Sunday, August 10, 2008

Georgia, Ossetia, Russia: Info Ops and Fighting

FYI for readers: Just to reiterate. The reason this story is being tracked fairly closely (well, cherry-picking mainstream media stories...) is that, in my opinion deep in the FutureJacked bunker, this is an explosive mix of oil, an effort by Russia to shove a new reality down the throat of the West in its own backyard and to track the potential blowback as relates to Georgia's relationship with Western oil majors, Israel, etc. This is the kind of thing with the potential to spill over into the region as a whole, especially as Russia continues to pound Georgia in the face of calls for a cease-fire.

UPDATE: the hits just keep on coming for Georgia. From Bloomberg, "Russian Troops Enter Georgia, Seize Military Base"

UPDATE: from the NYT, "Georgia Fight Spreads, Moscow Issues Ultimatum" The BTC pipeline is still intact, so it looks like this is more about getting an acceptable (to Russia) "leader" installed in Tblisi and not as much about Western oil.

UPDATE: from the BBC, "Georgia move fails to halt raids" Looks like the Bear is trying to make a significant statement. Watch where the bombs fall - I was surpised to see Tblisi International Airport get hit. I'll be shocked if the BTC Pipeline gets cut.

The conflict on the ground continues, even in the face of expectations that a cease-fire was in the works.

By the way, in the video above, notice the media jackals using that poor woman at the 26 second mark for a juicy photo op while she bleeds out the back of her head. I know, I know, their job is to document things, but still...

Russia takes control of South Ossetian capital
By James Kilner
Tblisi,Georgia (Reuters) - Russian troops took most of the capital of the separatist Georgian region of South Ossetia on Sunday after a three-day battle but the United States condemned Moscow's "dangerous and disproportionate" action.

Russia poured troops and tanks across its southern border into Georgia and bombed Georgian targets after Tbilisi attempted on Thursday evening to retake South Ossetia, a small pro-Russian province which broke away from Georgia in the 1990s.

In a possible opening of a second front in the conflict, Georgia accused Russia of starting a military operation on Sunday in Abkhazia, another separatist region of Georgia to the west of South Ossetia. Moscow denied involvement...

Info Ops Ramp Up

The first casualty of war being truth and all that, the Russians are taking some interesting paths with their Info Ops on this war. They aren't just focusing on accusing the Georgians of genocide and lauding the noble "freedom fighters" in South Ossetia. They are painting a picture of deep Western involvement in a conflict that is killing Russian soldiers.

Note this clip out of Russia, claiming mercenaries are present among Georgian forces:

While probably just propaganda to help fuel the "us against the world" mindset rulers want when going to war, this bears watching. I don't think Russia wants a wider conflict, but they sure seem to be trotting out potential justifications in case they decide a larger war is necessary.

And there's another issue that could add fuel to the fire. This one centers on the issue of Israeli support to Georgian forces.

War in Georgia: The Israeli connection
by Arie Egozi , Ynet news
The fighting which broke out over the weekend between Russia and Georgia has brought Israel's intensive involvement in the region into the limelight. This involvement includes the sale of advanced weapons to Georgia and the training of the Georgian army's infantry forces.

The Defense Ministry held a special meeting Sunday to discuss the various arms deals held by Israelis in Georgia, but no change in policy has been announced as of yet...

With the current tensions over Iran's nuclear program at a fever pitch (at least rhetorically), throwing the ever-controversial State of Israel into the calculus in the Caucasus has the potential for blowback all over the place. Definitely keep an eye attuned for stories involving Israel and Georgia.


Anonymous said...

The total inaction by the United States and European military makes it clear that there is a double standard in international relations. Russia will get away with military invasion of Georgia and wherever it chooses to go.

This bodes ill for Israel facing missile attacks and invasion from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Iraq. US military treaties mean nothing if we are not willing to send our fleets and forces.

Talk makes no differences. Land grabs and bombing across borders are acts of war. President Bush sitting on his bottom in Beijing has sold out to Iran and caved to Russia. He has taken no steps to prevent the rearming of Southern Lebanon as agreed during the ceasefire.

Israel, Turkey and Georgia have plans for a a gas pipeline that Russia won't permit. So much for free trade when one country invades another to prevent economic projecs.

So much for democracy when ilitary powers demand the replacement of elected leaders.

Flagg707 said...

Talk certainly doesn't seem to be making a difference here. Georgia is on the receiving end of a stark message from Russia, it would appear. I would agree that this bodes ill for the future, especially if other powers decide to test other hot spots where the U.S. has military commitments...