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    Tuesday, August 7, 2007

    Another act of war


    Count me among those unsurprised this morning when Georgia reported that a pair of Russian SU-24 fighter jets had entered Georgian airspace and fired a surface-to-air missile that landed near the town of Tsitelubani, outside Tbilisi. Thankfully it didn't explode - that's a picture of the crumpled dud at left.

    This is at least the fourth time in six years that Russia's air force has attacked Georgian territory. Five years ago (while I was in Georgia on a reporting trip) the cause was ostensibly to root out Chechen fighters holed up in the Pankisi Gorge. These days, (there was another attack, confirmed by the United Nations, back in March) the attacks seem linked to Russia's dissatisfaction with the American-supported President Mikhail Saakashvili and a broader problem the Kremlin has accepting the influence Washington now wields over the tiny ex-Soviet republic.

    In particular, Saakashvili has made no secret of his intention to bring the Russian-backed separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia back under Tbilisi's control. The March attack by Russian helicopters occurred in the Kodori Gorge, a part of Abkhazia still under Tbilisi's. Yesterday's attack happened near the informal border with South Ossetia. These attacks are very clear, if very clumsy, warning signals about the position Russia will take if Saakashvili pushes too hard.

    The Russian military, for the record, has denied the attack and said no Russian planes were anywhere near Tsitelubani. The South Ossetian separatist leader, meanwhile, has suggested that Georgia fired the missile at its own territory as part of a plan to discredit Russia. Given the history, I'll wait for the next UN report before I put much credibility in such the Russian air force's version of events.

    In the meantime, I'm beginning to sympathize more and more with something I previously didn't agree with - Saakashvili's quest to bring Russia into NATO.

    5 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    Moscow clearly has planned this to the nth degree. Send a single plane to launch one missile to take out a few carrots in a vegetable patch. That makes sense. Is Bugs Bunny a strategic Georgian secret? Give me a break!

    The detail that whathisname, the interior minister went into to describe the 2 planes that shot the 1 missle at the vegetable patch in the video was impressive. Later Georgia stated that it was one, not two planes. How can one have so much detail and be wrong about the number of planes?

    It was no planes from Russia. Georgia did it themselves to gain press and begin the process of muddying Sochi's olympic success.

    In March, Georgia claimed that Russia bombed their so called Abkhazian administrative offices and blamed the Russians for flying past the limit of the helicoptor's effective mission radius through night, mountain canyons, avoiding all radar to bomb empty buildings and accomplish nothing. Maybe there is a secret strategic vegetable patch in Kodori that we don't know about.

    Seriously. Only Georgia had that kind of unguided missile, (russia upgraded to guided helecopter missiles years ago) and Kodori is only a few miles from the Georgian Border. They did it themselves to get the UN and the press talking about Russian aggression.

    These guys want to join NATO and moronic, bushleague, agressive stunts like this should help to keep them out.

    La Russophobe said...

    ANONYMOUS:

    So let me see if I understand. If something doesn't make sense, then that means Russia didn't do it?

    So that means that Khrushchev didn't take off his shoe at the UN?

    And Putin didn't joke about rape in front of a diplomatic delegation?

    And the Russian people didn't elect a proud KGB spy after the KGB murdered millions of them?

    Phew! That's a relief!

    And I suppose you also believe that if Russia HAD done this, and been caught, it would admit it, right?

    And I suppose you think Russia is incapable of making a mistake too, right? Which is why today's Russia is such a paradise, right?

    Great!

    By the way, how much is NASHI paying you to throw around all that "information"?

    Michael Averko said...

    "And Putin didn't joke about rape in front of a diplomatic delegation?

    And the Russian people didn't elect a proud KGB spy after the KGB murdered millions of them?

    Phew! That's a relief!

    And I suppose you also believe that if Russia HAD done this, and been caught, it would admit it, right?

    And I suppose you think Russia is incapable of making a mistake too, right? Which is why today's Russia is such a paradise, right?"

    ***

    The Israeli delegation laughed at that joke. Meantime, the referenced former Israeli president is accused of rape unlike Putin, who made what was meant to be an off the record remark, albeit inappropriate.

    On the matter of related inappropriateness, we can reference JFK and Bill Clinton.

    The Russian people elected a former KGB/FSB official, who supported the late reformist mayor of St. Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak.

    Today's Russia is doing quite well, contrary to the mis-informative propaganda spewed by some.

    La Russophobe said...

    MARK:

    I applaud your change of heart on Georgia's admission to NATO, which is obviously a necessity. I've argued as much on my blog:

    http://russophobe.blogspot.com/2007/08/editorial-demanding-justice-in-georgia.html

    Crete said...

    Thanks for writing this.