Monday, August 11, 2008

Georgia and the Kosovo blowback

First, let's review the latest.
TBILISI, Georgia (AP) - Russia and Georgia clashed on land and at sea Sunday despite a Georgian cease-fire offer and claim of withdrawal from the separatist province of South Ossetia, officials from both countries said.

Georgian officials said Russian planes bombed an area near the Georgian capital's airport and Russian tanks moved from South Ossetia into Georgian territory, heading toward a strategic city before being turned back.

A Russian general said Georgian forces directed heavy fire at positions around Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, early Monday, even though Georgia had claimed to be withdrawing from the shattered city and called for a cease-fire.

"Active fighting has been going on in several zones," the Interfax news agency quoted Maj. Gen. Marat Kulakhmetov as saying. He is commander of the Russian peacekeeping contingent that has been in South Ossetia since 1992.

Russia also claimed to have sunk a Georgian boat that tried to attack Russian vessels in the Black Sea.
Yep, Russian tanks probed into undisputed Georgian territory and the was has expanded to sea - at least as this report goes.

A few things are a given. First, Europe will do nothing to stop a war in their own backyard. Even if they still had a military force, they do not have the will anymore and they are slaves to Russian oil and gas.

Second, this all started with Kosovo as I put out there

By the pushing of Kosovo independence, once part of Serbia, we opened the door to Russia and its interests towards other such conflicts. South Ossetia and Abkhazia are just two of them. You also have Nagorno-Karabakh and Transdniester for starters, not to mention many smaller border issues to make hay with. Second and Third Order effects. NATO and the USA will do nothing because, rightly, the Russians can simply say; Kosovo.

Soak in it.

Also largely missed is the fact that the Russian action didn't happen overnight. To move such an amount of Joint military force as they have requires months of planning and preparation. We don't know the details - but we do no that. Russia did not simply "react" to Georgian "aggression." No, there is a lot more going on.

For a Navy sidenote - the Georgian Navy only has two missile boats, a ex-Ukranian 206MR semi-hydrofoil armed with 2xSS-N-2 and and ex-Greek La Combattante II with 4xExocet. There goes half their Navy.

This is varsity football. This is Russia. Is anyone really "shocked?" The key will be to keep this all contained. Georgia will be lucky if all it does is have to accept the loss of
South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Very lucky.

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