A war waiting to happen

Source: Asia Times


A war waiting to happen

Asia Times Online   July 16, 2008
By F William Engdahl

The Caucasus Republic of Georgia, as nations go, is not apparently a major global player. Yet Washington has invested huge sums and organized to put its own despot, Mikhail Saakashvili, in the presidency in order to close a nuclear North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) iron ring around Russia.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited the capital Tbilisi and made sharp statements against Moscow for supporting the separatist Georgian states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in essence blaming Moscow for an imminent war Washington has incited in order to bring Georgia into NATO by the December NATO summit.

Western media have either tended to ignore the growing tensions in the strategic Caucasus region or to suggest, as Rice does, that

the entire conflict is being caused by Moscow’s support of the “breakaway” republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In reality, a quite different chess game is being played in the region, one which has the potential to detonate a major escalation of tensions between Moscow and NATO.

The underlying issue is the fact that since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, one after the other former members as well as former states of the USSR have been coaxed and in many cases bribed with false promises by Washington into joining the counter organization, NATO.

Rather than initiate discussions after the 1991 dissolution of the Warsaw Pact about a systematic dissolution of NATO, Washington has systematically converted NATO into what can only be called the military vehicle of an American global imperial rule, linked by a network of military bases from Kosovo to Poland to Turkey to Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 1999, former Warsaw Pact members Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic joined NATO. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia followed in March 2004. Now Washington is putting immense pressure on the European Union members of NATO, especially Germany and France, that they vote in December to admit Georgia and Ukraine.

The Georgia-Abkhazia military picture
The present escalation of tensions in the region began in May when Abkhazia said it had shot down two Georgian drones over its airspace. The announcement came two weeks after Georgia accused Russia of shooting down an unmanned drone over Abkhazia, which Tbilisi considers its sovereign territory. Moscow has denied involvement.

Russia has administered a peacekeeping contingent in Abkhazia and South Ossetia since bloody conflicts in the 1990s, and sent additional troops to Abkhazia recently to deter what it calls a planned Georgian military offensive. The two sides, Georgia and Abkhazia, have been in a state of suspended conflict since 1993, when Abkhaz separatists, backed by Russian forces, succeeded in driving the Georgians out of the province.

Tbilisi claims sovereignty over Abkhazia and South Ossetia and refers to both as “breakaway republics”. In 2001, Georgian troops joined with anti-Moscow mujahideen-trained Chechyn soldiers from neighboring Russian Muslim province of Chechnya to mount a military attack, unsuccessfully, against Abkhazia.



More: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/JG16Ag01.html

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