Georgio-Russian War

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MysteriousVisitor

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Well, it looks like the loaded diaper has hit the quickly moving air ventilation device.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/08/09/georgia.ossetia/index.html said:
TBLISI, Georgia (CNN) -- Georgia's parliament approved a request by President Mikhail Saakashvili on Saturday to impose a "state of war," as the conflict between Georgia and Russia escalated, Georgian officials said.

Saakashvili accused Russia of launching an unprovoked full-scale military attack against his country, including targeting civilian homes, while Russian officials insist that their troops were protecting people from Georgia's attacks on South Ossetia, a breakaway Georgian region that borders Russia.

Russia's Interfax news agency said the death toll was at least 2,000 in the capital of South Ossetia and claimed that the city has been destroyed.

Separatist-backed South Ossetian sources reported that about 1,600 people have died and 90 have been wounded in provincial capital Tskhinvali since Russian forces entered the territory Thursday.

Alexander Lomaia, secretary of Georgia's National Security Council, said that dozens of Georgian troops had lost their lives.

"Our losses are mounting ... as many as 40 military servicemen killed and over 100 wounded," he said. "The losses are also mounting among civilian population in the cities."

Georgian officials said Russia has mobilized its Black Sea fleet off the coast of Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian province.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived Saturday in Vladikavkaz, near Russia's border with Georgia, Russia's Interfax reported.

Putin's press secretary told Interfax that Putin was concerned about the flood of refugees arriving in Russia from South Ossetia. Russian officials said that more than 30,000 people have left South Ossetia and crossed into Russia over the past two days, Interfax reported.

"The actions of the Georgian authorities in South Ossetia are a crime, of course, primarily a crime against their own people," Putin said.

"This aggression led to numerous casualties, among civilians in particular, and virtually caused a real humanitarian catastrophe. And that is already a crime against the Ossetian people," he said.

"At the same time, I would like to stress that Georgia has always been greatly respected in Russia and Georgians regarded as brotherly people," the premier said.

U.S. President Bush, speaking from Beijing, China, called for an immediate halt to the violence, a stand-down by all troops and an end to the Russian bombings. Watch Bush express concerns over situation »

The Georgian "state of war" order is not a formal declaration of war and stops short of declaring martial law, according to Georgian officials.

It gives Saakashvili powers he would not ordinarily have, such as issuing curfews, restricting the movement of people or limiting commercial activities, those officials said.

It places the government on a 24-hour alert, Georgian National Security Council Secretary Alexander Lomaia said.

Saakashvili asked Western leaders to pressure Russia to agree to an immediate cease-fire, which he said his country would willingly observe first.

"We are dealing with absolutely criminal and crazy acts of irresponsible and reckless decision makers, which is on the ground producing dramatic and tragic consequences," Saakashvili said Saturday afternoon.

A White House spokesman said Bush spoke Saturday evening to Saakashvili and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Inna Gagloyeva, spokeswoman for the South Ossetian Information and Press Committee, told Russia's Interfax news agency that Tskhinvali was being "massively shelled" with artillery guns. Watch images of crashed Georgian war plane »

It was unclear which side was in control of that city Saturday. The Georgians said fighting raged, but the Russians said they had "liberated" the city.

"Battalion task forces have fully liberated Tskhinvali of Georgian armed forces and started pushing Georgian units out of the area of responsibility of the peacekeeping forces," General Vladimir Boldyrev, commander of the Russian Ground Forces, told Interfax.

Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said the Russian paratroopers will "implement the operation of enforcing peace" on both sides.

Nogovitsyn also confirmed that Georgians had shot down two Russian aircraft. Saakashvili said his military has shot down 10 Russian bombers.

Russia said the troops were also reinforcing the Russian peacekeepers already in South Ossetia.

"Our peacekeepers, along with reinforcement units, are currently conducting an operation to force the Georgian side to accept peace," Medvedev said at the Kremlin. "They are also responsible for protecting the population."

Interfax said 15 peacekeepers were killed in the Friday attack by Georgian troops. Russia has opened a criminal probe into their deaths, Interfax reported.

Georgia, a former Soviet Republic, is a pro-Western ally of the United States intent on asserting its authority over South Ossetia and Abkhazia. which both have strong Russian-backed separatist movements. Watch Georgian minister describe fighting in South Ossetia »

Russia moved troops into South Ossetia early Friday after Georgia launched an operation in the breakaway region when its unilateral cease-fire was met with what it said was artillery fire from separatists that killed 10 people, including peacekeepers and civilians.

Russia charged that Georgia had targeted its peacekeepers stationed in the region.

Medvedev said Saturday that Georgia must be held responsible for the situation in South Ossetia.

"The people responsible for this humanitarian disaster need to be held liable for what they have done," Medvedev said. He said the humanitarian problems were caused by "the aggression launched by the Georgian side against the South Ossetian civilians and Russian peacekeepers."

Maia Kardava, a Red Cross spokeswoman in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, was unable to provide refugee or casualty figures Saturday morning because she said aid workers were still gathering information and visiting hospitals in South Ossetia and western Georgia.

Russian forces bombed several targets in Georgia on Saturday, according to Kardava and the British Foreign Office, which advised against all nonessential travel to Georgia.

Russian aircraft bombarded military and civilian targets the port town of Poti, on Georgia's Black Sea coast, Kardava and British and Georgian officials said. Eight Georgians were killed in the port town, Georgian officials said.

In the town of Senaki, just inland from Poti, Russian forces damaged a railway line, a military base, and a center housing civilians who fled from nearby Abkhazia.

Military bases at Vaziani and Marneuli also came under attack, the British Foreign Office said, and Russian aircraft bombed the Georgian town of Gori, about 35 miles northwest of Tbilisi, Georgian officials said.

Inside South Ossetia, civilians have been without water, electricity and basic services for more than a day, Kardava said. She said the Red Cross was unable to reach colleagues based in Tskhinvali because their phones had lost power and they were huddled in bomb shelters.

Also Saturday, the commander of Georgian troops stationed in Iraq said the 2,000 soldiers there will be withdrawn "very soon."


Colonel Bondo Maisuradze said the United States would provide the transport to get them out of Iraq. He said he had no time frame for the move.

Saakashvili said Friday that the troops were needed in Georgia to defend against the Russian military.
Well, this is great. The tentions of the region (and "gentle" russian prodding) has finally resulted in war. Georgia invades South Ossetia, Russia gets mad, invades Georgian territory, and now we have a conflict.

So, fellow internet denizens, how far will this go? Will Georgia collapse? Will the US or NATO get involved? Will my hot pocket be done by the time I post this?
 

ayanna

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So, fellow internet denizens, how far will this go? Will Georgia collapse? Will the US or NATO get involved? Will my hot pocket be done by the time I post this?

The US won't get involved...Georgia doesn't have massive oil reserves.
 

MysteriousVisitor

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But Georgia is really close to the US, and is/was a prospective member of NATO. If Russia pushes past South Ossetia into Georgia proper, I could see the US communicate some carefully chosen words to the Russian Federation.
 

ayanna

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But Georgia is really close to the US
Georgia isn't anywhere NEAR the US (unless you're talking about the STATE of Georgia which is a PART of the US but totally non-relevant to this conversation)!!!

Georgia is bordered on the north & east by Russia, on the south by Turkey, Armenia, & Azerbaijan, and on the west by the Black Sea...as you can see in the map below.



Again, I stress that Georgia has no vast oil reserves...the US couldn't care less about what Russia does there.
 

Kovy

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But Georgia is really close to the US, and is/was a prospective member of NATO. If Russia pushes past South Ossetia into Georgia proper, I could see the US communicate some carefully chosen words to the Russian Federation.
Georgia is a Soviet-bloc country. We are not speaking about the Peach state.
 

Pramrider

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I think sparkmaster means close as in ally with the US, not close in a geographic sense. That's what I thought he meant, anyway.

~Pramrider
 

MysteriousVisitor

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Georgia isn't anywhere NEAR the US (unless you're talking about the STATE of Georgia which is a PART of the US but totally non-relevant to this conversation)!!!

Georgia is bordered on the north & east by Russia, on the south by Turkey, Armenia, & Azerbaijan, and on the west by the Black Sea...as you can see in the map below.

Again, I stress that Georgia has no vast oil reserves...the US couldn't care less about what Russia does there.


Georgia is a Soviet-bloc country. We are not speaking about the Peach state.
No shit sherlocks. I know where Georgia is. I ment diplomatically. The US has become pretty close to Georgia over the Bush presidency. Georgia has become so close that they are now being considered for NATO membership.

Georgia is also home to a good chunk of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which BP owns a nice share of. If you're as shallow as to think all the US cares about is oil, there's your reasoning.

Russia is throwing its weight against a country which has no chance. Russia has funded and armed seperatist groups in many ex soviet republics. Russia has continually stuck it's neck in a wholely Georgian matter. And now Russia has launched an invasion and bombed Georgian cities, killing dozens if not hundreds.
 
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The US won't get involved...Georgia doesn't have massive oil reserves.

Well bush is pushing for support and mediation over there, and honestly a lot of people are talking about how he may do something stupid(er) before he goes out of office....this may be that.
 

Allanon

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This news is a bit creepy...we could be on the verge of entering a war that we have a high potential for losing. Russia would be a very nasty enemy to have. America has a very strong military...but Russia's also got a strong military, and far more numbers to back them up.

Maybe I'm being a bit over dramatic, but I could see this flaring up into a WWIII. Georgia is a very close ally, we've been trying to make Russia a close ally, one of these countries is going to end up on our bad side before the end of the war, and I'm not really seeing Georgia as the "bad side" country.
 

Jaiden

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This is a little Q&A thingy that covers some of the basics of the situation that is in today's paper. There's been so little press coverage of the build up and history of the conflict that I thought it might be helpful to include here:

Why has fighting broken out in South Ossetia?

The South Ossetians and Georgians have been sniping at each other, both with words and guns, for several weeks now, and patience on both sides has finally snapped. South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway region, Abkhazia, have had de facto independence since the early 1990s, but Tbilisi has never recognised the loss of its territory. The dispute between Georgia and the two regions was called "the frozen conflict" because the issues remained unresolved but there was no fighting. The ice began to melt, and the heat to rise, earlier this year when the west recognised Kosovo, against Russia's advice. The South Ossetians and Abkhazians argued that if Kosovo could be independent, then so could they, and renewed their struggle for freedom.

What is the basis of the regions' claim to independence?

The Ossetians are descendants of a tribe called the Alans. Like the Georgians, the Ossetians are orthodox Christians, but they have their own language. In Soviet times the Ossetians had an autonomous region within Georgia. The Georgians say the Ossetians cooperated with the Bolsheviks and tended to be more pro-Soviet. Their ethnic kin live across the border in the Russian region of North Ossetia, so they feel more drawn to Russia than to Georgia - and many have Russian passports.
Abkhazia on the Black Sea coast also had autonomy within Georgia during Soviet times. Because of its sub-tropical climate, it was the playground of Soviet leaders and is popular with Russian tourists today. It has a mixed population of Abkhazis, Mingrelians, Greeks, Armenians, Russians and Georgians, and a small but significant Muslim minority. Thousands of ethnic Georgians fled their homes in Abkhazia during the civil war at the beginning of the 1990s and now live as refugees in Tbilisi and Moscow.

Why has Russia become involved?

Russia says it cannot stand aside because many of the people in the breakaway regions are now its citizens. Georgia says Russia is meddling in its internal affairs and supporting the separatists, although Russia's peacekeepers are supposed to be neutral. Georgia accuses Russia of double standards in suppressing its own separatist rebellion in Chechnya while encouraging separatists in Georgia. Russia has become more engaged in the region since Georgia expressed an interest in joining Nato, an idea that Russia staunchly opposes.

What might happen next?

So far, this has been a proxy war, with Russia encouraging the separatists, but Moscow and Tblisi could find themselves in direct conflict. Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, today accused Georgia of aggression and warned that a response was inevitable. Georgia said Russian jets had started bombing its territory.

What are the wider implications?

The conflict could widen to bring in other Soviet republics, the US and Europe. The root of the problem is that the international community cannot agree on rules for the independence of small regions. Russia said that granting independence to Kosovo would set a dangerous precedent. Moscow now seems determined to prove it was right all along.
It seems a hell of a sticky situation to me. Russia is so keen to reassert herself as strong and powerful at the moment, especially in the region around the former Soviet satellite states and this seems to have been something of a power keg giving Moscow a chance to show a statement of intent. Meddling and leaning in Ukrainian elections is one thing, but this is quite another and extremely difficult for the UN or the Americans or anyone to intervene in as we're dealing with a country with as much diplomatic and military strength as Russia.

There's talk of the civilian death toll being around the 2,000 mark already.
 

MysteriousVisitor

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This news is a bit creepy...we could be on the verge of entering a war that we have a high potential for losing. Russia would be a very nasty enemy to have. America has a very strong military...but Russia's also got a strong military, and far more numbers to back them up.

Maybe I'm being a bit over dramatic, but I could see this flaring up into a WWIII. Georgia is a very close ally, we've been trying to make Russia a close ally, one of these countries is going to end up on our bad side before the end of the war, and I'm not really seeing Georgia as the "bad side" country.
In a military sense, there is no threat. Russia is kicking the crap out of Georgia, but the Russian military is a shell of its former self. If any conflict would come, Georgian allied forces would have the advantage. But the likelihood of NATO intervention is extremely remote unless the situation changes.

Now, that very well may have happened. From what I have been able to piece together, Russians have began air attacks all across Georgia proper. If Russian ground troops cross the boarder from SO into the rest of Georgia, things could get very ugly.
 

Allanon

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In a military sense, there is no threat. Russia is kicking the crap out of Georgia, but the Russian military is a shell of its former self. If any conflict would come, Georgian allied forces would have the advantage. But the likelihood of NATO intervention is extremely remote unless the situation changes.

Now, that very well may have happened. From what I have been able to piece together, Russians have began air attacks all across Georgia proper. If Russian ground troops cross the boarder from SO into the rest of Georgia, things could get very ugly.
That's the kind of situation I'm seeing out of this, at least at this point in time.

Russia tends to be very secretive too...I doubt their military is as relatively weak as they make it appear. But then again, in this modern age, manpower doesn't have too much to do with military might.
 

Jaiden

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It's looking worse and worse.

Russia tends to be very secretive too...I doubt their military is as relatively weak as they make it appear. But then again, in this modern age, manpower doesn't have too much to do with military might.
Manpower certainly isn't a problem for the Russians. They have one of the largest largest military forces in the world in terms of active troops - over a million according to some. I'm also doubtful that they would try and downplay their strength in the current climate, if anything they want to exaggerate it. Their problem, though, is money; they've been using equipment far out of date compared to most in the devolved world, stuff that was looking past its best in the Cold War. As I understand it they have been investing quite a lot over the last few years but there's still a way to go.

Whatever the state of their military though, it is far stronger than anything that has been faced by the US and allies for a considerable time. Allied forces would most likely overcome them but I'm really doubtful that anyone is going to want to risk getting involved, particularly as it would be a conflict between nuclear states. I'm not suggesting it would get to that stage, but the albatross will definitely be there.

Interestingly, Sarkozy seems to be making overtures at being the honest broker at the table in peace talks, which is in fitting with his own attempts to rehabilitate France on the world stage. Be interesting to see if Putin (and I rather think it will be Putin, not Medveded) will be at all receptive. He'll be a more attractive proposition that Bush at the least.

Also, a brief note of American domestic politics - any instability like this on the world stage will suit McCain down to the ground in the run up to November.
 

MysteriousVisitor

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It's looking worse and worse.



Manpower certainly isn't a problem for the Russians. They have one of the largest largest military forces in the world in terms of active troops - over a million according to some. I'm also doubtful that they would try and downplay their strength in the current climate, if anything they want to exaggerate it. There problem, though, is money; they've been using equipment far out of date compared to most in the devolved world, stuff that was looking past its best in the Cold War. As I understand it they have been investing quite a lot over the last few years but there's still a way to go.

Whatever the state of their military though, it is far stronger than anything that has been faced by the US and allies for a considerable time. Allied forces would most likely overcome them but I'm really doubtful that anyone is going to want to risk getting involved, particularly as it would be a conflict between nuclear states. I'm not suggesting it would get to that stage, but the albatross will definitely be there.

Interestingly, Sarkozy seems to be making overtures at being the honest broker at the table in peace talks, which is in fitting with his own attempts to rehabilitate France on the world stage. Be interesting to see if Putin (and I rather think it will be Putin, not Medveded) will be at all receptive. He'll be a more attractive proposition that Bush at the least.

Also, a brief note of American domestic politics - any instability like this on the world stage will suit McCain down to the ground in the run up to November.
Bingo on the military assessment. We can beat Russia in World War III, but that will cost lots of lives. No one wants that.

What happens, though, when American advisors or an American cargo plane ferrying Georgian troops home is caught in the crossfire? The strikes against Georgian bases away from the front implies that Russia has goals beyond the stopping of violence in SO. The situation is very, very fluid right now. This conflict can go anywhere.
 
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This is why the internet is bad, everyone knows all about war, so instead of blindly supporting our awesome country, some oppose what it does. Calm down, and love America. I needed to point this out. I don't think I should comment on this article, as everyone who frequents IRC knows whenever I try to argue my point I get shot down faster than the planes on 9/11.

Oh wait....
 

MysteriousVisitor

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Russia lands 4000 marines in Abkhazia, supporting the breakaway state there. They also hit more Georgian strategic targets and blockade a port.

Not good. Not good at all.
 

juriev

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The US won't get involved...Georgia doesn't have massive oil reserves.
Georgia a HUGE pipeline. They supply almost all of Russia's oil. My former fencing coach was from Georgia, they have been opressed for hundreds of years, from 1918 to 1921 was the only time they had been their own country since 1008! They absoutley HATE the Russians and would spring on any chance to get them back (which has happened). The US will NOT become involved for a few reasons, 1. We are on good terms with Georgia and we like Saakashvil (their president) 2. We don't like Russia, but we don't want to side w/ Georgia and take on Russia, we don't want a cold war situation. 3. Russia dosen't like us, but on no accout will invade Georgia (they could if they wanted) that would possibly involve the US then, Both Russia and the US still have enough nukes to destroy the world a few times over, so we don't want to enter into direct combat w/ them. 4. Georgia has a leash on Russia, They make Georgia mad, Russia won't get anymore oil.
 

Jaiden

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Another Q&A, this time about where we go from here:

What is the best-case scenario?

If Russia is serious about its peacekeeping role in the region, it will do no more than push Georgian forces out of South Ossetia and attempt to return to the status quo before fighting broke out last week.
This will not be easy, however. On the one hand, South Ossetians are devastated by the destruction of their capital, Tskhinvali, and the estimated loss of 2,000 civilian lives and are highly unlikely to want to be part of Georgia now. On the other hand, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says Russia has lost its neutrality and become a party to the conflict. Perhaps the best Georgia can hope for is that Moscow annexes - or, from the South Ossetian point of view, embraces - the territory into the Russian Federation.

What is the worst-case scenario?


The conflict could widen. Already Georgia's other separatist region, the Black Sea enclave of Abkhazia, is mobilising and soon Tbilisi could find itself fighting on two fronts. Other small nations could become involved in a broader Caucasian war.
Ridiculous as it sounds, Chechnya has offered to send peacekeepers to Georgia and Russia's Cossacks are also volunteering to go to the front. The Kremlin could take advantage of the chaos to try and overthrow the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, whom it has hated since the 2003 Rose Revolution.
Some Russian officials are calling for a Hague-style tribunal at which Saakashvili would be tried as a war criminal. Georgia's own hard-won independence could be at stake if Russia imposed a puppet regime in Tbilisi.

And the very worst-case scenario?


The conflict spreads further still, bringing in former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, which - like Georgia - aspires to Nato membership, and Kazakhstan, which is loyal to Moscow. The war in Yugoslavia would pale beside any war among former Soviet republics. The only thing worse than that would be the military involvement of the west, which looks unlikely, given Europe's dependence on Russian energy and America and Britain's commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What can the west do?


Little except wring its hands. The west's policy in former Yugoslavia – such as the bombing of Russia's ally Belgrade and the recognition of Kosovo - has been interpreted in Russia as giving it carte blanche to dominate the Caucasus. But deep down, Russians still care what the west thinks about them, which gives Europe and America some leverage.
In Beijing, George Bush said US-Russia relations could be hurt for a long time. This appears to be Russia's last chance to avoid a real new cold war.
At the moment, I would guess we might see something approaching the worst-case scenario. Perhaps not a loss of independence in name for Georgia, but it seems like too good an opportunity for Russia to miss in increasing her dominance and influence in the region and they way the conflict has been directed from Moscow doesn't suggest to me that they are serious about merely fulfilling a peacekeeping role. Whatever happens I don't see South Ossetia staying in Georgian hands and that in itself will make waves through the Caucasus.
 
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