See Global Voices special coverage page on the South Ossetia crisis.
Following clashes and allegations of the shelling of Georgian villages by separatists in the breakaway territory of South Ossetia, there are fears that war will once again rage in the volatile South Caucasus. With the media reporting that Georgian troops have surrounded the capital, Tskhinvali, all eyes are on how Russia reacts to the latest developments. Writing on BattleForums, Uncle_Vanya says that this is war.
The war has just begun yesterday, Georgia began massive military operations to capture South Ossetia, so far the civilian bodycount is 15 dead. South Ossetian capitol of Tshinvali is surrounded by Georgian forces and is being pounded by Georgian airforce. A few minutes ago Russian Peacekeeper HQs in the region reported that there were direct artillery hits on the barracks of the Russian peacekeepers and there were wounded. Russia is going to war, we haven't moved the troops yet but with our peacekeepers wounded we now have no choice, Russia is at a defacto state of war with Georgia. There is a report by Georgian ministry of Defense of a pack of Russian Su-24 ground attack aircraft dropping bombs of a Georgian city of Karel, the main city police building has been heavily damaged with bombardment, no reports of casualties as of yet. As I said, weeks later Russian forces have already been assembling at the North Ossetian-South Ossetian border and will most likely begin mobilizing towards the conflict zone some time today. […]
Georgia already considers Russian peacekeepers in the territory to be a party to the conflict, and the situation is made even more volatile by the fact that most South Ossetians hold Russian passports. Some media sources also report that Russia is alleged to have struck targets in Georgia proper. B & C Go To Georgia, a Peace Corps blog, already reports there are some signs that this might be true.
Brenden left for Khashuri this morning to go to a session for the trainees […], whereas I remained in Tbilisi. He was supposed to come back to Tbilisi this afternoon, but at some point after they passed Gori, the highway by Gori was blown up (this is my understanding–this hasn't been reported in English language media yet). […]
With all that said, the situation here is worse than it has been in the time we've been in Georgia. This is my own personal opinion (not the opinion of Peace Corps or the U.S. government), but I think this might develop into a full-scale war.
Its all booting off now in Georgia … The Georgian military have stormed into one of the two wannabe breakaway zones, South Ossetia … and the Russians are vowing to defend their “compatriots”. Russian peacekeepers have been among the casualties. President Medvedev has summoned his security council, PM Putin has vowed there will be a response from Russia. Georgian President Saakashvili has called up all reservists.
Might be an area to avoid.
Nachspiel at Polemarchus’ says that the conflict in South Ossetia is a test for the New World Order, but is unsure whether the United States or Russia will allow it to escalate further.
[…] I’m not an expert on this matter, or even on international relations at all. But I do notice one thing: an absence of the kind of confronational rhetoric categorizing the cold war. Admittedly, the big guys themselves haven’t started commenting yet, leaving the speaking to the diplomats. But that might also mean neither Moscow nor Washington are prepared to let this escalate into a major international crisis.
This is a test of the new world order after the Cold War, as fighting erupts on Russia’s doorstep. Let’s hope this won’t be proof of the new cold war neoconservative Robert Kagan claims is in the making. As yet it’s too early for an uninformed being to make predictions. I’m waiting for European and later American commentators to wake up and tell me what we can expect.
groul as a'housekeeper [RU] is updating its readers on the situation, but also reports that several web sites in South Ossetia might already have been hacked or blocked. But in a region where frozen conflicts and ethnic tensions threaten stability, perhaps the last word should be left to two cups of tea which says that “war is killing beautiful South Ossetia.”
War has come to a new part of our world today. As in all wars, innocent lives are affected in tragic ways. This does not come as a surprise on any of the party’s involved in the conflict.
It is sad however that Georgia, Russia and South Ossetia cant come to a peaceful solution.
We can only hope and pray peace, brotherhood and the willingness to listen to the people of Ossetia and Georgia, will win over pain and war.
More updates will be posted later.