Condemning Russian Provocation in Kyrgyzstan

Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford University and a former foreign policy correspondent for the New York Times, writing in the San Fransisco Chronicle, documents Russia’s brazen, aggressive challenge to Barack Obama:

America’s competitors and adversaries are certainly not greeting President Obama with open arms. During his first month in office, many have given him the stiff arm.  Pakistan made a deal with the Taliban to give it a huge swath of territory in the middle of the country for a new haven. North Korea is threatening war with South Korea.  Many in the Arab world who had welcomed Obama are now attacking him because he did not denounce Israel’s invasion of Gaza. Iran launched a satellite into space, demonstrating that it has the ability to construct an intercontinental ballistic missile to match up with the nuclear weapons it is apparently trying to build.

There’s more, but none of it can match the sheer gall behind Russia’s open challenge to Washington.

As only the most glaring example, earlier this month Russia suddenly offered to give Kyrgyzstan, its former satellite state, $2.15 billion if Kyrgyzstan agreed to evict American forces from an air base there.

The United States uses the Manas Air Base to ferry troops and cargo to Afghanistan. The facility, the Pentagon says, is critically important for the war effort, as Russia unquestionably knows. Russia and Kyrgyzstan are trying to deny that the two decisions are related, even though they came in serial fashion on the same day: Russia offered the aid, a few hours later, Kyrgyzstan issued the eviction notice.

As if that were not enough to prove Russia’s hostile intent, a few days later a Kyrgyz lawmaker announced that the parliament would not vote on the base-closure proposal until Russia delivered the first $450 million tranche of aid.

Imagine the outrage if the United States suddenly offered to give Kazakhstan, another Central Asian state, $2 billion if, in exchange, the Kazakh government terminated Russia’s lease for its space launch center in Baikonur. A hurt, angry outcry would sweep the globe.

Even with all the anti-American sentiment everywhere these days, most people worldwide know America to be a decent, honest state. For all the justified criticism over the invasion of Iraq, the United States is now beginning to pull out its troops. For all the international anger and hatred of George W. Bush, the American people elected a man who is his antithesis.

The world expects better of America. Not so for Russia. The response to the Kyrgyz bribery episode was muted, unremarkable. No one expects much that’s worthy of admiration from Moscow. That’s a sorry situation for an important state.

Shortly after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was caught bribing Kyrgyzstan, he announced that Russia is, as he put it, “ready for full-fledged cooperation” with the United States in Afghanistan. But then, Medvedev listed the conditions for this generous offer: NATO will have to stop accepting new membership applications from Eastern European and Central Asian states. The United States must abandon its missile-defense plan.

This “offer” came at the end of a meeting with Russia’s regional allies at which they agreed to form a joint military force to counter NATO.

The real message behind all this, it seems, is Russia’s determination to show Obama that Russia controls Central Asia. If Washington wants to make deals and arrangements there, it needs to come to Moscow, not Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek or other regional capitals.

Well, the hypocrisy there is typical for Russia. For the last couple of years, Russia has been buying influence in Latin America and bragging about it. Central and South America are as much America’s neighborhood as Central Asia is Russia’s. As an example, in Ecuador last fall, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Federation Security Council, said with no reticence that his country wants to collaborate with Ecuadoran intelligence “to expand Moscow’s influence in Latin America and offer a counterweight to the United States.”

Obama, and Bush before him, have seemed so determined not to open a new Cold War – a concern Moscow obviously doesn’t share – that they have let Russian leaders walk all over them.

The Obama administration’s clearest response to the Kyrgyzstan bribery episode came a few days ago, when Undersecretary of State Bill Burns, visiting Moscow, could only manage to say that “we regret” the Kyrgyz airbase decision. At the same time, Vice President Joe Biden said the United States is willing to compromise with Moscow over the antimissile plan that the Russians so despise. In a speech, he said: “It is time to press the reset button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia.”

If only Russia could offer a scintilla of like-minded generosity.

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53 responses to “Condemning Russian Provocation in Kyrgyzstan

  1. Maybe it’s just me – but it seems that Pakistan, and Russia treat American president as if he is a junior senator from corrupt Midwestern state with no international experience…

    Or maybe North Korea and Iran think that US president is ready to talk to their leaders without preconditions…

    What a gall, indeed!

  2. “It is time to press the reset button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia.”

    Beautifully! Yes we will be able to get on one another. But USA must go away from Near Abroad and stop to teach us (to lay aside Saaka, Juschenka, and nonsensical historical claims).

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Must Russia do anything, you ridiculous little troll?

  3. It’s Deja Vu for America’s (civilizations) enemies, they say, “Thank goodness it’s Jimmy Carter again!”. We’re entering a very dangerous period for the world, and we have a spineless foriegn policy run by ignorant know-it-all blowhards. 4 years is a long time!

  4. Kyrgyztan is also to be ‘missionary territory’ for “Putin’s Church”, the KGB-run Moscow Patriarchy. This proposed activity, no doubt, is to ‘save souls’ (?)…or…is it to extend Russian Federation political/military/economic influence via it’s official ‘church’ to the entire region?
    This second purpose seems much more likely, under the trapings of Russian-Religion. An excellent article on this is: “Putin’s Church” , posted 2/24/09, by a Jeffrey Donovan, RadioFreeLiberty, on: . This is but another visible proof, that Putin is doing all that he and his FSB-apparatus can, to spread his power and influence over that whole region, by whatever means he can, including the excuse of ‘spreading the Eastern Orthodox Religion’…..to ‘save souls’, etc. We already have many examples of such ‘religious missionary activity,’ by Putin’s Church, especially outside the boundaries of the Russian Federation….all around the world. The ‘clergy’ involved are always, specially-schooled ALL FSB operatives, wearing clerical robes and muttering Orthodox prayers and rituals. This is now to be pushed in Kyrgyzstan and environs. This is already happening in China. Putin’s version of “Orthodoxy,” means: first and foremost……having a Russian-self-identity, and loyalty and obedience to Putin’s ‘Russia’, ….i.e. using God and religion in the service of the state, an enslaved and degenerate Christianity.
    Reader Daniel

  5. Interesting how Patriarch Alexy II died just days after refusing to allow the Russian Church to take over the running of churches in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, stating that these were the responsibility of the Georgian Orthodox church.
    This was a brave, and possibly fatal decision.

    Now he is replaced by a new Patriarch who is whoreing the Russian Orthodox church to the Kremlin.

  6. Entertainment of the highest order. This post is based purely on conjecture with no evidence whatever to back up its claim.

    1. Kyrgyzstan has been seeking to get the US out of this base since 2006 and the murder of Alexander Ivanov by US soldier Zachary Hatfield abusing his position of impunity.

    2. The US pumped millions of dollar into NGO’s and the Tulip revolutionaries in order to over-through the Askar Akayev regime in Kyrgyzstan. Bringing about regime change in another country is a violation of international law.

    3. Its not the first country in the region to kick the US out. Now the US foreign office have had to eat some humble pie returning to Uzbekistan who booted them out in 2005 for criticism in the west.

    4. If the US really wanted this base they should have paid more cash and dealt with the concerns around the actions of US soldiers at the base.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Is #4 not conjecture by your lights?

    Are you suggesting Uzbekistan acted without RUssian provocation? If so,where is your source material? Aren’t you being a rather enormous hypocrite by asking for “evidence” and yet citing none of your own?

    So what Russia did in Georgia was illegal, right? How do you feel Putin should be sanctioned by international law in that case?

    Your comments are so riddled with wholly empty arrogance and partisan blindness that they really are wonderful entertainment. Bravo! Encore!

  7. Just wait till Russia starts supplying Afghan Mujahedeen with Igla or Strela portable SAM launchers, the way USA did with Stingers in the 1980s! :-)))

  8. 2psalomschik: Is the Church of England, headed by the country’s King/Queen, an an “enslaved and degenerate Christianity”? ;-)

  9. LR

    “Must Russia do anything, you ridiculous little troll?”.

    No Russia have no debts unlike USA. We have not much debts but we paid them in 1986-1993. USA must pass Russians way before than teach us.

  10. Too “Eugene” & ‘Is the Church of England, headed by the country’s King/Queen, an …enslaved and degenerate Christianity?':
    What a super laugh of a pure nonsensical KGB propaganda IDIOTIC response to a hard-hitting DIRTY fact, about
    Pseudo-Czar-Vladimir (Putin) and his sublime (?) ‘rule’ of his FSB-captive Moscow Patriarchy, and of his neo-soviet -Imperial Russia…as if there is any SANE comparison with present day England or it’s state church or it’s current queen, etc. Enslaved and degenerate, refers to corrupting the basic fundamental age-old , BOTTOM-LINE morality of an entire nation and it’s historic national religion, running a pretend-Russian (i.e. supposedly ….Christian…… church) Church, which since 1943-when ‘Saint’ Joseph Stalin created it, ) teaches and promulgates, today….more and more, especially with Comrade Mikhail (“Patriarch Kyrill I’s” recently ascending the patriarchial throne) the new neo-soviet ‘social-order’ and IT’S twisted, & abjectly-enslaved to petty nationalistic, anti-biblical, anti-Christian/anti-Orthodox…..IM-morality. They are even now, in the tortured process of attempting to …..replacing the Ten Commandments and other basic biblical Orthodox Christian teachings (formerly, the heart of the religion…for 2000 years!)…with: ‘service to the Motherland’, and other communist originated ying-yang. In other words, NOW, to be a true Russian Orthodox, by the Kremlin’s definition, it is THEY who tell you what is right and what is wrong…..about every issue, (such as, nurdering enemies of Czar Putin is a blessed activity!, & etc.) And it is THEY who one must obey, not God Almighty! It is THEY, not God or the saints, who run the show. Whatever , (to any critic’s assessment of) the perceived flaws of Anglicanism…or of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, that is NOT the reality in England. What a joke to make such a ridiculous comparison! Get Real! comrade. And Queen Elizabeth compared ……to KGB murderous gangster V. Putin…??? Ha! Ha! Off with your head, comrade!
    Reader Daniel

  11. I’m Russian writes: “No Russia have no debts unlike USA.”

    This is false. Russian companies (many partially owned by the Russian state) owe $500+ billions dollars in debt to Western banks and others lenders. Some $130 billion must be paid back this year.

    I would say that Russia has a great deal of debt. The state may not default this time, but if the large Russian companies default on their loans, it will produce a similar result.

  12. Michel

    1. If you read my message more carefull you see that I write about political and historical aspect and did not refer to finacial problems.

    2. Yes Russian company have some problems
    it is not a secret. But there are the world crisis now and the all country in the world have a similar problems (excluding maybe N-Korea). You see what happend in USA, EU, Ukraina, Pribaltica etc. Russian situation is better then one in mentioned above countries.

  13. “Just wait till Russia starts supplying Afghan Mujahedeen with Igla or Strela portable SAM launchers, the way USA did with Stingers in the 1980s! :-)))”

    Then just wait till America pulls out and they have only one country to fire on.:-))))”

  14. Your SAMs have made no noticeable effect to the US war effort. Failure appears to be a resume enhancement for your country.

  15. Leonid V. Marchenko

    Got booted out of Kyrgyzstan? Hahaha…

    You’d better start getting accustomed to it. America’s influence is declining, it’s historycal process and it will continue..

    You will NEVER achieve anything it your stupid Afganistan war, so get out of entire Central Asia and for good!

  16. Leonidm V. Marchenko

    Yannkys!!! Time is ticking.

    Take your possetions and get out of Kyrgyzstan – you have only 175 days to leave.
    Hahaha…
    We truly will NOT miss you, morons..

  17. “Is #4 not conjecture by your lights?”

    In response

    “We have repeatedly raised with the United States the matter of economic compensation for the existence of the base in Kyrgyzstan, but we have not been understood.”

    “How can we speak of independence and sovereignty if we cannot enforce the law on the territory of our own country?”

    – President of Kyrgyzstan, Bakiyev

    “Are you suggesting Uzbekistan acted without RUssian provocation?”

    Your making the accusation surely the ulnas is on you to prove that.

    Uzbekistan kicked the US out when the UN flew Uzbek political refugees to Uzbek political refugees Kyrgyzstan and the US calling for an inquest into the Andijan uprising.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/29/AR2005072902038.html

    http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2005/11/22/us_closes_air_base_in_uzbekistan_amid_uprising_dispute/

    “So what Russia did in Georgia was illegal, right? How do you feel Putin should be sanctioned by international law in that case?”

    Well you tell me what international law he violated? In the case of Iraq for example the US and UK governments changed the regime which is a breach of international law.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/3616571/Regime-change-is-illegal-end-of-debate.html

    “Your comments are so riddled with wholly empty arrogance and partisan blindness that they really are wonderful entertainment. Bravo! Encore!”

    Thats easy to claim yet you have failed to show how I am partisan.

  18. 2psalomschik: Compared to Henry VIII (the founder of the Church of England), KGB murderous gangster V. Putin is an angel. At any rate, he has been married only once and he did not cut off his wife’s head! :-)))

  19. I’m Russian writes: “You see what happend in USA, EU, Ukraina, Pribaltica etc. Russian situation is better then one in mentioned above countries.”

    You have got to be kidding. Russia is doing better than the USA and the EU? If that is the case, why is the Russian GDP falling faster and harder than either the USA or the main economies of the EU? Why has the Russian industrial production dropped so low? Why has Russia already spent most of its precious reserves?

  20. Well John, military intervention (regardless of what is done by other nations) requires a UN mandate.

    Russia did not have one.

    Russian action was illegal.

  21. To “Eugene”, whoever you really are representing: Your response is downright SILLY, sir! “Compared to Henry VIII, the founder of the Church of England, ‘KGB murderous gangster V. Putin’ IS AN ANGEL”…!!!
    How ridiculous a comparison and how totally irrelevant. That king ruled in the 1500’s for one point, when most monarchal rulers….all over the world, including in Russia, had absolute life/death control of their subjects, (and their subjects had virtually NO secure personal rights whatsoever!) and when enemies were rountinely done away with, by the king’s ‘Divine Right’. Are you admitting that Putin is now the current equivalent, Czar of Russia? Again, that too is absurd, Ha! Ha! Ha! …though he does seem to want to assume that role -that is true for sure. As far as how many murders he has ordered OTHERS to perform….how do you know? that it doesn’t add up to what King Henry was guilty of…or more even? Putin has his enemies, murdered by others…usually by the modern gun and/or poison, etc.
    So far, we have not seen a Putin’s regime public chopping-block used, …(for an undesirable wife or whomever), but we may yet. And if we are making ‘comparisons’ with various & odd historical figures,…so why not compare Putin with OTHER gangsters, and tyrannical despots….like his hero Stalin or Lennin, or….etc. Sure, Putin has not YET caused as many to die by public execution! as his hero, Stalin, but…..we shall see. Many, many…Russians die today, because of his wicked regime’s decisions, disease, alcoholism, drugs, no employment , mass imprisonment, wars they foment, & because of his oligarky denying them the help they need to survive. What do Chechyans think about your dear V. Putin? To them, he is THEIR Henry VIII, though far worse than the 1500’s English king. (And again, Elizabeth II can be compared with V. Putin?????)
    Stop your goofy & errelevant comparisons, and just admit that your hero, V. Putin is a major MODERN scumbag. But yes, he might fit into the 1500’s. Thanks for being reasonable, Eugene.
    Reader Daniel

  22. Something has to be fundamentally wrong with a society that doesn’t smile. That had to take several generations of wholesale repression to achieve. There’s something for you Russians to be proud of!!!

  23. “Well John, military intervention (regardless of what is done by other nations) requires a UN mandate.

    Russia did not have one.

    Russian action was illegal.”

    This is incorrect again. The UN charter allows a country to goto war out of self-defense or when sanctioned by the secruity council. As Russian citizens where attacked on August the 7th 2008 this under the UN charter would justify going to war.

    In regards to the Iraq war this was a violation of the U.N. Charter as the US/UK had no mandate from the UN and where no US/UK citizens where attacked by Iraq. As for the US/UK argument that Iraq violated Resolution 1441 ending the ceasefire agreement its for the secruity council to decide who violated UN resolutions not any single or group of member states. hence this argument falls on its face.

  24. 2obamayomama: In Russia, a man walking around with a stupid grin pasted to his/her face was _always_ considered as having a screw or two loose.

    When I’m busy I mean business as a rule,
    And when it’s time to play I play the fool,
    And I do not belong to those
    Who’re capable of doing both. © A.S. Griboedov. Woe from Wit.

  25. Actually John,
    The UN has already stated that Russian actions were illegal and in contravention of the UN laws.
    The law you mention only gives Nations the right to self defense when their legally recognised territory is attacked.
    In addition South Ossetia is part of Georgia, the people living there had been given Russian passports without the permission of the legally recognised government, and without its permission. Therefore Russia was NOT attacked under the terms of the UN charter.

    EG “Russia’s primary legal justification for its actions appears to rest on the defence of its nationals, with the vast majority of South Ossetians holding Russian passports. While a state’s citizenship policy is generally not a matter of public international law, the wholesale and in many cases purely extra-territorial granting of passports to the citizens of a disputed breakaway region where Russia seeks influence is self-serving and, in large measure, a sham (though one cannot blame individual South Ossetians for seeking the passports in order to pursue study, work and travel opportunities). Furthermore, the extent to which protection of nationals abroad comes within the ambit of legitimate self-defence is controversial at best. Most uses of force in protection of nationals abroad have been considered unlawful and, as in the case of the US invasion of Grenada, mere pretexts for intervention. ”
    http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2008/08/russia-georgia-and-use-of-force.php

    Furthermore, Georgian citizens were killed by Russian and Russian sponsored actions beginning the 1st of August.

    Really John, try to get your facts right.
    The protection of a countrys nationals abroad has never been considered by the UN to be a case for war. Therefore YOUR argument is the one that falls flat on its face.

    See the condemnation of US actions in Grenada for details.

  26. In addition, some further reasons why Russian action in Abkhazia & South Ossetia was and is illegal

    “An analysis of Russian and international law, as well as the review of how the “peace enforcement operation” was conducted by Russia in Georgia in August 2008, leads one to conclude that no international or domestic legal act can justify the Russian military invasion of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Georgia, or the recognition of the self-proclaimed independence of Georgian separatist regions by the Russian Federation. It appears that these actions were conducted in violation of major international law principles and Russian national legislation. By siding with the separatists, Russia automatically became a party to the conflict and made it impossible for itself to be an arbiter or a peacekeeper in this conflict, thereby decreasing its role in future negotiations on the status of these provinces.[56] Treaties signed by Russia with separatist provinces cannot be recognized because these territories are not recognized as states, which may make Russian activities aimed at fulfilling Russia’s obligations under these treaties illegal. Russia’s military deployed in the regions may be recognized as an occupational force and Russia may be forced to withdraw its armed forces from the territory of Georgia.”
    http://www.loc.gov/law/help/russian-georgia-war.php
    http://www.america.gov/st/peacesec-english/2008/September/20080925095254dmslahrellek0.7731439.html
    http://www.silkroadstudies.org/new/inside/forum/CACI_2008_0422.html

  27. Eugene,
    Was wondering if someone was stupid enough to defend a society that looks down on smiling. Only you Russians are so ‘enlightened’ as to see how frivolous it is to waste your effort smiling. Is every smile considered to be a “stupid grin” on one’s face? I believe it’s the result of over 80 years of communism, with all it’s envy and hatred. No one wants to be accused of having it so well that they would have the gall to smile. They must be made as miserable as the rest of us! You Russians would really dislike Thailand, it’s known as the LOS (Land of Smiles). Glad I didn’t have the misfortune of being born in Russia.

  28. “The UN has already stated that Russian actions were illegal and in contravention of the UN laws.”

    Ok then Andrew I challenge you to show me the UN resolution doing so.

    “In addition South Ossetia is part of Georgia, the people living there had been given Russian passports without the permission of the legally recognised government, and without its permission.”

    Its not for Georgia or any other nation to determine who Russia or any other country can give passports too. All citizens of the former USSR are in Russian law entitled to apply for citizenship of the Russian federation and many have done so not just south ossetians. Its even more laughable when you consider Georgia did not want these people under the “Georgia for Georgians” policies and denied them Georgian citizenship in the early ninties. In May 31st, 2002 a change in Russian law removed Russian citizenship from USSR passport holders which had it automatically upto then. They still had a right to Russian citizenship its just they had to apply for it. South Ossetians like many other USSR passport holders just as in Kazakhstan and other states applied for citizenship at this time. This kind off destroys the artificially creating Russian citizens argument as South Ossetian and all Georgians automatically had Russian citizenship if they kept their USSR documentation.

    “Most uses of force in protection of nationals abroad have been considered unlawful and, as in the case of the US invasion of Grenada, mere pretexts for intervention. ”

    Maybe you have a problem reading this. The first part “Most uses of force in protection of nationals abroad have been considered unlawful” also suggest that some have not been considered illegal. “in the case of the US invasion of Grenada, mere pretexts for intervention.” If Georgia was to defend this way it will have to prove Russia used the invasion as a pretext to war. Considering how unprepared the Russian army where makes this difficult. Note in the Grenada case it was accepted as many of the apparent endangered US citizens said they where in no danger or threat what so ever and 2 year old plans of the invasion where produced. Let me give you a recent example of the US invoking article 51 in the self defense argument. On the 26th October last year US forces killed an Iraqi insurgent in Syria. More examples are the US raids without permission in Pakistan. All justified by article 51.

    Under the UN charter Russia has to do three things to justify the war in an international court.

    Show its citizens and peacekeepers where being attacked.

    Show its response was proportionate.

    Rebuff pre emtive claims.

  29. Well John,

    As you pointed out Russia has a veto. So there will be no resolution against them.

    But if you had bothered to read the links I gave, you will see that legal opinion arounf the world concludes that Russia has violated the UN charter.

    http://www.rferl.org/Content/Russia_In_Violation_Of_UN_Charter/1192835.html

    “One month has passed since Russia and Georgia opened hostilities over the South Ossetian Autonomous Region, which is part of Georgia. The hostilities began with Georgia taking military action against South Ossetia. Russia responded to this by sending in its South Ossetia-based forces and reinforcing them with forces from Russia to carry out incursions into various Georgian locales outside of South Ossetia. The two countries signed a cease-fire agreement on August 13 and Russian forces are pulling their forces out of Georgia. However, Russian forces are still in Georgian territory outside of South Ossetia. What is more, the Russian government on August 26 unilaterally recognized the South Ossetia Autonomous Region and the Abkhazia Autonomous Republic, which are part of Georgia, as independent states.

    Faced with concerns and criticism from among the international community, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said, “We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new Cold War.” The hostilities are thus becoming a critical issue that has a bearing on the world order in the 21st century.

    (2)

    Russia’s military incursions into Georgia and its unilateral recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states are contrary to international law and the U.N. Charter that call for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all U.N. member nations to be respected.

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia more than once pledged to honor the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all members of the former Soviet Union.

    In December 1991, the former Soviet republics issued the Alma-Ata Declaration to establish the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Its member countries, including Russia, pledged to “recognize and respect one another’s territorial integrity and the inviolability of existing borders within the Commonwealth.” In the relation between Russia and Georgia, it was agreed that Russian forces would be stationed in South Ossetia as peacekeepers to cope with the ethnic conflicts in the region on the premise that Georgia’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity be respected.

    What is more, since 1993, the U.N. Security Council on a number of occasions has adopted resolutions on Georgia, calling for “the commitment of all Member States to Georgia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders” to be respected. Russia has always voted in favor of the resolutions.

    It is clear that the recent Russian action goes against the commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity, which Russia has reaffirmed before the international community, and goes against the principles of the U.N. Charter and international law.

    (3)

    The reason Russia gave for its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states was Georgia’s military action against South Ossetia. The Georgian government explained that it had carried out the military action in order to “restore constitutional order in the region” (Georgia’s defense minister). However, the Georgian government deserves criticism for attempting to resolve the ethnic question militarily and for causing extensive damage to South Ossetian residents.

    However, South Ossetia is part of Georgia. Although the present issue is related to Russia, which deploys a peacekeeping force in it based on mutual agreement, it is basically an internal affair that arose within the territory of Georgia. Georgia’s military action must not be used to justify Russia’s military incursions into Georgia from South Ossetia where Russian forces were stationed under an agreement between Russia and Georgia.

    In addition, the cease-fire agreement signed by Russia and Georgia after the hostilities between them called for opening “international discussions on security and stability modalities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” It is absurd for Russia to recognize the two regions unilaterally as independent states soon after it agreed to discuss the “security and stability” of the two regions with Georgia.

    (4)

    Russia caused deep concerns and provoked severe criticism from the international community when it carried out its first military incursions into another country since the collapse of the Soviet Union and recognized the independence of the two regions, which would unilaterally change the borders that had been made inviolable at the time of the foundation of the CIS.

    Furthermore, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in his speech on August 18, said, “Practically at no time in its history did (Czarist) Russia, the Soviet Union, or modern Russia ever start hostilities.” We cannot overlook that fact that in saying this, he distorted, or even praised, the history of a number of acts of territorial expansionism and hegemony by Czarist Russia and the Soviet Union under Stalin and his successors. It contradicts the reflections expressed by the Russian government over the Soviet Union’s military invasion of other countries, including Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    As a party that has firmly opposed so many hegemonic acts by the Soviet Union under Stalin and his successors, the JCP is deeply concerned about the Russian president’s remark.

    (5)

    The JCP demands that the Russian government pull its troops back to the areas where they had been stationed before the outbreak of the recent hostilities, withdraw its recognition of the two areas in Georgia as independent states, and strictly respect Georgia’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.

    We strongly call for the present question to be resolved peacefully through political and diplomatic talks between the parties concerned in compliance with the U.N. Charter and international law.”

    http://www.jcp.or.jp/english/jps_weekly08/20080906_georgia.html

    “The UN Charter, and jus ad bellum generally, only deals with conflicts between states. It treats internal disputes, even those involving secessionist enclaves like South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as a domestic matter. Therefore Georgia’s initial move against South Ossetia that triggered the subsequent Russian attack could not be regarded as aggression, and the question of whether it was a justifiable response to hostile activity from inside South Ossetia is not one for international law (though, as discussed below, the way the Georgian attack was conducted does have legal implications).”

    http://www.crimesofwar.org/onnews/news-georgia.html

    http://blogs.georgetown.edu/?id=35106

    For example “As for the law, the rights and duties of third-party states regarding domestic conflicts is an issue that is rooted in the concept of sovereignty: states have a basic duty not to intervene or otherwise interfere with the resolution of the conflict by the recognized government of the state. A more complete restatement of the principle is found in the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (GA Res 2625, The “Friendly Relations Declaration”, avaliable here), a General Assembly Resolution passed by member states of the UN in 1970. Although, as a General Assembly Resolution, the Friendly Relations Declaration is not legally binding upon the member states, it is nonetheless of significant persuasive weight as to the state of customary international law.

    The relevant substance of the Friendly Relations Declaration, and of the non-intervention norm, can summarized in a couple of clauses:

    Recalling the duty of States to refrain in their international relations from military, political, economic, or any other form of coercion aimed against the political independence or territorial integrity of any State…

    No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State.”

    “In regards to military intervention, the Declaration further states that “armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements, are in violation of international law.”

    So, how can one assess Russia’s actions?

    To start, we should keep in mind Russia’s arguments mentioned in my previous post: (1) we are not intervening first but rather responding to bad acts by the Georgain government; and, (2) we have a right to defend our co-nationals.

    This first argument is probably trying to call to mind NATO actions regarding Kosovo. Russia is technically a “peacekeeper” in South Ossetia. But there are a few problems with this analogy.

    First, the Russians maintained that NATO’s intervention in Kosovo was illegal; it is difficult for them to use it to now claim legality of their actions here.

    Second, the facts on the ground are quite different– while it seems that Georgian forces did move first in South Ossetia, there is no evidence that they were undertaking any kind of ethnic cleansing. As for whether Russia, as a peacekeeper, is authorized to undertake bombing throughout Georgia, that is also an open question. I would, in part, need to see the terms in the peacekeeping agreement but I doubt it gives Russia such leeway for activity.

    Third, to the other extreme, calling to mind that secessionist conflicts are internal conflicts and that third-party states need to respect the sovereignty of the state attempting to resolve its internal conflict, there is a rather strong argument that Russia acted precipitously and well beyond what could be expected under the circumstances.

    Fourth, even though Russia is technically both a mediator in these conflicts and also a peacekeeper, it has nonetheless consistently supported the separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia since about 1994. Russia has supplied separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia with military equipment and at times supported them with actual military action, such as the recent Russian shoot-down of a Georgian surveillance drone. This assistance and diplomatic support has increased dramatically since Kosovo’s declaration of independence. As a formal matter, though, Russia still has not recognized either South Ossetia or Abkhazia.

    Russia’s second justification for its military intervention is that it is in defense of co-nationals. However, this argument is based in large part on the wide-spread “passportization” of the populations on South Ossetia and Abkhazia. While Russia has had economic interests in these regions (moreso in Abkhazia) and there are many ethnic Russians in these regions, it is the handing out of passports to people living in these enclaves that has given Russia the fig-leaf of claiming that it is acting in support of Russian “nationals.” Not very persuasive.

    In sum, Russia’s intervention is fraught with problems as a matter of international law.”

  30. And from the UNHCR site;
    http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,,,RUS,4562d8b62,48bd01acc,0.html

    “Russia in violation of UN Charter, says international law expert
    8/21/08: A EurasiaNet Partner Post from RFE/RL

    Despite the cease-fire agreement between Russia and Georgia, many Russian troops remain in Georgia, where they have been destroying Georgia’s military infrastructure.

    There are reports of ships being sunk, air strikes on military facilities, and destruction of equipment at military bases. Moscow seems unconcerned that it is apparently violating the terms of the agreement it signed. But is it doing more than just breaking its promise?

    RFE/RL correspondent Heather Maher put this question to Anne-Marie Slaughter, the dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, the former president of the American Society of International Law, and a member of the National War Powers Commission.

    RFE/RL: You’ve read the reports of what’s happening in Georgia at the hands of the Russian military. Is this a violation of international law?

    Anne-Marie Slaughter: It depends on how you see what [the Russian military] is doing. To the extent that it has moved beyond South Ossetia and Abkhazia into Georgia proper, and that it is staying there – if the reports of its attacks on parts of Georgia that have nothing to do with those enclaves are true – then at some point this crosses into simple aggression against another country, which is a violation of the UN Charter. It is using force against the political independence and territorial integrity of another state.

    So there’s going to be a huge debate about at what point does it cross that line, because to the extent it was responding to a first use of force in an area where it had peacekeepers, then that looks more like self-defense or protection of nationals, or even defense of an internationally agreed force. And that certainly, is arguably legal – the initial response is arguably legal.

    But the further we move from the Georgian use of force and the Russian response to Russia “teaching Georgia a lesson” – which is what this certainly looks like – that is aggression. That is the illegal use of force against the territorial sovereignty and political independence of another state, and that’s a violation of Article 24 of the UN Charter.

    RFE/RL: What about the cease-fire Russia signed? Is its violation of that agreement also illegal? This week, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said, “We cannot accept this kind of blindness, not accepting international law.” Is he referring to the UN Charter or the cease-fire?

    Slaughter: I think he must be referring to the UN Charter. The cease-fire agreement – it’s not a treaty, it’s not a binding legal obligation under international law in the normal sense we think of international obligations. Russia’s put its word on the line. But it doesn’t have a full legal weight in the same sense that, say, the UN Charter does or violating a peace treaty that then is ratified and goes through the normal procedures of making an agreement legal.

    In international law, you can sign a memorandum of understanding with another country. That has no legal standing. That’s an agreement. And it might bind the executive; it might bind the parties who signed to it, but not as a legal matter.

    So in my view, the violation of international law is that Russia is now aggressively using force against another state and its failure to live up to these agreements in many ways looks like confirmation that it’s doing something it shouldn’t be doing.

    No Kosovo ‘Precedent’

    RFE/RL: Would that also apply to Russia’s apparent decision to remain in Georgia, in what it is calling a “buffer zone” just outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

    Slaughter: That’s a violation also. It is still Georgian territory although it was de facto not being ruled by Georgia, and so there’s a reason Georgian peacekeepers were there to begin with because that’s a much more complicated question of rights of self-determination, and de facto control, and what international law requires is that the solution be nonviolent. But international law does not support breakaway groups declaring their own states, in general.

    That’s one reason Kosovo’s a very complicated issue and that’s why the Russians argued that recognizing Kosovo was illegal and they’re going to say, “Well, if Kosovo could be independent and you recognized Kosovo’s independence, then why can’t we recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as being independent? This is no different.”

    RFE/RL: Is this different?

    Slaughter: There are differences. The aggression against Kosovo was very different than Georgia sending troops into South Ossetia, and there was a long history of human rights violations and a clear pattern of ethnic cleansing, given what had happened in other former Yugoslavian states. Kosovo was obviously also recognized as independent but only as a prerequisite to its ultimately becoming a member of the EU, rather than having another state take it over. That’s a big difference.

    Still, it’s a complicated argument and if the Russians were simply keeping their peacekeepers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia that would be fine. To the extent Georgia did send its troops in, and it did, then there is some argument for making sure that won’t happen again. What looks more likely is that this buffer zone is actually a prelude to absorbing those territories into Russian territory, and then that’s conquering a territory that at least some of the people in that territory don’t want to be part of Russia.

    RFE/RL: Are there modern precedents for what Russia is doing: continuing an occupation and aggression after a cease-fire agreement has been reached?

    Slaughter: If you go back to the war in the former Yugoslavia, there were cease-fires reached and they collapsed. So there’s nothing new about a cease-fire being reached and then collapsing, it happens in conflicts all over the world. And what is different here is that [French] President [Nicolas] Sarkozy is acting on behalf of the EU, the United States has been involved, and they’re letting the Russians know that, again, whatever happened initially, what is happening now is unacceptable, it is a violation of international law and there will be consequences.

    RFE/RL: How likely is Russia to accept the U.S. charge that it is violating international law, when the United States itself has been accused of doing the same thing with its 2003 invasion of Iraq?

    Slaughter: From the Russian point of view, the Russians could certainly point out that the United States has used force without the approval of the UN Security Council against another nation, as well. And this is one of the reasons that many people, including me, argued at the time [that] if we were going to go into Iraq we had to go into Iraq with the UN’s approval. One of the reasons is what looks like sauce for the goose can be sauce for the gander.

    RFE/RL: I think Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has already made that argument.

    Slaughter: I’m certain he has. As a matter of law, if you say, “Look, you have pledged under the UN charter that you will not use force except in self-defense without the approval of the United Nations,” and you do that, it’s very hard for you to say, “Yes, but it’s different now.””

  31. Furthermore John, it is the right of a sovreign government to decide which passports its citizens are entitled to carry.

    Many nations in the world require a person to gain permission before aquiring a foreign passport, and in many countries it is illegal to hold foreign passports if you are already a citizen of that country. For example the USA, and as I understand Russia do not allow foriegn pasports to be aquired by their citizens unless they renounce their right to hold a Russian/US passport.
    Other countries allow dual or multiple citizenships
    Russia was illegally issuing passports in Georgia in violation of Georgian state law.
    This was a violation of Georgian sovreignty under the UN charter which does not allow interference in the internal affairs of another state.
    In addition under article 51 you still require a UN resolution to attack another country, regardless of provocation or otherwise.
    I do not care about Iraq, as my country did not support or take part in that operation.
    Two wrongs do make a right.

  32. Two wrongs do not make a right

  33. Andrew you posted the link maybe quote parts are relevant but to cut and paste the article is a nonsense.

    Anne-Marie Slaughter does not speak for the UN.

    Though I will quote her “Look, you have pledged under the UN charter that you will not use force except in self-defense without the approval of the United Nations”. Clearly Russia is claiming self defense as defined in Article 51 of the UN charter. The Iraq insurgent killed by US forces in Syria and the US raids in Pakistan are also protected under this article. To pick holes in Slaughters points on the differences with Kosovo she claims “a long history of human rights violations and a clear pattern of ethnic cleansing” a difference with two regions in question. Yet you clearly known that human rights violations and ethnic cleansing has taken place by the Georgians and Ossetians. There is little difference.

    Slaughter does not speak for the UN and I am still waiting for you to tell me when the UN declared Russias actions as illegal as you claimed? What resolution?

    “it is right of a sovereign government to decide which passports its citizens are entitled to carry”, I could not agree more and its also the right of Russia to decide which passports its citizens hold. Including those living in Georgia, South Ossetia or other parts of the world.

    “Many nations in the world require a person to gain permission before aquiring a foreign passport, and in many countries it is illegal to hold foreign passports if you are already a citizen of that country. For example the USA, and as I understand Russia do not allow foriegn pasports to be acquired by their citizens unless they renounce their right to hold a Russian/US passport.”

    Its the right of any country to decide who gets its citizenship. No country has the right to deny any person citizenship from another country. Georgia can only force South Ossetians to renounce Georgian citizenship if they apply for Russian citizenship. Also Russians can have dual citizenship with several countries such as Armenia. Article 32 of the Georgian Citizenship Law clearly shows that a Georgian citizen who get foreign citizenship will have his Georgian citizenship terminated.

    South Ossetians where automatically Russian citizens if they choose to have it just as all citizens of former USSR member states including Georgians.

    “In addition under article 51 you still require a UN resolution to attack another country, regardless of provocation or otherwise.”

    The text is quite clear, “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations”.

    “I do not care about Iraq, as my country did not support or take part in that operation.”

    Well Georgia certainly did. It had upto August 2008, 2000 Georgian troops in Iraq.

  34. Regardless John, you have ignored the legal opinions of international lawyers.

    Article 51 only applies if an attack is made on the sovreign territory of a nation.

    As South Ossetia was and for 99.9% of the worl still is sovreign Georgian territory, Russia had no right to intervene without a UN mandate.

    Russia did not have a UN mandate to attack Georgia and was interfering in the internal matters of a sovereign state.

    Considering that Russia condemned NATO actions in the former Yugoslavia as interference in Serbian internal politics and claime the UN charter backed them up, you are being (as usual) an hypocrite.

  35. In addition Georgian troops in Iraq were part of the post invasion UN mandated force.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4419222.stm

    So try again John. As usual you are a misinformed ……

  36. furthermore, Russia used its veto aginst the wishes of the entire remainder of the security council, all of whom were prepaed to condemn Russian agression in Georgia.

    As for Russia having the right to act under Article 51, I have posted the opinions of several international law experts who have all stated that Russia DID NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE MILITARY FORCE AGAINST GEORGIA.

    You have only posted your opinion.

    You obviously missed where these law experts said:

    ‘Russia’s second justification for its military intervention is that it is in defense of co-nationals. However, this argument is based in large part on the wide-spread “passportization” of the populations on South Ossetia and Abkhazia. While Russia has had economic interests in these regions (moreso in Abkhazia) and there are many ethnic Russians in these regions, it is the handing out of passports to people living in these enclaves that has given Russia the fig-leaf of claiming that it is acting in support of Russian “nationals.” Not very persuasive.’

    OR

    “An analysis of Russian and international law, as well as the review of how the “peace enforcement operation” was conducted by Russia in Georgia in August 2008, leads one to conclude that no international or domestic legal act can justify the Russian military invasion of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Georgia, or the recognition of the self-proclaimed independence of Georgian separatist regions by the Russian Federation. It appears that these actions were conducted in violation of major international law principles and Russian national legislation. By siding with the separatists, Russia automatically became a party to the conflict and made it impossible for itself to be an arbiter or a peacekeeper in this conflict, thereby decreasing its role in future negotiations on the status of these provinces.[56] Treaties signed by Russia with separatist provinces cannot be recognized because these territories are not recognized as states, which may make Russian activities aimed at fulfilling Russia’s obligations under these treaties illegal. Russia’s military deployed in the regions may be recognized as an occupational force and Russia may be forced to withdraw its armed forces from the territory of Georgia”

    OR

    “Russia’s military incursions into Georgia and its unilateral recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states are contrary to international law and the U.N. Charter that call for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all U.N. member nations to be respected.

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia more than once pledged to honor the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all members of the former Soviet Union.”

  37. “Article 51 only applies if an attack is made on the sovreign territory of a nation.”

    No it does not. Tell me where Article 51 says so. I clearly have demonstrated two case, a US attack on an insurgent in Syria and raids in Pakistan. The Bush administration uses Article 51 to justify these attacks.

    Again Russia had every right to intervene to protect its citizens and soldiers.

    The legal opinion clearly states ““Look, you have pledged under the UN charter that you will not use force except in self-defense without the approval of the United Nations,”

    Though again I present legal precedent not legal opinion. I have shown how not only Russia but the US believe Article 51 does justify entering another country in defense of its citizens. So random legal opinion without precedent is useless especially when it contradicts two permanent members of the UN secruity council both of which have a veto. So I am still looking for your refernce on how the UN declared Russias invasion or declaration of independance was illegal. I have shown that the legal opinion you have quoted is flawed in at least two areas, first ethnic cleansing did not exist in South Ossetia when comparing it to Kosovo. Or “Kosovo was obviously also recognized as independent but only as a prerequisite to its ultimately becoming a member of the EU, rather than having another state take it over.”, the problem with that is Russia has not taken over South Ossetia etc. the arguments your so called legal opnion puts forward can be easily dismissed.

    I could quote many including US Ambassador to Bulgaria John Beyrle who are of the opinion the war was justified. Of course another lawyer Mr Medvedev also disagrees.

    As for the legality of it in Russian law. You should read the Federal Constitutional Law on Martial Law.

    Russias primary concern as of all nations is the protection of its citizens. that ultimately is the role of any state.

    Georgia is the only country I know that “starts a war then sues for peace on the same day”.

    “Article 51 only applies if an attack is made on the sovreign territory of a nation.”

    What part of the UN charter says that?

    ““Russia’s military incursions into Georgia and its unilateral recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states are contrary to international law and the U.N. Charter that call for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all U.N. member nations to be respected.”

    Have you read the charter.

    “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations” Article 51.

    Clearly article 51 overrides the rest of the UN charter when it says “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair”

  38. So Johm, are you saying that the Georgians did not have the right to defend themselves from the Ossetain & Russian attacks which began on August 1st?

    Or are you being a hypocrite again?

    In addition, you have not linked to a single reputable or neutral source for your opinions.

    “But the further we move from the Georgian use of force and the Russian response to Russia “teaching Georgia a lesson” – which is what this certainly looks like – that is aggression. That is the illegal use of force against the territorial sovereignty and political independence of another state, and that’s a violation of Article 24 of the UN Charter.”

    Russian action breached article 24.

    GFY

  39. List of Russian sponsored ossetian agressions against Georgia in the build up to war.

    1 AUGUST A pickup truck carrying six Georgian police officers is blown up by separatists.
    • At 08:00, a pickup truck carrying six Georgian police officers is hit by two remote-control explosive devices on the Eredvi-Kheiti bypass road linking Georgia proper with the Didi Liakhvi Gorge, a Georgian enclave north of the breakaway region’s capital Tskhinvali. Five of the six Georgian policemen are severely wounded.

    • The Government of Georgia decides not to retaliate in order not to escalate the situation.

    2 AUGUST

    • Six civilians and one Georgian policeman are injured by gunfire coming from South Ossetian territory controlled by Russian peacekeepers, following the shelling of Georgian villages in the South Ossetian conflict zone overnight.
    • The Georgian-controlled villages of Zemo Nikozi, Kvemo Nikozi, Nuli, Avnevi, Eredvi, and Ergneti come under intense fire from the South Ossetian separatists with large-caliber mortars.

    • Georgian law enforcers initially shoot back in self-defense, but are soon ordered to cease fire in order not to escalate the situation.

    3 AUGUST
    The separatist government of South Ossetia begins evacuating civilians.A
    • At 12:00, the South Ossetian separatist government announces the evacuation of more than 500 people, including about 400 children. However, Ermak Dzansolov, deputy prime minister of Russia’s North Ossetian Republic, tells Russia’s Interfax news agency that this is not in fact an evacuation. He explains that the children had long planned to attend a summer-camp program in North Ossetia.
    • Russian media outlets, meanwhile, launch a massive propaganda campaign to whip up public sentiment against Georgia.
    • At 13:00, the South Ossetian separatist government calls for the mobilization of volunteers across the North Caucasus.

    4 & 5 AUGUST Throughout both days, separatist forces in territories controlled by Russian peacekeepers fire on villages inhabited by ethnic Georgians loyal to the pro-Georgian South Ossetia government. No casualties are reported.

    6 AUGUST
    16:00. Separatists reject plea for negotiations and refuse to meet with Georgia’s envoy for conflict resolution, Temur Yakobashvili, who has traveled to Tskinvali to meet with them.
    • Temur Yakobashvili, Georgia’s chief negotiator and its state minister for reintegration, says in late-night televised remarks that the Georgian government is seeking a direct dialogue with the separatist authorities in order to reverse the deteriorating security situation. Mr. Yakobashvili says that Russia’s Ambassador-at-large Yuri Popov would attend the talks as a facilitator. The South Ossetian chief negotiator, Boris Chochiev, refuses to take part in any negotiations.
    20:00. South Ossetian para-militaries open mortar fire on villages inhabited by ethnic Georgians.
    • Separatists open mortar fire on Georgian populated villages of Eredvi, Prisi, Avnevi, Dvani, and Nuli. Georgian government forces fire back in order to defend their positions and the civilian population.
    • As a result of intensive cross-fire during the night, two servicemen of the Georgian battalion of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces are injured. The separatist regime also claims several of their forces are hurt.
    • Despite these provocative, targeted attacks on peaceful civilians and on Georgian police and peacekeeping forces, the Government of Georgia decides not to respond with heavy fire, in order not to injure civilians.

    7 AUGUST
    09:00. South Ossetian separatist government leader threatens to “clean Georgians out” from the region.
    • In a morning interview with Russian news agencies, South Ossetian de facto president Eduard Kokoity declares that if the Georgian government does not withdraw its military forces from the region, he would start “to clean them out.” The Georgian military forces to which he refers are peacekeepers who are legally present in the South Ossetia conflict zone.
    09:45. A Russian military jet drops bombs near a Georgian military radar based 30 kilometers outside of the conflict zone.
    • According to local civilian witnesses, at about 09.45, a fighter plane, presumed to be Russian (it enters Georgia from the South Ossetian conflict zone) drops 3-5 bombs near the village of Shavshvebi, approximately 300-500 meters from the location of a Georgian military radar.
    15:00. For the second time in two days, the separatist government of South Ossetia refuses to negotiate with Georgian envoy Temur Yakobashvili, who again travels to Tskhinvali to plead for peace.
    • Yakobashvili visits the conflict zone in the morning of August 7 to meet with representatives of the separatist government. The separatists refuse to meet or negotiate with him. Instead, Yakobashvili confers in Tskhinvali with Marat Kulakhmetov, commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces.
    16:00. Three Georgian servicemen from the Georgian peacekeeping battalion are injured by paralimitary troops.
    • Separatist militia resume shelling the Georgian villages of Nuli and Avnevi.
    • Three Georgian servicemen are injured after the South Ossetian separatist forces blow up an infantry combat vehicle belonging to the Georgian peacekeeping battalion in Avnevi.
    • Georgian police respond by firing towards the separatist militia in the village of Khetagurovo, where two separatist militiamen are killed and two more wounded.
    • Later, the Georgian peacekeeping checkpoint in Avnevi is bombed and several Georgian servicemen and civilians are killed.

    18:30. The President of Georgia announces a unilateral cease fire.
    • Georgia announces a unilateral ceasefire in an attempt by the Government to defuse tensions. Temur Yakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration and envoy for conflict resolution, says at a press conference at 18:40 that he is continually seeking to contact the separatist authorities, but without success.
    20:00. President Saakashvili calls on Russia to recall those of its officials who are members of the South Ossetia separatist government.
    • President Saakashvili, speaking with journalists at the military hospital in Gori (where he is visiting two injured Georgian servicemen), reaffirms that despite the deadly attacks on Georgian villages, the Government of Georgia is showing maximum restraint. The President also calls on Russia to “to recall its officials” from South Ossetia, who are members of the so-called South Ossetian government.
    20:30. Despite Georgia’s unilateral cease-fire, the village of Avnevi in the South Ossetia conflict zone— inhabited by ethnic Georgians— is totally destroyed by mortar fire.
    • Despite Georgia’s unilateral ceasefire, the Georgian village of Avnevi again comes under fire from South Ossetian militiamen. The village is totally destroyed.
    21:00. The Security Council of the separatist government threatens to employ Russian Cossack mercenary troops fight Georgian peacekeepers.
    • The chairman of the separatist republic’s Security Council, Anatoly Barankevich, says that armed Cossack militia from North Ossetia are heading towards South Ossetia to fight Georgian peacekeepers.
    22:30. Separatist paramilitaries attack the Georgian-controlled village of Prisi, leaving several civilians wounded.
    23:30. Heavy shelling by separatist forces destroy Georgian police stations on the administrative border of South Ossetia.
    • Separatist authorities open fire on all Georgian checkpoints around the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali at about 23:30, including those located near the villages of Tamarasheni and Kurta. The police stations in the Georgian Kurta is destroyed as a result of heavy shelling.
    23:30. 100 Russian armored vehicles and Russian troops invade Georgia, crossing the Roki Tunnel from Russia into Georgia

    • The Government of Georgia receives reliable information from three separate sources that approximately 100 armored vehicles and trucks of the Russian armed forces, filled with Russian soldiers, are passing from Russia over the border of Georgia through the Roki Tunnel and are heading towards Tskhinvali. The Russian Federation is thus directly violating the sovereignty of Georgia, as these new forces are regular Russian military and not peacekeepers.

    8 AUGUST Early morning. South Ossetian paramilitaries and Russian peacekeepers direct heavy fire on Georgian peacekeepers.
    • intensive fire emanates from the Ossetian villages of Khetagurovo, Dmenisi, Sarabuki, and Ubiat. Separatist authorities continue shelling Georgian police and peacekeeping units with mortars and artillery. The Government of Georgia orders its forces to return only limited fire in order to defend their positions.

    04:28. For the first time, and in response to the entry of Russian armed forces into Georgian sovereign territory, Georgian military (as opposed to Georgian peacekeepers) enter the conflict zone.
    • Georgian government forces take control of six villages in the Tskhinvali region: Muguti, Dmenisi, Didmukha, Okona, Akut, and Kohati and enter the village of Khetagurovo.

  40. In additon John, you claim that Russia was “ill prepared” for this operation.

    In a word BS.

    You can’t organise an assault on that scale without a large amount of preparation, the logistics of ammunition, food , and fuel supply are extremely complicated and require considerable pre planning and positioning.

    The line of march planning is also complex, as are the air movements.

    Regardless of what you might think it is not possible to go from “peacetime” to “wartime” in 5 minutes or even 5 days.

    The August war was pre-planned in Moscow.

    Former Russian military officer and defense anylist Pavel Felgenhauer was warning of a Russian attack on Georgia planned for August 2008 in JANUARY 2008.

    http://www.america.gov/st/peacesec-english/2008/September/20080910160548idybeekcm0.5531275.html

    “Moscow declared that it was forced to go to battle by the initial Georgian attack in South Ossetia (RIA-Novosti, August 8). But there is sufficient evidence that this massive invasion was preplanned beforehand for August (see EDM, June 12). The swiftness with which large Russian contingents were moved into Georgia, the rapid deployment of a Black Sea naval task force, the fact that large contingents of troops were sent to Abkhazia where there was no Georgian attack all seem to indicate a rigidly prepared battle plan. This war was not an improvised reaction to a sudden Georgian military offensive in South Ossetia, since masses of troops cannot be held for long in 24-hour battle readiness. The invasion was inevitable, no matter what the Georgians did.

    It seems the main drive of the Russian invasion was Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO, while the separatist problem was only a pretext. Georgia occupies a key geopolitical position, and Moscow is afraid that if George joins NATO, Russia will be flushed out of Transcaucasia. The NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, last April, where Ukraine and Georgia did not get the so-called Membership Action Plan or MAP to join the Alliance but were promised eventual membership, seems to have prompted a decision to go to war (Interfax, April 3).

    Before using arms, Moscow issued ominous threats. Russia unilaterally rebuked CIS sanctions against Abkhazia (RIA-Novosti, March 6). The Kremlin-controlled State Duma passed a resolution calling for recognition of Abkhaz and South Ossetian sovereignty (RIA-Novosti, March 21). Vladimir Putin promised Abkhazia and South Ossetia “not declarative, but material support” and announced that Georgian aspirations for “speedy Atlantic integration” endangered security (www.mid.ru, April 3). Russia’s top military commander Yuri Baluyevsky threatened “military action to defend our interests near our borders,” if Georgia and Ukraine joined NATO (RIA-Novosti, April 11). In apparently the last warning, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Georgia of failing to pass a law forbidding foreign military bases after Russia moved its bases out last November. Lavrov linked Georgian intransigence with “Western plans to pull it into NATO” (ITAR-TASS, May 5).

    Material military preparations were made. On May 31, Railroad troops were moved to repair the tracks south of Sokhumi to prepare the infrastructure for the invasion. On July 30, they completed their work and all was set for major combat in August, since later bad weather would impede an invasion (see EDM, June 12, July 30). The West seems to have dismissed the Russian warnings and preparations as bluff until it was too late. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza stated in Tbilisi, “Now we know” the true mission of the Railroad troops in Abkhazia (Interfax, August 11). He would have done better to subscribe to EDM.”

    http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/2008-156-2.cfm

    “During the latter half of July 2008, Russia conducted a military exercise that proved to be a rehearsal for Russian actions in Georgia a few weeks later. Code-named Caucasus 2008, the exercise involved more than 8,000 troops and was conducted near Russia’s border with Georgia. One scenario was a hypothetical attack by unnamed (but undoubtedly Georgian) forces on Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russian forces practiced a counterattack by land, sea, and air to buttress Russia’s “peacekeepers” stationed in the regions, protect “Russian citizens,” and offer humanitarian aid.”

    In addition Russia was NOT a neutral peacekeeper in either South Ossetia or Abkhazia, in Abkhazia in particular Russia violated its role as “peacekeeper” openly

    “On August 10, the U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Edmond Mulet, reported to the U.N. Security Council that the U.N. Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG; about 100 observers in all) had witnessed “ongoing aerial bombardments of Georgian villages in the Upper Kodori Valley” the previous day.
    They also had observed “the movement by the Abkhaz side of substantial numbers of heavy weapons and military personnel towards the Kodori Valley.” Mulet also warned that Abkhaz separatist leader Sergey Bagapsh had threatened to push the Georgian armed forces out of the Upper Kodori Valley. In violation of their mandate, the Russian “peacekeepers” “did not attempt to stop such deployments” of Abkhaz rebel weaponry, Mulet reported. Fifteen UNOMIG observers were withdrawn from the Kodori Valley because the Abkhaz rebels announced that their safety could not be guaranteed, Mulet stated.17
    Russian peacekeepers also permitted Abkhaz forces to deploy in the Gali region and along the Inguri River near the border of Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia. Russian military and Abkhaz militia forces then moved across the river into the Zugdidi district, southwest of Abkhazia and undisputedly in Georgian territory (although some part is within the peacekeeping zone). Bombs fell on the town of Zugdidi on August 10. As the local population fled, Russian troops reportedly occupied the town and its police stations on August 11. Reportedly, the Russian military stated that it would not permit the Abkhaz forces to occupy the town of Zugdidi. The next day, the Russian military reported that it had disarmed Georgian police forces in the Kodori Valley and the Georgian police had pulled out.18
    On August 10, Russia sent ships from the Black Sea Fleet to deliver troops to Abkhazia and take up positions along Georgia’s coastline. Russian military officials reported that up to 6,000 troops had been deployed by sea or air. Russian television reported that Igor Dygalo, Russian naval spokesman and aide to the Russian navy commander-in-chief, claimed that Russian ships had sunk a Georgian vessel in a short battle off the coast of Georgia.19 Georgian officials reported that the Russian ships were preventing ships from entering or leaving the port at Poti. The Russians reportedly also sank Georgia’s coast guard vessels at Poti. Russian troops occupied a Georgian military base in the town of Senaki, near Poti, on August 11. ”

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL34618.pdf

    http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/files/12445_84_6allison.pdf

  41. During Putin’s period as Russian president Moscow steadily built up the presence of its security personnel in the South Ossetian administration, and Russian recognition of Georgian territorial integrity seemed to be expressed narrowly in the sense of not voicing territorial claims on Georgia (had it done so it would have been unable to maintain its claim as a ‘peacekeeper’). Overall, Tbilisi believed Russia to be pursuing a process of de facto absorption of South Ossetia (and also the region of Abkhazia, through parallel processes) into Russia. A major step in this direction was a Russian presidential decree in April 2008 which established direct official Russian relations with the South Ossetian and Abkhaz authorities.
    All this occurred against the background of serious crises in Russian–Georgian relations, which seemed to intensify as Georgia deepened its security relationship with NATO and the United States. For example, in 2006, after Tbilisi had arrested four Russian military intelligence officers in Georgia for espionage, Moscow closed all air, sea and land transport links with Georgia and deployed an armoured force in instant readiness to move into South Ossetia in the event of military hostilities. At that time Russia and Georgia seemed to be preparing for armed conflict, while separatists in Ossetia and Abkhazia were apparently ready to provide a pretext for this.
    In July and August 2008 the situation in South Ossetia deteriorated sharply. Georgian positions and settlements in South Ossetia were targeted by Ossetian separatist militias. Serious clashes occurred between the two sides in the week before 8 August. Georgia viewed Russia as involved by proxy. Hundreds of ‘volunteers’ arrived in South Ossetia and were integrated into the South Ossetian Interior Ministry forces—apparently South Ossetians who had been serving in police and militarized formations in North Ossetia. Georgia accused Russia of direct complicity in allowing such ‘mercenaries’, and their military hardware, through the Roki tunnel (connecting South Ossetia with North Ossetia), while Russia claimed that the movement of Georgian troops and heavy armour to the conflict zone betrayed preparations for war.

    On 8 August 2008 controlled confrontation spilled over into outright conflict between Georgian and South Ossetian forces, which rapidly escalated into open combat between Georgian and Russian troops. The Russian and Georgian descriptions of these events differ widely and are highly politicized. What seems beyond doubt is that from late on 7 August to mid-morning of 8 August a Georgian artillery and ground force attack on Tskhinvali resulted in Georgian control of most of the city and several ethnic Ossetian villages. Georgia sought to impede the advance of Russian armoured columns from the strategic Roki tunnel, but Russian forces engaged the Georgians in and around Tskhinvali. After some three days of combat Georgian troops were fully withdrawn from South Ossetia.

    Retaliation or pre-planned offensive? Russian forces invade South Ossetia

    Any assessment of Russian motivations and objectives at the outset of this conflict has to take account of the timing and form of the Russian military incursion into South Ossetia. Moscow insists that this was defensive and retaliatory, in response t0 Georgia’s ‘treacherous, massive attack on Tshkinvali’ and on the locally deployed Russian peacekeeping contingent. This precipitated a conflict, it is claimed, which was neither desired nor provoked by Russia. If this version is confirmed then many states would be inclined to accept that a forceful Russian military response, at least into South Ossetia, was shocking but perhaps unavoidable, even if Russia’s legal case for intervention could still be questioned. But Russia cannot expect such understanding if it transpires that the Georgian seizure of Tshkinvali was triggered by Russian military movements across Georgia’s internationally recognized border or by good evidence of a premeditated large-scale Russian invasion of Georgia. In those circumstances most states would view Russia’s offensive not only as an open exercise of realpolitik, but as a challenge to international order.
    One core dispute concerns whether the timing of the Georgian assault on Tshkinvali was triggered by Russian troop movements. Tbilisi claims that, faced with a military buildup among South Ossetian forces and unacceptable provocation against Georgian villages, it began its assault soon after—but only after—Russia had begun to move heavy armour through the Roki tunnel onto Georgian terri¬tory. In other words, Georgia’s hand was forced to head off a Russian intervention, even if Tbilisi admits it seriously miscalculated how far that intervention would go within the South Ossetian conflict zone, let alone more widely, and was militarily unprepared for this. This claim of an initial Russian violation of Georgian territory was received rather sceptically by most western states at first, and has still not been conclusively corroborated. Moscow’s insistence that its forces did not cross the Georgian border until Russian peacekeepers in Tskhinvali were in severe jeopardy has gained quite wide acceptance internationally. The Georgian claim has, however, been strengthened by the release of telephone intercepts (lost for a month in the chaos of combat) indicating that at least part of a Russian armoured regiment had crossed into South Ossetia by late on 7 August. But even if Georgia struck Tskhinvali before such Russian forces crossed its border, Tbilisi could have acted (arguably, seriously and rashly overreacting in the kind of force employed) out of a belief that it faced an imminent and premeditated Russian offensive. In this scenario, by attacking Tskhinvali Georgia could have walked effectively into a trap, if Moscow was seeking a catalyst to justify a major offensive into Georgia.
    It is probable that both Georgia and Russia had contingency plans for military operations in South Ossetia. Equally, if Georgia was assessing options for seizing Tskhinvali, then Russian military intelligence could have obtained advance knowl-edge of this and placed key Russian units in combat readiness. An influential Russian military journal has asserted ‘with absolute confidence’ that Russian military intel¬ligence knew the missions and forces assigned by Georgia for the seizure of South Ossetia, and that Russia’s North Caucasus Military Command had ‘painstakingly prepared’ the deployment of an advance party of Russian forces through the Roki tunnel for this scenario. This could be exaggerating the competence of Russian intelligence in the crisis to make the case that Russia was simply responding to moves on the Georgian side. However, regardless of how well-informed Russian contingency measures were, how credible is President Saakashvili’s accusation that Russia had been seeking pretexts and South Ossetian militias staging provocations so that Russian troops massed on Georgian borders could enter Georgia, and that in this sense ‘this is an operation that was planned and prepared a long time ago’?
    One cannot extrapolate Russian strategic intentions simply from Russian force dispositions. But these deployments do offer quite strong evidence that the Russian invasion of South Ossetia and then deeper into Georgia was indeed planned and even expected rather than spontaneous and improvised. Saakashvili seems convincing in his assertion that by August Russia had established the infrastructure and logistical support for an invasion by a large contingent of Russian troops, though Saakashvili claims he expected a smaller offensive than actually took place and one in Abkhazia rather than South Ossetia.
    Certainly the swiftness with which large Russian contingents were deployed after 8 August into South Ossetia and beyond was remarkable. An elite paratrooper battalion and smaller special forces unit spearheaded the Russian invasion, and these were followed immediately by the deployment of the equivalent of a motor-rifle division of the 58th Army with tanks and heavy self-propelled artillery pieces. Along with the rapid deployment of a Black Sea naval task force, this suggests the operation of an integrated combat plan, which had assembled and earmarked troops some from beyond the North Caucasus Military District and had large reinforcements ready to follow the initial incursion. Elements of the 76th Air Assault Division based in the Leningrad Military District were quickly airlifted into Tskhinvali.
    A key factor for the timing and success of any ‘Georgia plan’ of the Russian general staff was military readiness. This seems to have been greatly assisted by Russia’s ‘Caucasus 2008’ military exercises, held at the end of July 2008. These exercises included the rehearsal of operations in the Roki district and the delivery of assistance to Russian peacekeepers stationed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Although the exercises formally concluded on 2 August, it seems that the forces remained concentrated and in high combat readiness. But the exact timing of the intervention during August–September may not have been of Moscow’s choosing, if for example South Ossetian forces were impatient to instigate a conflict in July– August to give Russia a pretext for intervention and could not be effectively controlled, despite the presence of Russian security officials in Tshkinvali.
    Moreover, there is the possibility, as Saakashvili suggests, that the focus of Russian planning for a significant military campaign in Georgia was Abkhazia, but that Russia had to shift the first phase of combat to the more difficult terrain of South Ossetia as clashes erupted there and local events created a more compelling justification for carrying out a major offensive against Georgia. Abkhazia is far more strategically and politically significant to Moscow than South Ossetia. One obvious scenario would have been Russian prompting for an operation by Abkhaz formations against the Kodori Gorge, precariously held by Georgia, which would have forced a response by Georgian troops. This would have given Russia a reason to accuse Georgia of using banned troops and arms in the security zone in the region and, in order to assist Russian peacekeepers, to send in units of the Russian 58th Army—as were sent instead into South Ossetia.
    An important piece of evidence consistent with this scenario is the mission conducted by a battalion of Russian railroad troops during June–July 2008 to repair 54 kilometres of a strategic railway in Abkhazia, which enabled the rapid forward deployment of troops and armour to the future conflict zone. Days after the Russian invasion of Georgia, a senior US State Department official bluntly described the purpose of that Russian mission as ‘to rebuild the railroad to allow ammunition and other military supplies to aid a Russian invasion’.
    The speed and logistical efficiency with which large Russian contingents were sent by land and sea into Abkhazia in August 2008 and then entered western Georgia similarly fits the picture of a major operation carefully planned by the Russian general staff.

  42. Thanks to Elmer for this one:

    THE RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN WAR WAS PREPLANNED IN MOSCOW

    By Pavel Felgenhauer

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    Russian troops repair and improve a railroad in Abkhazia in June 2008 (AP) Last week military tension in Georgia’s separatist region of South Ossetia escalated into all-out war. The Ossetian separatists were provoking a conflict to give the Russian military a pretext for direct intervention. Late in the evening of August 7, a heavy mortar bombardment of Georgian villages near the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali provoked Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to order a major assault. The night attack by Georgian troops outfitted with Western-made night-vision equipment flushed the Ossetian fighters out and Tskhinvali was overrun in the morning. To stop the Georgian offensive thousands of Russian troops with hundreds of pieces of armor invaded through the Roki tunnel and rushed forward. Russian jets began bombing Georgian military installations and cities (see EDM, August 7).

    From August 8 to 10, the Georgian army was engaged in ferocious battles with the Russian invaders in and around Tskhinvali. On August 10, the Georgian authorities announced that they were withdrawing all their forces from South Ossetia and asked for a ceasefire and peace talks (Interfax, August 10). On August 12, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accepted a French-brokered peace plan, and a shaky truce was established. The Georgian army concentrated its forces on defending the capital of Tbilisi. Tens of thousands of Russian troops and over a thousand pieces of armor were relocated to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russian troops moved out of the breakaway regions to occupy other Georgian provinces in the West (Zugdidi, Senaki, and Poti), disarming local police forces and destroying Georgian military bases (Interfax, August 13). Marauding Ossetian paramilitaries and Russian servicemen went pillaging and terrorizing the local population in and around Gori south of Tskhinvali (AP, August 13).

    Moscow declared that it was forced to go to battle by the initial Georgian attack in South Ossetia (RIA-Novosti, August 8). But there is sufficient evidence that this massive invasion was preplanned beforehand for August (see EDM, June 12). The swiftness with which large Russian contingents were moved into Georgia, the rapid deployment of a Black Sea naval task force, the fact that large contingents of troops were sent to Abkhazia where there was no Georgian attack all seem to indicate a rigidly prepared battle plan. This war was not an improvised reaction to a sudden Georgian military offensive in South Ossetia, since masses of troops cannot be held for long in 24-hour battle readiness. The invasion was inevitable, no matter what the Georgians did.

    It seems the main drive of the Russian invasion was Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO, while the separatist problem was only a pretext. Georgia occupies a key geopolitical position, and Moscow is afraid that if George joins NATO, Russia will be flushed out of Transcaucasia. The NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, last April, where Ukraine and Georgia did not get the so-called Membership Action Plan or MAP to join the Alliance but were promised eventual membership, seems to have prompted a decision to go to war (Interfax, April 3).

    Before using arms, Moscow issued ominous threats. Russia unilaterally rebuked CIS sanctions against Abkhazia (RIA-Novosti, March 6). The Kremlin-controlled State Duma passed a resolution calling for recognition of Abkhaz and South Ossetian sovereignty (RIA-Novosti, March 21). Vladimir Putin promised Abkhazia and South Ossetia “not declarative, but material support” and announced that Georgian aspirations for “speedy Atlantic integration” endangered security (www.mid.ru, April 3). Russia’s top military commander Yuri Baluyevsky threatened “military action to defend our interests near our borders,” if Georgia and Ukraine joined NATO (RIA-Novosti, April 11). In apparently the last warning, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Georgia of failing to pass a law forbidding foreign military bases after Russia moved its bases out last November. Lavrov linked Georgian intransigence with “Western plans to pull it into NATO” (ITAR-TASS, May 5).

    Material military preparations were made. On May 31, Railroad troops were moved to repair the tracks south of Sokhumi to prepare the infrastructure for the invasion. On July 30, they completed their work and all was set for major combat in August, since later bad weather would impede an invasion (see EDM, June 12, July 30). The West seems to have dismissed the Russian warnings and preparations as bluff until it was too late. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza stated in Tbilisi, “Now we know” the true mission of the Railroad troops in Abkhazia (Interfax, August 11). He would have done better to subscribe to EDM.

    The main task of the Russian invasion–to cause a total state failure and fully destroy the reformed Georgian army, making NATO membership impossible–has not yet been achieved, despite all the havoc. More attacks and devastation may be planned. Ballistic Tochka-U missiles with a range of 110 km have been deployed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia from which they could reach Tbilisi. Two seem to have already been fired at Western Georgia, according to statements from Abkhaz separatists (Novaya Gazeta, August 14). A missile attack, officially attributed to separatists, could kill hundreds, creating a devastating panic and possible regime collapse.

  43. Another good article on Russian agression and illegal actions against Georgia

    http://uddebatt.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/russia%E2%80%99s-war-in-georgia-and-the-background-chronology-to-it/

    “This invasion took the world by surprise. But what should have been surprising about it was perhaps the extent of Russia’s willingness to employ crude military force against a neighboring state, not that it happened. Indeed, Russia had for several years pursued increasingly aggressive and interventionist policies in Georgia, and had employed an array of instruments that included military means, albeit at a smaller scale. In the several months that preceded the invasion, Moscow’s increasingly blatant provocations against Georgia led to a growing fear in the analytic community that it was seeking a military confrontation. Yet western reactions to this aggressive behavior remained declaratory and cautious in nature, and failed to attach cost to Russia for its behavior.”

    “Indeed, as the chronology included in this paper shows, Russia had been meticulously preparing an invasion of Georgia through the substantial massing and preparation of forces in the country’s immediate vicinity. Scholars will debate whether Russian tanks were already advancing inside Georgian territory when Georgian forces launched their attack on Tskhinvali; yet there seems little doubt that they were at least on the move toward the border. And the scope of the Russian attack leave little doubt: it immediately broadened from the conflict zone of South Ossetia, to the opening of a second front in Abkhazia and systematic attacks on military and economic infrastructure across Georgia’s territory. Within days, tens of thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles roamed Georgian roads.

    Russia’s subsequent decisions to ignore the terms of a cease-fire agreement it signed, and to recognize the independence of the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, all complete the picture of long-hatched plan. The purpose was not merely related to South Ossetia or even Abkhazia: it served to punish Georgia and expose the inability of the west to prevent Russia from moving aggressively to restore its primacy over the former Soviet Union’s territory, irrespective of the wishes of the governments and populations of the sovereign countries on that area. It is indeed the predetermined nature of this war that makes its implications so far-reaching. It constituted Moscow’s first military aggression against a neighboring state since the invasion of Afghanistan in 1978; and it took place, this time, against a member state of European institutions such as the OSCE and the Council of Europe, and to that a country on track to integration with NATO.”

    In addition John, do you support the fact that Russian MVD and Abkhazian KGB have confiscated & destroyed the passports of Georgians in Gali, and are issuing them (against their wishes) with Russian passports?

    So much for your arguments.

  44. You can post whatever articles you like. I don’t have the time to read them and I sometimes wonder if you know what a reference or a hyper link is. Though again they all lack one distinct fact Article 51. They also fail to deal with the Kosovo precedent. These are the core justifications for Russias invasion.

    They also fail too mention the opinion of the two British OCSE monitors in the region.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5114401.ece

    “So Johm, are you saying that the Georgians did not have the right to defend themselves from the Ossetain & Russian attacks which began on August 1st?”

    What I am saying is Georgia did not have the right to launch an indiscriminate weapon such as grad rockets into a city four hours after declaring a ceasefire.

    Events on the 1st of August are ill relevant as Georgia declared a ceasefire on the 7th of August. So it clearly could not have been used as an excuse to attack south ossetia. as for the events before August 7th, the Georgians where just as guilty of opening fire as the Ossetians if not more so. Infact these events lead to a phone conversation from Russia to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried and he said

    “The Russian side expressed deep concern over the latest surge in tensions around South Ossetia, the unlawful buildup of Georgia’s military presence in the region, and the intensive construction of fortifications.”

    “Russia has already urged Tbilisi to take a responsible approach, and it also counts on constructive cooperation from Washington,”

    On the 6th of August Eduard Kokoit told the British Ambassador to Georgia Denis Keefe “We have indisputable evidence that a large-scale military operation will start here by September. This is Georgia’s plan currently being implemented by Saakashvili’s regime.”

    OSCE monitors reported Georgian military buildup on august the 7th at 3pm. Georgia declared a ceasefire at 7pm. Effectively Georgia was massing troops after declaring as ceasefire.

    You also failed to mention that Russias first action was to hold an emergency session of the UN security council in New York. The proposed motion required all sides “to renounce the use of force,” though the US, Britain and other Georgian supporters rejected the motion.

    A Ukrainian parliamentary investigation claims that Georgia bribed the Ukrainian President for a 20% reduction in arms costs and that Ukraine continued to supply Georgia with arms during the conflict. A clear breach of international law. Irakli Okruashvili claims Georgia was planing attacks in 2005.

    As for the so called ceasefire agreement Russia and Georgia signed different documents. So clearly they did not agree.

    The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute found in 2007 Georgia had the highest average growth rate of military spending in the world.

    Georgia was without doubt building its military a dangerous combination with an unpredictable ultra nationalists at the helm.

    This entire sorry mess dates back to the late 1980’s “Georgia for Georgians” policies.

  45. Well John,
    Since you are obviously unable to understand basic international law, the international community (EU, OSCE, and all other countries except Nicaragua and terrorist groups such as Hamas & Hizbollah) have pretty much all condemend Russian agression, and particularly Russian recognition of Abkhazia & South Ossetia.
    International law experts have resoundingly rebuffed all of Russia’s justifications, from self defence, protecting its citizens, and especially the Kosovo precedent.
    Considering Russian actions in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Daghestan and other areas of the south Caucasus, they (and you) are incredible hypocrites.

    You also fail to mention that the Ossetians broke the ceasefire.

    You are obviously a moron, as “Georgia for Georgians” began in the late 80’s, and the Abkhazian separatism has been traced back to 1979. In addition you fail to recognize the fact that in the case of Abkhazia, Georgians were the largest ethnic group in the province prior to the Abkhazian commencement of hostilities.

    I also notice that you are very good at avoiding facts, such as Russian/Separatist attacks on Georgians, the continuing Russian/separatist attacks & opression on ethnic Georgians in the conflict zones.

    In addition what about Russia’s breach of article 24, or are you just a complete f*ckwit?

  46. Besides, you can bleat all you want about article 51, but legal experts agree that in this case Article 51 does NOT apply as this only relates to attacks on the sovreign TERRITORY of a state.

    As for the two british (or should that be Pommy) observers in the region, you do realise they were fired (forced to resign) by the OSCE for “improper conduct” such as going AWOL and giving unauthorised (and PAID) interviews to Russian TV?

    In addition Mr Grist has started to clarify some of his remarks

    “Mr. Grist remains scathing about Georgian actions before and during the war. But he now says some of his comments have been over-interpreted.

    `I have never said there was no provocation by the South Ossetians,` said Mr. Grist, who was OSCE deputy mission chief in Georgia. Official OSCE reporting said a unilateral cease-fire Georgia declared on Aug. 7 was broken around 10 p.m., nearly two hours before the Georgian artillery assault on Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital. `What I have said is that the response from the Georgian authorities was absolutely disproportionate,` said Mr. Grist. `To react with indiscriminate shelling — there just had to be a Russian response.`

    Western diplomats in Tbilisi say they are confused by the narrow debate over who started the fight. They say it ignores equally important evidence, including Russia`s actions during the lead-up to war. Ambassador Terhi Hakala of Finland, head of the OSCE mission to Georgia and Mr. Grist`s former boss, called what three monitors heard just from villages nearest them on Aug. 7 `a bit irrelevant.` She added, `We`re very limited in what we can monitor.` Ms. Hakala also said Mr. Grist didn`t give any warnings that were ignored.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122963718776319647.html

    Seems your source is a little unreliable John, note how he says “I have never said there was no provocation by the South Ossetians”

    Try again, because as usual, you are wrong.

  47. I also note you fail to mention the Russians blocking OSCE requests for direct peace talks between Georgian and sepratist leaders over the last several years.
    You also fail to mention the deliberate sabotage of Georgian attempts to initiate direct peace talks in the weeks leading up to the war.

  48. This is the Russian legal position on the issue. which was presented to the UN Security Council before the conflict.

    “1. The operation is conducted in the framework of the implementation of Russia’s essential right for self-defense stipulated by Article 51 of the UN Charter.
    Georgian actions, which have turned into purposeful, large-scale attack at Russian peacekeeping forces – the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation – which is legally deployed on Georgian territory, should be qualified as the armed invasion against the Russian Federation, that gives a ground to implement its right for self-defense.
    In accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter the Permanent Representation of Russia in New York distributed in the UNSC the letter on the Russian position conserning its right for self-defense.”

    As of yet none of the legal opinion you have quoted disregard this position. Again since the US also takes a similar position to Russia in regards to Article 51 shown in Pakistan and Syria its difficult just to disregard of the cuff.

    “You are obviously a moron, as “Georgia for Georgians” began in the late 80’s, and the Abkhazian separatism has been traced back to 1979.”

    Separatism did not lead to the ethnic conflict which is the core of the problem. Georgia introduced systematic ethnically exclusive policies such as “Georgia for Georgians”. This led to counter policies and the ethnic conflict going on since. How do Georgians expect to deny ethnic groups Georgian citizenship and not expect them to apply for Russian. How do Georgians want ultra nationalist policies excluding ethnic groups yet expect those ethnic groups to remain as part of Georgia?

    “You also fail to mention that the Ossetians broke the ceasefire.”

    Really quote an independent observer who makes that claim!

    You failed to mention that Georgian forces in July 4 took the Sarabuk heights a strategic position over Tskhinvali. How on that date Georgians use mortars etc on Tskhinvali , Ubiat and Dmenis. That 6 where killed in Georgian attacks on residential areas in Tskhinvali on August 1-2. I could go on and on though you get the point.

    Ambassador Terhi Hakala of Finland, head of the OSCE mission to Georgia was not in Georgia at the time of the conflict.

    Only Grist was forced to resign however his testimony is still valid. His story is collaborated by Young and three other OCSE members who where in Tskhinvali on Aug 7th. Young informed military diplomats of their findings in October and all 5 OCSE members will testify before any inquiry. Grist even on Aug 7 2008 was part of a two day workshop in Georgia in regards to Georgian border security.

    http://www.osce.org/item/32521.html

    Grist who pointed out Georgia’s military buildup was called a liar however has since been confirmed by OSCE Chairman Alexander Stubb who claimed information was passed to member governments. So clearly it was not Grist who was lying.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7717169.stm

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5114401.ece

    Georgia has no independent witnesses who contradict the 5 members of the OCSE.

    “I also note you fail to mention the Russians blocking OSCE requests for direct peace talks between Georgian and sepratist leaders over the last several years.”

    Yet it was Georgia who blocked a meeting with direct face to face talks with Ossetians on the 7th of August.

  49. Really John, you keep saying “there was no ethnic component to Abkhazian separtism” prior to Gamsakhurdia, but there was.

    “The more extreme Abkhazian demands (such as the call for secession from Georgia and the abolition of the Georgian language’s official status) were rejected in 1978. But a party commission, headed by I. V. Kapitonov, was sent from Moscow to defuse the situation. The Kapitonov Commission advised a range of conciliatory measures in the areas of education and investment allocations. These were imposed on the Georgian party leadership, thereby ‘defusing a potentially explosive situation’ (Slider, 1985: 65). ”

    And as for Adzinba and Gamsakhurdia’s relationship, it was pretty chummy really:

    “One man, Vladimir Ardzinba, gained and retained the leading position in the Abkhazian movement. His evident Russian connections have given rise to the suspicion that the movement for Abkhazian independence from Georgia is really a Russian way of making sure that the pleasant seaside resorts by the Black Sea do not fall into Georgian hands. Ardzinba is, or was, a trained Moscow orientalist, specializing in the history of the Hittites. He worked at the Oriental Institute when Yevgenii Primakov (who later became Russian foreign minister) was its director. His eloquent speeches, in Russian rather than Abkhazian, in defence of the rights of small ethnic minorities, first brought him to the notice of the wider Russian public, and there is no doubt that there has been continuing unofficial support from Russia for his movement. Whether Georgian publicists, as well as the respected Russian specialist on ethnic questions, Svetlana Chervonnaya, are right in their claim that the whole Abkhazian movement was Russian-run and Russiandominated is less certain (Chervonnaya, 1994: 58).

    The movement for Georgian independence was intertwined fatefully with the Abkhazian question from the beginning. The Abkhazian People’s Forum Aidgylara (Unity) was set up in the autumn of 1988 to press for the removal of Abkhazia from Georgian control and its direct subordination to Moscow. It held a rally in March 1989 at which calls were made for Abkhazia to be raised to the status of a union republic. Local Georgians in Gali (a town in the south of Abkhazia) protested immediately, and these anti-Abkhazian protests spread to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. The protesters’ demands escalated rapidly. They began to call for an independent Georgia. This was too much for the head of the Georgian Communist party, who arranged for Soviet troops to move in on 9 April 1989 and suppress the demonstrations by force. There were at least twenty deaths and hundreds of wounded. The wellnigh unanimous reaction of Georgians was to turn their backs on both the Communist party and the Soviet connection. The repercussions over the rest of the Soviet Union were also very serious: the nascent democratic movement recoiled in horror from the government’s actions. It could well be said that the Tbilisi slaughter of 9 April 1989 was the first nail in the coffin of Soviet power.

    In the course of the next two years, while the Georgians raced towards independence, the Abkhazians (encouraged by the Soviet authorities) cut their links progressively with Georgia. Abkhazia became independent of Georgia in practice during 1991, thanks to the presence of a strong contingent of Russian troops. (The actual declaration of Abkhazian independence took place on 23 July 1992.) While the Georgian Supreme Soviet was busily constructing a constitution that gave appointed prefects absolute powers over local representative bodies in the regions, thereby in practice abolishing local autonomy (Jones, 1993: 302), 8 the Abkhazians went on quietly consolidating their separate institutions, including a parliament in which they had majority representation. It was partly the Abkhazian issue (alongside other perhaps more vital questions) which led to the overthrow of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who was elected in May 1991 on a programme of extreme Georgian nationalism but was criticized for failing to do anything effective to counter Abkhazian separatism when in office. It is something of a paradox that Gamsakhurdia (having been overthrown by the Georgian National Guard on 6 January 1992) subsequently allied with Ardzinba in planning a joint campaign against the Military Council which had taken power in Tbilisi (Chervonnaya, 1994: 52). Shortly afterwards, a degree of political stability was restored to the country, with the return of Eduard Shevardnadze to power (March 1992).

    Meanwhile, semi-independent Abkhazia became a safe haven for the Zviadists (the supporters of Zviad Gamsakhurdia), who seized prominent Georgians, including the vice-president, Alexander Karsadze, as hostages, and held them on Abkhazian territory”

    You forget to mention the illegal deployment of Russian military forces such as Paratroopers and heavy equipment to Abkhazia & South Ossetia prior to the war in violation of the CIS ceasefire & peacekeeping agreements.
    The Russian overflights of Georgia, the “accidental” firing of missiles into Georgia, the assasination attempt on the leader of the Pro Georgian Ossetians.

    You are also ignoring the fact that the remaining OSCE observers (there were more than 5 in the south Ossetia conflict zone) have confirmed the provocations against the Georgians.

    Even Grist has admitted that there were provocations against the Georgians by the Separatists. I note that you failed to acknowledge this.

    “OSCE civilian cease-fire monitors maintained a mission in South Ossetia from the early 1990s, when separatists briefly fought with the central government in Tbilisi, Georgia, until Russia’s August assault on Georgia. That assault followed the Georgian government’s raid on the South Ossetia city of Tskhinvali, which followed a series of attacks on ethnic Georgian villages by South Ossetian militias.

    “We have always said it was a mistake for Georgia to move into Tskhinvali on the night of August 7th/8th,” Fried said, “but there had been severe provocations, attacks, violent acts, both by South Ossetian forces and over the past year even involving Russian forces.” ”

    “14. On March 11, 2007, Mi-24 helicopters that according to the UN investigation could only have come from Russia attacked Upper Abkhazia in the middle of the night. On August 6, 2007, as verified by an independent international investigation, a Russian fighter aircraft dropped a Kh-58 anti-radiation bomb just short of a newly upgraded radar facility. It landed unexploded in a farm field. Russia denied responsibility in both instances, claiming that Georgia had attacked itself with military capabilities it does not possess. Nonetheless, after both attacks, Russian Special Envoy for CIS Countries Valery Kenyaikin made clear that Georgia deserved these “punishments.”

    15. Then, in spring 2008-following the recognition of Kosovo and in advance of NATO April Summit, at which the extension of a Membership Action Plan to Georgia would be considered-Moscow began an acute escalation of the confrontation with Georgia. Specifically, in March, Moscow illegally lifted an arms and economic embargo that had been imposed by the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1996 on Abkhazia.

    16. In April, Moscow sharply escalated tensions by decreeing the establishment of legal links between Russia and the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region; this was a form of de facto annexation of Georgian territory and drew sharp rebukes from the entire international community-including the EU, NATO, the US, the OSCE, and others, who called for the immediate reversal of this Russian decision.

    17. On April 20, a Russian fighter jet downed an unarmed Georgian drone over Georgian airspace, an act of aggression confirmed by formal UNOMIG and OSCE investigative reports.

    18. In the following weeks, Russia continued to unilaterally increase its troop strength in Abkhazia, without fulfilling its legal obligation to seek the consent of Georgia; among other moves, it deployed paratrooper units, which were incompatible with peacekeeping.

    19. Then in direct contravention of all peacekeeping norms and agreements, Russia introduced additional offensive military troops and heavy weaponry in Abkhazia, actions verified by UNOMIG. Russian Railroad Troops undertook a “humanitarian effort” to repair the rail line between Sukhumi and Ochamchire, a naval base Russia would use in its invasion of Georgia two months later.

    20. In July, as the efforts by Georgia and the international community to advance peace proposals for Abkhazia gathered pace, the focus of Russian provocations suddenly shifted to South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region. Separatists attempted to assassinate the S. Ossetian unionist leader, Dimitry Sanakoyev; approximately a dozen armed provocations followed in subsequent weeks.

    21. Russia conducted large-scale military exercises dubbed “Caucasus 2008″ (July 15-August 2) in the immediate vicinity of Georgia’s northern border. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the exercises, involving over 8,000 troops and 700 pieces of military hardware, were aimed at preparing for “special peace enforcement operations” in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region. During the exercise, anti-Georgian leaflets were distributed entitled “Know Your Enemy”.

    22. Russian troops participating in this military exercise did not re-deploy at its conclusion.

    23. Meanwhile, Moscow and its proxy separatist forces repeatedly rejected a German-mediated peace initiative and refused to attend peace talks scheduled in Berlin. Shortly before the war the OSCE Chairman in Office also proposed talks in Helsinki between South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region separatists and the Georgian Government; the separatists rejected the proposal. ”

    And “The tripartite monitoring group also found evidence suggesting that Nuli, Eredvi, Zemo Nikozi, and Zemo Prisi — all ethnic-Georgian villages — had come under attack by separatist forces prior to the full-fledged outbreak of armed conflict on August 7-8.

    “Traces of various calibration shells were found on local residential houses in Zemo Nikozi. Bullet holes were found in the roofs of private houses and other buildings of Zemo Nikozi in the vicinity of residential areas,” the report said.

    “In the settlements of Nuli, Eredvi, and Zemo Prisi, observers found 82-millimeter fractions on private houses as a result of grenade-launcher attacks. Military observers from the Joint Control Commission witnessed shootings towards Sarabuki, a Georgian peacekeeping post, with a 120-millimeter grenade launcher and one 100-millimeter mortar.””

    And “RUSSIA SOWED SEEDS FOR FUTURE CONFLICT

    Moscow stepped up provocations in the breakaway region in 2008, Bryza said, following the NATO Bucharest Summit, where the 26-nation alliance offered future membership for both Georgia and Ukraine over strong Russian objections. Within weeks of the April summit, the Russian government issued orders to strengthen official ties with the breakaway regions, sent Russian officials to serve in senior positions in South Ossetia, and built up Russian troops serving as “peacekeeping forces” in both territories since the early 1990s.

    “Russia acted to support the South Ossetian and Abkhaz leaderships, sowing the seeds of future conflict,” Bryza said.

    U.S. and European leaders called on Moscow to reverse this provocative course, Bryza said, as a Russian fighter shot down a Georgian unmanned surveillance drone over Georgian territory. Russia resisted a new Georgian peace proposal for Abkhazia endorsed by the rest of the U.N. Friends group. Russian warplanes crossed deep into Georgian territory again in July as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Tbilisi to urge all sides to work for peace and to caution Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to resist any temptation to use force to resolve these conflicts, even in the face of continued provocations. (See “Rice Urges End to Separatist Violence in Georgia.”)

    Georgian forces moved into South Ossetia’s capital August 7, but only after several days of intense violence. Russian officials may have been indirectly involved in armed hostilities, Bryza said, citing Georgian reports that South Ossetian militias fired on Georgian villages from behind Russian “peacekeeper” positions. “There will be a time for assessing blame for what happened in the early hours of the conflict, but one fact is clear: There was no justification for Russia’s invasion of Georgia,” he said.”

    http://www.america.gov/st/peacesec-english/2008/September/20080911152427idybeekcm0.9110987.html

    You say “Yet it was Georgia who blocked a meeting with direct face to face talks with Ossetians on the 7th of August”

    Evidence please. Oh don’t you have any?

    The evidence availiable points the finger at the OSSETIANS refusing to attend.

    ” Three days later, the evaquation of Ossetian women and children to Russia was completed.[120] Starting with the night of 6th to 7th there were continuous artillery fire exchanges between the two sides.[120][7][121] At 3 p.m. on August 7th, OSCE monitors on patrol saw large numbers of Georgian artillery and Grad rocket launchers massing on roads north of Gori, just south of the South Ossetian border.[7][122]

    On August 5, both sides had agreed to hold meetings in the presense of chief Russian negotiator over South Ossetia Yuri Popov on August 7. However, a day later, the South Ossetian side refused to participate in the talks, demanding a JCC session (consisting of Georgia, Russia, North and South Ossetia) instead.[123] Tbilisi had withdrawn from the JCC in march, demanding the format to include the EU, the OSCE and the Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia. The meeting on August 7 went ahead, but the Ossetian side did not show up.[104] The Russian commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Force (JPFK), General Marat Kulakhmetov, advised the Georgians to declare a ceasefire. [124][122][104] During the afternoon of August 7, Georgia withdrew its personnel from the JPFK Headquarters in Tskhinvali.”

    AND

    “August 6, 2008
    South Ossetian de facto leader Eduard Kokoity and chief negotiator Boris
    Chochiev declare their refusal to take part in the meeting with the Georgian
    side scheduled for August 7, stating that the South Ossetian side will only
    agree to talks within the JCC format (refused by Tbilisi since March 2008).
    Tensions escalate again in the afternoon with exchanges of fire between the
    Georgian-controlled villages of Avnevi and Nuli and the Tskhinvali area.
    August 7, 2008
    The South Ossetian de facto authorities report that 18 persons have been
    injured in overnight shelling attacks against the breakaway capital of
    Tskhinvali and the South Ossetian-controlled villages of Khetagurovo,
    Dmenisi, Sarabuki and Ubait. The Head of the South Ossetian Security
    Council, Russian officer Anatoly Barankevich, announces that armed
    groupings from North Ossetia are headed towards South Ossetia to assist the
    separatist army to fight the Georgian troops.
    Georgian State Minister Temuri Yakobashvili departs for South Ossetia in
    the morning to participate in scheduled talks with the South Ossetian side,
    but neither the Russian chief negotiator Yuri Popov, nor the South Ossetian
    side, shows up. Yakobashvili is received instead by Russian peacekeeping
    commander Marat Kulakhmetov, who states that Russia has lost control over the actions of the separatist army and advises the Georgian government to
    declare a unilateral ceasefire to allow Russia to defuse tensions in the conflict
    zone. Shelling and shooting between the Georgian armed forces and South
    Ossetian rebels resume in the afternoon, killing and wounding several
    servicemen from both sides.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_South_Ossetia_war#cite_note-isdp-103
    http://www.isdp.eu/files/publications/pp/08/0808Georgia-PP2.pdf

    As usual, you are wrong John.

  50. ““The more extreme Abkhazian demands (such as the call for secession from Georgia and the abolition of the Georgian language’s official status) were rejected in 1978. But a party commission, headed by I. V. Kapitonov, was sent from Moscow to defuse the situation. The Kapitonov Commission advised a range of conciliatory measures in the areas of education and investment allocations. These were imposed on the Georgian party leadership, thereby ‘defusing a potentially explosive situation’”

    And as of yet you are unable to tell me one ethnically charged policy on the behalf of Abkhazians. The example you have given even mentions conciliatory measures and this is what politics is about. Hardly ethnic dirven politics. Again it was Georgia with the Georgia for Georgians policies that indroduce ultra nationalist ethnic policies, and again I still challenge you to present similar polices by Abkhazians before Georgia did?

    Lets take some points and disprove them as exaggeration or just incorrect propaganda.

    “On March 11, 2007, Mi-24 helicopters that according to the UN investigation could only have come from Russia attacked Upper Abkhazia in the middle of the night.”

    This is not true. The investigation found that the attack could have come from Russian heli. However it could also have been fired from something else just not from the ground.

    http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=15426

    “17. On April 20, a Russian fighter jet downed an unarmed Georgian drone over Georgian airspace, an act of aggression confirmed by formal UNOMIG and OSCE investigative reports.”

    This one for example first I want you to quote the UN report claiming it was an act of agression. That claim was actually made by the Georgian President not the report. Also the report went on to say the use of the drone was in violation of a 1994 Moscow Agreement ceasefire. It also went on to claim “It stands to reason that this kind of military intelligence-gathering is bound to be interpreted by the Abkhaz side as a precursor to a military operation, particularly in a period of tense relations between the sides.” You also failed to mention that the Georgians initially denied that the drone was shot down.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24827527/

    “21. Russia conducted large-scale military exercises dubbed “Caucasus 2008″ (July 15-August 2) in the immediate vicinity of Georgia’s northern border. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the exercises, involving over 8,000 troops and 700 pieces of military hardware, were aimed at preparing for “special peace enforcement operations” in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region. During the exercise, anti-Georgian leaflets were distributed entitled “Know Your Enemy”.”

    Yet you did not mention that the Russia manuvers where in direct response to the US/Georgian “Immediate Response 2008″ military exercises. Or that Georgia had spent 70% of its budget on the military. That an ex Georgian politician forced to live in exile in France claims Georgia had planned to invade South Ossetia as far back as 2005.

    “The BBC also investigated claims, made repeatedly by Georgia’s President Saakashvili, that Georgia launched its offensive only after Russian troops crossed the frontier in force. In common with other independent researchers, including the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, and The Financial Times, the BBC interviewed witnesses whose accounts contradict the official Georgian version of events. ”

    To date, no independent source has substantiated President Saakashvili’s claim that Russian troops began pouring across the frontier before Georgia launched its attack on 7 August. Strangely, Georgian authorities made no mention of this justification at the time, instead saying that the aim of their action was to “restore constitutional order” to South Ossetia.

    Georgia also justified its offensive by claiming that it was responding to shelling of four Georgian villages on the evening of the attack. But another recent report, this time in The New York Times, cites independent western monitors who also dispute the official Georgian version of events. ”

    Monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said that they found no evidence to support the Georgian claim that its villages were under attack. Instead they accuse Georgia of a “completely indiscriminate and disproportionate attack”, characterized by intensive shell and rocket fire against civilian targets.

    To be sure, much still remains unknown about the sequence of events that led to war. But as the true facts slowly emerge, they raise many questions not just about Georgia’s actions, but also about western policies towards the region, and how the conflict was presented to the western public.

    One negative result has been widespread resentment against the West in Russia. That resentment is shared by many foreign investors, who privately rail against the perceived anti-Russian bias of western politicians and the western media. They will certainly welcome the trend towards more objective reporting and analysis.”

    http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/blog/europeinsight/archives/2008/11/the_russia-geor.html

  51. In addition regards the 2006 “referendum” South Ossetia, you have given Venezuelan reaction,

    Here is the reaction of some other states:

    “Reactions
    The Georgian government has officially declared both elections illegal, but it is believed to support the Salvation Union of Ossetians, the organization in charge of holding the alternative elections. Kokoity thus accused Tbilisi of staging the alternative elections in order to create a “puppet government” in South Ossetia.[3][4][5]

    The Georgian side considers this move by de facto authorities in Tskhinvali as a provocative and unconstitutional action, and warns that this decision will further raise the tensions in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone. However, on September 12, 2006, the Chairman of the Russian State Duma, Boris Gryzlov welcomed the appointed South Ossetian referendum and announced that Russian parliamentarians will observe the voting process. On September 13, 2006, the Georgian State Minister for Conflict Resolution Issues, Merab Antadze, issued a statement, condemning Gryzlov’s statement as “destructive.”[6]

    On September 13, 2006, the Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Terry Davis commented on the problem, stating that

    “ The secessionist authorities of the South Ossetian region of Georgia are wasting time and effort on the organisation of a “referendum on independence” in November… I do not think that anyone will recognise the result of such a referendum. If the people in power in South Ossetia are genuinely committed to the interest of the people they claim to represent, they should engage in meaningful negotiations with the Georgian government in order to find a peaceful, internationally accepted outcome.[7] ”

    The European Union Special Representative to the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, also downplayed the forthcoming South Ossetian referendum and said in Moscow, on September 13, that the referendum would not contribute to the conflict resolution process in South Ossetia.[8]

    On the other hand, the head of the Institute of CIS Countries and the member of the Russian State Duma, Konstantin Zatulin, is quoted on October 2, 2006 as saying:

    “ Recognition of the so-called unrecognized states is not far off. Unrecognized republics have all attributes of state system and stable democratic system.[9] ”

    On October 2, 2006, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht said during his visit to Tbilisi:

    “ I call the South Ossetian authorities’ intention to hold a referendum counterproductive. It will not be recognized by the international community and it will not be recognized by the OSCE and it will impede the peace process.[10] ”

    On November 11, 2006, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said in a statement:

    “ On behalf of NATO, I join other international leaders in rejecting the so-called ‘referendum’ and ‘elections’ conducted in the South Ossetia/Tskhinvali region of Georgia… Such actions serve no purpose other than to exacerbate tensions in the South Caucasus region.[11]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Ossetian_independence_referendum,_2006

  52. Lets see.
    UN reports Russian agression against Georgia in shooting down of drone, report questions Russian neutrality as a peacekeeper.

    “The report suggested that Russia’s actions called into question its role as a credible peacekeeper in Georgia’s territorial disputes, and it presented the Kremlin with a diplomatic embarrassment over its policy in the southern Caucasus and its previous statements about its military activities there.

    Moreover, the report detailed a degree of military recklessness not previously reported, noting that the fighter jet’s “interception took place very close to, or even inside an international airway,” while civilian aircraft were flying.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/27/world/europe/27georgia.html

    You keep on claiming “no independanty source” has confirmed Georgian claims. However no independant source has been able to refute them either.

    In addition Russia had repeatedly been in violation of its obligations as a peacekeeper under the CIS mandate, unilaterally violating the terms of the mandate by supplying the separatists with weapons, allowing them to make attacks on Georgians with impunity, andrepeatedly violating article 24 of the UN
    charter.

    In addition the International Court of Justice in the Hague, has ruled against Russia and the separatists.

    “”While the judges took great care to remind both sides they are bound by the standards of the International Convention against All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” Mr. Reichler added, “the Court’s order grants Georgia all the protection that it requested against the ethnic violence and forcible expulsions that Russia and its allies have been inflicting on ethnic Georgians continuously since the invasion and occupation of Georgian territory that began in August of this year.”

    He noted that the Court also sent a clear signal to Russia not to hinder international relief organizations on the ground trying to help Georgians who were injured or displaced by Russia’s military actions — assurances that Mr. Reichler and his co-counsel had explicitly requested at the emergency hearing last month in the wake of reports that Russia was prohibiting the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian assistance to Georgians located behind Russian lines.”

    http://pr.euractiv.com/?q=node/6268

    http://euobserver.com/9/22622

    As for Russian “peacekeepers”

    “As an occupying power in these areas, Russia failed in its duty under international humanitarian law to ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety. Instead of protecting civilians in the territories under its effective control, Russian forces allowed South Ossetian forces who followed in their path to engage in wanton and widescale pillage, the burning of Georgian homes and attacks on ethnic Georgian civilians. Such deliberate attacks are war crimes and, when committed as part of a widespread or systematic pattern, may also be prosecuted as crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch concluded that the actions of the Ossetian forces against ethnic Georgians in several villages in South Ossetia, coupled with their intent to ensure none returned, amounted to attempted ethnic cleansing.

    In Georgian territory adjacent to the South Ossetian administrative border, which at the time was occupied by Russia, South Ossetian militias looted, destroyed, and burned homes on a wide scale. They deliberately killed at least nine civilians, and raped at least two. Russian forces were at times involved in the looting and destruction, as passive bystanders or active participants, or by providing militias with transport into villages. ”

    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/01/30/georgia-war-auditing-damage

    http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/01/22/flames-0

    As for the Kosovo precedent

    THE KOSOVO PRECEDENT”

    Kosovo’s emergence as an independent state earlier this year was the culmination of an exhaustive international process to address the human rights disaster perpetrated by the Milosevic regime in Serbia that displaced more than half the province’s population.

    In 1999, after the ouster of Serbian forces, the U.N. Security Council – with Russia’s full agreement – established an interim U.N. administration, provided for local self-government, and provided for a political process to determine Kosovo’s future status, which contemplated possible independence.

    U.N. Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari developed a plan for independence only after arduous negotiations with all parties, incorporating detailed obligations to protect Kosovo Serbs and other ethnic communities.

    To date, 47 countries have recognized Kosovo, including all G7 states and more than three-quarters of European Union members.

    It is noteworthy that Russia fails to even mention the remarkable international effort that was at the heart of Kosovo’s long road to independence.

    The contrast with the Russian role in Georgia could not be more stark. U.S. diplomat Matthew Bryza, who served as a member of the U.N.’s “Group of Friends on Georgia,” said, “I have been struck by Russia’s consistent refusal to discuss any of the substantive issues that must be resolved if there was ever to be a peaceful resolution in Abkhazia.”

    LAW AND HUMANITARIAN ASPECTS

    Russian claims do not stand up to legal scrutiny, according to Paul Williams of the Public International Law and Policy Group, which has studied conflicts in the region.

    The repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo “occurred in direct defiance of the U.N. Security Council,” Williams said in a commentary on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, while “Russia’s claims of genocide in South Ossetia appear wholly unfounded.”

    Kosovo was an autonomous province under the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution, Williams argues, and had “virtually the same rights and responsibilities as the six Yugoslav republics, granting Kosovo an implied right of secession.”

    South Ossetia had no such right, according to Williams. “According to Article 72 of the 1977 Soviet Constitution, only the 15 republics possessed the right to secede from the union. Georgia emerged from the Soviet Union as an internationally recognized, independent state, and South Ossetia was considered part of its territory.”

    By citing a Kosovo precedent, Russia has tied itself in contradictory knots, as a recent commentary in the Economist magazine pointed out: “Russia itself is being incoherent in continuing to insist that Kosovo’s independence from Serbia is still illegal.”

    The United States and most European countries have long recognized Kosovo’s unique status. “We don’t see the independence of Kosovo as some kind of precedent that should in any way encourage other groups to break away from nation-states in Europe,” said Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns in a February briefing on formal U.S. recognition of Kosovo.

    Russia’s actions in Georgia also contradict a series of U.N. Security Council resolutions, which explicitly recognize Georgia’s territorial integrity, including UNSCR 1080, which was passed as recently as April 2008 with Russia’s consent, according to officials.

    Nevertheless, some experts anticipated that Russia might undertake a “mirror event” to NATO’s action in Kosovo, according to Sarah Mendelson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    “I was struck by the cynicism of Russian officials in citing ‘genocide’ by Georgia,” she said. “They were using examples from Bosnia and Kosovo in a very inflammatory way.”

    It is clear now that, far from protecting civilian populations, Russia failed to prevent human rights abuses by ethnic militias. Human Rights Watch charges that Russia has fostered lawlessness and brutality by these militias by withdrawing Russian forces but preventing the entry of Georgian police into border areas.

    “Perhaps the biggest difference between Kosovo and South Ossetia is this: The Kosovo campaign was, fundamentally, about Kosovo,” said Olga Oliker, policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, in a news commentary. “The conflict between Georgia and Russia is not about South Ossetia. [It is] the pretext Russia has used to demonstrate its power to its neighbors and to the world.”

    For more information, see Crisis in Georgia http://fpolicy.america.gov/fpolicy/security/georgia2.html

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