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Who’s to blame for the Russian Georgian war?

Pepe Escobar: Georgia is a strategic client state of the US with close ties to the Bush administration

Georgian troops launched an aerial bombardment and ground attack on its separatist province of South Ossetia on Thursday. South Ossetians want to join up with their ethnic brethren in North Ossetia, an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation. Seeing this as an act of aggression Russia launched bombing raids against Georgia, vowing to defend its citizens. More than half of South Ossetia’s citizens are said to have taken up Moscow’s offer of a Russian passport. Pepe Escobar believes that “the hypocrisy of the international community knows no bounds for if the West forced the issue of Kosovar independence then the independence of South Ossetia should also be on the cards.”

Transcript

PEPE ESCOBAR, SENIOR ANALYST: If you believe the very, very loud hordes of Russian-haters in the US—politicians, lobbyists, corporate media—we are back to the Cold War, and the Russian bear is behaving like the invasion of Hungary in ’56 and Czechoslovakia in ’68. Well, this is absolute rubbish. To understand the real story, let’s take a look at the map. Georgia is a strategic so-called democracy in the Caucasus since the 2003 US-engineered Rose Revolution. It wants to be part of NATO, it provides the US with 2,000 troops in Iraq, it wants to be part of US missile defense shield, and it hosts a stretch of the BTC pipeline, the Baku-to-Ceyhan pipeline in Turkey. Basically, it’s a US client state in the middle of the Caucasus. Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president, unpopular at home, implicated in monstrous corruption scandals, thought the Beijing Olympics gave him a fabulous opening to solve the problems Georgia has with separatist South Ossetia, since 1989, for that matter. So he staged a surprise invasion supported by the US. If we look at the map, we see that North Ossetia is in Russia and South Ossetia is in Georgia. Only 82,000 people. They don’t want independence; they want to unite with North Ossetia. The last referendum in the region was in November 2006. Ninety-one percent of attendance. Ninety-nine percent, they voted for union with North Ossetia and Russia. And the referendum was totally ignored by Georgia, the US, and in Europe. Once Saakashvili decided to attack South Ossetia last week, he was applying Pentagon tactics. US troops had just finished teaching Georgians how to ethnically cleanse an area. That was part of the so-called, I quote, “Georgian-US Immediate Response 2008 Military Exercises.” This whole thing ended less than two weeks ago, on July 31. Saakashvili’s game was to smash South Ossetia. In fact, his troops killed more than 2,000 civilians, destroyed the capital, Tskhinvali, killed 10 Russian peacekeepers, at least, provoked an exodus of 35,000 people to North Ossetia. He wanted to profit from the spotlight being on the Olympics, of course, but he also had to solve two huge problems: NATO does not accept states involved in territorial disputes, and the Bush administration, key supporters of Georgia, is on the way out. The Russians saw this for what it was, a search-and-destroy mission, ethnic cleansing, and a huge provocation to boot. After all, Russian citizens were killed—99 percent of the population of South Ossetia is ethnically Russian. For the Russians, this is exactly what the West said was happening in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and they saw it, the Russians, as a test-run for the breakup of the Russian Caucasus. Does that all remind us of Kosovo? Yes, it does. But Ossetia is not Kosovo, as the Russians are the first to tell us. The hypocrisy of this so-called international community knows no bounds. If the US and Europe actually forced the independence of Kosovo, they should have to admit that the independence of South Ossetia and the other separatist Georgian province, Abkhazia, is also in the cards. And then there’s oil and pipelines. That’s where the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline fits in. The pipeline is just one factor in a much, much bigger picture. And that’s the attempt sponsored by the US, and joined by many other former Soviet satellites, to cripple all traces of Russian influence, economic, politic, diplomatic, military, not only in the Caucasus, but in Central Asia as well. To believe that Russia would accept any of this is to live in Fantasy Land like US corporate media, or Brzezinski, for that matter, former national security advisor to Jimmy Carter, an informal advisor to Barack Obama. The McCain campaign is infested with Rusophobia. McCain wants to expel Russia from the G8. But Brzezinski may be even more dangerous. This is the guy who gave the Soviets their Vietnam in Afghanistan, facilitating the rebirth of radical jihadist Islam. Brzezinski’s the godfather of al-Qaeda. Brzezinski now says that the Russian invasion of Georgia—and he forgets to say that it was Georgia that attacked South Ossetia first—is like Stalin’s attack on Finland. Well, we should not forget that Brzezinski himself negotiated the BTC pipeline in Baku in the mid-’90s. The Russians will not bomb his pipeline as it has been reported—not a single confirmation in the Russian press or international agencies. What the Russians want is to teach Saakashvili a lesson. In essence, George Bush, enjoying his swimming competitions in Beijing, is not in a position to say anything to Vladimir Putin. What Putin is more or less saying to the US and to Europe is that South Ossetia should do what the population of South Ossetia wants: independence from Georgia, a new referendum, union with North Ossetia, which is the ethnic twin of South Ossetia on the northern side of the Caucasus Mountains. Saakashvili, well, he can scream in English on CNN as much as he wants. He’s already being blamed by the Georgian opposition for his reckless adventure. He was also blamed because he ignored that US badly needs Russia to solve the Iranian nuclear dossier. And he’s being blamed because he ignored that Europe is in the middle of a very complex negotiation with Russia for access to Russian gas—Europe depends on Russian gas. As for Russian hawks with a Cold War mentality, and there are plenty, Dick Cheney said that Russia’s actions in Georgia, I quote, “must not go unanswered.” Well, maybe he should take Putin for some quality quail hunting.

Bio

Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He’s been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of Globalistan and also Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge both published by Nimble Books in 2007.

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By Shiva – Aug 13th, 2008

obama-mccain-georgia-russia-war fake

-And the thousands of innocent Georgian and Ossetian lives are sacrificed to achieve it? Are Putin and George Bush shaking hands behind the closed doors?

WHAT IS GOING ON? HOW CAN ANYONE BELIEVE ANYTHING THESE PEOPLE ARE SAYING? THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES HAVE STRENGHTENED MY BELIEF THAT WE MUST ELECT BARACK OBAMA IF WE ARE TO SAVE OUR WORLD FROM THESE MADMEN!!!!

In the attack on Ossetia by Georgia, President Saashkhavili seems to have miscalculated the level of response by the Russians. This may be due in part to the suggestions made by his top adviser who just happens to be McCains top foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann. Scheunemann who works as a lobbyist for Georgia to help them obtain weapons from the US, also serves as a strategic and tactical adviser to Georgia. McCain and Scheunemann have visited Georgia as many as 15 times since 2004 to assist in the deployment of the military and to advise on foreign policy including a bid to join NATO and tactical advise on Russia. One has to wonder if McCain and Scheunemann recent advise was intended to create a small skirmish that would assist McCain in his presidential bid. Both McCain and Scheunemann were likely surprised that Russia would take the opportunity to consider overthrowing the Georgian government. But you know what they say about playing with fire.

Now it is going to be a war of wills between McCain and Putin and neither will win. McCains roots go further back with Georgia. He was the primary force behind arming Georgia in exchange for their acting as one of our few allies in Iraq. McCain and his top foreign policy adviser (who also happens to be a lobbyist paid by Georgia to get weapons and training from the US) have been advising Georgia since 2004 on how to deal with Russia.

This is currently backfiring on McCain (and the US) because Putin is pointing the finger and the blame for the Georgian invasion squarely on the US. Today Putin condemned the overnight US operations that airlifted soldiers out of Iraq so they could fight Russian forces in Ossetia. Many, including McCain have threatened sanctions and other actions against Russia if they do not stand down from the conflict.

This shifts the conflict from the battle front to a dispute between Russia and the US, and in particular with McCain who has been taunting Putin for some time in a war of words. Putin has retaliated saying that top members in the US are acting like we are in the midst of the past cold war, and that their actions are not in line with the current peaceful relationship.

Although McCain is not President in the US he has taken center stage to both condemn Russia and call on the world to threaten sanctions against Russia if they do not stand down and comply with US request.

Russia, the 3rd largest military superpower in the world maintains an arsenal of nuclear weapons pointed directly at the US. In addition, Russia’s primary allies include China, the Middle East including Iran and any other communist regime who might side against the US.

The McCain camp who has publicly stated that a conflict such as this could help their campaign are surely overjoyed at the prospect of war with Russia as it would all but ensure his presidency.

[my.barackobama.com]

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