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Georgia vs. Russia Confrontation

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South_Ossetia.jpg

 

On August 7, 2008 Georgian forces entered South Ossetia in an attempt to bring the region under government control. On August 8, Russian military forces retaliated by entering South Ossetia and launching a series of airstrikes against Georgian forces. Due to the intensive war activity in South Ossetia there are controversial reports about the casualties on both sides, targets which have fallen under aerial attacks, troop movements and the current front line between the Georgian and Russian-Ossetian combat groupings.

 

Here is Russian Governments position.

 

August 8, 2008 15:00

 

THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. Dmitry Medvedev held an emergency meeting with permanent members of the Security Counsil on the situation in South Ossetia.

 

The meeting, under the President’s direction, examined emergency measures to return peace to South Ossetia, protect the civilian population in accordance with Russia’s peacekeeping mandate, and protect Russian citizens and Russia’s national interests.

 

Mr Medvedev is receiving full information and constant updates from the areas where military operations are taking place in South Ossetia.

 

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: As you know, Russia has maintained and continues to maintain a presence on Georgian territory on an absolutely lawful basis, carrying out its peacekeeping mission in accordance with the agreements concluded. We have always considered maintaining the peace to be our paramount task. Russia has historically been a guarantor for the security of the peoples of the Caucasus, and this remains true today.

 

Last night, Georgian troops committed what amounts to an act of aggression against Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population in South Ossetia. What took place is a gross violation of international law and of the mandates that the international community gave Russia as a partner in the peace process.

 

Georgia’s acts have caused loss of life, including among Russian peacekeepers. The situation reached the point where Georgian peacekeepers opened fire on the Russian peacekeepers with whom they are supposed to work together to carry out their mission of maintaining peace in this region. Civilians, women, children and old people, are dying today in South Ossetia, and the majority of them are citizens of the Russian Federation.

 

In accordance with the Constitution and the federal laws, as President of the Russian Federation it is my duty to protect the lives and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they may be.

 

It is these circumstances that dictate the steps we will take now. We will not allow the deaths of our fellow citizens to go unpunished. The perpetrators will receive the punishment they deserve.

 

August 11, 2008 16:30

 

Monday THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. Dmitry Medvedev met with the leaders of parliamentary factions in the State Duma.

 

Mr Medvedev called on the deputies to help explain Russia’s position on the conflict in South Ossetia to the international organisations and foreign parliamentarians.

 

The President also called on public organisations and political parties to take part in providing aid to the people of South Ossetia.

 

Russia’s position with regard to the Georgian leadership, which unleashed this aggression, is that of enforcing peace in accordance with the United Nations Charter, Mr Medvedev said. The President said that the operation to oblige Georgia to restore peace to South Ossetia is effective and is the only possible option, and that Russia will see it through to its completion.

 

Taking part in the meeting were Boris Gryzlov, chairman of the Higher Council of United Russia, leader of the United Russia faction in the State Duma and speaker of the State Duma, Sergei Mironov, chairman of A Fair Russia, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and deputy speaker of the State Duma, Ivan Melnikov, first deputy chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Russia, and First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Vladislav Surkov.

 

August 12, 2008 13:15

 

THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. Dmitry Medvedev met with Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and chief of Armed Forces General Staff Nikolai Makarov.

 

President of Russia reported that he has ordered an end to the operations to oblige Georgia to restore peace.

 

The security of the Russian peacekeeping brigade and civilian population has been restored and the armed forces of the aggressor are disorganized, the head of state said.

 

Dmitry Medvedev instructed the Defence Ministry and Armed Forces’ General Staff to make a decision with regards to the destruction of pockets of resistance when such instances should arise.

 

The President said that the Russian military involved in the operations will be awarded state awards.

 

August 12, 2008 13:45

 

Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation with Secretary General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana.

As he gave his fundamental assessment of the tragic events in South Ossetia caused by the aggressive military action undertaken by the Georgian leadership that resulted in thousands of civilian casualties and a humanitarian catastrophe, the President of Russia informed the Secretary General of the Council of the European Union that, in light of the success of Russia’s operations to oblige the Georgian authorities to restore peace, he has ordered the end of the operations.

 

The head of the Russian state expressed his satisfaction with the intensive dialogue between Russia and the EU aimed at finding viable solutions in the interests of long-term stability and security in the region affected by the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict.

 

Javier Solana thanked Dmitry Medvedev for his detailed analysis of the situation and expressed his hope that the framework for cooperation between Russia and the EU that has now been established will produce successful results.

 

August 12, 2008 18:30

 

THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. Dmitry Medvedev met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

 

The Russian head of state told his French colleague about the end of operations to oblige Georgian authorities to restore peace. Dmitry Medvedev stressed that the operations in South Ossetia have ended because they have achieved their main goal: to protect Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population.

 

The President of Russia declared that a final settlement to the conflict is possible provided that the following two conditions are fulfilled: the withdrawal of Georgian troops to their initial positions and the signing of a legally binding agreement abjuring the use of force.

 

Later on, Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy continued their discussion of the situation in South Ossetia over a working lunch. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Russian and French foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Bernard Kouchner, and presidential aides Sergei Prikhodko and Jean-David Levitte also took part in the discussion.

 

Following negotiations which lasted more than four hours, the presidents of Russia and France made press statements and answered questions from journalists. In particular, the Russian head of state read out six principles for a settlement of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict that were developed during the negotiations:

 

– do not resort to the use of force;

 

– the absolute cessation of all hostilities;

 

– free access to humanitarian assistance;

 

– the Armed Forces of Georgia must withdraw to their permanent positions;

 

– the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation must withdraw to the line where they were stationed prior to the beginning of hostilities; prior to the establishment of international mechanisms the Russian peacekeeping forces will take additional security measures;

 

– an international debate on the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and ways to ensure their lasting security will take place.

 

Dmitry Medvedev stressed that if the Georgian party signs the document then the process to normalizing the situation in South Ossetia will have begun.

 

August 12, 2008 21:00

 

Dmitry Medvedev has declared August 13 a day of mourning for the humanitarian disaster in South Ossetia.

The President signed a decree ‘On Declaring a Day of Mourning for the Humanitarian Disaster in South Ossetia’.

 

The document notes that Georgian forces, in violation of the peace agreements in place in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone and the UN Charter, and with the sanction of the Georgian leadership, illegally invaded and attempted to seize South Ossetian territory on August 8, 2008, using aviation, heavy artillery and guns and killing the local population. This act constitutes genocide against the South Ossetian people. The city of Tskhinvali and other towns have been practically destroyed, creating a humanitarian disaster in South Ossetia.

 

Furthermore, an armed attack was launched against a Russian Armed Forces contingent stationed in the region in accordance with international agreements for normalising the situation in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone, which constitutes an act of aggression under the terms of the UN General Assembly’s resolution of December 14, 1974.

 

As a result of these actions numerous civilians in South Ossetia have been killed and members of the Russian Armed Forces peacekeeping contingent in the region have also lost their lives.

 

The President expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and declared August 13, 2008 a day of mourning in the Russian Federation.

 

August 12, 2008 21:15

 

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Dmitry Medvedev informed Gordon Brown of the six principles for resolving the crisis concerning South Ossetia that have been developed together with the President of France who is in Moscow to help resolve the crisis, and described the principles as necessary and sufficient.

 

The British Prime Minister gave a positive assessment of the agreements that were reached in Moscow and expressed his hope that their implementation will lead to resolution of the conflict, and that the cease-fire will hold in the long-term.

 

In light of the western media’s neglect to mention information about the barbaric aggressive acts committed by Georgia against the peaceful population of South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers, during the conversation the Russian President outlined the main events in the crisis and referred to specific data. The British Prime Minister expressed his hope that the people of South Ossetia will receive international humanitarian assistance and announced his readiness to participate in providing such assistance.

 

Dmitry Medvedev and Gordon Brown also discussed some aspects of their cooperation on urgent international issues.

 

The conversation was held at British initiative.

 

Here is the Georgian Government's Position

 

August 1, 2008

 

At about 8:00 AM, Tbilisi time, a pickup vehicle with six Georgian police officers was hit by two remote control explosive devices on the Eredvi-Kheiti by-pass road linking the Didi Liakhvi Gorge – a Georgian enclave north of the breakaway region’s capital Tskhinvali - with Georgia proper. As a result of the attack, five Georgian policemen were severely wounded. The central authorities decided not to retaliate in order not to escalate the situation.

 

August 2, 2008

 

Six civilians and one Georgian policeman were injured after the shelling of Georgian villages in the South Ossetian conflict zone overnight. The Georgian-controlled villages of Zemo Nikozi, Kvemo Nikozi, Nuli, Avnevi, Eredvi and Ergneti came under intense fire from the South Ossetian separatists with large calibre mortars. Georgian law enforcers shot back defensively for some time, but then received an order of ceasefire in order not to escalate the situation.

 

August 3, 2008

 

South Ossetian separatist government announced evacuation of more than 500 people, including about 400 children. However, Ermak Dzansolov, deputy prime minister of Russia’s North Ossetian Republic, told Interfax news agency that it was not an evacuation. Sending children to North Ossetia was part of a pre-arranged summer-camp programme, as he explained.

 

Russian media outlets started a massive propaganda campaign against Georgia.

 

South Ossetian media sources reported on the mobilization of volunteers across the North Caucasus.

 

August 6, 2008

 

Late on 6 August, separatists opened mortar fire at Georgian populated villages of Eredvi, Prisi, Avnevi, Dvani and Nuli. Georgian government forces fired back in order to defend the positions and civilian population. As a result of intensive cross-fire during the night, two servicemen of the Georgian battalion of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces were injured. Separatist regime also claimed several injured persons on their side. Despite the targeted attacks on peaceful population and villages, as well as on the Georgian police and peacekeeping forces, the central authorities decided not to respond through heavy exchange of fire, in order not to injure the local population.

 

Temur Yakobashvili, Georgian chief negotiator and state minister for reintegration, said in late night televised remarks on August 6 that it was the position of the Georgian government that only a direct dialogue with Tskinvali authorities would solve the deteriorating security situation. Mr. Yakobashvili also stressed that Ambassador-at-large Yuri Popov would attend the talks as a facilitator. South Ossetian chief negotiator, Boris Chochiev, refused to take part in negotiations.

 

August 7, 2008

 

During the night and early morning intensive fire came from the Ossetian villages of Khetagurovo, Dmenisi, Sarabuki, and Ubiat. Separatist authorities continued shelling Georgian law enforcers and Peacekeeping units with mortars and artillery. The central authorities responded with limited fire in order to defend the positions.

 

In the morning interview with Russian news agencies, South Ossetian de facto president Eduard Kokoity declared that if the Georgian government did not withdraw its military forces from the region, he would start "to clean them out."

 

President Saakashvili speaking with journalists in the military hospital in Gori, where he visited the two injured Georgian servicemen, said that despite attacks on the Georgian villages, Tbilisi was showing "maximum restraint." Saakashvili also called on Russia to "to recall its officials" from South Ossetia, who consider themselves as the so-called South Ossetian government.

 

Temur Yakobashvili, visited the conflict zone in the morning of August 7 to meet with representatives of the separatist government. The State Minister met with Marat Kulakhmetov, commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces, in Tskhinvali. But, the separatists refused to negotiate with him.

 

The chairman of the separatist republic’s Security Council, Anatoly Barankevich threatened that armed groupings of Cossacks from North Ossetia were headed towards South Ossetia to fight against Georgian forces.

 

The separatists resumed shelling of Georgian villages Nuli and Avnevi by 16:00. Three Georgian servicemen were injured after the South Ossetian separatist forces blew up an infantry combat vehicle belonging to the Georgian peacekeeping battalion in Avnevi. Georgian police responded by firing towards the separatist armed grouping in village Khetagurovo, where two separatist militiamen were killed and two more wounded. Later, the check-point of Georgian peacekeepers was bombed in Avnevi and several Georgian servicemen and civilians were killed.

 

Georgia has decided to "unilaterally cease fire" in a sign of Tbilisi’s willingness to defuse tensions, Temur Yakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, announced at a press conference in Tbilisi at 6:40pm. Yakobashvili said that he was not able to get in touch with the separatist authorities.

 

President Saakashvili said in a live televised address made at 7:10pm, that he had ordered the Georgian forces to cease fire in South Ossetia. He said there were casualties, both dead and many people wounded. Saakashvili said that he ordered to cease fire "on purpose" to again offer the South Ossetian secessionists to resume talks.

 

Despite Georgia’s decision not to return fire, the Georgian village of Avnevi again came under fire of the South Ossetian militiamen at about 8:30pm. It can be said that the village was totally destroyed as a result.

 

The South Ossetian separatist armed groupings fired at the Georgian-controlled village of Prisi at about 10:30 pm. The attack left several people wounded on the Georgian side.

 

The separatist authorities opened fire at all Georgian positions around the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali at about 23:30, including the villages of Tamarasheni and Kurta. The police stations in Kurta was destroyed as a result of heavy shelling.

 

According to witnesses from local population, at about 9.45 a military fighter plane, presumably Russian (it entered Georgia from South Ossetian side) dropped off about 3-5 bombs near village Shavshvebi, 300-500 meters from Georgian military radar.

 

August 8, 2008

 

22:40 According to Ministry of Defense, Russian planes violated Georgian airspace a total of 22 times.

 

22:15 The type and place of Russian planes taken down during the day not located yet.

 

21:45 Policemen and reservists who were surrounded in the Znauri school bulding, five kilometers west of Tskinvali, are rescued by government forces.

 

21:11 The separatist authorities claim to have altogether 1400 people dead and wounded. At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Defense announces that there are 10 dead among Russian "peacekeepers".

 

20:30 After severe clashes in Tskinvali, Georgian forces start to withdraw from the center of the town, holding their positions at its southern outskirts. Russian tanks enter the eastern part of Tskinvali.

 

19:20 2 Russian planes pass over Ambrolauri, which is 170 kilometers northwest of Tbilisi and is outside the conflict zone.

 

19:18 5 Russian airplanes were shot down during the day. Last one is shot down at approximately 19:00 near Tskhinvali.

 

18:45 Georgian Gori artillery brigade is bombarded by 5 Russian airplanes.

 

18:44 A motorcade of Russian tanks, armored vehicles and trucks loaded with different kinds of weapons reach Tskinvali by the Dzara by-pass road, 2 kilometers west of Tskinvali. The Russians opens intensive fire towards Georgian forces located in Tskinvali and on the neighboring heights. A second motorcade, which also came from Russia via the Roki tunnel, is stopped near the Georgian government controlled area of Dmenisi, 7 kilometers north of Tskinvali, and Russians open heavy fire toward Georgian forces.

 

18:32 Frone gorge, northeat of Tskinvali, is under intensive artillery fire by Russian forces. Villages Avnevi and Phrisi, in the Tskinvali region, are bombarded by Russian military aircraft.

 

17:35 Marneuli military airbase, 20 kilometers south of Tbilisi and outside the conflict zone, is bombed for the third time resulting in 1 death and 4 injured. As a result of three bombings, three grounded AN-2 type planes and military vehicles stationed there are destroyed.

 

17:00 Marneuli military airbase is bombed for the second time causing casualties.

 

16.30 Russian aviation bombs Marneuli and Bolnisi military airbases, 20 kilometers and 35 kilometers south of Tbilisi respectively. Two aircrafts were destroyed on ground. Also several buildings were destroyed and there are casualties.

 

16:03 Two Russian planes enter Georgian airspace from the North. One more flies over Djava. Two more fly across the border near Chechnya.

 

16:00 about 40 officers of Criminal Police and Reservists are trapped in Znauri school.

 

15:30 Ossetian separatists destroyed 3 Georgian tanks at Dzari by-pass road.

 

15:05 Russian military plane enters Georgia from the direction of Tedzami, just south of Gori, and drop two bombs on the Vaziani military airport and turned back.

 

14.30 Almost 100% of Tskhinvali is controlled by Georgian forces. Just several small groupings are still resisting.

 

14.15 Georgian government announces a ceasefire from 15.00 till 18.00 to let civilian population leave Tskhinvali. Separatists are also offered amnesty and humanitarian aid if they surrender.

 

13:00 Part of Thskinvali is controlled by Georgian army and fighting continues in the center. The civilian population does not resist. They are ordered to stay inside their houses.

 

12.05 One Su-24 enters Georgian air space from Russia and remained over Tskhinvali till 12.15.

 

12.00 Eight Georgians (6 military and 2 civilians) have died and 87 are injured. 1 military truck with ammunition was destroyed.

 

11:45 Emergency Service of Civil Aviation report receiving a signal from a crashed flying object (presumably Russian fighter plane) near Iuri range, 17 km south from Gori.

 

11.45: Four Su-24 Russian jet enter Georgia from the direction of Stepantsminda (Kazbeg), northeast of the Roki tunnel and outside of the conflict zone. Two of them pass Tbilisi and make two circles around Marneuli. The other two make a circle above Gudauri.

 

10:57: Two of the six Russian aircraft drop three bombs in Gori. One of these fell near the stadium, the second near Gorijvari slope and third near an artillery brigade.

 

10.50: Six Su-24 fighter planes enter from the Roki pass.

 

10.30 Russian Su-24 bombs the village of Variani in the Kareli district, 75 kilometers west of Tbilisi and outside the conflict zone. Seven civilians were injured as a result.

 

9.45: A Russian military fighter plane drops about 3-5 bombs near the village of Shavshvebi, on the highway between Poti and Tbilisi and is 300-500 meters from Georgian military radar.

 

9:00 Georgian Forces control the villages of Gromi, Artsevi, Tsinagara, Znauri, Sarabuki, Khetagurovo, Atotsi, Kvemo Okuna, Dmenisi, Muguti and Didmukha.

 

8:00: First group of Russian troops together with Gufta Bridge are destroyed by a Georgian aerial bombardment. Later two more groups of Russian troops enter South Ossetia through the Roki tunnel, which connects Russia and Georgia, but could not cross the Gufta Bridge which was destroyed and moved by the Geri-Dmenisi road.

 

5:30: First Russian troops enter through Roki tunnel South Ossetia, passed Java, crossed Gufta bridge and moved by Dzara road towards Tskhinvali.

 

4:28: Georgian armed forces are in control of six villages in the Tskhinvali region: Muguti, Dmenisi, Didmukha, Okona, Akut and Kohati. It is also reported that Georgian forces entered the village of Khetagurovo.

 

2:45: Reports are received of Georgian troops occupying the villages of Didmukha, Muguti and Dmenisi.

 

August 9, 2008

 

22:30 Russian air forces bombarded Chkhalta, administrative center of Upper Abkhazia. No Casualties reported.

 

19:45 Tskhinvali is under ultimate control of Georgian Government troops. Russian Navy prevented Moldovan Cargo Ship Lotus - 1 carrying wheat from entering Poti Port. Lotus - 1 was forced to go back.

 

16:35 The town of Oni in northern Georgia is bombarded by Russian aviation.

 

16:15 Two Russian battleships are heading towards Poti port. By this time they are near Gudauta.

 

16:05 Four Russian jets flew over Upper Abkazia.

 

15:45 Abkhaz separatist leader Sergey Bagapsh announced the launch of bombardment of Upper Abkhazia.

 

14:30 The Parliament approved ordinance of the Declaration on the State of War and full mobilization.

 

14:00 Russian air force attack Upper Abkhazia (Kodori gorge) in several places, including the airdrome in the village of Omarishara.

 

12:40 Kopitnari airdrome is bombed again.

 

10:22 Russian air force continues to bomb Gori, located 60 kilometers northwest from Tbilisi and is outside the conflict zone.

 

10:20 One more Russian military airplane is shot down in Gori, located 60 kilometers northwest from Tbilisi and is outside the conflict zone. The pilot has been captured.

 

10:00 Russian air force bomb Kopitnari airdrome in several kilometers from Kutaisi. The entire 58th Russian Army, located in the North Caucasus, enters the South Ossetia region. They are engaged in battle with the Georgian army in Tskhinvali, which is in the conflict zone and 92 kilometers northwest from Tbilisi.

 

01:20 Gatchiani in the Gardabani districts was bombarded, which is 20 kilometers southeast of Tbilisi and outside the conflict zone and is also close to the BTC pipeline, but the pipeline is not damaged.

 

01:00 Poti was bombarded a second time, which is located on the Black Sea coast, 260 kilometers west from Tbilisi, is outside the conflict zone and is a pure civilian target.

 

00:34 Person calling himself "Armen" calls the 022 Patrol Police number and says a bomb is planted in President’s Residence. He also says the new President Administration and Ministry of Internal Affair buildings will soon be bombarded.

 

00:20 Vaziani airfield is bombed again, which is 2-3 kilometers from Tbilisi International Airport and is located outside the conflict zone.

 

00:17 Lightening bombs are dropped on Senaki military base, which is 213 kilometers west of Tbilisi and is outside the conflict zone. 1 serviceman and 5 reservists were reported killed. The railway station in Senaki is also bombed and eight are killed.

 

00:12 Poti port, which is located on the Black Sea coast, 260 kilometers west from Tbilisi, is outside the conflict zone and is a pure civilian target, is bombed heavily.

 

August 10, 2008

 

20:00 Positional fighting near village of Qvabchara in Upper Abkhazia.

 

19:10 "Tbilaviamsheni" aviation factory was bombarded by Russian aviation again.

 

19:05 Russian aviation dropped bomb on Tbilisi International Airport.

 

18:00 The Black Sea town of Anaklia 280 km from Tbilisi, is bombed by Russian airplanes. No casualties reported

 

17:30 Georgian Ministry of Foreign affairs handed diplomatic note to the Charg d’affaires of Russian embassy Mr Smag. According to the order of the president Georgia, Georgian Government forces stopped fire in the conflict zone.

 

Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Karasin announced the terms of ceasefire. Georgia have to withdraw on the positions existing before the beginning of the conflict and take responsibility of non use of force.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation announced that journalists wanting to enter Russian-Georgian conflict zone have to have special accreditation from Ministry of Defense and second accreditation from Ministry of Foreign affairs of Russia.

 

16:10 Russian aviation bombarded only remaining bridge on the Highway linking eastern and western parts of the country. There was a fire on the bridge. Fire is extinguished. The traffic is restored.

 

16:05 Gori is being bombed by Russian aviation.

 

15:10 Russian troops and Abkhaz separatists launch ground attack on Upper Abkhazia. The region is being bombed by Russian aviation.

 

15:00 Russian airplanes bomb the village of Knolevi in the northern Kareli district.

 

12:00 20 to 25 thousand IDPs from the regions of Tskhinvali and Gori, as a result of Russian attacks. The number of IDPs is growing quickly.

 

09:00 Government of Georgia reported 45 soldiers and 47 civilians died.

 

08:45 Ten Russian jets attack Upper Abkhazia. One jet has been downed by Georgian Government troops.

 

07:40 Russian jets bomb village of Urta in Zugdidi district.

 

07:00 Georgian Government Forces withdraw from Tskhinvali. Russian General Khrulyov, commander of the invading 58th army was wounded after shelling Russian military convoy by Georgian artillery.

 

05:45 Russian jet entered Georgian airspace from Dagestan and dropped 3 Bombs on Tbilisi airplane factory.

 

6,000 Russian troops enter Georgia through Roki tunnel overnight; 90 tanks; 150 Armored Personnel Carriers; 250 artillery gunships.

 

4,000 Russian troops land at port of Ochamchire in Abkhazia, from Black Sea port of Sevastopol.

 

August 11, 2008

 

20:30 Russian Army took Gori and cut main highway connecting Western and Eastern parts of the country.

 

20:10 The invading army of the Russian Federation has advanced outside the conflict zones of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Russian army units moved towards the city of Gori. The Georgian army is retreating to defend the capital. The Government is urgently seeking international intervention to prevent the fall of Georgia and the further loss of life.

 

19:30 Russian troopes advanced deep into Georgian territory from west and entered Senaki 210 Kms from Tbilisi, out of the conflict zone.

 

19:20 US deputy assistant secretary made supportive announcement to Georgia. He mentioned that, time would come when International Peace keeping force will enter Georgia and restore Georgia’s territorial Integrity.

 

19:00 The camp for IDPs was opened in Tbilisi.

 

18:20 Ossetian separatist forces entered village Beloti near Eredvi. They took hostage remaining civilian population and locked them in local church.

 

18:10 Russian Troops attacked and took village Shindisi of Gori district.

 

17:30 Russian Aviation bombed village Kere of Gori District.

 

Russian peace keepers with heavy equipment entered Zugdidi to disarm local police. By 17:00 they began to occupy administrative buildings. http://www.gpb.ge/moambe_news.php?lang=geo...p;news_id=16206

 

14:30 Senaki base is bombed by Russian aviation.

 

13:30 President Saakashvili signs a ceasefire agreement, prepared by the foreign ministers of France, Finland, and Georgia. The foreign ministers of France and Finland are taking the agreement to Moscow in order to persuade President Medvedev to sign it.

http://www.gpb.ge/moambe_news.php?lang=eng...p;news_id=16190

 

12:05 Russian aviation is bombing Georgian servicemen in Upper Abkhazia.

 

10:00 Village of Eredvi came under the fire of Russian artillery.

 

07:15 Senaki airport is bombed by Russian airplanes.

 

06:10 Gori tank battalion is bombed. A civilian apartment building nearby has been hit.

 

05:00 Shiraki airfield in Dedoplistskaro District on the east of the country is bombed by Russian jets.

 

04:37 Civilian radar station on Makhata mount in 5 kilometers from downtown Tbilisi is bombed by Russian planes.

 

03:05 Villages of Sharabidzeebi, Kapandichi, Makho near Batumi are bombed by Russian planes. Graveyard and villagers’ backyard have been hit. No casualties

 

00:30 Civilian radar station in the village of Shavshvebi west of Tbilisi is bombed by Russian planes.

 

00:00 Five wounded policemen transported to Zugdidi hospital from Upper Abkhazia.

 

August 12, 2008

 

19:10 Russian troops moved towards Khaishi, Svanetia north of the Zugdidi and occupied it. They entered Upper Abkhazia from the east.

 

18:30 South Ossetian separatists entered village Disevi in Gori district and committed acts of ethnic cleansing, burning houses and attacking population. Russian militaries are witnessing all these and are not reacting.

 

18:30 South Ossetian separatists entered village Karaleti in Gori district and committed acts of ethnic cleansing, burning houses and attacking population.

 

18:00 Village Tkotsa Khashuri district 4 bombes were droped. None of them exploded.

 

18:00 Russian militaries began exploding Georgian ships harbored in Poti port.

 

18:00The share holders of Kulevi Terminal have been notifed by Russian militaries about planed bombing of the oil terminal.

 

17:30 Abkhazian troops mobilized heavy armored vehicles in demilitarized zone in village Ganmukhuri which they took day before and organized customs.

 

16:30 Russian troops entered the territory of Gori TV transmition station. One employee has been killed three injured. Russians destroyed equipment of the station. As a result the only Russian speaking TV station Alanya TV is out of air. The region can not receive Georgian Public Broadcasting channel as well.

 

16:30 At the grand rally held in Tbilisi, the President Saakashvili announced about the decision of the government of Georgia to withdraw from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

 

14:50 Village Sakoritno in Kaspi region and village Ruisi in Kareli region are bombed by Russian aviation

 

14:00 In village Agara (Khashuri region) Russian military jets bombarded an ambulance vehicle.

 

13:25 Three Russian airplanes dropped bombs on the village of Orchosani near Gori.

 

12:30 Vasiani base nearby Tbilisi has been bombed by Russian planes.

 

12:25 Oil pipeline 5 km from the city of Rustavi has been bombed.

 

10:15 Russian planes bombed Gori. The territory around administration building and city market have been bombed.

 

In the morning ours of 12 August Russian airplanes bombed the village of Tkviavi near Tskhinvali once again.

 

03:25 Russian envoy to the UN Churkin announced in a press conference that Russia will not support the resolution. Georgian envoy Alasania announced that the suggested resolution is acceptable to Georgia.

 

02:15 Emergency meeting of the Security Council of the UN started. The resolution about cease-fire prepared by France was discussed.

 

02:05 Russian aviation bombarded Kaspi 30 Kms from Tbilisi out of conflict zone. 3 bombs were dropped near the Heidelberg Cement factory (one of two cement factories in the country). No damage was reported.

 

01:15 President of the United States George W. Bush made supportive statement to Georgia. "Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century," the president said in a televised statement from the White House, calling on Moscow to sign on to the outlines of a cease-fire as the Georgian government has done

 

Territory of Abkhazia and S. Ossetia will be declared as occupied

 

The territory of Abkhazia and S. Ossetia will be declared as occupied by Russia and Russian military forces as occupants.

 

The chairman of Parliament of Georgia has stated the following today.

Edited by Luke_Wilbur

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Guest THE WHITE HOUSE

President Bush Discusses Situation in Georgia

 

THE PRESIDENT: I just met with my national security team to discuss the situation in Georgia.

 

I am deeply concerned by reports that Russian troops have moved beyond the zone of conflict, attacked the Georgian town of Gori, and are threatening the Georgia's -- Georgia's capital of Tbilisi. There's evidence that Russian forces may soon begin bombing the civilian airport in the capital city.

 

If these reports are accurate, these Russian actions would represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the conflict in Georgia. And these actions would be inconsistent with assurances we have received from Russia that its objectives were limited to restoring the status quo in South Ossetia that existed before fighting began on August the 6th.

 

It now appears that an effort may be underway to depose Russia's* duly elected government. Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century.

 

The Georgian government has accepted the elements of a peace agreement that the Russian government previously said it would be willing to accept: an immediate cease-fire, the withdrawal of forces from the zone of conflict, a return to the military status quo as of August 6th, and a commitment to refrain from using force. There are representatives of the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe currently in Moscow seeking Russia's agreement to this peace plan.

 

Russia's government must respect Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Russian government must reverse the course it appears to be on, and accept this peace agreement as a first step toward resolving this conflict.

 

Russia's actions this week have raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region. These actions have substantially damaged Russia's standing in the world. And these actions jeopardize Russians' relations -- Russia's relations with the United States and Europe. It is time for Russia to be true to its word and to act to end this crisis.

 

Thank you.

 

END 5:24 P.M. EDT

 

*Georgia's duly elected government

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Guest human_*

And for those who think that the cold war was over? Please!!!!!!

 

Trust me when I say/type this; The Cold war is NEVER over. The players may change from time to time, but again it never is or was over. <~~~ This is the nature of the world whether you like it or not.

 

Latin America is getting closer to the Middle East. <~ Thanks to the Clinton policy towards Latin America.

 

The democrats made the case for nuclear power in the Middle East as well as Latin America. <~~~ This is also reality, and they are going for it "You really can bank your bottom dollar on it".

 

<Just like when the doctor tells us to stop smoking cigarettes, and we are like? Yeah! Sure!! And we still keep on smoking.>

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

President Bush Discusses Situation in Georgia

 

THE PRESIDENT: I just met with my national security team to discuss the situation in Georgia.

 

I am deeply concerned by reports that Russian troops have moved beyond the zone of conflict, attacked the Georgian town of Gori, and are threatening the Georgia's -- Georgia's capital of Tbilisi. There's evidence that Russian forces may soon begin bombing the civilian airport in the capital city.

 

If these reports are accurate, these Russian actions would represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the conflict in Georgia. And these actions would be inconsistent with assurances we have received from Russia that its objectives were limited to restoring the status quo in South Ossetia that existed before fighting began on August the 6th.

 

It now appears that an effort may be underway to depose Russia's* duly elected government. Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century.

 

The Georgian government has accepted the elements of a peace agreement that the Russian government previously said it would be willing to accept: an immediate cease-fire, the withdrawal of forces from the zone of conflict, a return to the military status quo as of August 6th, and a commitment to refrain from using force. There are representatives of the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe currently in Moscow seeking Russia's agreement to this peace plan.

 

Russia's government must respect Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Russian government must reverse the course it appears to be on, and accept this peace agreement as a first step toward resolving this conflict.

 

Russia's actions this week have raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region. These actions have substantially damaged Russia's standing in the world. And these actions jeopardize Russians' relations -- Russia's relations with the United States and Europe. It is time for Russia to be true to its word and to act to end this crisis.

 

Thank you.

 

END 5:24 P.M. EDT

 

*Georgia's duly elected government

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Guest THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

August 15, 2008

 

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I've just received an update from my national security team on the situation in Georgia. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Tbilisi. She's conferring with President Saakashvili and expressing America's wholehearted support for Georgia's democracy.

 

She will be traveling to Crawford, where I will meet her and she will bring me up to date on what she has seen and what she heard in Georgia, as well as in Paris -- I mean, in France. She did not go to Paris. Secretary of Defense Gates will keep me briefed on the humanitarian assistance to the people of Georgia. We're working closely with our partners in Europe and other members of the G7 to bring a resolution to this crisis.

 

The United States and our allies stand with the people of Georgia and their democratically elected government. Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected. Moscow must honor its commitment to withdraw its invading forces from all Georgian territory.

 

Some Americans listening today may wonder why events taking place in a small country halfway around the world matter to the United States. In the years since it's gained independence after the Soviet Union's collapse, Georgia has become a courageous democracy. Its people are making the tough choices that are required of free societies. Since the Rose Revolution in 2003, the Georgian people have held free elections, opened up their economy, and built the foundations of a successful democracy.

 

Georgia has sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq to help others achieve the liberty that they struggled so hard to attain. To further strengthen their democracy, Georgia has sought to join the free institutions of the West. The people of Georgia have cast their lot with the free world, and we will not cast them aside.

 

Georgia's emergence as a young democracy has been part of an inspiring and hopeful new chapter in Europe's history. Europe has moved beyond the world wars that killed millions of people, and the Cold War that divided its citizens between two superpowers. Every administration since the end of the Cold War has worked with European partners to extend the reach of liberty and prosperity. And now, for the first time in memory, Europe is becoming a continent that is whole, free, and at peace.

 

Unfortunately, Russia has tended to view the expansion of freedom and democracy as a threat to its interests. The opposite is true: Free and prosperous societies on Russia's borders will advance Russia's interests by serving as sources of stability and economic opportunity.

 

We hope Russia's leaders will recognize that a future of cooperation and peace will benefit all parties. The Cold War is over. The days of satellite states and spheres of influence are behind us. A contentious relationship with Russia is not in America's interest. And a contentious relationship with America is not in Russia's interest.

 

With its actions in recent days Russia has damaged its credibility and its relations with the nations of the free world. Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century. Only Russia can decide whether it will now put itself back on the path of responsible nations, or continue to pursue a policy that promises only confrontation and isolation. To begin to repair its relations with the United States and Europe and other nations, and to begin restoring its place in the world, Russia must respect the freedom of its neighbors.

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Guest Robert Wood

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Travel to France and Georgia

 

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will depart August 13 for travel to Fort de Brégançon and Paris, France and Tbilisi, Georgia. Secretary Rice will stop in Paris to consult with senior French officials on the European Union initiative to broker peace between Russia and Georgia. On August 15, she will continue on to Tbilisi to meet with senior Georgian officials and other concerned parties in an effort to reinforce the United States’ commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Secretary Rice will stop in Crawford, Texas to brief President Bush on August 16, returning to Washington, DC on August 17.

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Guest U.S. Department of State

Remarks With French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the Situation in Georgia

 

Secretary Condoleezza Rice

Le Fort de Bregancon, France

August 14, 2008

View Video

 

SECRETARY RICE: I want to thank you, Mr. President, for inviting me to this very beautiful place and for making room in your schedule on very short notice. I want very much to thank France, as the EU presidency, for the very fruitful mediation that it has undertaken to try and resolve the crisis in Georgia. It is very good that the United States and the European Union, through France, can work so closely together when these crises arise.

 

 

 

I will repeat what I said yesterday, which is it is time for this crisis to be over. The Russian President has said that their military operations have halted. We would hope that he would be true to his word and that those operations will halt. And we will work very hard to see if we can bring an end to this crisis. It is long overdue. Too many innocent people have died and Georgia, whose territorial integrity and independence and sovereignty we fully respect, must be able to get back to normal life.

 

 

I’m going to Tbilisi tomorrow, as you know, as the President said, to underscore America’s support for that government. And I just want to thank you again, Mr. President. Thank you.

 

 

QUESTION: (In French.)

 

 

PRESIDENT SARKOZY: (In French.)

 

 

SECRETARY RICE: Merci.

 

 

QUESTION: There are widespread reports that the Russians are sabotaging Georgian installations, air fields and other things, as they may or may not be leaving. I’m wondering what your reaction to that is.

 

 

Also, today, your colleague – both of your colleagues – Foreign Minister Lavrov has said that the world should forget about Georgia’s territorial integrity and that the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will not be able to be rejoined with Georgia by force. Your response to that?

 

 

SECRETARY RICE: I would only make two responses. First of all, the President spoke yesterday to concerns about Russian activities, and we’ve discussed those. Those need to stop. The ceasefire, the provisional ceasefire that was agreed to, really must go into place. And that means that activities, military activities, have to stop.

 

 

As to the second comment, since I haven’t seen the comments of my colleague Sergey Lavrov, I don’t want to comment on something that’s out of context. But let me just be very clear that the United States of America stands strongly, and the President of France has just said, for the territorial integrity of Georgia. This is a member-state of the United Nations whose internationally recognized boundaries have to be respected. There will be a process for dealing with what has been a difficult conflict in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia, but it proceeds, of course, from UN Security Council resolutions that are already there. And so there shouldn’t be any question about the territorial integrity of Georgia.

2008/T23-1

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Guest Fed

Russia and Georgia agree on delimiting 80% of their common border, leaving certain small, strategic segments and the maritime boundary unresolved; OSCE observers monitor volatile areas such as the Pankisi Gorge in the Akhmeti region and the Argun Gorge in Abkhazia; UN Observer Mission in Georgia has maintained a peacekeeping force in Georgia since 1993; Meshkheti Turks scattered throughout the former Soviet Union seek to return to Georgia; boundary with Armenia remains undemarcated; ethnic Armenian groups in Javakheti region of Georgia seek greater autonomy from the Georgian government; Azerbaijan and Georgia continue to discuss the alignment of their boundary at certain crossing areas.

 

Georgia has overcome the chronic energy shortages of the past by renovating hydropower plants and by bringing newly available natural gas supplies from Azerbaijan. It also has an increased ability to pay for more expensive gas imports from Russia. The country is pinning its hopes for long-term growth on a determined effort to reduce regulation, taxes and corruption in order to attract foreign investment. The construction on the Baku-T'bilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the Baku-T'bilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline, and the Kars-Akhalkalaki Railroad are part of a strategy to capitalize on Georgia's strategic location between Europe and Asia and develop its role as a transit point for gas, oil and other goods.

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Guest Gerry J. Gilmore

President Bush today pledged the United States will support the former Soviet republic of Georgia in its time of need, as Russian troops still occupy parts of the country. Video

“The United States and our allies stand with the people of Georgia and their democratically elected government,” Bush said at the White House.

 

“Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected. Moscow must honor its commitment to withdraw its invading forces from all Georgian territory,” Bush declared, noting the United States is working closely with its European allies and other members of the G-7 world economic organization to bring resolution to the crisis.

 

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is now conferring with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi, the country’s capital city, Bush said. Rice is in Georgia to express “America’s wholehearted support for Georgia’s democracy,” Bush said.

 

Bush said Rice later will travel to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, to update him on the situation in Georgia. Bush said Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is keeping him briefed on the ongoing humanitarian mission in Georgia.

 

On Aug. 8, Russian forces crossed the border into the contested northern Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia after Georgian military forces had clashed with separatists in South Ossetia the day before. Georgia was part of the former Soviet Union before declaring its independence in 1991. However, South Ossetia and Abkhazia often have expressed their displeasure at being under Georgian rule and have sought to ally themselves with Russia, to the north.

 

Georgia, and Ukraine, another former Soviet satellite state in Eastern Europe that also left Moscow’s orbit after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, both have expressed their desire to join NATO. Russia’s political leaders often have voiced their displeasure at the thought of such an event occurring.

 

Americans may wonder why events taking place in far-away Georgia may matter to the United States, Bush noted.

 

“In the years since it gained independence after the Soviet Union’s collapse, Georgia has become a courageous democracy, with people making the tough choices that are required of free societies,” Bush said.

 

Since 2003, he noted, the Georgian people have held free elections, opened up their economy and built the foundations that support a successful democracy. Georgia also has deployed its military forces for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush said, “to help others achieve the liberty that they’ve struggled so hard to obtain.”

 

To further strengthen its democracy, Georgia has sought to join the free institutions of the West, such as NATO, Bush said.

 

“The people of Georgia have cast their lot with the free world, and we will not cast them aside,” Bush vowed. Georgia’s aspiring new democracy, he said, represents an inspiring new chapter in Europe’s history.

 

Europe has moved beyond World War I, World War II and the Cold War tensions that existed between the Soviet Union and the rest of the world during the middle-to-late 2Oth century, Bush said.

 

“And now, for the first time in memory, Europe is becoming a continent that is whole, free and at peace,” he said. “Unfortunately, Russia has tended to view the expansion of freedom and democracy as a threat to its interests.”

 

However, “free and prosperous societies on Russia’s borders will advance Russia’s interests by serving as sources of stability and economic opportunity,” Bush said.

 

Bush said he hopes Russia’s leaders will recognize that a future of cooperation and peace will benefit all parties. “The Cold War is over,” Bush declared. “The days of satellite states and spheres of influence are behind us. A contentious relationship with Russia is not in America’s interest, and a contentious relationship with America is not in Russia’s interest.”

 

Through its military actions in Georgia, Russia has damaged its credibility and its relations with other nations, Bush said.

 

“Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century,” Bush said. “Only Russia can decide whether it will now put itself back on the path of responsible nations, or continue to pursue a policy that promises only confrontation and isolation.

 

“Russia must respect the freedom of its neighbors,” Bush said, to restore its world standing and credibility.

 

Russia’s air, land and sea assaults on Georgia over the past few days represent its attempt “to punish Georgia for daring to try to integrate with the West economically and politically and in security arrangements,” Gates said yesterday at a Pentagon news conference.

 

He added that the invasion of Georgia is causing many Western nations to reexamine their relations with Russia. “My guess is that everyone is going to be looking at Russia through a different set of lenses as … we look ahead,” the defense secretary said.

 

“I think Russia’s got some serious work to do to try and work its way back into the family of nations that are trying to work together and build democracy and build … their economies, working together,” Gates said.

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Guest President of Georgia

During the last days the situation on the territory of the former Autonomous District of South Ossetia has seriously aggravated. Separatists are engaged in massive violation of human rights and freedoms, armed assaults on peaceful population and violence. As a result of these activities, there are casualties in peaceful population and peacekeeping forces. Tens of people are wounded. Property of peaceful population is destroyed.

 

Despite the decisions made by the Georgian Government to cease fire unilaterally and the proposals to conduct peaceful negotiations, massive attacks on peaceful population took place on August 7-8 from the side of separatists. Georgian Government took necessary and adequate measures to counter these armed attacks.

 

The actions made by the separatists on Georgian territory have actively been supported by the Russian Federation. Namely, on August 8 hundreds of military personnel and armament entered Georgia through Rocky tunnel.

 

On August 8, during the day, Russian military aircrafts for several times violated Georgian air space and bombed Kareli, Gori, and neighboring villages, also villages in Tskhinvali region, Vaziani military base and Marneuli military airport, which caused casualties in peaceful population and damaged infrastructure. Later Russian aircrafts bombed Senaki airport, Senaki military base, railroad station, also Poti port, Shipbuilding factory and railroad line. On August 9 aircrafts bombed Kopitnari airport, Gori railroad station and residential houses, which caused casualties among civilian population. In the last hours, Russia began aggressive actions towards Abkhazia direction. The majority of these territories are located 200-300 kilometers away from the Tskhinvali region. Consequently, aggressive actions from the side of Russia are significantly beyond the conflict territory and include practically entire Georgia.

 

Based on the above said, we face the fact of armed attack against Georgia from the side of Russia, which has both indirect and direct character.

 

Indirect attack is represented by full support of the separatist forces, including their supply with military equipment and ammunition, and occupation of high positions within the self-proclaimed South Ossetian Republic by the Russian officials (minister of defense, minister of internal affairs, national security advisor, prime minister).

 

Direct Military aggression was expressed from the Russian Federation by conducting active, intensive and continuous war, including several violations of Georgian air space and massive bombing. Black Sea Naval Forces and Military Land Forces were used as well. These actions, with its nature and scale, are fully adequate to the definition recognized by the International Law “Armed Attack”, and it has to be qualified appropriately.

 

In the above mentioned conditions, in respond to the existing threat, the only adequate and accordingly necessary measure is employment of Defense Right, justified by the Constitution of Georgia 98 article, UN Regulation 51 and by the International Case Law.

 

It is necessary to use our forces, which will be proportional against attacks carried out against Georgia and will be directed to stop an armed conflict and to avoid the escalation of the situation.

 

Due to existing circumstances, in order to eliminate attacks and violation against the peaceful population, to provide dense of human rights and freedom, according to the sub-paragraph “Z”, paragraph 1, article 73, as well as article 98 and paragraph 1, article 100 of the Georgian Constitution, in accordance with Georgian Law “about Military Law” and “Mobilization Law” sub-paragraph “a”, article 6, Georgian Law.

 

1.To declare Martial Law on the whole territory of Georgia.

 

2.The period of time must be determined by 15 days.

 

3.Due to Martial Law to declare full mobilization and the use of Georgian Military forces in order to eliminate armed attacks

 

4.To publish order without delay by the means of Mass Media, and later (during 24 hours) every two hours to be transmitted by the Public Broadcaster.

 

5.To present the decree to the Georgian Parliament for endorsement.

 

6.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (E. Tkeshelashvili) must inform the UN Secretary General, the General Secretary of the Council of Europe, other International Organizations and Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Georgia about the declaration of the Martial Law.

 

7.This decree should be activated after the signing and should immediately be published in official printing agencies.

 

Mikheil Saakashvili

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Guest United Nations

As urgent supplies continue to arrive for those affected by the conflict in Georgia, the United Nations refugee agency has repeated its call for free and unhindered humanitarian access and safe passage for uprooted civilians and the aid workers trying to help them.

Many people have been killed and wounded, and large numbers have been uprooted from their homes since heavy fighting began last Thursday in South Ossetia between Georgian and South Ossetian forces. Russian forces have also become involved there and in the separate region of Abkhazia in north-western Georgia.

 

In a statement issued yesterday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his deep concern at the impact of the fighting on civilians, and called for “safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian actors to all conflict-affected areas.”

 

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that the total number of people uprooted in the conflict is approaching 115,000, according to the latest figures provided by the Georgian and Russian Governments.

 

Russian officials in North Ossetia say some 30,000 people from South Ossetia are still in Russia. Meanwhile, Georgian officials report that up to 15,000 people have fled south into other parts of Georgia from South Ossetia. In addition, some 68,000 people are displaced in the rest of Georgia, including most of the population of the town of Gori.

 

UNHCR announced that its chief, António Guterres, will travel to Georgia and Russia next week to assess the agency’s humanitarian operations in both countries and to discuss with the two governments any further support they may require.

 

“Mr. Guterres will continue to press for the protection of the civilian population, particularly the displaced, and for access by humanitarian agencies,” UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva.

 

Meanwhile, UNHCR’s third humanitarian airlift this week to Georgia is expected to arrive in Tbilisi today, bringing more than 38 tonnes of jerry cans, blankets, kitchen sets and telecommunications equipment. With today’s flight, UNHCR will have delivered more than 100 tonnes of relief supplies so far this week – enough for more than 50,000 people.

 

It has already distributed aid to some 2,000 people, including 1,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from South Ossetia who are now living in a former hospital building in Tbilisi.

 

In addition, UNHCR is scheduling two flights to Vladikavkaz in Russia next week to bring mattresses, kitchen sets, water tanks, blankets, jerry cans and soap for displaced South Ossetians.

 

Two of UNHCR’s vehicles were hijacked at gunpoint yesterday by people in unmarked uniforms on the outskirts of Gori. The vehicles were later recovered and the two UNHCR staff members made it safely back to Tbilisi.

 

Despite this incident, UNHCR is pressing ahead with field assessment missions and the distribution of assistance.

 

“The needs are great, especially for the most vulnerable such as children, women and the sick,” the agency said in a news release. “There are newborn babies and women in advanced pregnancy among the displaced. Immediate needs include medications for people suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Sanitation and hygienic items as well beds and mattresses are in great demand.”

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Guest HUMAN_*

For the record;

 

You democrats wanted power back "No Matter What The Cost", and now you really are seeing what that cost in tells.

 

Venezuela trying to destroy us economically, Latin America going nuclear, Middle East going nuclear.

 

There is an old saying in this town “Who needs enemies when you have the Democrats".

 

Look folks; We ALL want to reach retirement in very good condition, but when you have the democrats under mining U.S. Long term Interests with in the international community? Then it serves only our enemies.

 

<In a very warped way, I'm actually enjoying all of this "Oh Yeah!!", BECAUSE it brings ALL of YOU back into my world? "REALITY" IN HOW THE WORLD REALLY IS.

 

I would LOVE to say LEARN from your mistakes, but as one who really has been in politics for decades

and mostly in the international arena I have come to a conclusion; I AGREE WITH THE DEMOCRATS ASSESMENT in THEIR VEIW OF YOU. You really don't know JACK.

 

If I get kicked out for being so Blunt? Then so be it.>

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Guest United Nations

International Criminal Court monitoring events in Georgia, Prosecutor says

 

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court confirmed today that his Office is analysing information related to alleged crimes committed in Georgia in recent weeks that fall under the Court’s jurisdiction.

 

Heavy fighting began earlier this month in South Ossetia between Georgian and South Ossetian forces, with Russian forces becoming involved there and in the separate region of Abkhazia and other parts of Georgia in the following days. The violence has uprooted almost 160,000 people in recent weeks.

 

Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said today that his Office is analying information alleging attacks on civilians in Georgia, which is a State Party to the Rome Statute that established the Court.

 

“My Office considers carefully all information relating to alleged crimes within its jurisdiction – war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – committed on the territory of States Parties or by nationals of States Parties, regardless of the individuals or groups alleged to have committed the crimes,” he said.

 

The Office has been closely monitoring all information on the situation in Georgia since the outbreak of violence, including information from public sources, according to a news release from the ICC.

 

In addition, both the Georgian and Russian Governments have offered information to the Court on the situation. “The Office will proceed to seek further information from all actors concerned,” the news release added.

 

Other situations under analysis by the Office of the Prosecutor include Colombia, Afghanistan, Chad, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire.

 

The Office is currently conducting investigations in four situations – the Democratic Republic of Congo, Northern Uganda, the Darfur region of Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

 

The ICC is the first independent, permanent court to investigate and prosecute persons accused of the most serious crimes, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, if national authorities with jurisdiction are unwilling or unable to do so.

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Guest Jamie

Why did Georgia attack South Ossetia?

 

"Some are suggesting that the action was prompted by “neocons” in the U.S. government who wish to tilt the political landscape to favor a McCain victory in the upcoming elections?"

Why did Georgia attack South Ossetia?

 

Dear friends of peace and justice,

 

The link below will take you to dramatic video footage of an American and his family who were in South Ossetia when Georgia began it’s sneak attack on the civilians of South Ossetia. It is shocking, criminal. Please view it and share with many others. The world must know the truth.

 

 

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Guest Patrick J. Buchanan

Who is Randy Scheunemann?

 

He is the principal foreign policy adviser to John McCain and potential successor to Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski as national security adviser to the president of the United States.

 

But Randy Scheunemann has another identity, another role.

 

He is a dual loyalist, a foreign agent whose assignment is to get America committed to spilling the blood of her sons for client regimes who have made this moral mercenary a rich man.

 

From January 2007 to March 2008, the McCain campaign paid Scheunemann $70,000 -- pocket change compared to the $290,000 his Orion Strategies banked in those same 15 months from the Georgian regime of Mikheil Saakashvili.

 

What were Mikheil's marching orders to Tbilisi's man in Washington? Get Georgia a NATO war guarantee. Get America committed to fight Russia, if necessary, on behalf of Georgia.

 

Scheunemann came close to succeeding.

 

Had he done so, U.S. soldiers and Marines from Idaho and West Virginia would be killing Russians in the Caucasus, and dying to protect Scheunemann's client, who launched this idiotic war the night of Aug. 7. That people like Scheunemann hire themselves out to put American lives on the line for their clients is a classic corruption of American democracy.

 

U.S. backing for his campaign to retrieve his lost provinces is what Saakashvili paid Scheunemann to produce. But why should Americans fight Russians to force 70,000 South Ossetians back into the custody of a regime they detest? Why not let the South Ossetians decide their own future in free elections?

 

Not only is the folly of the Bush interventionist policy on display in the Caucasus, so, too, is its manifest incoherence.

 

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says we have sought for 45 years to stay out of a shooting war with Russia and we are not going to get into one now. President Bush assured us there will be no U.S. military response to the Russian move into Georgia.

 

That is a recognition of, and a bowing to, reality -- namely, that Russia's control of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and occupation of a strip of Georgia cannot be a casus belli for the United States. We may deplore it, but it cannot justify war with Russia.

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Not at the cost of lives.

 

(From a U.S. European Command news release.)

 

European Command Chief Checks Georgia Relief Effort First-Hand

 

he commander of U.S. European Command traveled to the former Soviet republic of Georgia to ensure the ongoing U.S. humanitarian effort in the wake of a Georgian conflict with Russia is proceeding smoothly.

 

"I'm here to talk to Georgian leaders and our U.S. assessment team to hear what they need," Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock said. "We have to get it right so we can help people quickly. We want to optimize the humanitarian aid effort and bring in the right stuff, to the right place at the right time."

 

The general and several key staff members from EuCom headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, were joined on the visit by U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Henrietta Holsman Fore. As part of the visit, Craddock visited a building in Tbilisi where about 250 displaced people were living, unable to return home since the Russian advance. The general also met with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and defense ministry officials about the way ahead for U.S.-Georgian military-to-military relationship.

 

Craddock said EuCom would assess the Georgian forces’ needs and make a recommendation to the secretary of defense.

 

"We express our gratitude for your help, and will never forget what you have done to help us in our time of need," Saakashvili said in a brief joint news conference after the meeting.

 

Craddock minced no words when discussing Russia's compliance with a France-brokered cease-fire agreement.

 

"There is an agreement between two heads of state, and there has to be compliance," he said Aug. 21. "My assessment is that the Russian withdrawal is now slower than it ought to be. [The Russians] need to do what they said they were going to do almost a week ago and

withdraw."

 

Craddock expressed support for an Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe observer mission slated to provide 100 unarmed military observers. The mission will provide better awareness of withdrawal progress and reduce the possibility of new clashes between Russians and Georgians.

 

Also part of Cradock’s visit was a stop to observe the growing U.S. aerial port mission at Tbilisi Airport and tothank the U.S. troops working there. To date the U.S. has provided more than $11 million in direct support of the humanitarian aid mission in Georgia.

 

Navy Rear Adm. Steven Romano, EuCom’s director of logistics and security assistance, said U.S. Air Force aircraft have established a tempo of C-17 and C-130 deliveries that are providing enough food to feed about 50,000 people per day until USAID and Georgian government efforts can sustain the effort.

 

Maritime assets are also playing a growing role in the aid effort. USS McFaul, a Navy destroyer, left Souda Bay, Crete, on Aug. 21 after taking aboard dozens of pallets of humanitarian relief supplies, and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas is following with more humanitarian aid.

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Guest LAW_*

As the parliament of Georgia voted to approve closing the nation's embassy in Moscow and severing diplomatic ties with Russia, officials in the breakaway territory of South Ossetia are stating that their ultimate goal is not independence, but to be absorbed into Russia.

 

Znaur Gassiyev, the speaker in the parliament of South Ossetia, said today in Tskhinvali, the capital, that the region will be annexed by Russia "in several years" or earlier. He further went on that this was the position of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity, who met earlier this week to discuss the future of South Ossetia. Ultimately, South Ossetia would be joined with the Russian federal subject of North Ossetia-Alania.

 

"We will live in one united Russian state," Tarzan Kokoiti, one of Gassiyev's deputies, said. However, a Russian government spokesperson said there was "no official information" on the talks.

 

The Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Gigi Tsereteli, warned the areas, which are "autonomous republics" within Georgia, that absorption into Russia would ultimately destroy them as territorial entities.

 

"The regimes of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should think about the fact that if they become part of Russia, they will be assimilated and in this way they will disappear," Tsereteli said.

 

On August 26, Russia voted to diplomatically recognize South Ossetia, as well as other another semi-autonomous region of Georgia, Abkhazia. So far, no other member of the United Nations has recognized these republics.

 

"We found ourselves in an awkward situation when a country militarily invading and occupying our country, then recognizing part of its territories, is trying to create a sense of normalcy," Georgian Foreign Minister Ekaterine Tkeshelashvili said while in Sweden.

 

"Breaking off diplomatic relations with Tbilisi is not Moscow's choice, and the responsibility lies with Tbilisi," Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said.

 

Russia's efforts to get other nations to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states hit a snag when the People's Republic of China and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation balked at recognition.

 

Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, said that he supports the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but did not say if Venezuela formally recognises the republics.

 

"Russia has recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We support Russia. Russia is right and is defending its interests," Chavez said.

 

Russia and South Ossetia continue to work on an agreement to install permanent Russian military bases in the breakaway territory. The agreement is scheduled to be signed on September 2.

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Guest Stephen Lendman

Clear lines are drawn for protracted confrontation in a very high risk gamble for both sides. Russia prefers diplomacy to conflict and seeks alliances with the West and its neighbors. America wants conquest, and look at the stakes. An area from roughly Germany in the West to the Pacific rim. Encompassing Russia, China, the Middle East, and Asian sub-continent. Including about three-fourths of the world's population and an equal amount of its energy resources. Most of its physical wealth overall and its GDP. No small prize, and America intends to secure it. Russia stands in the way. It controls its own part and influences much of the rest. Welcome to the new Cold War and new Great Game.

 

It's only round one, but its roots go back to earlier US efforts to ally with former Soviet Republics. Encircle Russia with military bases and station offensive missiles and advanced tracking radar on its borders. Then Georgia attacked South Ossetia on August 7. Washington orchestrated the aggression. Russia counterattacked after artillery fire killed 15 or more of its peacekeepers, and partially destroyed their headquarters. The entire Tskhinvali capital as well, a civilian target of no military consequence. Border villages were burnt to the ground. Atrocities committed. Malicious attacks against non-combatants. Western media portrayed the aggressor as victim. The same game it always plays - so far with faint letup, save for the heavy Democrat and Republican conventions coverage getting top billing.

 

The Caucacus (hot) conflict has now ebbed. Russia controls things on the ground. In full compliance with the Sarkozy-brokered peace, according to Foreign Minister Lavrov. All six points of its original version. They include:

 

-- renouncing the use of force;

 

-- halting all military action;

 

-- providing free access for humanitarian aid;

 

-- the return of Georgian forces to their bases;

 

-- Russian forces to their pre-conflict positions; and

 

-- engaging in international discussions on South Ossetian and Abkhazian future status to ensure their security.

 

Afterwards, Georgian president Saakashvili reneged by unilaterally amending the original agreement. It bears no relation to what Moscow signed. A deliberately confrontational act. Surely directed from Washington. Sharp western criticism followed and ignited the old Cold War blame the Russians game that both surprised and angered the Kremlin.

 

Its leadership isn't about to roll over. On August 26, it backed South Ossetian and Abkazian independence and their protection from further Georgian aggression. The populations of both provinces overwhelmingly approve. On August 27, Georgia, in response, withdrew all but two lower level officials from Moscow. On August 29, its parliament supported a resolution to sever diplomatic relations and cancel agreements allowing Russian peacekeepers to remain in both provinces. Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Head, Konstantin Kosachev, called the action "regrettable" but said its impact on Russia won't be negative. Until August 29, Russia retained its full Tbilisi staff and said maintaining ties are vital.

 

According to The New York Times on August 29, that's now changed after Georgia made it official - breaking diplomatic ties with Russia and Moscow responding in kind. Both countries will retain their consular offices but further political relations will be handled by intermediaries. The move doesn't prevent both countries' officials from meeting in neutral territory.

 

On August 30, RIA Novesti reported two other developments as well. According to Georgia's reintegration minister, Temur Yakobashvili, that Tbilisi "was formally pulling out of a (May 14) 1994 UN-approved (Abkhazia and Georgia) agreement....on a ceasefire and separation of forces." It followed Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Earlier on August 12, Georgian president Saakashvili announced that his country was withdrawing from the Russian-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance of former Soviet republics.

 

RIA Novesti's other report was a slap in the face to Georgia. That the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has evidence about "numerous wrong decisions" Georgian leaders made leading up to the Caucasus crisis - according to the German magazine Der Spiegel. It cited "detailed (Georgian) planning to move into South Ossetia" and backed Russian claims that "the Georgian offensive was already in full swing by the time Russian troops and armored vehicles entered the Roksky Tunnel (bordering Russia and South Ossetia) to protect its peacekeepers and the civilian population." OSCE's report went further as well citing "suspected war crimes committed by Georgians, who ordered attacks on sleeping South Ossetian civilians."

 

On August 29, Russia Today reported that South Ossetia's acting parliament chairman, Tarzan Kokoity, announced a deal to host Russian military bases as early as September 2. In addition, two others may be reactivated on their former Abkhazian sites. However, on the same date, the online service also said that Russian Foreign Ministry officials denied such a deal. Only that Russia is "currently working on a cooperation (arrangement) with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but it's too early to assess where this may lead." An agreement is expected to be signed on September 2.

 

Diplomatic jousting continues as EU leaders weigh further responses and their relations with Russia going forward. For its part, Russia is in no mood to stand idle and is surely mindful of Barak Obama's convention speech threat to "curb Russian aggression."

 

Heated Rhetoric Instead of Hot Conflict

 

A war of words replaced hot conflict on the ground. Unfair condemnation and heated rhetoric. Western nations on board with Washington. Some like the UK more than others. The corporate media trumpeting approval. Spewing venom and agitprop. Their specialty and what they're good at. Keeping their audiences uninformed. Their accustomed role. No longer even pretending to report legitimately.

 

For his part, President Medvedev stood firm and said: "We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new Cold War, but we don't want one, and in this situation everything depends on the positions of our partners."

 

In New York Times and UK Financial Times August 26 op-eds, he explained his decision to sign Decrees to recognize South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence and "call(ed) on other states to follow (his) example." Seeing early warning signs, he tried to dissuade Georgia from using force. He called Georgian president Saakashvili a "madman" for "tak(ing) such a gamble." He explained that Russia had no other option than to respond. To save lives "not in a war of our choice. We have no designs on Georgian territory."

 

Russia struck bases from which attacks were "launched and then left. We restored the peace but could not calm the fears and aspirations of the South Ossetian and Abkhazian peoples." To aid them and the requests of their presidents, "I signed a decree" to recognize their independence." He also referred to Russia's "historic friendship and sympathy" for Georgians and said he hopes "one day (they will) have leaders they deserve, who care about their country and who develop mutually respectful relations with all the peoples in the Caucasus. Russia is ready to support the achievement of such a goal."

 

On August 31, Itar Tass reported that Medvedev "spell(ed) out five principles of Russian foreign policy in a televised interview:

 

-- the supremacy of international legal fundamentals that define relations between civilized nations;

 

-- the importance of a multi-polar world - not one in which one nation decides for all others;

 

-- confrontation with no other country, and Russia will work toward "friendly relations with Europe, the United States and other countries of the world;"

 

-- an "absolute priority" of protecting life and dignity of Russian citizens "no matter where they live....aggression will be deterred; and

 

-- like other countries, "Russia has areas of privileged interests....countries to which we are linked with friendly ties," and not only with neighboring states.

 

Medvedev added that diplomatic relations going forward would depend not just on Russia but also "on our friends, partners and the international community at large. They have a choice."

 

On August 28, Prime Minister Putin had his say. Was outspoken in a CNN interview, and accused the Bush administration of failing to keep Georgia from attacking South Ossetia. This, he said, damaged bilateral relations. He suggested a possible darker motive as well: "....that someone in the United States created this conflict on purpose to stir up the situation and create an advantage for one of the (presidential) candidates. They needed a small victorious war" - a clear reference to John McCain although he didn't say.

 

He also said "not only (did the administration fail) to restrain the Georgian leadership from this criminal action, but the American side in fact trained and equipped the Georgian army....We (also) have serious reasons to believe that directly in the combat zone citizens of the United States were present. If the facts are confirmed....that means only one thing - that they could be there on the direct instruction of their leadership....following a direct order from their leader, and not on their own initiative." Col. General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, Russia's deputy chief of general staff, said Russian forces had a US passport for Michael Lee White of Texas in a ruined building near Tskhinvali and showed what was found.

 

Putin stressed that Russia would respond to the killing of its citizens and peacekeepers and wouldn't let possible G-8 membership expulsion or threatened EU actions deter it.

 

With this going on, heavily armed US and other NATO warships entered the Black Sea on the pretext of delivering humanitarian aid. Nogovitsyn called it a task for merchant ships. Suggested it further heightens tensions and said: "I don't think such a buildup will foster the stabilization of the atmosphere in the region." Other Russian military officials called the intrusion provocative and accused Washington of shipping new arms supplies.

 

On August 27, Reuters reported US General and NATO commander John Craddock's comments on a recent Tbilisi visit. He said Washington will likely provide military aid, and an anonymous US official confirmed that a US - Georgia dialogue is ongoing about replenishing the country's losses. Possibly also sending sophisticated weapons like Stinger antiaircraft missiles and portable antitank ones called Javelins. Training as well.

 

On August 27, the Jerusalem-based DEBKAfile reported that Captain Igor Dygalo, Russian Navy's deputy commander, said the Moskva missile cruiser would carry out a Black Sea naval exercise in response - a clear sign that Moscow intends to assert control and may interfere with 10 more encroaching Western vessels. According to Nogovitsyn: two American, four Turkish, and the others German, Polish and Spanish.

 

He also said NATO exhausted its Black Sea complement under international agreements and warned against sending more. DEBKAfile sources say 16 to 18 are planned, including the USS Mount Whitney, "one of the most advanced warships in the world." If true, this will heighten tensions further.

 

On August 29, DEBKAfile cited a Moscow media quote from former Russian Black Sea Fleet commander, Admiral Eduard Baltin, saying: "Despite the apparent strength of the NATO naval group in the Black Sea....a single salvo from the Moskva missile cruiser and two or three missile boats would be enough to annihilate the entire group. Within 20 minutes, the waters would be clear." He added that Russia "will not strike first...."

 

At the same time, Russian president Medvedev warned Moldova not to repeat Georgia's mistake by using force against Transdniestria. Russian peacekeepers have been on the ground there since 1990 after separatists broke away and established an independent republic. Under international law, it's more justifiable than Kosovo, but thus far with no outside recognition. Moldova is strategically located on the Black Sea's Western shore - close to the Crimean Peninsula and Russia's large Sevastopol, Ukraine naval headquarters.

 

On August 27, Ukraine upped the stakes and demanded Russia renegotiate its lease - good until 2017. A higher rental payment was asked, and (according to Russia Today) a new law was passed demanding 72 hours notice each time Russia's fleet leaves the base. It covers air traffic as well and asks for personnel involved, time of departure, and destination. Russia says the law violates its 1997 Moscow - Kiev agreement, so it's unclear if Ukraine will back down. Russia is in no mood to with Georgia on its mind and watching Washington behind the scenes orchestrating mischief.

 

Earlier on August 24, Russia's Navy chief, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, said its Black Sea Fleet now commands its Mediterranean ships as well. It came as the US carrier Iwo Jima (six-vessel) Expeditionary Strike Group heads for the region to link up with other US vessels, and Russia announced it will search all cargo transiting Georgia's Poti port that it controls. Thus far, Washington avoided confrontation by redirecting its warships to Georgian-controlled Batumi. An event duly noted in Moscow that responded by anchoring three missile boats and the Moskva missile cruiser at the Black Sea Sukhumi port.

 

The cat and mouse game continues, and it's not eased if South Ossetian reports are true. They claim Georgia is deploying military forces on its border, and (late last week) overnight firing on villages was heard. Georgia says Russia wants to annex its territory. Moscow asserts its right to protect South Ossetian and Abkhazian residents from made-in-Washington aggression - many of whom hold Russian passports. Tensions continue to escalate causing some analysts to say war is inevitable, and under a US neocon administration might involve a "proactive" nuclear strike.

 

An August 28 DEBKAfile report suggested that Russia takes this threat seriously. It headlined: "Russia successfully tests ICBM designed to beat anti-missile systems," according to Alexander Vovk, spokesman for Russia's strategic nuclear forces. He referred to the Topol RS-12M to be used against ground-based missiles and capable of "beating" any US "missile shield." The test followed Russia warning NATO against sending additional ships to the Black Sea that will only heighten tensions.

 

On August 28, RIA Novosti reported an escalation, a sign still more will follow - South Ossetian Interior Minister Mikhail Mindzayev stating that an unmanned Georgian reconnaissance plane was shot down over the capital, Tskhinvali at 20.10 GMT. He also said "several illegal armed groups were operating near the capital under orders from Georgian authorities to conduct subversive activities and terrorist acts." South Ossetian security forces formed "counter-terrorist units" to respond. On August 27, Col. General Nogovitsyn said a Georgian reconnaissance drone overflew South Ossetia at 11.15 GMT - spying in violation of existing agreements. A frequent practice prior to Georgia's August 7 aggression so it happening again is worrisome.

 

In an August 28 Russian newspaper, Vremya Novostei, interview, Russia's NATO ambassador, Dmitry Rogozin, warned that any Organization Caucasus attack would "mean a declaration of war on Russia." On August 27, The New York Times called him "a finger-wagging nationalist who hung a poster of Stalin in his new ambassadorial office...."

 

Rogozin named two world-changing dates of concern: "September 11, 2001 and August 8, 2008....basically identical in terms of significance" and that today heightens Russia's fears about being surrounded by NATO. He calls the current crisis much more than "an ethnic spat between Georgia and South Ossetia." Russians understand that Washington targets them, and a recent poll showed 74% of them believe "Georgia was a pawn of the United States." Only 5% blamed Russia.

 

This at a time other reports hint at NATO divisions despite its outward appearance of toughness. The US, UK and most Eastern European states support harsh measures. In contrast, France, Germany, Portugal, Turkey and Italy are reluctant to break off Russian ties with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner telling The New York Times that "Russia is a great nation. Look how we have been treating it. We need firmness, not threats" that won't work "because everyone knows we are not going to war."

 

In another report, however, RIA Novesti indicated that "EU leaders (are) considering sanctions against Russia" after earlier averring they weren't on the agenda. Russia heard nothing about them, and so far details aren't forthcoming. Maybe no sanctions either and just verbal threats. Kouchner later confirmed that EU leaders will weigh them at an emergency September 1 summit. Convening in Brussels, they'll discuss Western relations with Russia, Georgia, and providing aid to the former Soviet republic.

 

Precisely what Russia fears because it will come in the form of more arms and munitions. On September 1, RIA Novesti reported that "Russia wants (an) arms embargo on Georgia and quoted Foreign Minister Lavrov saying he wants one in place until Georgia has a new leader. One Russia can trust and not the current Washington tool.

 

In his remarks Lavrov said: "To guarantee the region is protected against new outbreaks of violence, Russia will continue to take measures to make sure the (Saakashvili) regime is unable to commit evil deeds ever again. It would be appropriate to impose an embargo on arms supplies on that regime until different leaders have turned Georgia into a normal country." He then blamed Washington for its role in the conflict and added that he hoped EU leaders in Brussels would make "the right choice" at their summit.

 

Possibly so according to the August 30 - 31 Wall Street Journal's weekend edition. It reported that "the EU isn't expected to impose sanctions on Russia," and the previous day suggested that "Russia mocked talk" about them. The Journal stressed how divided EU nations are but admitted they have "few tools to deter Moscow." It quoted Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb saying: "My preference is to go carefully on concrete actions but to be sufficiently tough on the language. Whether or not we like it, Russia and Europe are mutually interdependent." And it's likely other foreign ministers and EU leaders share that view.

 

Yet on August 27, BBC reported that UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband (in a Kiev, Ukraine speech) called on the EU and NATO to initiate "hard-headed engagement (and the) widest possible coalition" against Russia over Georgia along with other inflammatory comments. On August 31, UK prime minister Gordon Brown threatened a "root and branch" review of relations with Russia and accused Moscow of "aggression."

 

So did Barak Obama, the official Democrat nominee, and also lashed out at Medvedev's decree. He "condemn(ed) Russia's decision and call(ed) upon all countries of the world not to accord (it) any legitimacy...." Said America should "further isolate Russia." Provide Georgia $1 billion in aid. Admit it to NATO. Deny Russia WTO membership. Disband the NATO - Russia Council, and even end Russia's Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) membership.

 

In contrast, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan backed Russia's action. Its role in restoring peace, and expressed "support for (Russia's) active role in assisting peace and cooperation in the region." However, they stopped short of endorsing South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence in their closing statement that "express(ed) their deep concern over the recent tensions surrounding the South Ossetia question and call(ed) for the sides to peacefully resolve existing problems through dialogue."

 

That got the corporate media to distort their closing statement and like Reuters say "Medvedev failed to win crucial support from his Asian allies (for) Moscow's confrontation with the West over war in Georgia." The New York Times as well claimed that "China and four other (Asian) countries meeting with Russia for the annual (SCO) summit declined to back Russia's military action in a joint communique."

 

The Wall Street Journal echoed the same theme and then ranted about "strains" and "unease" in Russian - Chinese relations. Even hinted that Russia might be "isolated" because of its Georgian "aggression." A word it only attributes to Russia in very hostile daily op-eds. More Journal commentary below, but first an alternative Russian view.

 

The Post-Communist PRAVDA On-Line

 

Established in January 1999, it's editor is longtime Western journalist, Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, who says "at this moment in time, I'm proud, very proud, to be writing for a Russian newspaper." On August 29, 2008, his opinion piece titled "Abkhazia, Georgia, Kosovo, South Ossetia and something called international law" presented a different view from the dominant US media's daily anti-Russian agitprop.

 

Straightaway aiming at George Bush and Secretary Rice he stated: They "follow the norm that laws are made to be disregarded, disrespected, ignored, manipulated or simply broken, which is patently obvious through the sheer hypocrisy of Washington's position on the territorial integrity of Georgia." From a "legal perspective," Georgia was a signatory to Soviet Russia's Constitution and bound by its provisions. One of them was "the voluntary dissolution of the Union and clause which states that minority groups (South Ossetia and Abkhazia) in other Republics (Georgia) had the statutory and constitutional right" to a (free and fair) referendum for independence.

 

Post-1991, Georgia broke the law by not holding them, "so just this fact makes a valid case for these two republics to decide for themselves" to be or not be part of Georgia. In addition, Moscow spent 17 years negotiating peace that aimed to satisfy Tbilisi and both breakaway provinces. Georgia's response: "manipulation, insults, insolence" and the recent slaughter of Tskhinvali civilians. By its actions, "Georgia....blew out the candles lighting any path towards its territorial integrity."

 

The right of South Ossestians and Abkhazians to independence is also fully justified under the UN Charter and customary international laws and norms - in contrast to Kosovo, an "integral part" of Serbia. "The question of Kosovo follows all the norms of international law regarding inviolability of frontiers whereas Abkhazia and South Ossetia do not. They have the legal right to independence. Kosovo never has, does not, and never will."

 

But not according to George Bush's idea "to draw lines on maps and screw up entire nations....in a civilised world, laws are made to be followed." Modern states have no right to "base their diplomacy on illegality, boorishness, cajoling and bullying without one iota of legal fabric in their arguments....future generations (should) read these lines and judge for themselves who was right and who was wrong at this fundamental moment in the determination of the future of Mankind."

 

Bashing Russia - A Different View from The Wall Street Journal on the Warpath

 

An August 28 Melik Kaylan op-ed is typical - headlined: "How the Georgian Conflict 'Really' Started." His version (from Tbilisi) is that "Anybody who thinks that Moscow didn't plan this invasion, that we in Georgia caused it gratuitously, is severely mistaken." He heard it "personally" from president Saakasvili "in a late night (presidential palace) chat." In contrast, "Russia's version of events doesn't jibe with the facts." On the ground in Gori, he learned "how Russia has deployed a highly deliberate propaganda strategy. (They) made a big show of moving out in force (but) left behind a resonating threat (that) they could return at any moment. (They) flatten(ed) civilian streets in order to sow fear, drive out innocents and create massive refugee outflows."

 

He gets his information right from Saakashvili and Georgia's defense minister, so he knows it's "accurate." Direct quotes about Russia "planning an invasion for weeks, even months ahead of time." Was able to once Putin "consolidate(d) power." With the Beijing Olympics and US elections as distractions and before Georgia's winter. A rather amateurish account and not up to the Journal's agitprop standards.

 

On August 25, Max Boot did a better job in a piece headlined: "Eastern Europe Can Defend Itself." He's way to the right of most others, a senior Council on Foreign Relations fellow, and frequent Journal contributor.

 

He claims "Eastern Europeans are rightly alarmed about the brazenness and success of the Russian blitzkrieg into Georgia." Worsened by Russian threats "to rain nuclear annihilation on Ukraine and Poland if they refuse to toe the Kremlin's line." Even NATO states "can take scant comfort." Boot's solution: "Russia's neighbors should spend more on defense. We should supply them with more antiaircraft weapons." No mention of how defense contractors will benefit or the importance of that side of NATO membership.

 

Boot sees big potential if Eastern European states spend more of their GDP on weapons. Georgia (as a US vassal) is doing it, but not its neighbors. He cites an International Institute of Strategic Studies report that only one regional state spends more than 2% of its GDP on defense - Bulgaria at 2.2%. Nor do they maintain large standing forces, yet they have millions of military aged men to draw on. Russia is the only exception with "more than a million soldiers under arms" and a growing post-Soviet defense budget - 2.5% of GDP or 8% of total spending according to an August 28 RIA Novesti report that says it's heading much higher.

 

Eastern European states should react, according to Boot - to "deter Russians from threatening them in the first place....They should double their military spending (and) the US can help." They should have "large reserves ready for fast call-up and plenty of 'defensive' weapons." Clearly Boot has key things in mind - tightening the screws on Russia. Surrounding it with adversarial states. Giving America a greater edge than is possible without them, and letting US defense contractors cash in on new business.

 

Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham have that and more in mind in their August 26 Journal op-ed and begin with an inflammatory headline: "Russia's Aggression Is a Challenge to World Order." They both visited the region, met with the leaders of Georgia, Ukraine and Poland, and say that "Supporting Georgia is only the 'first' step toward safeguarding freedom in Europe."

 

They claim America strove for 60 years for "a Europe that is whole, free and at peace." One of "the greatest achievements of the 20th century." By their reasoning, "Russia's 'invasion' of Georgia represents the most serious challenge to this political order since Slobodan Milosevic unleashed the demons of ethnic nationalism in the Balkans."

 

Never mind their outlandish reversal of truth - about a US-led NATO aggression. Blaming Serbs for their own actions. Dismembering Yugoslavia, and falsely accusing Milosevic (in a Washington Post editorial, for example) of being "personally responsible for the most destructive conflict and most terrible atrocities recorded in Europe since World War II. Without Mr. Milosevic the Yugoslav wars wouldn't have happened."

 

At the time, Graham, a congressman, and Lieberman, a senator, both agreed. Now they claim "disturbing evidence (shows) Russia is already laying the groundwork to apply the same arguments used to justify its intervention in Georgia to other parts of its near abroad - most ominously in the Crimea." America's first priority is "to prevent the Kremlin from achieving its strategic objectives in Georgia....Also needed, immediately, is a joint commitment by the US and the European Union to fund large-scale, comprehensive reconstruction....in consultation with the World Bank, IMF, and other international authorities....and for the US Congress to support" it.

 

Rebuilding Georgia's security forces is part of it with heavy emphasis on "antiaircraft and antiarmor systems necessary to deter any renewed Russian aggression." Both senators want a "reinvigorated NATO" meaning an enlarged one and more heavily armed. "Missile defense (and) a new trans-Atlantic energy alliance" to counter Russia's "willing(ness) to use its oil and gas resources as a weapon...."

 

US v. Russia by their calculus. Western solidarity must stand firm. Teach the Kremlin a lesson that "forced fealty to Moscow will fail (and it's only a) question (of) how long until Russia's leaders rediscover this lesson from their own history." With a strong undertone that if Moscow won't come around on its own, a US-led alliance will force it.

 

Perhaps the (August 27) US Navy-announced five-day US - UK naval exercises in the Gulf hints to Russia as well as Iran. Called "Exercise Goalkeeper" in the Central and Southern Arabian Gulf, it's "to train across the spectrum of Maritime Security Operations (MSO)," according to the US Fifth Fleet press release. It began on August 24 and was scheduled for completion on August 31.

 

It focused on "command and control in locating and tracking specific vessels deemed to pose a threat to Coalition nations in the Gulf region. The exercise also allows Coalition teams to board the vessel and practice the procedures for handing them over to Coast Guard ships."

 

Counterterrorism and security measures are also mentioned - "to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel or weapons." Clearly Iran is the focus. It follows "Operation Brimstone" in the North Atlantic. Can also apply to Russia, and may be repeated at a future time in the Black Sea - "to increase the security and prosperity of the region by working together for a better future," according to US Naval Forces Central Command. Quite a different way than Iran and Russia see it.

 

But not Arthur Herman in an August 29 Wall Street Journal op-ed titled: "Russia and the New Axis of Evil." He claims "Russian tanks (are) now presiding over the dismemberment of....Georgia" and asks can the Bush administration "rise to the challenge Russia has chosen to pose to the Free World?" He refers to "democratic governments" in Iraq and Georgia "sandwiched between Iran and Russia, two of the most authoritarian governments in the world" and for good measure adds "Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez" that Russia is "arming" along with Iran.

 

He calls Iran "the principal threat to peace in Iraq (and) Mr. Chavez's links to the terrorist group FARC (threatening) neighboring Colombia." Iran, Georgia and Colombia "are battlegrounds in a new kind of international conflict that will define our geopolitical future. (It) pits the US and the West against an emerging axis of oil-rich dictatorships....working together to push back against the liberalizing trends of globalization (with) their prime objective (of) toppling or undermining neighboring, pro-Western democracies."

 

Russia is number one in his sights and allied with "Tehran's mullahs clearly aim to control access to every major source of fossil energy from the western end of the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea." Then add Chavez "hop(ing) for an oil and natural gas monopoly over (his) neighbors like pro-Chavez satellites Bolivia and Ecuador."

 

Herman puts this kind of material in books and here says "The West has to confront the oil-rich dictatorships, flush with cash, and bent on regional domination." What can the US and a new president do, he asks? He proposes a "broad strategy of targeted economic sanctions and multilateral diplomacy, backed by US military power...." Most important is "to secure democracy's vital new flanks (in) Iraq, Georgia and Colombia (to send) a clear signal that liberty, not tyranny, is the wave of the globalizing future." And for readers who believe that, consider moving to (or even visiting) one of his three favored countries.

 

Herman is typical of writers getting Wall Street Journal and other hard right op-ed space. He taught history at George Mason University. Also Georgetown and Catholic University and contributes to right wing publications like National Review and Commentary. As well as the Wall Street Journal. He also wrote a revisionist history of Joe McCarthy entitled: "Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator." In it he claims that given the "communist threat" he got a bum rap even though he vilified innocent people, was a pathological liar, a consummate demagogue, and, according to David Halberstam knew how "to humiliate vulnerable, scared people (and) in the end produced little beyond fear and headlines."

 

Precisely what Herman and other hawkish writers now do to Russia, Iran, Venezuela and other independent countries unwilling to roll over for Washington. Even at the risk of a catastrophic global conflict no side can win and that all sides will end up paying for dearly.

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Guest Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

View the video at YouTube.

 

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton called for the creation of a United States commission to examine the conflict between Russia and Georgia. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Eric S. Edelman, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs; Lieutenant General John M. Paxton, Jr., USMC, Director for Operations for the Joint Staff; and Brigadier General Michael T. Flynn, USA, Director for Intelligence for the Joint Staff, Senator Clinton questioned the witnesses on their views of the origins of the crisis and urged a thorough review of the lessons learned from the conflict and a careful evaluation of the nation’s posture toward Russia. Senator Clinton said she would introduce legislation to create a US commission if the administration did not take the initiative.

 

“The conflict between Russia and Georgia has raised many questions about the Bush Administration’s handling of the crisis and the future of our relationships with Russia and its neighbors. The best way to begin answering these questions is to create a commission that can establish the facts. If the administration won’t take the necessary steps, I will introduce legislation that will,” Senator Clinton said.

 

A transcript of Senator Clinton’s comments at the hearing follows.

 

Senator Clinton: Thank you very much. I think this is a tremendous opportunity for us. The questions that have been raised about our relationship with Russia going forward deserve the closest of attention and certainly an attempt to forge a bipartisan consensus similar to what we forged during the Cold War. I think that whatever illusions might have existed with the fall of the wall in Berlin, have certainly been tarnished, if not eliminated, but there doesn’t seem to be much that has taken their place, and so I would urge that we take this opportunity, especially because we are moving to a new administration, to create a commission here in our own country. I know that President Saakashvili has called for an international commission, which I hope will be established, and I hope the United States and our NATO allies will promote that vigorously, to create such a commission to in the first place determine the actual facts, because there is a dispute about the facts which may or may not be real but has certainly infected the dialogue and will therefore impact whatever thinking we have going forward. I believe that the administration would be well served to create this US commission which then could cooperate with the international commission. In the absence of the administration moving on this, I will be introducing legislation to establish such a commission. Obviously I hope the administration does it without legislation, although I think there are members of Congress who would be worthy members of such a commission were it to be established.

 

I also think that as we promote the idea of the international commission, it would be important to keep up a dialogue with Russia. To that end, I am somewhat troubled by the withdrawal from the nonproliferation efforts that we were engaged in. I think we ought to be able to hold competing thoughts in our mind at the same time. Is Russia more aggressive? Are they more intent upon pursuing their own interests as they define them, territorially, economically, politically? Of course they are. I don’t know why anybody is surprised about that. But therefore rather than seeking to isolate them, which I think is not a smart proposal, we should be much more strategic. And I don’t know that it’s in our interest for the administration to withdraw the nonproliferation agreement that you had negotiated. So I hope that we can take this opportunity to really think deeply about what deterrence in the 21st century means, what our geopolitical interests are. I think Senator Webb and Senator Warner raise good questions about NATO. I probably disagree with where their questions are leading, but I think it’s fair game for us to debate and discuss that.

 

I want to turn to General Paxton and General Flynn and ask either or both of you, were you surprised by the outbreak of these hostilities in Georgia. General Paxton, General Flynn?

 

General Paxton: Senator Clinton as we said earlier we tracked the -- in quote if you will -- peace keeping force that was there and the buildup of forces. You can always, I guess, reasonably expect something could happen, but in terms of the speed with which it happened and the extent that it came, as Ambassador Edelman said, it was disproportionate to us. We knew there was a buildup of forces north of the Roki Tunnel in Russia. We knew that there had been some summer exercises which is not out of the norm, and we knew that they had the potential to do things. But we had neither the expectation that it was going to happen to that degree and certainly to that size and speed.

 

Senator Clinton: Did you also track the railroad construction and the reinforcement of infrastructure like the depots to facilitate the movement of heavy equipment?

 

General Flynn: Yes ma'am. To answer your first question, personally yes, I was surprised that the disproportionality, the duration, and what I would say is the sort of their tactical commitment to what they eventually achieved, the hindsight from my perspective, because just coming into this, when we look at what preparations and the exercise that was conducted -- started on about the 15th of July didn’t end until about the 3rd of August -- and some of the military and tactical preparation kinds of things that they did, I think when we look at it and reexamine sort of what did we know and when did we know it, there's probably a lot more to the element of tactical surprise that we should probably be taking some lessons from.

 

Senator Clinton: Well I appreciate you saying that, General, because obviously that’s within the bailiwick of this committee and I think it would be worth some time to look at a lessons learned from this. I want to submit for the record an article that appeared in the Washington Post on July 15th by Ronald Asmus, who is with the German Marshall Fund, and it’s called “A War the West Must Stop,” and just the first sentence says, “There is war in the air between Georgia and Russia. Such a war could destabilize a region critical for Western energy supplies and ruin relations between Russia and the West.” So clearly there were observers, experts, there were people who follow this area and what’s happening inside Russia, and on Russia's borders, who were prescient, who basically said, this is a war we must stop. And one of the purposes of this commission that I'm advocating for our own country is, we've got to answer for ourselves, did we embolden the Georgians in any way? Did we send mixed signals to the Russians? I think it’s important that we understand that there is a lot of debate and ferment around what the United States government really did say, how clear we were with Moscow, how clear we were with Georgia, and I think we need to sort all that out. And the military aspect of this with respect to the signals, the intelligence, the information, how it was assessed, I think is an important part of it. So clearly that should be, in my view, part of what that commission looks at.

 

I thank the witnesses.

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