FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Georgian Plots?

by CONN HALLINAN

At the bottom of the recent demonstrations that have packed the capital city of Tbilisi with tens of thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of Georgian President Mikheil Saakavili is an investigation by the European Union (EU) as to who started last summer’s war between Georgia and Russia. According to a report in the German newspaper Der Spiegel, “A secret document may prove that the Georgian president had planned a war of aggression in South Ossetia.”

The Russians charge that Georgian troops launched a surprise attack on South Ossetia last Aug. 7, while Saakavili  claims that Georgia was merely defending itself from an invasion by 150 Russian tanks through the Roki Tunnel connecting South Ossetia with North Ossetia. The latter is part of Russia.

But an investigation by the EU has uncovered “Order No. 2” dated Aug. 7, that says that Georgia was not defending itself but acting to “reestablish  constitutional order” in South Ossetia. The EU is closely examining an Aug. 7 television interview in which Georgian Gen. Mamuka Kurashjvili  used just those words. President Saakavili announced Aug. 8 that “Most of South Ossetia’s territory is liberated.” He did not claim that Georgia was acting in “self-defense” until Aug. 11. By that time Russian troops had driven the Georgian Army out of South Ossetia and were within 31 miles of Tbilisi. The war lasted five days.

The general’s remarks, reports Der Spiegel, “indicate  that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was not repelling ‘Russian aggression,’ as he continues to claim to this day, but was planning a war of aggression.”

The EU commission questioned  the Russian deputy head of the general staff, Anatoly Nogovitsyn, who said that the Russians had intercepted Order No. 2, and that it indeed contained the phrase about reestablishing   constitutional order.  “If the order, which Russian intelligence intercepted, is authentic, it would prove that Saakashvili lied,” says Der Spiegel.

The investigation found that Georgia had massed 12,000 troops and 75 tanks on the South Ossetian border for the Aug. 7 attack. The Russians tanks did not transit the tunnel until Aug. 8. While the Commission is also critical of the Russians for meddling in South Ossetia and not preventing South Ossetians from destroying some Georgian villages, “the EU investigation seems to be more of a problem for Tbilisi than for Moscow,” according to Der Spiegel.

The Georgians refuse to turn over Order No. 2 to the commission, claiming it is a state secret. And Georgian Minister Temur Yakobashvili charges that the investigation is being funded by Russian gas giant, Gazprom. The commissioners , who reject the charges, are Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, and former German ambassador to Georgia, Uwe Schramm. Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer advises the commission.

“More and more former allies of Saakashvili are now blaming the authoritarian president for the war and calling for his resignation,” says Der Spiegel. Indeed, Nino Burjanadze, who helped lead the revolution that put Saakashvili into office, and Irakli Alasania, former Georgian ambassador to the United Nations, are leading the opposition demonstrations.

So far, Saakashvili has not unleashed the police as he did in breaking up similar rallies in 2007, but he arrested 10 opposition members on the eve of the current demonstrations, accusing them of planning a violent overthrow of the government. The charge is based on a secret tape that records a man identified as a “coordinator” for Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement—United Georgia Party saying that the former speaker is planning to provoke violence. Burjanadze denies knowing the so-called “coordinator” and says he has no position of authority in her organization.

Saakashvili, who came to power in 2003, says he has no intention of resigning and will finish out his term in 2013. But demonstrators say they will not disperse until he steps down and calls an early election.

The beleaguered president says he is willing to negotiate with the opposition, however most the people camped out in front of the Parliament say that the call for “talks” is a ploy. “He says things like this only for the U.S. and Europe,” farmer Amiran Tsertskhladze told The New York Times, “but no one here believes he really wants dialogue.”

Sobering thought for the week: Only the opposition of Germany and France kept the Bush Administration from adding Georgia to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) back in 2007. While the Obama Administration is not currently pushing for Georgia to join the alliance, the country’s membership is still on the agenda. Had Georgia been a NATO member during the Russia-Georgia War, it would have triggered Article 5 of the treaty requiring member states to come to Georgia’s aid—and NATO might have been snookered into a war with Russia.

CONN HALLINAN can be reached at: ringoanne@sbcglobal.net

Conn Hallinan can be read at dispatchesfromtheedgeblog.wordpress.com 

February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail