World: What Really Happened In South Ossetia? Part II
We closed the first part of this lengthy post on the situation in South Ossetia with the denunciation of Mikheil Saakashvili. We didn't give a list of reasons why we thought Saakashvili was worthy of such denunciation. We will do so right after including this comment from allencharles, who said, in response to Part I:
Some history of the area needs to be presented to if my comment is to be understood.Well, I think we showed exactly what we would have done when Reagan sent the army to the tiny nation of Grenada simply because there were students with American nationality in that nation when they had their revolution. Of course, it was an excuse to wipe out the progressive movement there, even though no Americans were actually harmed. We notice that Bush isn't rattling quite so many sabers at China despite the recent murder of an American citizen there. Our guess is, it's easier to conduct "regime change" on small, poorly armed countries than on some people who outnumber you four times AND to whom you owe a ton of money for financing your last war.
The South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast was established in 1922 by the U.S.S.R. and remained a part of the U.S.S.R. inside Georgia until it (presumably the USSR) failed. The new Georgian government declared their (the South Ossetian) government as illegal and took away the freedoms the Ossetians had lived under since 1922. They Ossetians refused to accept the loss of their local government and have been in rebellion until the present. Over 90 percent of the Ossetians are duel citizens of both Georgia and Russia. One way of understanding their local government would be to compare an American Indian Nation and the US Government.
When the army of Georgia decided to attack and kill every Ossetian the Russian’s moved in to stop it. THEY HAD ALREADY KILLED 1,400 Ossetians. This has been confirmed by multiple news sources. We refer you to Teh Google.
This is where we find the situation today. When the Serbs attempted to wipe out the Arimeans in Kosvo, America did exactly the same thing to stop them and we bombed Serbia.
You can think for yourselves as to whether or not Bush is in order with his comments to Russia.
The people of Kosvo were not American citizens yet we felt a moral duty to protect them. If 1,400 American Citizens had been murdered just south of our boarder what to you think we would have done?
But, to continue. Essentially, South Ossetia has been autonomous since the 1920s. When Georgia attempted to take over, the South Ossetians resisted and have continued resisting to the present. In the 1990s, South Ossetia expelled the Georgian army from its territory, but Saakashvili and the Georgian government have refused to recognize South Ossetia's claims to autonomy and continue to treat the region as part of Georgia, despite the South Ossetians' lengthy history as a separate ethnic and linguistic group. Dr. Gerard Toal, professor of Government and International Affairs at Virginia Tech's Washington, D.C., campus offers a nuanced look at the situation in an article at The Irish Times.
In 2002, U.S. military advisors were seconded to Georgia, where they have purportedly been training the Georgian military in the "war against terror," which is starting to look markedly like an excuse for global hegemony. One which, it hardly need be pointed out, is untenably expensive for American taxpayers and the U.S. military, which is currently fighting a "war" on two fronts — Iraq and Afghanistan. All pretense of finding Usama bin Laden or the perpetrators of the 2001 attack on U.S. soil has long since been abandoned.
Wikipedia tells us that in 2006, a second referendum on the autonomy of South Ossetia was held, the first (in 1992) having been deemed invalid by other nations.
According to the Tskhinvali election authorities, the referendum turned out a majority for independence from Georgia where 99% of South Ossetian voters supported independence and the turnout for the vote was 95% and the referendum was monitored by a team of 34 international observers from Germany, Austria, Poland, Sweden and other countries at 78 polling stations. However, it was not recognized internationally by the UN, European Union, OSCE, NATO and the Russian Federation, given the lack of ethnic Georgian participation and the legality of such referendum without recognition from the central government in Tbilisi.Once again, the South Ossetians were not recognized as having a right to autonomy and sovereignty, even though the inhabitants of the tiny enclave of Kosovo within Serbia were granted such autonomy. This is sheer hypocrisy.
The following year (2007), the Georgian government appeared to lend greater credence to South Ossetia's claims of autonomy. Essentially, the region of South Ossetia had, by this time, been behaving as an autonomous state for over 15 years (since the referendum of 1992 and the Dagomys ceasefire agreement of that year) if not longer (since the 1920s).
In the intervening years, Saakashvili, an American-educated Georgian, had been cultivating American neocons and was getting particularly cosy with that spectacular human failure, George "Dumbya" Bush, who hailed him as a "liberator" — sort of like the Iraqis did with us — in this particularly ironic speech, delivered in Tsibili:
Georgia is "building a democratic society where the rights of minorities are respected; where a free press flourishes; where a vigorous opposition is welcomed and where unity is achieved through peace," he said.Saakashvili, whom honest taxpaying Americans might term "a kiss-ass," showed his gratitude with this particular lickspittlery:
Saakashvili praised Bush as a "decisive and visionary leader," [...]Oh, indeedy. The only way you could refer to Jor Jee as visionary is if you were describing what he sees in his drunken or drugged stupors. But we digress.
In the meantime, the blessed recipients of the freedom and liberty promised by Saakashvili had found that they were enjoying precious little of either. As is the wont of free and liberated citizens of democratic societies, they took to the streets in peaceful protest — much like the Rose Revolution that brought Saakashvili to power. Imagine their surprise when the democratic liberator of Georgia, instead of welcoming their "vigorous opposition," proceeded to turn riot police with rubber bullets, hoses, tear gas, and water cannons on them. He added insult to injury by imposing a 15-day state of emergency in which Interior Ministry troops armed with truncheons patrolled the streets. He suspended news services and banned all demonstrations.
Remarkably democratic, ain't it? Some 500 were injured, approximately 100 of them seriously enough to require hospitalization, and many were jailed and tortured.
Saakashvili's popularity was on the wane. In response to pressure from opposition forces, he held snap elections in January of this year (2008) and won with a mere 52 per cent of the vote — a significant come-down from his first election, which he won with nearly 96 per cent. Meanwhile, Saakashvili is doing his best to get Georgia into the EU and NATO. The Europeans have been relatively cool to the idea, but American neocons, who have tricked American citizens into foolish and costly wars repeatedly, have no such compunctions.
Saakashvili's machinations behind the scenes aside, the little dictator is in a dangerous position. He is trying to draw the U.S. and Europe into a war with Russia — a war which no one will win. Vladimir Putin is an ex-KGB man and nobody's fool. And unfortunately, the U.S. is currently in the hands of the biggest fool to ever walk the planet. Now we come to the events of this week.
Saakashvili concluded a ceasefire agreement, that included Russian-mediated negotiations, with South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity on Thursday, August 7th 2008.
At 2200 hours (South Ossetian time) on that same day, as the rest of the world was preparing to watch the Olympic games, Georgia invaded South Ossetia in a surprise attack. These allegations are made by South Ossetians and have been confirmed by no less an authority than Aunty Beeb. Georgian tanks were soon rolling into South Ossetia's capital, Tskhinvali. For the next day and night, the Georgian military attacked South Ossetia, bombing, shelling, destroying houses, targeting hospitals, and indiscriminately killing civilians. The current estimate is that between 1,400 and 2,000 civilians were killed. The Mail reports that 30,000 fled the city of Tskhinvali, looking for refuge in Russian North Ossetia. Georgian authorities were making statements such as this:
The Georgian Minister for Integration, Temur Yakobashvili, said Georgia's aim was not to take over the territory but to finish "a criminal regime".This can only be deemed provocative. A criminal regime? To be finished? Is he referring to Kokoity, who his fellow South Ossetians consider their leader? Tiny Georgia warning the Russian bear not to try their patience?
In a televised address, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili earlier called for the bloodshed to end, but also warned the Russian-backed separatists not to try Tbilisi's patience.
On Friday, 8th August 2008, Russia requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. It offered an immediate halt to violence in South Ossetia on the condition that both parties renounce the use of armed force. Mark Ames, writing in The Nation, says that Saakashvili refused to renounce armed force. Al Jazeera confirms this. Meanwhile, Georgian military forces continued to bomb civilian targets and reduce buildings to rubble. All the while, Saakashvili, in a display of hubris heretofore unequaled, continued to rail at the Russians and the South Ossetians. Russian response was swift and merciless.
Later that same day, Russian planes and tanks entered South Ossetia, sweeping the terrified Georgian army before them and halting the indiscriminate attempts at genocide by Georgian forces. The Georgian military abandoned the town of Gori, birthplace of Georgia's most famous son Josef Stalin, without firing a single shot.
By Sunday, August 10th, Russian troops having cleared South Ossetia of the Georgian military presence then proceeded to cut roads and bomb a military airfield in Georgian territory, although the Georgians claim they also hit the airport in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia. Russian warships had also deployed to the coast of the Black Sea, where the Georgians claimed they were blockading food and fuel supplies. The Russians replied that they were not interested in a blockade but had a right to search all ships in the region.
Saakashvili then proclaimed a unilateral ceasefire and urged the Russians to respect this. Meanwhile, Georgian military forces continued to attack civilian populations in South Ossetia. Russia pointed this fact out in refusing to accept the ceasefire. Meanwhile, Georgian troops were advancing on Abkhazia. Russia warned Georgia to pull back and when Georgia failed to do so, advanced deep into Georgian territory from the Abkhazian side of the border after first evicting any remaining Georgian military from Abkhazia (which has its own long-running dispute with Georgia about autonomy; many Abkhazians hold Russian citizenship).
European diplomats have met with Saakashvili in Tbilisi — which does sort of put the lie to Saakashvili's claims that the Russians are bombing Tbilisi, doesn't it? — to persuade him to sign a ceasefire agreement.
Presently, the situation stands like this. Nicolas Sarkozy of France has met with Dmitry Medvedev of Russia to discuss the ceasefire. Medvedev has announced the end of Russian operations in the region. Georgia has yet to respond. A final settlement discussion is expected to occur soon.
There are rumours that Russian peacekeepers were killed by Israeli troops operating on Georgian soil. However, Ha'aretz is reporting that all Israeli security personnel who were training Georgian troops left before the war took place.
A retired senior Israeli officer who recently trained troops in Georgia said yesterday he was surprised that the Georgians faced off against Russia, since they have a much smaller army.Wherever it ends, it will NOT be good for Georgia and that idiot Saakashvili, may camels urinate on his parents' graves. Perhaps now the Georgian public will finally succeed in ridding itself of this nationalistic, tyrannical, expansionist loon.
"They got into an adventure that I wouldn't have chosen to get into, based on the level of professionalism I saw in my visits to the Georgian army," the officer said. "Who knows where this will end."
As our regular visitors and friends know, we are anti-war. However, in this world, war is the nature of the beast we call human. We also believe in calling a thug a thug. Saakashvili is a thug. This does not make Putin or Medvedev saints in comparison. Only thugs get to power because only thugs want it badly enough to engage in thuggery for it. Poets, visionaries, and humanitarians rarely hold on to power long, even when it is thrust upon them — or else they too, turn into thugs.
Ultimately, we believe in pragmatism. Tiny little countries living on the edge of big nasty countries need to be very careful not to provoke their big nasty neighbours. Because it is not the thugs who suffer. It is the poor civilians, the women, the children, the aged, infirm, and disabled. They have no way to protect themselves, much less the strength to do so. It is immoral and wrong for thugs to win power at the expense of the suffering masses. It is cruel and depraved to force these most helpless of people to bear the cost of the thugs' desire for power.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Russia responded with force to Saakashvili's provocative acts. Georgia is a desperately poor nation, although Saakashvili is making Western investors happy by permitting a pipeline carrying oil out of BP's leased fields for European consumption, and instituting economic measures that penalize the poor and needy in favour of the rich and greedy.
The United Nations is distributing food to the victims of this engineered humanitarian crisis; Russia is setting aside funds for South Ossetia; and World Vision is working to help refugees in Tbilisi.
Part III of this lengthy post will analyze the possible reasons for this war. Stumble It!