Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Bear" With Me, Fellow Dojo Rats--UPDATE #3

I hope fellow Dojo Rats will indulge me; I've been suffering a nasty summer cold which makes me as grouchy as a Russian bear. Needless to say, I doubt we will get another video out this week. Additionally, my cynical nature has been drawn to extreme in the wake of recent events. More martial arts stuff will follow soon.
Meanwhile, it is necessary to examine the issues behind the conflict between Russia and it's former satellite state Georgia.
Let's begin with the excellent and thurough research of Michael Chossudovsky, of GlobalResearch.ca -- Chossoudovsky properly points out that 1500-2000 civilian casualties occured when Georgia attacked the breakaway province of South Ossetia, which was alinged with Russia. Despite this, the mainstream media is portraying this conflict as outright Russian agression.
While not a full NATO member, Georgia is fully integrated with NATO and held training exercises with Israeli and American "advisors" that Russia clearly took as a precurser to border conflict. These exercises occured in July, coresponding with a visit by Condoleza Rice. To quote Chossoudovsky's article:
"Moscow has accused NATO of "encouraging Georgia". Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underscored the destabilizing impacts of "foreign" military aid to Georgia: .
“It all confirms our numerous warnings addressed to the international community that it is necessary to pay attention to massive arms purchasing by Georgia during several years. Now we see how these arms and Georgian special troops who had been trained by foreign specialists are used,” he said.(Moscow accuses NATO of having "encouraged Georgia" to attack South Ossetia, Russia Today, August 9, 2008)"
(D.R.)- of course, these attacks by NATO-backed Georgia were timed to coincide with the start of the Olympics. Chossoudovsky elaborates:
"A humanitarian disaster rather than a military victory was an integral part of the scenario. The objective was to destroy the provincial capital, while also inflicting a significant loss of human life.
If the objective were to restore Georgian political control over the provincial government, the operation would have been undertaken in a very different fashion, with Special Forces occupying key public buildings, communications networks and provincial institutions, rather than waging an all out bombing raid on residential areas, hospitals, not to mention Tskhinvali's University."
(D.R.)So is this more than a border war? Today is the first day CNN has even started to mention oil- yes oil pipelines that are being guarded by U.S. Special forces. But they are not telling the whole story; There is the Israeli connection.

The BTC pipeline is designed to bring Caspian Sea oil to warm water Turkish seaports, both for Israeli consumption and for export to Asia. The last few years has seen a huge influx of hi-tech weaponry, including unmanned aircraft, conventional aircraft and missile technology from Israel to Georgia. The Georgian Defense Minister is a former Israeli that speaks fluent Hebrew.
It is clear that the Georgian conflict is not regional, but a chesspiece in the Israeli-Anglo-American oil empire. Remember, the Iraq war and current occupation was not engineered to deliver oil to American markets, but rather the opposite. It was designed to keep Chinese oil interests out of Iraq, take millions of barrels of oil off the world market and drive prices up- perhaps to break the OPEC monopoly. All this in the guise of "bringing democracy".
But why Georgia, and why now?
- The Cheney/Bush administration has had to concede to Iraqi demands for a timetable for withdrawl of U.S. occupation troops. There has been a lull in terrorist-related activity Stateside and in Europe. Americans are weary of conflict, and there is a real possibility for a change in the direction of the American Government.
Simply put: the Neo-Conservatives need a new "Bogey-man". They thirst for another cold war. They profit from "Disaster Capitalism". And it could possibly benefit them to have a short-term disruption in the upcoming American election process, throwing our bankrupt state into another open-ended conflict. One with very, very high stakes, but in the words of General Smedly Butler: "War Is A Racket".

Further reading and source material:
GlobalResearch.ca - Michael Chossoudovsky
Israel Y-net News "War In Georgia- The Israeli Connection"
The Wall Street Journal "War Threatens Key Pipeline"
General Smedly Butler - "War Is A Racket" Wikipedia
Naomi Klein "The Shock Doctorine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism"

Deep background on the conflict, and just how volitile this situation is. The civilians in Ossetia and Georgia are the current victims in this proxy war that threatens to go from regional to global. The big picture is that U.S.-Israeli Iran policy is being pitted against a Russia-China alliance.
-Gorbechev sets the U.S. straight on tactical blunder
-Did John McCain's advisor and lobbiest for Georgia encourage Georgian attack?
- The Times of London: Cheney engineered conflict to prevent Obama from becoming President-- Quote:
"“George Bush's Administration is promoting interests of candidate John McCain,” said Dr Markov. “Defeated by Barak Obama on all fronts, McCain has one last card to play yet - the creation of a virtual Cold War with Russia . . . Bush himself did not want a war in South Ossetia but his Republican Party did not leave him any choice.” The Americans were now engineering an armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Dr Markov added."
-And This, Also from The Times:
"The trap was set in Georgia. When President Saakashvili blundered into South Ossetia, sending in an army to shell, kill and maim on a vicious scale (against US advice and his promised word), Russia was waiting.
It was not only Mr Saakashvili who thought that he had the distraction of the Olympics to cover him; the Kremlin also knew that Mr Bush was watching basketball, and, in the longer term, that the US army was fully engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. From the day that the Russian tank brigade raced through the tunnel into South Ossetia, Russia has not made one wrong move. Mr Bush's remarks yesterday notwithstanding, In five days it turned an overreaching blunder by a Western-backed opponent into a devastating exposure of Western impotence, dithering and double standards on respecting national sovereignty (viz Iraq)."

-(D.R.)- and today Bush retreats to his ranch in Crawford...


José said...

In an ideal world of international law and affairs, regardless of Georgian actions, Russia's intervention would have been counter to same international law. Georgia's government's actions would be the actions of a legitimate, democratically elected government within its own borders. Period. Russia's intervention would have been gross violations of international law. Period.

Unfortunately, and in no small part due to the politics of the last US administration, which have significantly diminished the importance of international law, we are far from the ideal world. Some commentators seem to think we are going back to a "Cold War" - something Putin stated actually last year - but I think we've gone further back, to a variation pf the Great Game of the late 19th early 20th century. Tow big powers are jostling for power and influence in a given area of the world, and it seems that the US, and its allies, have committed gross blunders that have weakened them considerably. Georgia fundamentally upset a status quo, which for better or worse had lasted OK for more than ten years.

Choussodowsky makes most of the points that need to be made re. the strategic interests at stake here. Suffice to say that Russia wins big if Georgia is no longer a viable option for oil and gas to flow to the west.

But primarily, I also think we are seeing here payback for the Kossovo blunder. If you look at things with care you will see that the situation in Georgia strongly resembles the one in Kossovo. Russia merely claims that it is doing there the same that NATO did in Kossovo. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. And with a new admin soon to take power in Washington and some sort of interregnum, and considering how more pragmatic (ie. cynical) European governments are, and how dependent they are on Russian gas, especially in Winter, we can see why for the last 2 or 3 days Moscow has totally disregarded all international calls for respect for Georgia's territorial integrity. I believe the ext six months will see the proclamation of some new republics in the caucasus, recognized by Moscow and allies, probably China, and perhaps even some European governments.

Russia jams some nasty NATO and western plans. Gets payback for Kossovo. Embarasses Sakachvilli. Reasserts domination. What's there not to like, from their perspective?

See this:

A Path to Peace in the Caucasus

By Mikhail Gorbachev

12/08/08 "Washington Post -- - MOSCOW -- The past week's events in South Ossetia are bound to shock and pain anyone. Already, thousands of people have died, tens of thousands have been turned into refugees, and towns and villages lie in ruins. Nothing can justify this loss of life and destruction. It is a warning to all.

The roots of this tragedy lie in the decision of Georgia's separatist leaders in 1991 to abolish South Ossetian autonomy. This turned out to be a time bomb for Georgia's territorial integrity. Each time successive Georgian leaders tried to impose their will by force -- both in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia, where the issues of autonomy are similar -- it only made the situation worse. New wounds aggravated old injuries.

Nevertheless, it was still possible to find a political solution. For some time, relative calm was maintained in South Ossetia. The peacekeeping force composed of Russians, Georgians and Ossetians fulfilled its mission, and ordinary Ossetians and Georgians, who live close to each other, found at least some common ground.

Through all these years, Russia has continued to recognize Georgia's territorial integrity. Clearly, the only way to solve the South Ossetian problem on that basis is through peaceful means. Indeed, in a civilized world, there is no other way.

The Georgian leadership flouted this key principle.

What happened on the night of Aug. 7 is beyond comprehension. The Georgian military attacked the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali with multiple rocket launchers designed to devastate large areas. Russia had to respond. To accuse it of aggression against "small, defenseless Georgia" is not just hypocritical but shows a lack of humanity.

Mounting a military assault against innocents was a reckless decision whose tragic consequences, for thousands of people of different nationalities, are now clear. The Georgian leadership could do this only with the perceived support and encouragement of a much more powerful force. Georgian armed forces were trained by hundreds of U.S. instructors, and its sophisticated military equipment was bought in a number of countries. This, coupled with the promise of NATO membership, emboldened Georgian leaders into thinking that they could get away with a "blitzkrieg" in South Ossetia.

In other words, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was expecting unconditional support from the West, and the West had given him reason to think he would have it. Now that the Georgian military assault has been routed, both the Georgian government and its supporters should rethink their position.

Hostilities must cease as soon as possible, and urgent steps must be taken to help the victims -- the humanitarian catastrophe, regretfully, received very little coverage in Western media this weekend -- and to rebuild the devastated towns and villages. It is equally important to start thinking about ways to solve the underlying problem, which is among the most painful and challenging issues in the Caucasus -- a region that should be approached with the greatest care.

When the problems of South Ossetia and Abkhazia first flared up, I proposed that they be settled through a federation that would grant broad autonomy to the two republics. This idea was dismissed, particularly by the Georgians. Attitudes gradually shifted, but after last week, it will be much more difficult to strike a deal even on such a basis.

Old grievances are a heavy burden. Healing is a long process that requires patience and dialogue, with non-use of force an indispensable precondition. It took decades to bring to an end similar conflicts in Europe and elsewhere, and other long-standing issues are still smoldering. In addition to patience, this situation requires wisdom.

Small nations of the Caucasus do have a history of living together. It has been demonstrated that a lasting peace is possible, that tolerance and cooperation can create conditions for normal life and development. Nothing is more important than that.

The region's political leaders need to realize this. Instead of flexing military muscle, they should devote their efforts to building the groundwork for durable peace.

Over the past few days, some Western nations have taken positions, particularly in the U.N. Security Council, that have been far from balanced. As a result, the Security Council was not able to act effectively from the very start of this conflict. By declaring the Caucasus, a region that is thousands of miles from the American continent, a sphere of its "national interest," the United States made a serious blunder. Of course, peace in the Caucasus is in everyone's interest. But it is simply common sense to recognize that Russia is rooted there by common geography and centuries of history. Russia is not seeking territorial expansion, but it has legitimate interests in this region.

The international community's long-term aim could be to create a sub-regional system of security and cooperation that would make any provocation, and the very possibility of crises such as this one, impossible. Building this type of system would be challenging and could only be accomplished with the cooperation of the region's countries themselves. Nations outside the region could perhaps help, too -- but only if they take a fair and objective stance. A lesson from recent events is that geopolitical games are dangerous anywhere, not just in the Caucasus.

The writer was the last president of the Soviet Union. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 and is president of the Gorbachev Foundation, a Moscow think tank. A version of this article, in Russian, will be published in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper tomorrow.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company

Dojo Rat said...

Thanks for the additional comments, Jose'

I think the Georgian President realizes now He has been duped by the U.S. Republican Party and the McCain camp, whose advisor took $800,000 from the Georgians for services unmentioned.
-Now, the hot story that is currently being confirmed is that Karl Rove also had a meeting with Saakashvili (Georgia) in July before Georgia invaded Ossetia.
--We have not seen the last of this, What have they gotten us into now?...