Compiled by Ana Robakidze
Wednesday, August 22Saakashvili finally refused the post of Prime Minister?
Newspaper “Rezonansi” stated that the constitutional changes expanding the powers of the Prime Minister were enacted by the President for his own benefit and that he intends to become Prime Minister after his term as President ends, a la Putin. Furthering speculation is that Saakashvili has never made any statements about whether he intends to become Prime Minister or not. However since the government named current Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili to be the Prime Ministerial candidate in this year's elections it seems that the President has no plans to become PM.
On the way to Karabakh through Georgia?!
The military analysis magazine “Arsenali” in the article “On the way to Karabakh through Georgia? Turkey thinks Russia should refrain from supporting Armenia in the Karabakh conflict” states that Saina Ogan, a member of the Turkish Parliament and the head of the Strategic Research Center, made a controversial statement to one of the Turkish media sources: " In case Russia provides any kind of military support to Armenia, this will be a reason not for only Armenia and Russia to become involved in the conflict, but for other countries as well. War may put Russia in a very difficult situation.”
Ogan has also confirmed that in case Russia supports Armenia in the conflict, Turkey will oppose them.
The article also stresses the possible role of Georgia in the conflict and the ways in which Turkey could supply military aid to Azerbaijan. Turkey could attack Armenia across their shared (and closed) border. Another possibility would be to transport troops and weapons through Georgian territory, and thereby bring another country into the conflict, as Armenia would be forced to stop Azeri supply routes by attacking Georgian highways and possibly even enlisting the support of Georgian citizens of Armenian ancestry.
Having taken an official responsibility to protect and support Armenia, Russia will not remain just a neutral observer should the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region escalate. All roads from Russia to Armenia run through Georgia. Flying across Georgian airspace (which is currently closed for Russian aircraft) would be the easiest way to transport military supplies to Armenia. After the 2008 war it does not seem likely that the Georgian government would try to take down or land Russian military or transport jets should they violate Georgian airspace. It does seem very likely that should the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh erupt again Georgia would become involved at some point, whether it wants to or not.