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Will the maniac strike again?

By Messenger Staff
Friday, February 20
The results of the Geneva talks are encouraging at first glance. If international law and order are observed the agreement reached in Switzerland will provide the foundation for security guarantees around the Russian occupied zones.

However the question arises: Will the maniac strike again? Certain Russian analysts predict that Russia will launch a repeat attack on Georgia as soon as the snow melts in the Caucasus roads and passes – that means sometimes around May. Among these pessimists is Pavel Felgengauer, who was the first to predict the previous Moscow aggression and did so long before August, giving almost the exact dates of the attack.

Why does Russia need to do this? The first reason is: to satisfy its maniacal desire to control the South Caucasus. It is also obvious that Russia wants to detract its population’s attention from Russia’s own internal problems: everything will be alright if Georgia has caused all the trouble and can thus be neutralized. But this therefore brings us to the ultimate reason: Russia wants to destroy Georgia’s statehood. Snatching two pieces of its territory did not do much to satisfy Moscow’s imperialistic sentiments and appetite. Only swallowing a whole country, a recognized sovereign state such as Georgia, will be able to do that in the short term.

Felgengauer highlights Russia’s presence in Armenia in particular to support his argument. During the August ceasefire Russia’s strategically important bases in Armenia were detached from Russia, as the land connection between the two countries is no longer viable. Spare parts and arms cannot be supplied to the bases through either Azerbaijan, Georgia or Turkey. The only remaining land connection is through Iran, but this is via a very long road. Air transport would be very costly and some items just cannot be transported by air, therefore in two-three years the equipment in these Russian bases will be obsolete and there will be no opportunity to reequip them as the road connection is too long and hazardous to negotiate. Therefore the bases will obviously lose their function. “Russia will thus have defaulted on its obligation to take care of its strategic ally and its ambition to control the entire South Caucasus will be frustrated,” thinks the Russian expert. As is known, all the equipment from the old Georgian-located Russian military bases had been transported to Armenia’s Russian bases by 2007.

The situation around the zones occupied by Russian is very tense and at any moment could be aggravated. Serious confrontation could flare up instantly. Russia is capable to provoking this at any moment and then putting all the blame on Georgia, as it does concerning the August war: it did everything to provoke Georgia into taking serious military steps and then sprang its trap. Furthermore the compromised attitude of the EU towards Russia most probably gives the impression to Moscow that Europe silently acknowledges Russia’s claims that it has the right to use force in the Caucasus. Of course it has taken the only position it can in practical terms, but Russia’s unpredictable and irresponsible moves mean that Europe cannot make the rules and expect Russia to obey them.

How can Georgia prevent these developments? First of all it should modernize and train its military forces so they can protect their own country. US military commanders have already admitted that Georgian soldiers were trained for international peacekeeping missions, not domestic tasks, and now they will be trained to protect their country. The Pentagon is already devising relevant training programmes. The second step should be to make diplomatic efforts outside the country to attract the EU’s attention to what is going on in the Russian-occupied territories.

There is one more possible scenario however: this time Moscow might direct its aggression not against Georgia but Ukraine. The situation in Crimea is becoming hot, as the Kremlin is taking similar measures there to the ones it took in Georgia. It is distributing Russian passports and granting Russian citizenships to the local population. Furthermore the international community, which has seen all this before, remains silent as it did in Georgia, only believing there is a problem when people start to die.

Conflict in Ukraine will not be much relief for Georgia, considering the good relationship between Georgia and Ukraine. However it will split Russia’s attention, thus making it a potentially softer aggressor for a while. Georgia should not have to wait for Russia to attack another country to obtain relief from its own troubles however.