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Possible new provocations

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 21
Moscow has accused Georgia of having connections with Al Qaeda and thus facilitating terrorist activity in the North Caucasus. Georgia is seriously considering the possibility that a further deterioration in relations between Russia and Georgia may result from this allegation. The Georgian media continues to discuss this issue in detail.

The topic of Chechen and Islamist terrorists operating within its territory has been raised from time to time by Moscow but every such mention has been followed by Russian provocations on Georgian territory, even when Georgia is not being accused of harbouring such terrorists. The international community has several times helped Georgia control and monitor its border with Russia adjacent to Chechnya, but Russia has done its utmost to get rid of the OSCE observers from the Russian-Georgian borders. Thus its claims against Georgia are based only on furthering its expansionist interests, not any attempt to protect its borders. Moreover recently The Kremlin adopted a new law which will allow Russia to “defend” its interest anywhere in the world where it says there is a threat to its security.

The terrorist label which Russia is trying to put on Georgia is very damaging for Georgia’s image. Simply denying the allegations will have no effect, because the Russian propaganda machine works at full speed against Tbilisi. Consequently the people are concerned, however much officials try to assure us that the West in general, and the US in particular, will not let such charges go unanswered.

An Irish Times correspondent has recently travelled to the Pankisi Gorge, bordering the Chechen segment of the Russian-Georgian border but found no evidence to confirm Moscow’s allegations. Moreover he spoke with Georgian civilians living in the border region there who expressed their utmost concern over possible Russian aggression and provocation. In other circumstances these might be dismissed as overreactions. But haven’t we seen all this before?

Some Georgian analysts think that The Kremlin is looking for any reason to launch another attack on Georgia and is ready to create such a reason artificially. Prominent opposition leader Irakli Alasania thinks that a trip to Pankisi Gorge for the diplomatic corps and media should be organised immediately so that they can see that nothing is going on in that area. The question is, would diplomats and journalists be able to spot a terrorist if they saw one? Russia will make its allegations regardless, and will readily say that if no one sees terrorists it’s simply because they do not have the eyes of the superior Russian intelligence.

Russia continues to make more and more threatening statements. Some time ago, Russian officials made a statement on the possible use of nuclear weapons in case of necessity. One might think that this is crazy but the Russian imperialistic policy has no apparent limits at the moment due to the extreme moderation of Western countries, who did not take adequate measures against Moscow after the August invasion of Georgia. Population here is sure that much would be achieved, both internationally and domestically, if the civilized world was prepared to accept that Georgia is also a part of that world, and should be treated as such and protected.