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Georgia: War in South Ossetia

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.

Aid Worker Daily posts a video and ominously titles the entry “South Ossetia – If this isn’t war I don’t know what is,” while Horizons Unlimited advises global travelers to stay away from Georgia.

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.

248 comments

  • From russian Sibiria

    Some time ago Russian troops left Georgia. RF goverment proved no interest to its territory. And what now? American solgers (about 130) came and tought Georgians army! That was a good lesson of violense: Gr troops destroed south ossetia capital with havy artirelry. More then 1000 people is dead. Us is good teachers as we can find out. They have a great expearense from Irak, Jugoslavia and Vietnam. They are realy best in killing civilians. And Georgia want to be eqval?? We will not simply whatch! Russia must protect civil rights and freedom for ossetin people. And we already do it.

  • Andrea Thompson

    Russia is using this situation as an opportunity to get back the land it lost. Russia has no general concern for the welfare of the people in the breakaway regions. Russia has always had a strong thirst for power and it is no surprise that they are invadeing a country that lacks the resources to defend themselves.

  • Michail Shachov

    Sorry for my bad English. Georgia has supported the Russian offers about embelishing the fire for several hours before attake. 1400 peace people was killed by Georgia troops.2\3 killed people was peace russian people. Each pearson of Russia protect by our goverment. So russia has protected people by army. Attake South ossetia by Giorgiy similary attake USSR by facsistic germany.

  • KARL

    My dear Bjorn Borgonson you may forgot that most of people in South Ossetia are Russian citizens

  • Appeal to the Governments and peoples of the world!
    Please, help us stop genocide of the small people of the South Ossetia!
    The small country, which has been constantly destroying for 19 years by Georgian fascists.
    And the world community conceal all the atrocities of Georgia for the sake of geopolitical interest of the USA.

    Conflict resolution is completely in international law.
    However, the Georgian side skillfully uses methods of historical falsifications, political insinuations. Georgia enjoys the patronage of a criminal government of the USA, and presents events in the world misrepresented.

    At the moment the most part of South Ossetia is erased by the Georgian aggressors. There continue to die elderly, women, children.
    The death toll is unknown, because of the Georgian side fired them all who tried to help the wounded. Children are among them.

    Not comparable with anything Georgian cruelty let know even in 91-92 years.
    When Georgians at point-blank range shot civilians of South Ossetia, as the example of the bus which was driving with people on bypass road, Zar. No one will forget it!
    Georgian fascists made all people go out, from the bus and fired them. They also fired point-blank women and children and kids . They fired even the little three-year-old boy, who hid away under the body of his mother.

    What else can we say of Georgia?
    They buried people alive, burnt them and tortured them in different methods. After all that the world community is silent and Georgians continue to kill. Saakashvili doesn’t feel sorry for anybody, even for his Georgians.
    For him, the notion of “people” and “meat” is not much different and probably, he prefers more the second.

    There is only one way for peace – it is declaration of the independence by the world community.
    We call on all decent people of the world not to remain indifferent to the fate of the Ossetian people.

  • A guy from Russia

    Every side of conflict is wrong.
    What they all want:
    South Ossetia wants its people to be protected (they don`t believe Georgia), it wants complete independence.
    Georgia didn`t want to loose its territory.
    Russia wants (and has to) protect people in S.Ossetia who have Russian passports and its peacekeapers.
    But just have a look at the methods which every side uses (of wich I know…):
    Ossetia: refused to accept autonomy within Georgian borders when having been offered. It is trying to involve Russia as “big brother” in the conflict. They want more that they can really get – they want complete independence. And they want to pay for it with Russian blood (and their own, of course).
    Georgia: this bastard Saakashvilly has ordered a full-scale military assault against Tshinvalli (S.Ossetia capitol). Of course he knew perfectly how Russia will react. He wants Russia to look like an aggressor – he seeks military aid from U.S., he wants his country to become member of NATO.
    Russia: rises to the bait, first vowing to revenge arrogantly, second moving large regular (!) army (60,000 soldiers, 150 battle-planes, tanks) in S.Ossetia thus violating Georgia`s borders. (one more division is on its way to Tshinvalli)
    And now we have:
    S.Ossetia: ruined capital city, thousands (1,500 oficially reported) deaths.
    Russia: market crush (6,5% up to this point), one more black hole which consumes lives, energy and money which will last for long (regular army never move out too fast, you know)
    Georgia: ruined reputation, gained hatred of hundred of thousand people, economical and military crash.
    And yet what we can have:
    1.Russian-Georgian war. Christ, I hope that will not happen. But think of this: large Russian military force standing in central Georgia. Unknown people start to shoot soldiers. Soldiers shoot back: hundreds of victims. And finaly the Government reacts and Russian tanks already in Tbilisi (Georgian capital).
    2. Russian-American war. This one is from my deapest fears. Americans do what Saakashvilly wants: they agree to think that it was Russia who attacked first. Then they sent their army to Georgia to help it defend against Russian threat (just like they helped Kosovo against Serbia).
    Russia can`t remove because of pressing from population (people tend to seek blood when they think they were cheated). Finally, Nuclear war.

    Peoples of Georgia, Ossetia and Russia are on friendly terms with each other. But their governments are not. In my opinion, they just don`t want to sit and talk about their problems civilly. By arrogant and stupid acting they only multiply their count. (Don`t think that I regard so only my government, please)
    Hey people! Let`s look forward. Let`s forget about wars once and for good, shall we? Please.

  • Hubba Bubba

    Here is the video of the 1st day of Georgia aggression in South Ossetia. Sorry, in russian, but it’s clear: http://www.1tv.ru/owa/win/ort6_videopage.main?sender=news&p_topic_id=125888&p_video_num=1&counter1_href=287212&counter2_href=id=268366;t=56

  • Hubba Bubba

    Finnish, but why Georgia attacked first at 3:00? Russia attempted to stop violence with UN in the morning, but were was no decision. Russia MUST protect russian peacemakers and ossetian citizens (for now more than 1000 dead…) from crazy Scaaky.

  • You have really forgotten that the first shots have been made by the Georgian side at 0:06 08.08.2008? Having begun
    bombardment of Tskhinvali, Georgia has broken the agreement from 14.07.1992 (Дагомысское соглашение). Georgia has no rights to kill it’s own сitizens!

  • Alrx

    What do Shakashvilli ,where is Freedom and Democracy?i agree, Shakashvilli should be put to Hague tribunal..
    Now in Ossetia die so many civilianz….fuck….what doing in the world…..

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