South Ossetian Fireworks

From the BBC - Is that Rocket Artillerly?

Well thats interesting.

Yeah, looks like a GRAD launcher.

The South Ossetians are independent in name only - they depend on Russia for everything. If Russia decides to intervene Georgia could be in deep kimchi.

It could be just a grab. Georgia claims to control a large part of South Ossetia, they might be looking to consolidate what they have. I would be amazed if they plan to go head-to-head with the large Russian military presence there. That is guaranteed to have a bad outcome.

“Welcome to Tblisi, Gentlemen” (and yes, it’s from a game)

Respectfully

krise madsen

CNN is reporting that Russian tanks are intervening in the conflict.

Troy

And the Georgians are claiming Russian ground attack jets have made repeated raids into Georgia.

Georgian officials said their military had fired on Russian planes — one unconfirmed report said two Russian planes had been shot down — and that their aircraft had bombed a convoy of Russian tanks that moved into South Ossetia, the pro-Russian enclave that has enjoyed de facto autonomy from Georgia since 2004. A local Russian official said the convoy was not tanks, but humanitarian.

As Georgian forces besieged Tskhinvali, the capital of the enclave, President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia promised to “punish” those responsible for what he called “a deep violation of international law” by Georgia that he said had led to the deaths of Russian citizens and Russian peacekeepers stationed in Tskhinvali.

Them sounds like fighting words.

Yeah, Georgia decided to poke at the bear and now the bear is pissed.

Analysis from the Guardian:

Dr Jonathan Eyal, director of studies at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), described Georgia’s decision to shell the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, as a brazen effort to humiliate the Russians.

He claimed the sudden escalation in tensions in the region heralded a dangerous return of “East-West confrontation”.

And he said the timing of Georgia’s decision to tackle its separatists – with many world leaders away in Beijing for the Olympics – was “a calculated gamble”.

“The president of Georgia has timed this action very well to coincide with the Olympic games,” said Eyal.

So apparently, we can blame this on the Chinese Olympics…

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080808/ap_on_re_eu/georgia_south_ossetia

DZHAVA, Georgia (AP) — Georgia launched a major military offensive Friday to retake the breakaway province of South Ossetia, prompting Moscow to send tanks into the region in a furious response that threatens to engulf Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally, and Russia in all-out war.

Hundreds were reported dead in the worst outbreak of hostilities since the province won defacto independence in a war against Georgia that ended in 1992. Witnesses said the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali was devastated.

“I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars,” said Lyudmila Ostayeva, 50, who had fled with her family to Dzhava, a village near the border with Russia. “It’s impossible to count them now. There is hardly a single building left undamaged.”

The fighting broke out as much of the world’s attention was focused on the start of the Olympic Games and many leaders, including Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Bush, were on their way to Beijing.
The timing suggests Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili may have been counting on surprise to fulfill his longtime pledge to wrest back control of South Ossetia — a key to his hold on power.

Saakashvili agreed the timing was not coincidental, but accused Russia of being the aggressor. “Most decision makers have gone for the holidays,” he said in an interview with CNN. “Brilliant moment to attack a small country.”…

When I read that Russians had invaded Georgia, I called my mom in Atlanta. She said she hadn’t seen any Russkies, but that they’d probably be so tied up in traffic that she wasn’t too worried.

Holy shit. After reading up on this a bit, this isn’t just a little border skirmish or “oops, we didn’t mean to shoot that missile at your base.” The sources I’ve read make it look like Georgia is doing its damn best to annex South Ossetia once and for all, which unsurprisingly pissed off the Russians, who have been allies to the seperatists for years.

It seems like Georgia wanted to go in and blitzkrieg the region before Russia was able to respond (what with the Olympics and all), and then prevent Russia from helping the Ossetians by saying, “Well, it’s Georgian territory in name and in fact now. Any military action is invasion of our sovereign land!” Which didn’t work, since the Russians aren’t actually retarded, and now there’s a big full-on conflict going on.

Ick.

A local Russian official said the convoy was not tanks, but humanitarian.

A Russian cake box carrier, bringing supplies of individually iced and decorated cakes to the Russian Ossetians.

I like the image of a bunch of Russian tanks stuck on the freeway, surrounded by a bunch of SUV’s and pickup trucks.

Yeah, it’s a bad situation and I don’t understand what Georgia thinks it’s going to accomplish. While the US has supported Georgia, it’s hardly been a stable democracy and appears to be in the wrong under these circumstances.

I see this is the model with 120mm pastry delivery service. You know, for the refugees in second story windows, and a couple of miles away.

Well, the Georgians don’t much like the idea of people violently seceding from them. Which doesn’t make them right, but considering Chechnya the Russians are hardly the right people to call them on it either.

When I read about Georgia shelling the capital of South Ossetia, and the descriptions of civilian casualties, and then insisting America stand up for Georgia on democratic principles I found myself thinking, “Can George W. Bush say ‘no’ to that kind of logic?”

This is some serious shit but I think Georgia’s pretty much fucked themselves here from what I can tell. They started something they’re not going to be able to finish and I doubt seriously that we’re going to want to get involved in this. At least overtly and even covertly - is Georgia worth the hit we’d take to US-Russian relations?

I think Russia has more to worry about from Europe than America. America is distracted, and Georgia has been trying to join NATO and the EU for a while.