Save Georgia’s Peace Mission

June 9, 2009

lsheets2Lawrence Sheets is Caucasus Project Director of the International Crisis Group. The opinions expressed are his own.

The truce that ended last summer’s war between Russia and Georgia may be more or less holding for now, but the structures keeping the peace are crumbling due to Russian pressure and Western acquiescence.

Last August, Moscow and Tbilisi fought a short but vicious war over South Ossetia, a region of less than 50,000 people that Moscow now recognizes as an independent state but which the rest of the world regards as part of Georgia. Intense diplomacy was crucial in ending the fighting, as European Union mediation, under the French Presidency, helped compel Russia to put its pen to a truce agreement.

Unfortunately, practically before the ink was dry on the document, Moscow was blatantly refusing to fulfil the terms of the ceasefire.

Not only has it refused to withdraw several thousand additional troops it sent into South Ossetia as well as Abkhazia — another region Russia alone recognizes as independent — it has also flatly refused access to international monitors. And in April, Russia announced it was sending even more troops to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as if to flaunt its noncompliance with the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement of August.

Now, Moscow has taken aim at the only major international organisation with a solid track record in Georgia, the 56-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE has been in Georgia for more than 15 years: monitoring unstable areas in and around South Ossetia, promoting conflict resolution, supporting minority issues, helping lay the foundations for democracy and the rule of law, and criticizing electoral fraud. In South Ossetia it even facilitated economic rehabilitation projects between ethnic Georgians and Ossetians until the August war.

Last Month, OSCE member states met in Vienna to work on a Greek-sponsored compromise to keep the OSCE in Georgia, one of the final steps in thorny negotiations which have been going on since January. But Moscow shot down the Greek proposal, which had already been heavily amended to try to address Russian concerns, by preventing it from coming up for a vote.

There are several possible reasons why Russia wants the OSCE out of Georgia, one of the Organization’s biggest and most important missions.

Moscow could be reluctant for the world to see what has gone on inside South Ossetia under its eight-month military “liberation” activities.

Russia’s huge military might did not prevent South Ossetian militias from driving about 25,000 ethnic Georgians from their homes. In many cases local militias burned, looted, and even bulldozed villages as Russian troops stood by, in actions that Human Rights Watch has called “crimes against humanity” and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe termed “ethnic cleansing”.

By closing the OSCE in Georgia, Russia also adds another front in its long-term diplomatic endeavour to undermine the efficiency of the OSCE as a whole. Since 1975, the Organization has helped promote European peace and security. But for years now, Moscow has been unhappy with the group’s focus on human rights, media freedom and fair elections as the best way to encourage stability. Russia has used the political tools available to it as a member state to delay and obstruct the Organization’s smooth functioning. Moscow has, for example, repeatedly delayed the passage of the OSCE’s annual budget.

The OSCE has taken a decade and a half to build a strong mission on the ground in Georgia. It has been one of the few institutions with any capacity to foster some sense of stability. The European Union and the West generally have essentially closed their eyes to Russia’s violations of its ceasefire obligations, under an agreement bearing the name of the French President. The vast majority of OSCE member states must show they will not acquiesce to a single country’s attempt to diminish the efficiency of the OSCE.

Time is now short, but it is not too late to save the OSCE mission in Georgia. Its mandate is set to expire in six three weeks, so there is still time to save it if enough member states of the OSCE act resolutely. In the first instance, the mission should at least be allowed to continue working in territory currently controlled by Tbilisi. Moscow can have no reasonable arguments against that. If Georgia is as unstable as Moscow claims, then there are compelling reasons to keep the OSCE there, even in the Russian logic.

A vigorous diplomatic response, led by the EU and the US, should make clear to the Kremlin that its refusal to allow the OSCE to continue its valuable work in Georgia further damages Russia’s credibility as an international partner. Moscow will then need to demonstrate whether it is seeking regional stability or simply engaging in geopolitical posturing.


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1. Russia let Afghanistan go…let the East Europe, the Baltic state go…but they surely having some troubles letting old Georgia go. I wonder what it is.
Under the context of “Strategic Importance”, or “NATO expansion threat”, or whatever lame excuse they have, Russia tries to push their long ago purposely-deployed minefield buttons of “Abkhazia” and “South Ossetia” to prevent that from happening.

So, the big “Question” is: Why? Why can’t they let Georgia go? After all there are other NATO states, which are located much closer to Moscow than Georgia and not representing any threats whatsoever. So, is the gas and oil pipeline route? – Give me a break. The small countries like Georgia have the right for their survival to make living. Ok, so is fighting a smaller and weaker country a good reason to prove of military might and a political will? – How pathetic. Oh, I see… Doesn’t Russia want to look as strong as America? Then here’s an advice to Russia: – It should try to prosper like America first, and it will become like America. It needs to learn how to produce goods first. Last time I checked Russia can’t even produce a shoelace. But isn’t Russia the one who doesn’t want to be a part of the civilized world? So know this Russia: – Sabotaging and undermining a small, weaker country’s will for independence is NOT a proof of your power.

So, what is the reason then? Well, no matter how paranoid or absurd it may sound to many, it doesn’t sound to me. I think the answer is still in good old Joseph Stalin. That’s right, the fellow whom they still have love-hate relationship with to this day, the fellow who gave them “the evil empire”. So, I think mostly Russia is afraid of rejection by Georgia. By letting Georgia “go” they would have a sense of loneliness and in case of “emergency” they won’t be able to receive a similar “Stalin-like” help anymore in the future. But they need to remember, that Georgia is not a “Stalin-mass producing” country, and if it was, it would never ever help Russia in becoming an evil empire again.

Also, more importantly, Russia needs to know one thing – If Americans want to go to Mexico for vacation and enjoy a quality time at a beach, they don’t need to annex Mexico at all for that reason. All they need to do is to drive or fly to Cancun. The same applies to Germans, French – if they need to go to Italy or Greece. But, hey is Russia that advanced in thinking?

2. Here is my question to EU and the civilized world:
– Do you want to be pushed around by Russia? If you do then don’t cry for help when someday you’ll become like Russia. So, wake up!

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

The article is nice , but unfortunately , the author highlighted just the European pro- Georgian point of view.
Concerning Abkhazia , it is not just Russia which recognized it , also Nikaragua . OCSE mission was monitoring in the boarder of SO and Georgia , and in Abkhazia just UN observers and they are still there .
The author writes that OSCE was a strong mission and provided stability to the area, but as we could see that bloody night of the 7 to 8 of August 2008 – no one could stop those 27 Grade system shelling Tskhinval at night after the President odf Georgia announced in the evening that they would stop any shelling and people went to sleep .
Instaed the whole night and then the day – no Mission in the world tried to help those who were stuck in the city under bodbardment and shelling of all heavy artillery which was brouht nearby the border with South Ossetinas .
My question is to the author , would he ever wanted his little daughter to be hidden in the cellar of the house and praying to God to stop shelling and when they stopped for a while , then she thought that God heard her praying ?
That little 5 -years old Ossetian girl was shown on the TV those nasty days and I think she must be shown to this world more and more while poeple like saakashvili live .

Posted by elmar | Report as abusive

Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that it was the Georgians who started an indiscriminant shelling of innocent civilians with “GRAD” rockets in South Ossetia. Wiping out entire districts in densely populated areas.

Georgian Army, headed by Saakashvilis have committed an act of aggression, a cowardly act of barbarism

Use of cluster bombs and various other banned weapons are in serious breach of acceptable “Conduct of War”, for detailed report please refer to HRW (Human Rights Watch) published in 2009.

The despicable crimes committed by Georgian Administration against their former citizens, must not be rewarded in any shape or form!

Now is the right time for US, EU and NATO to cut all links with Georgia and isolate Saakashvili AKA “Khachik the Looser” and his team as perpetrators of war crimes, and bring the individuals responsible for massacre of innocent civilians to face justice in Hague.

It would further reinforce the argument that Georgia should avoid unnecessarily biting the Russian trouser-legs and get on with their lives.

With regards of OSCE Please recall 7/11 events in Tbilisi, it didn’t stop Georgian government to violently brake up the Opposition protest and to shut down the independent TV station “Imedi”.

Perhaps OSCE should have been more vigilant and outspoken then. Unfortunately it’s too late now, in the eyes of Ordinary Georgians this organization has completely discredited itself.

Posted by Tom Klan | Report as abusive

This comment is for Dave .
I have some questions
As you do it I am also of teh same opinion , that every state determnie on its own what to do , to be free m to be under some umbrella , UN or Nato , or Eu or RF etc.
And this is not teh right of one exclusive nation or state .
We see how the Soviet Empire collapsed , so did the Ugoslavian either , and teh world did not fall into despair , on tyhe contrary all around those mentioned sighed with satisfaction , isn`t it so ?Then what about Georgia ?
The former Georgian Socialist Soviet republic ?
GSSR ? What is so mush astonishing if it also collapsed and the collaps was Georgia causing herself ?
Starting wars against national minorities , just to get the territories which once were given by Stalin Jozeph ?

If Georgia is not representing any danger for Russia or teh US , it is dangerous for Abkhazia and South Ossetia .
If you close your eyes to such a fact – this is your problem .
Now I have a question to you and the world community , why all these countries and the US as well do their best in pushing Abkhazia and SO into the embraces of Russia ?
Why not to think thoroughly and to weight all and come to one conclusion , that after all Georgians commitetd , Abkhazia and SO will enever return back into Georgia?

Posted by Elmar | Report as abusive

Very interesting approach Dave
Considering the fact that recently in survey run by national tv Stalin voted third greatest man ….
See the frame of mind of people ….
Imagine Hitler been voted by Germans as third greatest German ever
There are no much common sense reasons Why Russia should be playing this kind of ugly game on the stage and
Why ?
lets see the second move and we will might be able to read the game if it’s not too late
So far game looks very ugly and so the player
Today Russians should not be playing same games as Hitler, Stalin and many used to play.

Posted by Leo | Report as abusive

Russia is using the Kosovo precedent here. By allowing Kosovo to gain illegal independence the West has opened a door for others. To do the same. Indeed, illegally.

The West even promised Kosovo was part and would stay part of Serbia ( 1244 ).

So why expect the Abkhazians and Ossetians to stay in Georgia? By the way Georgia started the war last year.

It is time for real negotiations. But as long as Kosovo is independent illegally others can rightfully claim they want the same…. Like it or not!

Posted by Ron | Report as abusive

You are fully right , Ron .
But the time of negotiations was always in time .
Th main point is that Georgia does not sign the agreement on non- resolving hostilituies under international quatantess , which have been so much important during all these more then 15 years after the war . The world community seeming so much concerned with the situation in Georgia could not make them come to this agremeent and thats why there were clashes in May 1998 , October 2001 and in August 2008 as well .
It seems someone is playing a bad game at the Caucasus and with Caucasian peoples and if Georgians could not undertsand it , I am sorry .

Posted by Elmar | Report as abusive

Have the Russians found evidence of genocide yet?

They were insisting that thousands of ossetians were dying, and that genocide was being committed. And that this gave them the right to invade Georgia.

We *know* that peacekeepers are not supposed to actively engage enemy forces. And that in wartime, they must avoid combat, even if it means pulling out of the area.

We *know* that russia was dropping cluster bombs on cities. It was caught on television. And civilians died in the attack, including a foreign journalist.

We *know* that Russia invaded Georgia. It was quite obvious to the world, and the Russians have admitted it.

And we *know* that Russia and the Ossetians have committed ethnic cleansing. By the simple fact that the Georgians in both regions have been driven from their homes, and will never be allowed to return. Nobody can deny this. In fact, the ossetian milita boast about it.

So now it’s time to see the Russians prove that thousands of ossetians died. I am sure we will all be awed by the sheer piles of evidence.

If the Russians can not prove genocide, then Russia had no right to interfere in an internal conflict.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

Does the OSCE have a “solid track record in Georgia”? Than why are the Ossetians complaining that it didn’t warn them for the Georgian attack? It was not the fault of the observers – they did send a warning to Vienna. It was Vienna headquarters that decided not to publish that warning – seriously damaging the credibility of the OSCE. 9.stm

The article is one sided in another aspect too. While it gives much noise to Georgian claims that 25,000 Georgians have been cleansed it fails to mention that in 1991 Georgia cleansed 55,000 of the 100,000 Ossetians who lived outside the autonomous area. These people still live in exile in North Ossetia. It was this ethnic cleansing that lead to the Russian intervention in 1991. These people still cannot return to their homes as Georgia demands them to follow endless judicial procedures to get their possessions back.

Posted by Wim | Report as abusive

Sheet’s article is a really disappointing and completely one sided analysis, surprising from ICG. A more independent analysis of the issue, might ask more probing questions such as how the populations of South Ossetia and the Georgian areas affected by the conflict view the performance of the “strong OSCE” mission, especially as relates to the outbreak of the August war which swept this ‘strong mission’ aside and showed it to be completely powerless, or worse many suspect it of being complicit in what happened. Another probing question would be how an organization that is completely discredited on one side can rehabilitate itself to play a positive role as a ‘peace mission’ as Sheet’s title suggests.
Some of its own personnel have gone public with their utter disillusionment with the performance of the organization (Ryan Grist but also others) relating to the August war. These internal whistle blowers have been repaid by being ostracized and labeled ‘spies’ or ‘Russian agents’.
I personally would like to see the OSCE mission remain to rebuild its reputation in the hopes it could play a positive role in the future. I have personally seen it play a positive role in the past. But to call it, as Mr. Sheets does in this article, a ‘strong mission’ or suggest it has been highly effective in Georgia for these last 15 years ignores the ugly realty that this short but devastating war took place on the OSCE’s watch. There has been no compelling or convincing explanation from the organization as to why it could not have done more to prevent the outbreak of hostilities – after all its mission core focus was ‘monitoring’ military buildup and military provocations. The OSCE, as an institution (vs. its staff who apparently filed countless alarmed reports about the growing threat) failed miserably in the Georgia – South Ossetia war. Any article that ignores this reality is not helpful to the debate.

Posted by Lara Olson | Report as abusive

Back to the critics of Mr. Sheet’s article (Sorry, I am not listing you by the names)…

1. Georgia didn’t start the war last August. Russia started and they’ve admitted it. Georgia reacted to the Russian provocation (good move or bad is another topic), after bombing several villages. To be more specific, Russia started the war against Georgia 200 years ago. Georgia reserves its full right to demand from the foreign army to leave the country. Georgia didn’t cross its border with Russia but Russia did.

2. There is neither Abkhazia nor SO as a state. Russia created them in a foreign country (Georgia) for the purposes that we all witness today (Very old fashioned imperialistic trick: Divide and concur! – must be outlawed in the 21st Century).

3. Georgia historically was and remains tolerant with minorities.
a. A perfect example: it is the only state that never practiced anti-Semitism of any sort (during all 26 century time period-not once!). That applies to the ethnic Ossetians, Greek, Russians and more… How about your country?
b. Anyone is welcome to live in Georgia to live and leave Georgia anytime, but not to take the land with.
c. Question to you all: How would you or your government react to the fact if, hypothetically speaking, Russia gave some autonomy to Turks, or Pakistanis, (whoever comes to mind randomly) and someday they decide to declare independence from Germany or UK? Tell us more about it please – would you say – ah, screw it, let them do what they want as long I feel safe?

4. Remember Chechnya? Surely, you don’t.

5. Which one of you really believes Georgia can threaten Russia? – Is that for laughs?

6. The USSR didn’t collapse. Russia rejected Communism as an ideology ONLY. But the rest is the same. The underground then oligarchs came out to the surface today.

7. And lastly, I repeat from my earlier comment:
– Don’t cry for help if someday you will become like Russia unless you are already Russian, or that’s what you really want. Know this: The cavalierly doesn’t always come to liberate.

Posted by dave | Report as abusive

“The vast majority of OSCE member states must show they will not acquiesce to a single country’s attempt to diminish the efficiency of the OSCE.”
Hey, guys, come back from the Country Of Your Dreams and see the reality: in Ossetia and Abkhazia only one OSCE member is important. This single country can do there whatever it considers moral, fair, and profitable.

Posted by Oleg | Report as abusive


1. When did Russia admit that it starTed the war ?
If you think that the Russians provocated Georgians , so why they suddenly became so weak and played with it ?
What about all other contries whicj supported Georgia throughout so many years with weaponry , etc. can you name the reasons ?
Do you ever guess or suspect that Georgia wants to join NATO just for hoping that NATO forces will return back Abkhazia and SO which never , but in the Soviet time werre given as presets of Stalin to Georgia ?
So violation started the same moment NATO, US and other countries gave Georgia a possibitlity to militarize the country as no other one at the Caucasus , and this was done severely , just for geopolitical reasons and to expell Russia from the Caucasus , if you think that I am not right , please ,prove it.

As for Abkhazia ,
It has its own history of a statehood , and you could find many historical information in the net , if not , you can visit the country and get the resourses yourself , and will hear a lot then to be objective truly and not to express the one- sided and such a stiff point of view taking no account to the political reality and human security at all.
As for the imperailist tricks of Russia , I am not going to start advocating Russia here , but why do you close your eyes to the ethnoimperialistic nature of Georgia ?
Small empires are not less dangerous as big ones and so is the the Georgian example – bright as ever for it.
If Georgia was so nice and tolerant to its minorities why did they start all their wars and not once , but several times ?
You think tanks , Grad system and cluster bombs were of a special expression of tehir strong love ? To whom ?

As for Chchnya
You say , remember it , we do not forget it any moment , but please tell me , why didnot the world and all other organizations stop the bloodshed in Chechnya ?
They tried something , just to show that Russia is a monster , but this didnot help to thousands of civilians killed and disssappered in the fire of war this proud country i?
It is easy to write but hard to take the responsibility of everything you witness but do not stop , and words are just words not actions to correct or improve something in this cruel world .

Posted by Elmar | Report as abusive

One more thing Dave. Yes, i personally remember Chechen war very well but perhaps you forgotten that in the 1st Chechen war Shevardnadze allowed Russian bombers to take off from Georgian bases/air-space to bomb Chechenia.

Earlier during the Stalinist deportations there was one notorious incident in the village of Khaibakh where in 1944 hundreds of people were herded into a barn, which was then set on fire — anyone escaping was shot. The commander of the NKVD group responsible was a Svan (Gvishiani), acting under the general directorship of Beria (Mingrelia), who was himself responsible to Stalin (Georgian).

By the way, in the 19th century the only people in Transcaucasia to fight against Russian encroachment were the Abkhazians, who battled alongside their cousins in Ubykhia and Circassia, whereas Georgia was already allied to Russia and thus helped the tsars to crush North Caucasian resistance.

What do you think about Georgia’s occupation/annexation of independent Abkhazia under the forces of General Mazniashvili, as described in the following.

Ruslan Khodzhaa quotes in his new book from his own earlier ‘Documents and Materials of the Abkhazian People’s Soviet 1918-1919′ (in Russian, Sukhum, 1999) on Mazniashviili’s behaviour: ‘Not a single tsarist general raged as mercilessly when subjugating the Caucasian peoples as Mazniev in Abkhazia’ (p.7). Remember also Georgia’s occupation/annexation of independent Abkhazia under the forces of General Mazniashvili, as described in the following.

Ruslan Xodzhaa quotes in his new book from his own earlier ‘Documents and Materials of the Abkhazian People’s Soviet 1918-1919′ (in Russian, Sukhum, 1999) on Mazniashviili’s behaviour: ‘Not a single tsarist general raged as mercilessly when subjugating the Caucasian peoples as Mazniev in Abkhazia’ (p.7). Remember also excerpt from Carl Bechhofer, in Denikin’s Russia.

Posted by Glenn | Report as abusive

Below is what Civil Georgia reported in 8 August in its entirety. 8955&search=control%20ossetia

“President Saakashvili said he had announced a general mobilization of reserve troops amid “large-scale military aggression” by Russia.

In a live televised address on August 8, Saakashvili said Georgian government troops had gone “on the offensive” after South Ossetian militias responded to his peace initiative on August 7 by shelling Georgian villages.

As a result, he said, Georgian forces now controlled “most of South Ossetia.”

He said the breakaway region’s districts of Znauri, Tsinagari, as well as the villages of Dmenisi, Gromi, and Khetagurovo, were “already liberated” by Georgian forces.

“A large part of Tskhinvali is now liberated and fighting is ongoing in the center of Tskhinvali,” he added.

He also said that Georgia had come under aerial attack from Russian warplanes on August 8, which was an obvious sign of “large-scale military aggression” against Georgia.


In 1921, Abkhazia and Georgia became Sovietized. On 31 March 1921, an independent Soviet Republic of Abkhazia was proclaimed. On 21 May 1921, the Georgian Bolshevik government officially recognized the independence of Abkhazia. But the same year, under pressure from Stalin and other influential Georgian Bolsheviks, Abkhazia was forced to conclude a union (i.e., confederative) treaty with Georgia. Abkhazia still remained a full union republic until 1931, when its status was downgraded, under Stalin’s orders, from that of Union Republic to that of an Autonomous Republic within Georgia. This act of incorporation of Abkhazia into Georgia was conducted without the approval and against the will of the Abkhazian people and caused mass protests in Abkhazia.

Please google: Declaration of the Revolutionary Committee of the SSR of Georgia on Independence of the SSR of Abkhazia – 21 May 1921

Posted by Glenn | Report as abusive

I would like to add something to what was said about Chechen war, which you think is possible to forgte , Dave .
The day the Russians invaded Chechnia , in Abkhazia , Abkhaz people made a big meeting against of this war and Ardzinba sent a letter to Eltsin to stop it teh sooner , the better . Shevarnadze kept silence. Then he said that Abkhaz prepare for sending fighters to Chechnia and are accepting Chechens in teh hospitals for traeting , etc. The Russians CLOSED THE aBKHAZ BORDER WITH rUSSIA FOR

Posted by Elmar | Report as abusive 8955&search=control%20ossetia

Did you note that there is no mention of Russian forces in the Roki Tunnel: he gives quite different reasons.

Saakashvili’s story has changed: see Patrick Armstrong’s piece (with Georgian sources) on JRL/2009/
( 170-21.cfm) documenting these changes. The “Russians are already in the Roki Tunnel” excuse – of which Saakashvili put forth two variations) only appeared after the operation went so badly wrong.

And BTW – here’s the Civil Georgia report of the Kurashvili statement from 8 Aug ( 18941&search=). So, if it’s a “fabrication”, it’s not a recent one.

A senior official from the Georgian Ministry of Defense said Georgia had “decided to restore constitutional order in the entire region” of South Ossetia. Mamuka Kurashvili, an MoD official in charge of overseeing peacekeeping operations, told journalists late on August 7 that the South Ossetian side had rejected Tbilisi’s earlier decision to unilaterally cease fire and had resumed shelling of Georgian villages in the conflict zone.

Posted by Glenn | Report as abusive

I would like to add something to what was said about Chechen war, which you think is possible to forgte , Dave .
The day the Russians invaded Chechnia , in Abkhazia , Abkhaz people made a big meeting against of this war and Ardzinba sent a letter to Eltsin to stop it teh sooner , the better . Shevarnadze kept silence. Then he said that Abkhaz prepare for sending fighters to Chechnia and are accepting Chechens in teh hospitals for traeting , etc. The Russians CLOSED THE aBKHAZ BORDER WITH rUSSIA FOR MEN FROM 16 TILL 60 YEARS OLD
. Just where you wre at that time > I mean international community , why didnt you stop all this vacchanaia then ?
It is easy to judge , but hard to behave properly.

Posted by Elmar | Report as abusive

Simple truth of matter (In broken english, for ESL readers).

-Russia invade Georgia.
-Russia uses Kosovo as excuse.
-US attacked Yugoslavia because of genocide.
-Now Russia must show genocide in Georgia, or no excuse to invade.
-If Russia no prove genocide, Russia must apologise and pull out. Otherwise Russia is criminal, not Saakashvili.

Simple, eh?

Posted by Robo-Stalin | Report as abusive

To Robo-Stalin.

Could you provide link to facts about genocide in Kosovo? No US declaration but real facts.

Posted by lboss | Report as abusive

– Georgia invaded unsuccessfully Abkhazia and SO.
– Abkhazia and SO were attached to Georgia by the will of Stalin .
-Russia forced Georgia to peace because of the possible genocide.
-Now the world community will have to recognise that following the wild inspirations of Saakashvili , they simply do their best for Abkhazia and Georgia to be embraced by Russia (tightly)

the world is closing his eyes again and plays the old game of Georgia , stiffened and firm then , after a time passes dont bite your arm when all happens . It happens when usually the substance of the brain becomes as a bone and no one wants to think seven times and then cut .

Simple /
The worst is that is simple .

Posted by Elmarlosmira | Report as abusive

Hm. Proof? Sorry, no proof at hand.

Perhaps you ask International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991.

UN has website, right? They have some evidence, Comradski. Of very horrible things done to women and children. And men in mass graves. And confessions.

So if Russia is going to use genocide as reason for war with Georgia, it is time to show proof.

While they do, should also provide reason for why they allow ethnic clensing of Georgians during invasion. Houses burnt and innocent people fleeing milita, never able to come home.

Russia actions not like NATO. Russia actions more like other side.

If no proof, then Russia’s war becomes illegal, Saakashvili is proven right and the world sees what Russia has done.

And only Russians will agree with Russian view. Very embarassing at UN meetings.

Posted by Robo-Stalin | Report as abusive

The main issue is about the legal status of the Sarkozy brokered agreement. There exist 2 different copies, each with their own additions and deletions, but none where both parties signed for the same clauses. According to the Vienna Treaty on the Validity of Treaties there exists no such thing as a legally binding cease fire agreement between Russia and Georgia. Both parties can do as they please, and so Georgia does. Thanks to the leniency of the Russians there was no bloodshed – so far.

The OSCE completely disqualified itself in the run-up to the hostilities as it refrained from taking action when Georgia built-up its forces at the border with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. So did the press in our part of the world. The public in our part of the world could not issue a word of protest as we were almost completely kept ignorant on what was going on there. I recall one report on TV (surprise, surprise on all news programmes in the West on the same day) shortly before Sakkashvili launched the offensive. EuroNews relayed the newsreels of the Georgian television every half hour on August 8th, 2008. I recommend to try getting hold of them as they put an end to many discussions and uncover the west’s commentaries as a cover-up of something that was wrong from the beginning, and turned sour on top of it.
I feel, that part of the problem of the OSCE is that their observers have too many supreme commanders. It can be at the same time the supreme commander of their own country, NATO, OSCE, UNO, EU and the mission they work for on the ground. Which one will prevail? It seems NATO.
I feel, that the Rose Revolution which swept Saakashvili to power, is part of NATO’s strategy to open-up a landbridge to the Caspian – with Georgia its bridgehead on the Black Sea. The Caucasus Mountains build a natural barrier between the landbridge and our hereditary archenemy: Russia.
South Ossetia is a salient on the southern slopes which endangers the landbridge’s security, and so must be eliminated. Abkhazia is also located on the southern flanks of the Caucasus Mountains, thus a potential danger as well. It also commands a stretch of the Black Sea Coast, which could endanger NATO’s operations in the Black Sea.
Cornerstone of NATO’s strategy is the accession of Georgia to NATO. Maybe Saakashvili had to solemnly pledge that he would undertake to do just that in order to get NATO’s support for the Rose Revolution, and his fraught reelection in January 2008. He still has to deliver – but in order to doing just that he must secure South Ossetia and Abkhazia for NATO. Else Western European member states will once again turn down the proposition.

The question is not if, but when Saakashvili – with NATO backing – will launch new offensives. Russia realised that it has to be better prepared than in 2008 and is now in the process of reorganising, trainig and and re-arming its forces. Let’s hope that the war does not spill-over to Europe. If “Afghanistan” is all that NATO is capable to, I fear for the worst.

Posted by Ida | Report as abusive