How Likely Is A New War In The Caucasus?


12.07.2008 GMT+04:00

Georgia and Russia are exchanging assaults, thus increasing the threat
of war in the region.

On July 10 Georgia recalled its ambassador Erosi Kitsmarishvili from
Russia to discuss recent developments in the Republics of Abkhazia
and South Ossetia. According to Georgia’s Foreign Minister Yekaterina
Tkeshelashvili, this move of Russia exposed the latter’s demonstrative
approach and political attitude towards issues of international law,
as well as international security and stability. The Ambassador was
recalled immediately after the Russian Air Force sent aircraft flying
over South Ossetia to "defuse the situation in the Georgian-Ossetian
conflict zone", the RF Foreign Ministry explains.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ World Mass Media seriously discuss the possibility
of a new war in the Caucasus between Georgia and Russia. However,
neither U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice nor "allies
of the Secretary-General of UN" (Russia, USA, France, Great
Britain and Germany) can help the situation; Georgia and Russia
are exchanging assaults, thus increasing the threat of war in the
region. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice rebuked Russia for
its efforts to destabilize situation in the Region and arrived in
Tbilisi either to show Washington’s support for Georgia or to withhold
further steps on the part of Russia. If we believe President of the
unrecognized Republic of Abkhazia Sergey Bagapsh, Georgia, in its
turn, is planning an invasion into Abkhazia. "Several terrorist acts
proved once again that autonomy under Georgian rule is unacceptable,"
he declared.

Meanwhile, according to the "Financial Times", Russia admitted it
had sent aircraft flying over Georgia. On July 10 Official Moscow
acknowledged its fighters had been flying over South Ossetia shortly
before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Tbilisi to
show Washington’s support to Georgia. In the course of Russian-Georgian
enmity it is the first time Russia has confessed the fact, though
Georgia had not once accused its enemy of sending aircraft to its
territory. "The statement of the RF Foreign Ministry is just another
aggravation of conflict in which Russia backs South Ossetia and
Abkhazia partly to put pressure on Pro-Western President of Georgia
Mikhail Saakashvili and to block Georgia’s efforts to join NATO,"
analysts note.

American officials accompanying Ms. Rice noted that Washington insists
on entering into negotiations about the Georgian-Ossetian conflict with
the attendance of the USA, Russia, Great Britain, France, Germany,
Georgia, as well as Abkhazian separatists. However, the officials
disclosed no further details. In his turn, RF Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov declared that regulation of conflicts in Abkhazia and South
Ossetia might come to a fullstop in case Georgia joined the NATO
Membership Action Plan.

At the joint conference in Tbilisi U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice called to Russia for contributing to a peaceful settlement of
the conflict. "Russia must settle the conflict instead of stimulating
it. Violence should be put an end to, no matter who its initiator is,"
declared Ms. Rice with disapproval. Saakashvili too had his share in
Rice’s criticism.

Georgia plays too significant a role for Russia and the latter cannot
simply offer it to NATO. Moscow will make every effort and even use
force, if necessary. It has a powerful means it has been so often
using against Europe – blackmail of energy supply. Under current
circumstances it is a most effective weapon. Georgia’s position
is highly undesirable; in supply of gas it can rely neither on
Azerbaijan nor on Iran, since the latter will never confront with
Russia for Tbilisi. Russia also has another reason to struggle for
Georgia. The latter is at the turn of three powerful countries:
Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. So, Russia cannot possibly
let it join NATO.

In all probability Tbilisi will struggle to the end, hoping the USA
will never leave it face to face with Russia. Fate of the whole
region might depend on the final result of confrontation between
Russia and Georgia.

Meanwhile Georgia withdraws from the joint control commission (JCC)
for Georgian-South Ossetian conflict regulation. "In connection with
aggravation of situation in the conflict zone Russia proposed a meeting
of JCC Co-chairs in Moscow at the end of July. The Co-chairs could
discuss measures of confidence together with the issue of the Russian
peacekeepers’ withdrawal from the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict
zone. The initiative was welcomed by all the parties, except Georgia,"
informed Yuri Popov, Ambassador at Large of the Russian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.

Official Tbilisi has not once declared its negative attitude towards
the JCC and its activity, and insists on changing the format of

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