Thursday, April 12, 2012

Caucasian Heat: Russia gearing up for pushback on Iran, Syria

With tensions rising in Iran, and it's satellite Syria presently engaged in the Western operation dubbed Arab Spring, the Caucasus region is back in the news. Read also up on the developments on "The Levant's Intricate Intrigues", yesterday's entry April 11 (map right) -

Business Insider: "Russia Is Massing Troops On Iran's Northern Border And Waiting For A Western Attack"

The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, according to informed Russian sources. (...) >>>

Apr 12, 2012

Updates throughout on the site of the Institute for the Study of War: "BACKGROUNDERS: SITUATION REPORT, RUSSO-GEORGIAN CONFLICT"

- Timeline of the crisis -
"War in Georgia" blog - maps of Georgia -

Washington Post: "Tensions Flare Up In Russia, Georgia - Moscow Says South Ossetia Was Attacked"

Russia accused Georgia on Saturday of firing mortars and grenades into South Ossetia and warned that it would defend the separatist territory with "all available forces and means" as tensions mounted ahead of the anniversary of last year's war. Georgia condemned Russia's assertion as "groundless and misleading," saying it was aimed at "further destabilizing the situation and causing the unfolding of a dangerous scenario of events."

Calling for restraint on all sides, the European Union's monitoring mission in the region said it had seen "no evidence to confirm that any firing has taken place toward Tskhinvali or its surroundings," referring to the South Ossetian capital. The exchange of tough words came less than a week before the anniversary of the start of last year's war between Russia and Georgia. How that brief conflict began remains in dispute, but in the weeks leading up to the fighting, both nations engaged in rhetoric similar to Saturday's. (...) >>>

Aug. 3, 2009

... here's Kim Zigfeld (
La Russophobe) on 'the uptick' ...

PJM: "
Who Really Started the Russian-Georgian Conflict? - Leaks from a report by a group investigating Moscow's aggression add fuel to a controversy"

Russia’s lies about what happened on the ground during the war give its game away, and its behavior after the war ended put the final nails in its coffin of deceit. When, for instance, a leading Russian professor of history published a newspaper article questioning whether the Kremlin provoked the Georgia war as part of an imperialistic design, not only the professor but the editor of the paper were both fired — and then the professor, Boris Sokolov, lost his teaching job as well. This has been Russia’s response to the war from the beginning; crackdown and cover-up. And it’s not the response of a nation that stands on the moral high ground. Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s friends and appeasers are rushing to give the KGB regime cover. “Not surprising” indeed. >>>

Nov 29, 2008

... there was a bizarre incident near the Georgia-Ossetian border in which the motorcade carrying the Georgian and Polish Presendents was shot at ... the Russians as well as the Ossetian separatists deny the assault ever took place, but Lavrov presents everything a priori as a provocation ...

The Georgian Times:
"Russia accuses Tbilisi of yet another provocation"
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has responded to the reports about armed assault on Georgian president's convoy yesterday, from Peru. Lavrov says it was another provocation by Tbilisi. He said the fact that Saakashvil invited a foreign guest to another state was a provocation already. Other senior officials of the foreign ministry of Russia and the defense authorities have also denied any armed attack on Georgian president's sector. They say no fire has been opened to the direction of Georgian side and any statement in this regard is a provocation. (...) >>>

Nov 24, 2008

.... the uptick in media noise is coming from a notoriously 'objective' selection of the lamestream media: NYT, BBC, and in echo The Daily Dross, which - believe it or not - is considered by some bloggers, quotable ...

Russian Danger: "
Melik Kaylan - Georgia, Russia and the new administration"

We can ask the world to give Obama breathing space to get his thoughts in order before, as Joe Biden had it, other countries "test" him with all manner of impossible crises.(...) Perhaps we can adjust our view of the world, instead, so crises just don't seem as imminent or morally exigent. The latter approach seems to be prevailing. Witness the recent sudden uptick in media noise about the Russia-Georgia conflict. On Nov. 6, in a long expository article, The New York Times informed us that, according to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Tbilisi had (a) initiated the hostilities and (b) done so with indiscriminate bombing of the South Ossetian capital without regard to civilian casualties--despite Georgian claims to the contrary. (...)

I cannot dispute the OSCE and the Times reports that the Georgian attack resulted in civilian casualties. I certainly never thought the Georgians carried out precise bombardments and I don't think they're capable of it. Neither are the Russkies. I also believe the Georgians radically upped the confrontation--in effect, they attacked first. But they did so because they knew about the column of Russian tanks coming in through the Roki Tunnel that connects North and South Ossetia, that is, connects Russian territory to the breakaway region. A Russian invasion was in progress. The Times report addresses this glancingly toward the end (...) Georgia has released telephone intercepts indicating that a Russian armored column apparently entered the enclave from Russia early on the Aug. 7, which would be a violation of the peacekeeping rules. Georgia said the column marked the beginning of an invasion. But the intercepts did not show the column's size, composition or mission, and there has not been evidence that it was engaged with Georgian forces until many hours after the Georgian bombardment; Russia insists it was simply a routine logistics train or troop rotation."

This is disingenuous. It makes no sense that the Russkies had some 200 fully armed, fueled tanks halfway into Georgia within two days, as a spontaneous and unplanned response to aggression. They're not that efficient. Both sides knew what was going down. There is an argument that in shooting first, Saakashvili lost the moral propaganda advantage. It instantly looked like he had provoked a reaction. The other option was to let the Russkies invade and complain later from atop the moral high ground. He decided to fight first. He knew he wasn't going to win. The Russians owned the air. But worse, he knew that his allies were going to do nothing either way. (...)

There is an additional misconception that underlies much of the programmatic left/right, Democrat/GOP, détente/Cold War binary thinking on the matter: that the Bush administration encouraged Saakashvili to confront the Russians or at least bolstered his sense of allied support.
This is manifestly untrue. Tbilisi insiders told me that Georgia had been asking the Bushies for anti-aircraft missiles for some years. The Bushies consistently refused. Georgia had managed to acquire some from Israel, but the supply abruptly stopped in early summer this year--nobody knows why but it's likely that the Russians had a conclusive word with Israel. The Russkies regularly overflew Georgian territory as constant provocation, dropping a stray bomb here and a missile there, by mistake, in open countryside.

Furthermore, the Bush administration had no practical measures in train for interceding Moscow's invasion. It wasn't until the scathing Wall Street Journal editorial of Aug. 12--"so far the administration has been missing in action"--that Washington was stung into taking practical measures. The White House even issued a press release specifically citing the Journal's editorial claims as inaccurate. But it followed the Journal's menu of suggestions precisely: send in Condi, supplies, boatlift and the like. We probably have the Journal's editorial board to thank for Condi's hurried departure to Tbilisi at a time when Russian warplanes were still flying overhead--and with her arrival, perhaps even the halting of Russkie tanks short of Tbilisi. The Georgians were always way down on the list of priorities (...) >>>

12th Nov 2008


- "Freedom isn't Free"
- "Rumbling Russia"
- "Communist Crimes on Trial"

To archive >>>

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