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Possibility of repeated Russian attack

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, May 27
Currently Georgia is very deeply involved in its domestic problems. The confrontation between the administration and the opposition looks like it will never end. Both sides are stubbornly insisting on their principles being fulfilled to the letter. Meanwhile the external threat, the possibility of another Russian attack on Georgia, is not being addressed with due seriousness.

Occasionally this issue raises its head, as in the recent mutiny attempt, when the authorities and the special services claimed that Russia had had a hand in this, although the opposition responded, as ever, that the whole incident was an attempt by the administration to distract attention from the problems inside the country, saying Russian agents are everywhere in order to discredit the opposition. However whatever either side says the possibility of a repeated Russian attack cannot be ignored. Well known Russian military analyst Pavel Felgangauer, the one who predicted beforehand the Russian attack on Georgia in August 2008, has several times suggested that a large scale Russian attack could take place any time this summer. Specifically, he predicts it will take place sometime before October.

Leading Western diplomats who have served in Georgia at different times and have witnessed many developments in relations personally are also expressing their concern. Former US Ambassadors to Georgia William Courtney and Kenneth Yalowitz and former EC Ambassador Denis Corboy are among these. The personal experience of these individuals gives them the competence to see things in a deeper perspective, and when they argue that Western countries, and the US to begin with, should take serious and decisive steps to staunch the possibility of a repeat Russian aggression their opinions should be considered.

In an interview with Radio Liberty Denis Corboy said that according to his observation and analysis Russia will probably move in by the end of summer. Corboy has since confirmed that his concerns about this have become even stronger since he made this statement. He warned the West that Russia’s plans are very serious.

Moscow’s imperialistic appetite has increased since last April, when under Moscow’s pressure NATO refused to grant Ukraine and Georgia Membership Action Plans. This is what gave Russia the confidence to launch its attack in August. The Kremlin wants to exercise complete control over Caspian energy resources by preventing any of the Southern Caucasus countries conducting an independent policy, thereby keeping the supply of energy to European countries in Russia’s hands alone.

Therefore the possibility of Russia attacking Georgia again is here and serious steps need to be taken to ensure that this attack does not take place. Very much depends on the Obama-Medvedev meeting at the beginning of July, where the US President should clearly explain to his Russian counterpart that a repeat attack will not be tolerated. European countries must also unite to draw a red line for Moscow, because the major Russian threat, of controlling all the energy supplies, is targeted at Europe. If The Kremlin does get hold of all the natural gas and oil pipes from the Caspian basin it could at any moment strangle any European country and blackmail it to achieve its own goals.

From the military point of view it is now much easier for Moscow to launch an assault, because it no longer has to cross the Georgian border, being already inside the country in the breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are in fact two military bases housing about 10,000 Russian troops. Russia has further Army, Navy and Air Force bases planned there. Russian news agency Vedomosti calls this the Russian armoured fist. Russian tanks are less than 40 kilometres from Tbilisi, so if an attack is launched Tbilisi could be captured in just a few hours.

Some analysts, for instance Vladimir Socor, rule out the possibility of a military assault, suggesting that Russia will instead try and influence internal developments in the country. But this way or that the threat is quite realistic, and in combination with the existing Russian attempts to influence the situation inside the country, which could take place, Georgia faces a very serious challenge.

The only possible way to overcome the present crisis is to start real and productive dialogue which could yield some serious outcomes, based on mutual concessions, which might not be ideal for either side but acceptable for both. This will be the only way to unite the country, whose future and continued existence are now deeply uncertain.