Saakashvili Confronts Russians in Disputed Region in Georgia - October, 2007

Words wont do it any justice. Just watch the Al-Jazeera video link below and see for yourselves just how volatile the situation has become between the Russian Federation and Georgia:
Russia's strained relations with Georgia (video report from Al-Jazeera):
"...immediately get your people out of here our patience is finished. We have ordered our military to defend with all possible means and resources and as you are aware we have resources..."

For the life of me I still can't figure this guy out.

It's only a matter of time. All it will take is one wrong move or an intentional preplanned action, by either side, and we will have a major war in the region on our hands. Suicidal tendencies in Georgia continue unabated. Tbilisi seems very confident that Washington DC, Brussels, Tel Aviv and/or Ankara will save them once the proverbial shit-hits-the-fanFrom the Baltic to the Balkans, from the Caucasus to the Middle East, from Central-Asia to the Far-East, lines are currently being drawn by various powers in preparation of an imminent global conflict.


Saakashvili Confronts Russians in Disputed Region in Georgia


Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili confronted Russian peacekeepers in a breakaway region after three Georgian policemen were detained and allegedly beaten by Russian soldiers, reigniting tensions between the two countries. Saakashvili flew by helicopter yesterday to the border of Abkhazia, 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Russia's 2014 Winter Olympics host city of Sochi, to demand an apology from the Russians and to order their commander, Sergei Chaban, to leave the region. "Our patience is coming to an end,'' Saakashvili said, according to his Web site. "Yhe peacekeepers who are here to protect the local population have for many years allowed the killing of people, the abduction of people and the extortion of their money.'' Georgia has accused Russia of trying to destabilize the country and backing separatists in Abkhazia. The region broke away during a war in the 1990s and has a pro-Russian leadership and Russian peacekeepers. Saakashvili has pledged to bring it back under central control. The Georgian policemen were disarmed and detained after they confronted a Russian patrol, Interfax news agency reported, citing Alexander Diordiyev, a spokesman for the peacekeepers. The commander of the Georgian police squad threatened ``to use force against the peacekeepers,'' the Russian news agency cited him as saying. About 2,000 Russian peacekeepers are deployed in Abkhazia under a 1994 cease-fire agreement that is monitored by a United Nations mission.

Emergency Meeting

Saakashvili yesterday convened an emergency meeting of his security council and said Georgia will ask the UN to review the mandate of the peacekeepers in Abkhazia. Tensions between Russia and Georgia rose in August after the Caucasus country said Russian aircraft fired a missile onto its territory. Georgia called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to condemn the attack. Russia accused Georgia of fabricating the attack to draw attention away from demands for independence by Abkhazia and a second breakaway region, South Ossetia. Ties between Russia and Georgia have been strained since Saakashvili won power in Georgia's so-called Rose Revolution of 2003 and vowed to lead the former Soviet republic into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and away from Russia. In September last year, Georgia expelled four Russian soldiers for alleged espionage. President Vladimir Putin retaliated by cutting road, rail, air and sea links with Georgia, a country of 4.6 million people that borders Russia and Turkey.

Youth Camp

Saakashvili said yesterday the policemen detained were part of a group established to protect a youth camp that Georgia set up in an area of Abkhazia under central control. The policemen "were subjected to a truly criminal and bandit-like attack,'' Saakashvili said, according to a transcript. "They were disarmed, their hands were bound and they were beaten sadistically.'' The incident was captured on video, meaning it couldn't be ignored by Russia, he said.Saakashvili is under pressure at home after Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili said this week he will fund the country's opposition. Anti-Saakashvili forces began to strengthen in late September after the arrest of Irakli Okruashvili on charges related to his tenure as defense minister between 2004 and 2006. Thousands rallied to protest Saakashvili's "dictatorial regime.'' A large-scale demonstration outside Parliament is planned for Nov. 2, the anniversary of the Rose Revolution.


In related news:

Russian diplomat: It is a question why the Georgian leadership is concentrating armaments near the conflict zones

The Russian Foreign Ministry has once again called on Georgia to sign legally-binding agreements on the non-use of force and security guarantees with Sukhumi and Tskhinvali. "We are continuing to call on Tbilisi to sign legally-binding agreements with Sukhumi and Tskhinvali on the non-use of force and security guarantees. This would be a real step forward" in settling the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts, Russian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Grigory Karasin said in an interview with INTERFAX. In this light, former Georgian President "Eduard Shevardnadze's statements that Sukhumi and Tskhinvali are refusing to maintain dialogue with support from Moscow are lies from beginning to end," Karasin said. "Everything is just the opposite, and our Georgian partners are perfectly aware of this. Russia's mediating and peacekeeping functions will continue," he said. Moscow is worried by Georgia's accelerated militarization, including its efforts toward beefing up its military presence near the Abkhaz and South Ossetian borders, he said. "It is difficult to get rid of doubts about Tbilisi's true intentions. For instance, Georgia is reinforcing its military unit in the upper part of the Kodori Gorge, where the situation is already extremely tense after the UN Security Council recorded Georgia's gross violation of the 1994 Moscow Accords on the separation of sides and ceasefire last year," Karasin said. "In the Abkhaz area, the construction of a large military base in Senaki is nearing completion and a military airfield is being reconstructed, and heavy military equipment is also being concentrated in the Zugdidi district," Karasin said.

"A similar situation is near the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone," he said. "While the Georgian leadership is saying it is seeking to peacefully resolve the conflicts, it is a question why the Georgian leadership is concentrating armaments near the conflict zones," he said. "Sukhumi and Tskhinvali are following Georgia's military preparations with alarm," he said. "After the tragedy that happened in the early 1990s, the people's desire to ensure peaceful and safe life is quite understandable and logical," he said. Grigory Karasin also slammed a recent appeal by former Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze for an international boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Shevardnadze argued that Russia's policy on Abkhazia and South Ossetia is similar to the Soviet policy on Afghanistan that triggered the war of 1979-88 in that country. "I am forced to admit, though I regret this, that the politician [Shevardnadze] has lost his sense of moderation. Experience and wisdom are normally used to help achieve progress and look for constructive solutions. All that ultimatums do is to annoy and fan emotions," Karasin told Interfax. "It is absurd to compare the current conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to the Afghanistan situation of 1980," Karasin said. "It is simply politically indecent to throw in the issue of the 2014 Olympic Games with a clear purpose. Let's abandon methods of intimidation. They will hardly be helpful," he said. "Georgia's conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which remain unsettled, are not the consequence of Russian policies but the result of nationalistic and provocative actions by the Georgian leadership at the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s," the deputy minister said. "That is what forced the Abkhaz and Ossetians to take up arms in order to protect themselves," he said.

"Alas, it is unfortunately far from possible to put into practice Shevardnadze's idea that the Georgians would be able to reach agreement both with the Abkhaz and with the Ossetians directly, without any mediation," Karasin said. Karasin also denied Shevardnadze's point that the fact that there are Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia means there is a Russian military presence in the two regions. "Here we have an obvious replacement of notions. By decision of the Heads of State Council of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States], a Commonwealth Joint Peacekeeping Force has been deployed in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict since 1994," Karasin said. The force's personnel is entirely Russian. "Sad though it is, [Shevardnadze] has forgotten that it is the achievement of the force that, for many years, peace and order have been maintained in the region, there exists a secure regime for the return of refugees and patrolling programs are being conducted jointly with UN observers," Karasin said. UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution #1781, the latest on the Abkhaz conflict, credit the peacekeepers with playing an important stabilizing role, he said.


U.S. State Department sees Georgia as potential NATO member

Daniel Fried, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European affairs, said Georgia is part of Europe and a potential member of NATO. Addressing an international forum on Eastern Europe in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Fried said Washington backed Georgia's ambition to join the Western security alliance. The ex-Soviet state has been looking to integrate into Europe and NATO since its pro-Western leadership came to power on the back of the bloodless "rose revolution" in 2003. Fried said Georgia needed to improve its democratic credentials before it could join NATO, and praised the progress that the South Caucasus nation, home to 5 million, had already made. He said much would depend on Georgia's future leadership and on the people, and stressed that a functioning opposition is a key sign of a healthy democracy. A Georgian opposition leader, former defense minister Irakly Okruashvili, was arrested in late September after accusing President Mikheil Saakashvili of corruption and plotting the murder of a political opponent, an allegation denied by the president. Okruashvili was released on bail and flown to Europe earlier Thursday, one day ahead of an opposition rally set for Friday. The Georgian opposition plans to campaign for parliamentary elections to be held in spring 2008. President Saakashvili, however, has proposed extending lawmakers' term from four to five years, which would allow parliamentary and presidential elections to be held simultaneously. Under the current constitution, parliamentary polls are held every four years, and presidential elections every five years.


Moscow accuses Tbilisi of attacking Russian helicopter

Russia has accused Georgia of attacking a Russian peacekeeping helicopter in the Georgian rebel republic of Abkhazia, according to reports on Interfax. The incident is the latest in an escalating round of tit-for-tat accusations between Moscow and Tbilisi. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili personally confronted Russian peacekeeping forces yesterday after three Georgian policemen were detained and allegedly beaten by Russian soldiers. 'A bullet hit the helicopter, damaging the door of the undercarriage,' a spokesman for the Russian forces, Alexandre Diordyev, told Interfax. The shots were fired in a zone where Georgian forces are situated, in the village of Ganmoukhouri, he added.


Russia refuses to replace army commander in Georgia

Russia rejected on Wednesday a Georgian demand it replace the Russian commander of a peacekeeping force in its breakaway region of Abkhazia and blamed Georgia for tensions in the area. President Mikhail Saakashvili demanded the sacking of General Sergei Chaban after his soldiers briefly detained Georgian servicemen on Tuesday. Abkhazia is a serious source of friction between Georgia and its former imperial master. The peacekeepers say the Georgians were detained after threatening them with weapons in a security zone they patrol between Abkhazia and Georgia proper. Tbilisi says the Russians raided the Georgian territory and seized its soldiers. The Russian deputy Ground Force commander, General Valery Yevnevich, told Interfax news agency Chaban could be replaced only by the leaders of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States, who had authorised his appointment. "Until such a decision is made, the current commander Sergei Chaban will go on carrying out his duties," Yevnevich said. "The peacekeeping force carries out an extremely important task not to allow the renewal of a military conflict and they cannot be left without a command," he added. Russia sent peacekeepers to Abkhazia in 1993 after a bloody war in which Tbilisi lost control over the Black Sea province. Disagreements over Abkhazia and Georgia's other breakaway province of South Ossetia, where Russia also has a peacekeeping force, are the greatest irritant in strained bilateral ties.


Georgia's pro-Western government accuses Moscow of standing behind separatists and demands that the Russian peacekeepers are replaced by a neutral international force. Russia rejects such demands, saying Tbilisi seeks to take back Abkhazia by force. The Tuesday incident was the latest in a string of clashes, which have become increasingly frequent since Saakashvili became president in 2004 and proclaimed a course towards Georgia's integration into NATO and the European Union. Georgia's parliament has also called for the Russian peacekeepers to withdraw but has not yet decided on what conditions. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin on Wednesday spoke by phone with Chaban and the peacekeepers' commander in South Ossetia Marat Kulakhmetov, the Foreign ministry said in a statement. "It was noted that restraint and calm are needed in the atmosphere of mounting provocations by the Georgian side, which are fraught with the destabilisation of situation along the Russian borders," the statement said. The statement said Chaban and Kulakhmentov informed the deputy minister that "their contingents act exclusively within the framework of their international mandate".


Saakashvili: Georgia has no claims for Sochi, but let others have no claims for Abkhazia

Georgia does not plan to practice neutrality in its foreign policy and must increase its military capacity, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said speaking to graduates of the Military Academy in Tbilisi today. According to him, Georgia will have a modern, few in number, but very well equipped army, the one Georgia has never had in its history. As the Georgian leader said, Georgia is forming its Armed Forces on a new basis. Saakashvili believes that Georgia’s ill-wishers “have several key tasks”: “First, it is to get rid of the acting government, because, contrary to the government of 1921, it can give orders when necessary. The second one is to throw in an idea of neutrality to Georgia.” Saakashvili reminded that in 1920, Georgia signed such a treaty with Russia and “six months later Georgia was occupied and subjugated again.” He explained that Georgian politicians of those times did not expect help from Europe and with the treaty on neutrality were trying to “satisfying those, who wanted our subjugation.” Meanwhile, Saakashvili reminded that Georgia has no claims for Sochi. “But let nobody have claims for the territory several kilometers away from Sochi.” At the same time he emphasized that his country remains adherent to principles of democracy and good neighborhood, but it “would never make pledges that could bind it later.” Mikhail Saakashvili stressed that Russia imposed a 100-percent trade and economic embargo against Georgia. “Any other country would collapse after that, but we had 14-percent economic growth this year only,” Saakashvili said adding that the economic growth in Russia was 6-6.5%. “Georgia managed to develop better than Russia that has oil and gas, because our resource is people and freedom,” he said.


News from the past:


September 21, 1999

With increasing frequency, Russian officials are charging that Islamic fighters, weapons and funds are being funneled via Georgia and Azerbaijan to terrorist groups in the North Caucasus. Such charges have been aired in recent days by Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Federation Council Chairman Yegor Stroev, Duma Chairman Gennady Seleznev, Duma Defense Committee Chairman Roman Popkovich, and Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov (head of the Defense Ministry's Main Department for International Military Cooperation). None of these has cited any supportive evidence.

The timing and venue of some of these statements adds to their significance. Ivanov spoke out on the subject as he emerged from a meeting with President Boris Yeltsin; Stroev, following a closed-door session of the Federation Council on the events in the North Caucasus; and Seleznev as the Duma included those accusations in a special resolution on the situation in the Caucasus. This seems to reflect a growing political backing in Moscow for the use of pressure on Azerbaijan and Georgia, as was the case during the 1995-96 Russian-Chechen war, when Moscow made similar allegations which it was never able to substantiate.

In Baku, senior presidential adviser Vafa Guluzade and National Security Minister Namig Abbasov dismissed the latest charges directed at Azerbaijan as baseless. But the wording of their statements has been remarkably restrained, and other Azerbaijani officials have said nothing. Baku seems intent on preserving the recent, slight warm-up in its bilateral relations with Russia (see the Monitor, September 10) against collateral damage from the war in the North Caucasus.

Georgian officials, for their part, have been more forthright in discussing the potential implications of Moscow's assertions. State Minister [equivalent to prime minister] Vazha Lortkipanidze, who is known for his conciliatory attitude toward Russia, expressed concern that the allegations might presage "an attempt to involve Georgia in the North Caucasus conflict and destabilize the situation in Georgia itself." President Eduard Shevardnadze's adviser on international law, Levan Aleksidze, urged Russia to "stop painting Georgia in the enemy's image" and described the situation in the North Caucasus as evidence of Moscow's "policy error" of supporting separatism in the South even as it combats "separatism" in the North. Georgia's border troops commander, Lieutenant-General Valery Chkheidze, termed the accusations against Georgia "demagogic," designed for internal political consumption.

These Georgian officials, and an official statement of Georgia's Foreign Ministry, all underscored Georgia's interest in upholding the principle of territorial integrity and preservation of existing borders. Azerbaijani President Haidar Aliev--during talks with a Council of Europe delegation in Baku--emphasized Azerbaijan's interest in upholding the same principles and in thwarting Islamic fundamentalism. Specifically, Aliev mentioned Azerbaijan's interest in the restoration of stability in neighboring Dagestan (Itar-Tass, Turan, Azad-Inform, Radio Tbilisi, Prime-News, September 14-19; Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 15).


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The last 20 years has helped me see the Russian nation as the last front on earth against the scourges of Westernization, Americanization, Globalism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western/European civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. These sobering realizations compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of Cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and perhaps the only voice preaching about the strategic importance of Armenia's close ties to the Russian nation. From about 2010 to 2015, I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult for me as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling, dare I say voice, inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

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