Friday, August 08, 2008

Wally of the Week: Mikheil Saakashvili

Well, it looked like it would be a competitive race, but by his actions over the past 24 hours the former employee of New York law firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler, (who also happens to be the President of Georgia), has won this week's award by a landslide. Saakashvilli- that really should be Saakaswally-(pictured above with his good pal George W. Bush), thought he could use the smokescreen of the opening of the Olympic Games to launch a brutal military assault against the people of the breakaway province of South Ossetia. In a referendum, 99% of South Ossetians said 'nyet' to any association with Georgia, but hey, what does a little thing like democracy matter when you're the neocons' man in the Caucasus.

But Saakaswally's cunning- (and utterly despicable) plan, has spectacularly back-fired. The murder of ten Russian peacekeepers - and the slaughter of hundreds of innocent South Ossetians has led Moscow to send in the tanks. And the planes. And now the hapless Georgian President is appealing for 'help' against Russian 'aggression'(!- yes, please try and keep a straight face) from the EU and the US.

Right on cue, the professional Russophobes are crawling out from beneath their stones, penning their rabidly anti-Moscow propaganda pieces- a mendacious narrative in which the aggressors become the victims of aggression and the victims of aggression the aggressors. But this is one dispute that even the neocons can't spin to their advantage. Saakaswally took an almighty gamble- and lost. No one is going to go to his assistance. The former employee of Patterson, Belkan, Webb and Tyler is going to be taught a lesson he'll never forget.

Never provoke a bear.

UPDATE: Mark Almond has penned a wonderful piece on the background to the South Ossetia conflict in today's Guardian. It's a great riposte to the mendacious neocon claptrap that's currently doing the rounds. The Exile will be blogging on the South Ossetia conflict all weekend and he's got some great posts up already. And you can read Svetlana's thoughts on Georgia's own version of 'Operation Storm', here.


olching said...

Neil, thanks for your support on the CiF thread. It's the usual Russophobe dribble we have to put up with.

Saakasvili is one of the more disgusting politicians to be praised by the west of late. The saddest part is, he takes himself so seriously that he hasn't even noticed that he is utterly expendable for the west. Why doesn't he just go back to an American law firm instead of trying to hang on to his fiefdom in the Caucasus. Hopefully the Georgian people will have had enough of him after the inevitable sad carnage that will now follow.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Olching,
Totally agreed.
You're right about Saakashvili- all these little puppets think they're so special, but they are all expendable, when Uncle Sam deems it time for X,Y or Z to go, as they outlived their usefulness, then off they go, just ask Eduard Shevardnadze. Loyalty doesn't come into it.

Ken said...

It looks like goodbye to a quiet weekend watching the Olympics. My take is similar to yours and we posted at more or less the same time.

My guess is that Russia will just stuff Georgia and South Ossetia will then be annexed to the Russian Federation. That is the price Georgia will have to pay for playing silly buggers.

By the way, I have stuck a video feed up at the Exile.

Anonymous said...

If only it were that simple...

I completely agree that Georgia's actions in South Ossetia are both wrong in priciple and very foolish in practice.

Russia, however, has not been 'an honest broker' either. It is pursuing its own geopolitical interests (just like the US) and wants to undermine any Georgian administration that is not within its orbit of influence.

I am sure South Ossetian's would like independence (though maybe not 99% of them) or to join North Ossetia in the RF but then the vast majority of the population of Kosovo want independence too...and so?

As usual, the people who suffer most are those not party to these complex machinations, about whom the machinators care little, but ordinary people...

If I did not have a realistic view of human nature, it would be enough to make me an anarchist!

neil craig said...

At least until a few days ago there were 1,000 US troops engaged in an exercise there.

It is not credible that this adventurusm could have been organosed without a US ok. NATO are troubling the waters they fish in.

David Lindsay said...

First and foremost, we should stay out of it.

Thank God that Georgia has not actually joined NATO, or we would already be at war with Russia. NATO should have been disbanded in 1991, when it ceased to have anything to do.

But instead, it has been extended to within a few hundred miles of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and it has gone about looking for conflicts from Kosovo to Afghanistan.

Let the realisation that we were one treaty signature away from World War Three, a global nuclear war, finally kill off NATO.

Georgia has withdrawn entirely from Iraq in order to fight this war. Perhaps Russia should invade the United Kingdom.

Odd how every microscopic entity in the Balkans that decides to declare itself independent is indulged, even to the point of military force, by the West, whereas those who seek to do the same thing in the Caucuses, objecting to the arbitrary borders imposed by Stalin rather than insisting on the arbitrary borders imposed by Tito, receives exactly the opposite response, possibly even to the point of military force.

If they will submit to the closely connected forces of European federalism, American hegemony and global capital, then even smack-smuggling, women-trafficking Wahhabi who wear black shirts in deference to their SS fathers and grandfathers can declare any bit of soil they like to be their state. But no one who will not so submit can expect anything other than scorn.

We need lots and lots of nuclear power. Then Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be of no more interest to us than Northern Ireland, the Basque Country or the deteriorating situation in Belgium is of any interest to the Georgians, the Abkhazians or the South Ossetians.

Anonymous said...

NOTE: israel and US have been doing in Georgia, what they claim Iran has been doing in Iraq!

Israel backs Georgia in Caspian Oil Pipeline Battle with Russia

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

August 8, 2008

Georgian tanks and infantry, aided by Israeli military advisers, captured the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, early Friday, Aug. 8, bringing the Georgian-Russian conflict over the province to a military climax.

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin threatened a “military response.”

Former Soviet Georgia called up its military reserves after Russian warplanes bombed its new positions in the renegade province.

In Moscow’s first response to the fall of Tskhinvali, president Dimitry Medvedev ordered the Russian army to prepare for a national emergency after calling the UN Security Council into emergency session early Friday.

Reinforcements were rushed to the Russian “peacekeeping force” present in the region to support the separatists.

Georgian tanks entered the capital after heavy overnight heavy aerial strikes, in which dozens of people were killed.

Lado Gurgenidze, Georgia's prime minister, said on Friday that Georgia will continue its military operation in South Ossetia until a "durable peace" is reached. "As soon as a durable peace takes hold we need to move forward with dialogue and peaceful negotiations."

DEBKAfile’s geopolitical experts note that on the surface level, the Russians are backing the separatists of S. Ossetia and neighboring Abkhazia as payback for the strengthening of American influence in tiny Georgia and its 4.5 million inhabitants. However, more immediately, the conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region.

The Russians may just bear with the pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili’s ambition to bring his country into NATO. But they draw a heavy line against his plans and those of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route the oil routes from Azerbaijan and the gas lines from Turkmenistan, which transit Georgia, through Turkey instead of hooking them up to Russian pipelines.

Saakashvili need only back away from this plan for Moscow to ditch the two provinces’ revolt against Tbilisi. As long as he sticks to his guns, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will wage separatist wars.

DEBKAfile discloses Israel’s interest in the conflict from its exclusive military sources:

Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azarbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel’s oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean.

Aware of Moscow’s sensitivity on the oil question, Israel offered Russia a stake in the project but was rejected.

Last year, the Georgian president commissioned from private Israeli security firms several hundred military advisers, estimated at up to 1,000, to train the Georgian armed forces in commando, air, sea, armored and artillery combat tactics. They also offer instruction on military intelligence and security for the central regime. Tbilisi also purchased weapons, intelligence and electronic warfare systems from Israel.

These advisers were undoubtedly deeply involved in the Georgian army’s preparations to conquer the South Ossetian capital Friday.

In recent weeks, Moscow has repeatedly demanded that Jerusalem halt its military assistance to Georgia, finally threatening a crisis in bilateral relations. Israel responded by saying that the only assistance rendered Tbilisi was “defensive.”

This has not gone down well in the Kremlin. Therefore, as the military crisis intensifies in South Ossetia, Moscow may be expected to punish Israel for its intervention.


Anonymous said...

Traditionally, during an Olympics, states were to cease warmaking activities...thats one tradition the modern olympics is happy to jetison.