a Someone should care, maybe not you....: War in the Caucasus .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

09 August 2008

War in the Caucasus

Historically speaking of course saying "War in the Caucasus" is like saying Sunny in Los Angeles, or Muggy in South Florida. It has been the standard condition there for centuries. Pretty much the only time there hasn't been war there has been when some really big outsider has smacked them down and annexed them all (think Russia/USSR or the Mongols) and even then there has been internecine fighting going on.
Georgia became a kingdom around 4 BC. It was a fairly big player in the Crusades as it was a frontline Christian state. It spent the next several centuries being a buffer between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). In the 18th century it became a vassal of Russia in an attempt to keep the Turks out. When the Bolshevik's took over Russia it joined Azerbaijan and Armenia in an anti Bolshevik alliance then declared it's independence from Russia in 1918, In 1922, the USSR took it back. Withe the collapse of the USSR Georgia declared it's independence again in 1991. Parts of Georgia, namely South Ossetia and Abkhazia didn't really want to go along and with Russian support declared their independence from Georgia starting several years of civil war and chaos that sort of settled down into a cold war between Russia and Georgia. Russia has always been annoyed that Georgia didn't fall into line as a little puppet state and got REALLY annoyed when Georgia began talking about joining NATO. South Ossetia and Abkhazia were the anchors it could use to slow Georgia down.

Which brings us up to now. The Ossetian Separatists had been lunching attacks into Georgia for awhile and finally Georgia decided to stop it. They launched what for such a small country was a pretty massive surprise attack a couple of days ago and took most of South Ossetia. I think what they were hoping was that if they could grab it really quickly, Russia would accept it as Fait Accompli. Especially if there were pressure from Europe and the US on them to not intervene in a big way. This gamble appears to have failed. So we are left with an interesting (that is not a good word in international politics) situation. There are several ways this situation could go.
Best case - Russia decides not to go for major intervention, Georgia re absorbs South Ossetia and except for some terrorist action on the part of the Ossetian separatists things settle down untill something happens in Abkhazia. (this scenario is pretty much defunct already.)

Worst Case - Massive Russian intervention. The Russians decide to settle the issue once and for all and crush the entire state of Georgia either annexing it or just imposing a puppet government. I would expect a situation similar to that in Chechnya to result minus the Islamic fundamentalism.

Most likely - Georgia is beaten and backs off to a status quo antebellum with a few concessions and considerably less bravado.

What I absolutely do not see happening at all is any military support of Georgia from anyone, this despite all the joint training exercises the US and Georgia have been having (the Georgia Army National Guard has been having regular "Georgia to Georgia" exercises, the talk of NATO or Georgia's troops in Iraq. Neither the US nor anyone in NATO is willing to get into a shooting match with Russia over Georgia. Sadly the only military support the Georgians will probably get will come from the Islamic terrorists in Chechnya. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.


Blogger Gunngirl said...

Nice lesson you posted there. Some of it made me think of the research I put in when I write. Crusades--much research done there--for vampire purposes of course. :)

11:27 AM  
Blogger The Appalachianist said...

I think your most likeley scenario will be the one played out, but in time to come there will be some skirmishing of paramilitary nature.

I don't think anyone should jump to conclusions on this one though. It will be interesting to get an operational and tactical feel of this. We can't count on our week press for any real worth while coverage though.

6:13 PM  
Blogger opit said...

I just backtracked to see the Osettian provocation comment. I don't know as any other piece I've read has half the detail you provide.

6:36 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

thanks for the compliments. I try and do this right.

10:24 AM  

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