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Victory comes from within!

Monday, August 18
Since the Russian invasion and the bombing of Georgia, journalists and pundits from all over the world have been covering these events. Everyone has an opinion and an analysis, be it the long term expert or the weekend reporter who has been sent to Georgia from the other side of the world.

Several major points are intensely discussed and debated. The first is: who started the hostilities? Naive, wrongly-informed or badly-intentioned people claim that the Russian invasion happened in response to the Georgian attack on South Ossetia; however, satellite pictures taken a few hours before the move of the Georgian troops into South Ossetia clearly show a heavy presence of Russian tanks in the area.

The swift invasion of Georgia within a few hours of the start of hostilities is clear proof that the Russian army was long-prepared and fully mobilized for this operation. A Russian commander claimed on August 14th that it will take several days for the Russian Army to be able to withdraw from Georgia due to normal logistical considerations. By itself this statement is a blatant demonstration that the Russians were the ones who invaded South Ossetia first; if it takes several days to withdraw, how could South Ossetia and Georgia be invaded within a few hours?

Let it be clear to everyone, the Russian decision to invade Georgia was taken and planned long ago; Russians were waiting for any pretext to do so. If the Georgian Army wouldn’t have entered South Ossetia, some fireworks during a wedding ceremony would have been a sufficient pretext!

As part of its media propaganda campaign, the Russian Government accused Georgia of genocide. Frankly and with the history of then President Putin in Chechnya, listening to such allegations equates to hearing a family of vampires talking about the benefits of being vegetarian. Let us not forget how four hundred thousand ethnic Georgians were thrown out of Abkhazia by forty thousand ethnic Abkhaz fully backed by the Russian army.

The whole world has unanimously condemned the Russian aggression and invasion of Georgia; however, today, the European Community is facing the challenge of preserving its own internal harmony, with its eastern countries advocating a tough stand against Russia while its western countries express a much more qualified position, due to the huge economic implications and risk to their interests of such a step. Each year German imports from Russia amount to 30 billion Euros, 70% of which is for oil and gas import only. In this context, should we expect Germany to hold high the beacon of democracy and freedom, and defend those values, or will it bow to the painful reality of being taken economic hostage by Russia? The next few days will answer such questions.

Georgians should be extremely wary not to fall into the Russian trap in the coming weeks, when Russia will try to play the textbook game of gaining time, keeping its forces in Georgia, but carefully avoiding any military confrontation and betting on a growing discontent in the suffering Georgian population and therefore increased criticism of their own Government. Russia has tried to overthrow the Georgian Government several times in the past, be it by imposing very harsh economic sanctions on Georgia or through the manipulation of naive and gullible opposition parties in November 2007. Russian tactics failed then, as did their attempt to overthrow President Saakashvili militarily this week.

The strongest weapon of Georgia today is the cohesion and solidarity of its people. Georgia can easily win this war if unanimously clustered around President Saakashvili.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion and to criticize this or that, but the fact remains that at this stage it is still too early to see clearly into the events and draw any rational conclusions. Any criticism of the Government now is extremely counterproductive and can only lead to a loss of self-confidence and the weakening of the whole country.

I therefore call on each and every one of us to be clearly conscious of the issues at stake and to act maturely and responsibly. Despite what night owls and fishermen in troubled waters have to say, I am fully confident and very serene about the future of Georgia. I know for a fact that shortly the country will be up and running and in a much more stable political environment than it ever was. We will all be very surprised with the size of investments pouring into the country very soon, to the great disappointment of all ill wishers; therefore let us all stand united.

Fady Asly
Chairman Agritechnics Holding
Chairman ICC-Georgia