask Saddam and Molosevic.

  36. Well, you can read all the news stories with all the numbers. Of course, you can argue that these numbers are biased, but so were the numbers justifying Kosovo intervention.
    Hundreds (in fact, about 2000), _is_ genocide, given the total size of the population. The number of civilians killed is getting close to 5% of all population — imagine 20 millions of Americans killed in two days.

    The people allegedly killed were citizens of South Ossetia’s capital, such as those who stayed in the hospital that Georgian’s forces destroyed. In short, Georgians pretty much leveled that whole city.

    What were the steps taken internationally before the Kosovo incident? I think it’s ridiculous to compare the two. The stories i’m reading have the Russians bombing the capital not the Georgians.

    Imagine a multitude of U.S. civilians killed in a number of days? I can, it was called the American Civil War, and here’s the thing, It was between Americans. Again, what is Russia’s stake in Georgia’s territory?

  37. Anyone care to explain how Russian Warplanes dropping bombs on Gori and Poit is meant to be an intervention against genocide?

  38. Correction:

    Poti

  39. http://www.gwinnettdailyonline.com/images/FB0809081b.jpg

    An injured Georgian woman calls for help in the town of Gori, 80 kilometres west of Tbilisi, after a Russian warplane bombed an apartment block yesterday.

    I wonder if she feels liberated yet?

  40. About two thousands. And of course the fact that it’s their own territory changes a lot. Just ask Saddam and Molosevic.

    Is it just me, but i think i remember U.N. resolutions and international forces in those conflicts…

  41. Yes. Well, they didn’t say this particular words, but the need to save the lives of the Russian citizens (90% of Ossetians have Russian passports) was the main excuse given.

    So it’s really a no.

  42. The stories i’m reading have the Russians bombing the capital not the Georgians.
    Well, that’s total BS. I read those stories too, with titles like “1.500 dead after Russia invades Georgia”. If you read them carefully you see that those 1.500 were civilians killed by Georgia, but it’s framed to make you think otherwise. I’ve read a number of first-hand accounts, and there’s absolutely no doubt that it was Georgia that devastated Ossetia’s capital before Russian even got involved.

    Imagine a multitude of U.S. civilians killed in a number of days? I can, it was called the American Civil War, and here’s the thing, It was between Americans. Again, what is Russia’s stake in Georgia’s territory?
    Well, I’ve heard there was a conflict between Britain and its colonies, and France got involved. Somehow people don’t seem to blame them for that. Also, there was and independent Confederacy that was attacked by the North States for some unknown reason. Don’t even start talking about Texas or Hawaii.

    The short story is, there is a Northern Ossetia where 80% of Ossetians live. They belong to the Russia and are very loyal. Most of the citizens of the breakaway South Ossetia have Russian passports and are Russian citizens, so of course Russia has obligations to them, both from the political and the ethical point of view.

  43. Anyone care to explain how Russian Warplanes dropping bombs on Gori and Poit is meant to be an intervention against genocide?
    Given the fact that military bases there, that’s a stupid question.

  44. Most of the citizens of the breakaway South Ossetia have Russian passports and are Russian citizens, so of course Russia has obligations to them, both from the political and the ethical point of view.

    Given to them by the Russian government during a period when Russia was meant to be a nuetral “peacekeeping force”. I don’t know about you, but if Mexico started funneling supplies, weapons, and passports to Mexican seperatists in Nevada and Arizona…

  45. I wonder if she feels liberated yet?

    Freedom always comes on the coattails of cluster bombs, or at least so sayeth the USA.

  46. Our message to the South Ossetians is, “Ossetia Free!” We will march through Georgia until we reach Atlanta.

    Thank you, I’ll be here all night. Don’t forget to tip your waitresses before plundering their homesteads.

  47. I don’t know about you, but if Mexico started funneling supplies, weapons, and passports to Mexican seperatists in Nevada and Arizona

    USA would feel OK to raze to the ground a couple of Latino communities?

    I’m not justifying Putin. It’s clear that Ossetians are just pawns for him. I’m only saying that Saakashvili took the bait and showed himself a complete idiot by doing what he did. The reason why he did this seems to be the fact that he _is_, by all accounts, a complete idiot, a petty nationalistic tyrant.

  48. Though the seemingly-indiscriminate tactics of the Georgian government – seemingly “Nikolai,” I’m certainly not going to take your word for it – may well be immoral, that really has nothing to do with causes of this conflict and the Russians’ purpose.

  49. I don’t know about you, but if Mexico started funneling supplies, weapons, and passports to Mexican seperatists in Nevada and Arizona…

    SHHHHHHH! the SoloWackolo might OverhearYou!

  50. If Kosovo…what?, then Ossetia…what?

    We didn’t go to war to secure Kosovar independence, but to stop Operation Horseshoe.

    More inanity from the imbecile. What he means, joey, is that the Ossetians voted for independence just like the Kosovars did.

    Are the Georgians committing a genocide against Russians?

    And Ossetians aren’t Russians — they’re closer to Iranians.

  51. oh. all these fucking experts on real estate they most likely didn’t know until yesterday…

    *pulls up chair to await the font scientists’ view*

  52. Nikolay,

    How did South Ossetians come to have Russian passports? When did Russia begin issuing passports to them?

    Also, what are your thoughts on Georgia’s claims that Russian peacekeepers shot down their spy drone? On the July overflight of Georgian airspace by Russian jets? On Georgia’s claims that Russians have been supplying the South Ossetian forces with arms, both directly and by supporting smuggling operations?

  53. The lesson to be learned is that the Bush Administration giving Georgia weapons and attempting to bring them into NATO was a dumb idea.

    Evidently, Georgia was the first to mount an attack which killed a substantial number of civilians.

    Russia isn’t about to pull back just because we say so, but we may be able to persuade Georgia to stop. That is the best strategy for saving innocent lives at this juncture, regardless of who is “in the right” in any ultimate sense.

  54. If there’s any lesson to be learned from last night’s Opening Ceremonies, it’s that there are too damn many independent countries already. We have to stop answering every ethnic minority’s temper tantrum with independence.

  55. If there’s any lesson to be learned from last night’s Opening Ceremonies,

    To me, it was that there are beautiful women in a lot more countries than I had thought.

  56. I think we should be careful and get more information before jumping to any “who’s right, who’s wrong” judgements. Maybe Russia can’t be trusted and Georgia may be our friend, but if it’s true that Georgia was killing civilians in South Ossetia, both countries are likely in the wrong. I’m going to go with the international consensus that both sides need to ceasefire and get back to the negotiating table.

  57. Ater Kosovo the West has no justification to deny Ossetia’s independence from Georgia.

    But by the same token, given Russia’s position about the inviolability of Serbia’s territory, it’s hard for it to justify South Ossetia’s secession.

  58. again, proof? Civilians or rebels? 100s hardely qualify as genocide, who were the people allegedly killed and were they killed due to their ethnicity or their actions?

    The U.S. thought that 100s was enough to justify the Rambouillet ultimatum and the subsequent war with Yugoslavia.

  59. Ahh, there’s the Russian dating ads now.

    So does anyone have any position on partitioning Kosovo as I described above?

    If an independent, unified Kosovo follows the pattern of most of the rest of what has happened in the Balkans the following will happen:

    – A war will break out between an ethnic minority that wants to secede and the offical government that wants to keep its territory intact.

    – Somebody will commit ethnic cleansing.

    Maybe things are different in this case, with a purportedly tolerant government in Pristina and a Serbian government that will be less enthusiastic about giving aid and encouragement to seperatist serbs in a neighboring country. But should we take the chance?

  60. If in the following ten years there is no global conflict, I would believe there is a Santa Claus…too much to ask?

  61. I don’t know what should eventually happen with South Ossetia or the other breakaway province. But we may be able to have an extended ceasefire while we figure that out if there were a UN peacekeeping force there – not merely a Russian-dominated one. If western countries, especially NATO countries, had a substantial presence in Ossetia, it might make witdrawing their own troops an easier pill to swallow for most Georgians.

    Interesting question: Would Georiga accept forfeiting its independence-seeking provinces, or at least parts of them, if that were a condition of joining NATO?

    My guess is probably not, if they think it is within their power to keep that territory. But if they did, it seems like Russia would have no legitimate grounds to complain about Georgia’s joining.

  62. P1t

    By “global conflict” do you mean something like a world war, or merely “a conflict somewhere on the globe”?

    Obviously, we’ve had the later type of conflict going on continuosly for most of history – including immediately before the present Ossetia battle.

  63. The Jews hate Russia because Putin took on the Russian oligarchs and is trying to stop the Jews from attacking Iran.

    I don’t know whether that is parody.

    But if not, I would advise you to put down “The Protocals of the Elders of Zion” and do some research on what this thread is about.

    Also don’t apply for any job that requires an IQ above 60.

  64. Look at this

    http://www.slate.com/id/2197155/

    Why does this Jew assume any of this is any of the business of the “West’s”? Wikipedia her and look at the ugly kike face.

    Just like the president of Iran. The Jews rant about “human rights” and order Americans to die in Iraq while anybody in Europe who questions any details about the Holocaust is thrown in jail. Russia by any measure has more freedom of speech than Germany. But do you ever hear anything about that? Do you hear about the guy who wrote some un-PC things about the Jews and fled from Europe to Iran?

    To the media, Jew controlled = part of the free world. Relatively free of Jews = human rights abuser.

  65. I warn you, don’t look if you have a weak stomach.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Applebaum

    That Jewess must foam at the mouth when she thinks of the beauty of the Slavic woman. She slept her way into the Polish government and now works to get Americans killed in the name of Judiasm.

  66. Hey Shit Speader:

    FYYFF.

  67. I was wondering if my previous comment was too harsh. But then I read the next post by “Truth Spreader”, and now I’m alot less worried.

    Look at this

    http://www.slate.com/id/2197155/

    Why does this Jew assume any of this is any of the business of the “West’s”?

    Many people (some jewish, some not) think this is some business of the west because the US and some other western countries consider Georgia an ally. I don’t unilaterally support Georgia – or think their human rights record is pristine – but I would like the west to help negotiate a cease-fire and participate in a peacekeeping force in Ossetia.

    And some others (again, some jewish, some not) don’t think it is any of the west’s business.

    The same goes for varying positions on the Iraq war, and any other policy question.

    The Jews rant about “human rights” and order Americans to die in Iraq while anybody in Europe who questions any details about the Holocaust is thrown in jail. Russia by any measure has more freedom of speech than Germany. But do you ever hear anything about that? Do you hear about the guy who wrote some un-PC things about the Jews and fled from Europe to Iran?

    I oppose laws against saying idiotic things, and therefore I oppose laws against holocaust denial. I don’t know what the state of free speech in Russia is. But as for Iran – if you think they have more free speech (or a better human rights record) than most European countries, I have a bridge in Tehran to sell you.

    To the media, Jew controlled = part of the free world. Relatively free of Jews = human rights abuser.

    Israel is the only country with a majority jewish population. I don’t recall any major media outlets saying that no other country in the world is a free country.

  68. The salient fact here is that Russia had a combined-arms assault prepared to invade Georgia. The fact that it already crossed the border yesterday, instead of still being organized today, means they were already on an immediate-invasion posture. Which means Russia was planning on invading Georgia on the 8th anyway, and were going to use any excuse they could manage to provoke with the South Ossetian attacks on Georgia proper last week.

    At worst, President Saakashvili saved Tsar Putin the Chekist the effort of coming up with a Gleiwitz incident.

  69. Truth Spreader

    Heh, and people say the neocons are crazy.

    Oh, Lord, please speed the day when there are only liberal democracies.

  70. Which means Russia was planning on invading Georgia on the 8th anyway, and were going to use any excuse they could manage to provoke with the South Ossetian attacks on Georgia proper last week.

    How about this option: Russia had some intelligence sources and _knew_ that Saakashvili was going to launch his attack on the Olympic ceremonies day?

  71. So, Yahoo says that the war is official, and expanded now.

    Russia is bombing the capital of Georgia.

    Discuss

  72. “Russia is bombing the capital of Georgia.”

    Russia is also sending their naval fleet to blockade the Georgian coast.

    I believe President Saakashvili had already declared war.

  73. I was wrong President Saakashvili is asking for a ceasefire.

  74. How about this option: Russia had some intelligence sources and _knew_ that Saakashvili was going to launch his attack on the Olympic ceremonies day?

    Maybe.

    I think its more likely that Russia has been prepared to invade for a while and only recently decided to do so. The dispute over Ossetia has been going on for a while, and the Russian government probably always knew that it might be using force one day, if negotiations didn’t yield a satisfactory resolution.

    Also in the few days before this, there were increased clashes between seperatists and Georgian troops.

    I believe President Saakashvili had already declared war.

    and….

    I was wrong President Saakashvili is asking for a ceasefire.

    Actually I think you were right. Parliment declared a “state of war” and after that the president asked for a ceasefire. I would have also if I were him. Putin wasn’t interested though.

    So is Putin just looking to gain control of the seperatist provinces and drive out Goergian forces? Or does he have wider aims in Georgia?

  75. Actually I think you were right. Parliment declared a “state of war” and after that the president asked for a ceasefire. I would have also if I were him. Putin wasn’t interested though.
    The fact that Saakashvili declared unilateral ceasefire two hours before he started leveling South Ossetia’s capital last Friday might have to do something with this.

    So is Putin just looking to gain control of the seperatist provinces and drive out Goergian forces? Or does he have wider aims in Georgia?
    So far, his goals seem to be occupying Abkhazia and South Ossetia and destroying Georgia’s military capabilities. Given the fact that even those Georgians that approve Saakashvili’s goals (they seem to be in minority) are now quite crazy about his recklessness, it is quite likely that Putin will try to manipulate Georgia’s politics with the goal of getting someone more Russia-friendly in charge of the country.

    BTW, there’s a funny article in _Weekly Standard_ bashing Saakashvili as a neo-Stalinist and “a raging nationalist and authoritarian thug”
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Protected/Articles/000/000/004/104ygtvi.asp?pg=2

  76. So far, his goals seem to be occupying Abkhazia and South Ossetia and destroying Georgia’s military capabilities.

    So if Georgian forces witdraw completely from those provinces, but their military capabilities are not completely destroyed, would Putin/Medvedev want to keep the conflict going?

    BTW, there’s a funny article in _Weekly Standard_ bashing Saakashvili as a neo-Stalinist and “a raging nationalist and authoritarian thug”
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Protected/Articles/000/000/004/104ygtvi.asp?pg=2

    That article is from 2004. Since then Saakashvili has made significant concessions to the rule of law. There is a strong chance for a peaceful transfer of power from him to te next person, if this conflict does’t destabilise things too much.

    If its true that only a minority supports him, Saakashvili might not be in office much longer. I don’t know that the next person will be very “Russia-friendly” but the person probably won’t invade the breakaway provinces.

  77. So if Georgian forces witdraw completely from those provinces, but their military capabilities are not completely destroyed, would Putin/Medvedev want to keep the conflict going?
    Well, who knows. Putin is certainly going to beat up and humiliate Georgia pretty good, good enough for it to forget about NATO ambitions. I certainly hope that the hostilities will be over in two or three days, and this seems to be what Putin &co are hinting at. But you never know.

    Saakashvili’s stupidity is certainly something unprecedented, it’s only matched by Putin’s viciousness and cynicism.

  78. The United States cannot sit idly by while a large nation invades a small nation without provocation. Someone must stick up for international law.

  79. It looks like Russian troops have gone beyond the boundry of South Ossetia.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/11/world/europe/11georgia.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

    I could at least understand where they are coming from when they wanted to drive Georgian forces out of the pro-Russian breakaway provinces. But this is really too much. I hope they come to their senses and go back to the South Ossetian border.

    Whatever his faults, Saakashvili is the legitimate head of state of Georgia. The Russian government has no legitimate grounds to remove him from power by force.

  80. Whatever his faults, Saakashvili is the legitimate head of state of Georgia. The Russian government has no legitimate grounds to remove him from power by force.

    I agree.

    Whatever his faults, Saakashvili is Saddam Hussein was the legitimate head of state of Georgia Iraq. The Russian American government has had no legitimate grounds to remove him from power by force.

    Pot, kettle, etc. The U.S. should STFU about this.

  81. J sub D

    I’m not saying invading Iraq was the right decision. But if you don’t see a big difference between the level of legitimacy of Saakashvili and the level of legitimacy of Saddam Hussein then we have a problem.

    Russia removing the administration in Georgia would be more like the US removing Hugo Chavez.

  82. Granted I’m a southerner by birth, but, after Lincoln, the US relinquished all credibility in judging which piece of a country is sovereign and which is not.
    There was a story on the main TV news tonight about that western muslim province in China. China moves a bunch of followers of the party line to a disgruntled area. Soon the natives are a minority.
    Russia has been doing the same trick for a long time.
    Point is, it’s not about which piece of ground is “sovereign,” it’s about human rights.
    The majority will ALWAYS shit on the minority. It’s as certain as death and taxes.
    Communist/authoritarian nations use forced or subsidized migration as a way of rubbing democratic nations noses in their own “democracy.”

  83. China moves a bunch of followers of the party line to a disgruntled area. Soon the natives are a minority.
    Russia has been doing the same trick for a long time.

    Russia didn’t invent this

  84. Neither did the Americans

  85. Okay, The Navajo and The Celts,
    It’s a trick of empire-building.
    I know Julius Caesar was fond of doing this. And I know the idea had been around a long time even then.

  86. Where are the usual worldwide protests when a strong militarized nation uses disproportional force and bombs the living bejeezus out of a smaller, near-defenseless one? Where are the marches? The burning effigies of Putin and Medvedev in European city streets? The kids-in-hoodies carrying slogan-filled banners and burning Russian flags? International ANSWER rallies? Anyone? Bueller?

  87. Putin went down to Georgia he was looking for some oil to steal.

  88. don’t worry…any minute now, the leftists of the world will be in the streets by the millions, protesting against the russian aggression. i mean, they’re against all war, right? they’re not hypocrites, are they?

  89. “Where are the usual worldwide protests when a strong militarized nation uses disproportional force and bombs the living bejeezus out of a smaller, near-defenseless one?”

    Oh, you mean like whatgia did to South Osetia, when they were hoping noone’s looking?

  90. Ivan,

    Yep, and the “anti-war” crowd was quiet when Saddam invaded Kuwait, but the streets loudly flooded with screaming protestors when the US got involved to kick them out of South Osse… er, Kuwait… and indiscrimately bombed large pieces of Georg… er, Iraq.

    And yes, I know that Saakavali(sp?) is not innocent and started the catalyst. And yes, I’ve always been against the Iraq invasion.

    But it’s painfully obvious that most “anti-war” groups pick n’ choose their objects of ire, based on who’s involved.

  91. “Where are the usual worldwide protests when a strong militarized nation uses disproportional force and bombs the living bejeezus out of a smaller, near-defenseless one?”

    As soon as Russia moves its ground forces into Georgia proper, there will be protests. I myself will protest it, even though I live in Russia. Russia’s government emphatically denied having such plans, even though there’s no lack of politicians here who want this to happen.
    So far Russian response was not more illegitimate than Israel’s bombing of Lebanon in 2006.
    Speaking of bombing, Russia claims to bomb only military objects. As for the famous pictures from Gori, these deaths were caused by the explosion of the arms depot — at least this is what Georgian bloggers, who have no reason to lie, say.
    Georgians also have tanks located in the civilian quarters, Hezzbolah-style.

  92. QSL – agreed. Most of anti-war protesters will protest anything. Not much different from PETA/Greenpeace weenies.

    Not that there weren’t good reasons to protest some of invasions of Iraq…

  93. Mad Max,

    From an international law POV, South Ossetia is part of Georgia, so the Georgian govt’s actions there are not on a par with Russia sending troops into Georgian territory.

    The reason people protest US actions is because the American public tends to pay attention to protests, so our govt takes notice also. Dictatorial govts like Iraq and Russia don’t give two shits about them.

    Sort of the same reason Amnesty Intl. goes berserk at any news of the slightest human rights violations by the US, but responds to much more severe violations by tinpot dictators with a strongly worded statement that’s immediately buried in the nether regions of their website.

  94. From the international law POV, Kosovo was part of Servbia (still should be, really)…

    Also, I believe international law POV, indiscriminate shelling of civilian targets and attacks on peacekeepers (no matter how biased you might consider them to be) are considered to be in very bad taste.

  95. Also, Russia hardly qualifies as a dictatirial regime along the lines of Iraq.

    Last I checked, various “human rights advocates” were on the national TV in Russia foaming at the mouth about “fascist Putin attacking proud freedom-loving Georgians.” Georgia was busy clamping down on internet access…

  96. At this point, it surely would’ve been in the region’s best interests if Russia maintained forces in SO and stayed within that boundary. Whether that action in itself is a wise idea or not, at least it keeps in line with their alleged objective of protecting peacekeepers and SO citizens and driving out the Georgian ‘baddies’. Even if Georgia’s military was still entact, it obviously still can’t go up against Russia’s superior military power.

    But moving forces into Georgia itself signals an overall objective of occupation, regime change, oil-grab and whatnot. The same ill-advised actions that landed the US in a lot of hot water with the (now suddently silent) anti-war groups and worldwide populace.

  97. Umm, there’s no oil in Georgia…

    With Georgians increasing shelling on Tskhinval every time they declare cease-fire, establishing buffer zone and attacking military bases in Georgia seems to be a prudent action. Actual occupation of the country would be rather stupid.

  98. Okay. Oil pipeline and strategic transit points, not oil wells.

    Ivan, let’s say we agree that Russia would be wise to attack military bases (whereas a lot of civilians would get caught in the crossfire anyhow, whether intentional or not) and create a buffer zone – which, by the way, would still require an extent of land occupation inside a foreign territory. But let’s say we agree that this would be prudent.

    So going back to my other point up the thread is… Where are all those anti-war demonstrators that have blasted the US (and Israel, for that matter) in the past for essentially doing the same thing?

  99. How would I know? I don’t have any insight into what those people do.

    One might just as well ask where are all the demonstrators against Georgia using “Grad” missile launchers against population centers. There are many rumours of atrocities as well, but I’ll wait for more confirmations before I start asking about those.

  100. As soon as Russia moves its ground forces into Georgia proper, there will be protests.

    Still waiting. Not on the Russian advance (they have essentially dismembered Georgia; this war is over except for the whining by the losers and divvying up of spoils by the Russians), but on the protests.

    Remember, kiddies – they aren’t anti-war so much as they are anti-American.

  101. So far Russian response was not more illegitimate than Israel’s bombing of Lebanon in 2006.

    How do you figure? Were the Georgians indiscriminately rocketing Russian territory?

  102. I do get a kick out of reading BBC’s Have Your Say reader comments.

    According to the posters, Saakashvili is horrible man who’s done horrible things (i.e. firing into civilians in a separatist province), and he deserves the dire fate awaiting him by the Russians. Russia is simply protecting the good people of South Ossetia and making a little guy like Saakashvili pay dearly for thinking he can beat up an even littler guy.

    But when the subject was Saddam, when the atrocities were killing Kurds and invading Kuwait, and when the aggressive military machine was the US, the tune sung was completely different.

  103. R.C. — in a way, Georgians were.

    Shelling, among others, a peacekeeping base, would be considered a rather hostile act.

  104. From an international law POV, South Ossetia is part of Georgia, so the Georgian govt’s actions there are not on a par with Russia sending troops into Georgian territory.

    You’re right. The Georgian government’s actions are more on a par with what China would be doing if it invaded Taiwan. I’m sure that, in such a case, the U.S. would take a principled approach, shrug its shoulders, and say, “These things happen.”

  105. Damn. The more I read about this, the clearer it becomes that all this was a carefully planned provocation. I mean, the children were evacuated a week before this started, the tanks were inside Georgia _before_ the supposed genocide started, etc. And now they are lying through their teeth, saying that they have not left South Ossetia when they are about to take Tbilisi.
    I knew that Putin was a criminal, but I didn’t believe he could be _that_ evil.

  106. Nikolai — did they start eating Georgian children yet?

  107. “Nikolai — did they start eating Georgian children yet?”
    Probably not, but they certainly killed a number of children. Anyway, when they say that they are _not_ in Gori when they are in fact _in_ Gori, there’s no doubt they they don’t care about lying. And since they are the only source for all the information about Saakashvili eating Ossetian children, how can I believe them?
    My friend’s _47_ years old father was called from the reserve 1.5 month ago because (as they said) they wanted a good pilot who knew Georgia. There’s just too many signs of the fact that they knew this would happen long ago before this started. And yes, there are many signs that many civilians in Ossetia were killed by Russian.

  108. I believe the proper American excuse fo? this is Collateral Damage.

    I would certainly hope that Russian intelligence has ways of finding out about things like that. Otherwise they are wasting taxpayers’ money…

    And Georgian officials were claiming that Russians are in Gori when Reuters was reporting that Russians were nowhere near (neither were Georgians who were retreating just in case)… So I would not particularly believe anything coming from Tbilisi either…

  109. Well, if you read Russian, check this blog:
    http://tarlith-history.livejournal.com/
    It’s a blog of an unapologetic Russian imperialist, who’s a well-connected political insider, and he gloats about the fact that we captured Gori even while denying we did.

  110. Nikolay — and being an unapologetic Russian imperialist is what makes him a reliable source, better than people on the ground?

    I remember Georgians gloating about destroying more airplanes than what Russia has, too.

    In the meanwhile, tank column speeding to Tbilisi turned out to be retreating Georgians…

  111. One of the official sites of the Republic of South Ossetia:

    http://cominf.org/english/

    I’d say S. Ossetian perspective is seriously underrepresented in the Media (we largely get what Georgia or Russia report). And I haven’t seen much coverage of what is left of Tskhinvalli.

  112. Kosovo is similar to Georgia but, North Mitrovica is similar to South Ossetia.
    As the United States Institute for Peace says, “No solution for Kosovo can last without a solution for Mitrovica.”
    http://www.usip.org/pubs/usipeace_briefings/2006/0724_mitrovica.html
    Serbs number only 130,000 of Kosovo’s nearly two million population. Half of Kosovo’s Serbs live in North Mitrovica and its hinterland up to the border of Serbia proper.
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2007/08/mil-070810-voa06.htm

  113. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.