Sunday, August 10, 2008

From Tasers to Tskhinvali

Digby has yet another interesting and slightly snarky piece about tasers, this time their proposed use in schools on teenagers.

But on to today's topic -- we'll be hearing a lot of loose talk about the recent armed confrontations between Georgia, Ossetia and Russia. In particular, we are sure to hear some comparison to Iraq. Therefore I think it important to set the record straight from the beginning!

True, there are some similarities -- but what are they?

1. S. Ossetia shares a border with Russia while Iraq is only 7000 miles from the US!

2. There is a North Ossetia in Russia with a half million population -- they are of the same ethnic group as the hundred thousand living in South Ossetia (who carry Russian passports). Meanwhile, there are/were only 24 million Iraqis in Iraq who carried Iraqi passports!

3. South Ossetia has been, although not officially recognized, since 1992 de-facto independent of Georgia after Georgia declared independence of the Russians in 1991. Iraq, on the other hand was a sovereign nation until the invasion and occupation in 2003 by the US and the Coalition of the Willing.

4. Georgian military, in an attempt to end the Ossetian separatist movement, attacked on 7 August its capitol, Tskhinvali, turning it into rubble. The Russians responded the next day with air and ground forces more or less finishing the grinding of rubble of Tskhinvali. The US, on the other hand, threatened by the imminent attack by Saddam using model airplanes and hot air balloons filled with rancid chicken shit not only turned much of Baghdad to rubble but also many cities like Falujah and Najaf.

5. The Russians had an interest in protecting the ethnic Ossetians south of their border. The Americans on the other hand had an interest in protecting the buildings of the Ministry of Oil.

6. The Russians have been bombing military air fields in Georgia, while sending both troops and tanks into South Ossetia. The US, meanwhile, has bombed everything in Iraq while deploying tanks and hundreds of thousands of troops and armed "contractors".

Having allowed for these few similarities, I'm sure you will understand that American, Brit and Danish protests over the Russian invasion of sovereign Georgia in no way can be considered a case of "the pot calling the kettle black"!

Actually folks, all snark aside this is the short-short story: whatever your preferences, Russia is the official peacekeeping force in S. Ossetia. When the Georgian president Saakashvili decided to coup an occupation of Tskhinvali while everyone's attention was on the OL, it didn't work. The phrase which West Media uses to describe Saskashvili is that he is "devoutly" pro-West (= American puppet)

The Russians convened an emergency session of the UN Security Council. But their resolution was blocked by the US, Brits and Georgia -- the glitch was in a phrase which required both sides to renounce the use of force. Thereafter, not being Holland in Srebenicia, the Russians sent in troops and armor to reinstate order in Tskhinvali and bombed military bases in Gori and elsewhere in Georgia.

The report is that 1500 Ossetians died under the Georgian attack (as well as a reported 15 Russian peace keepers killed and 150 wounded). If correct, this is more than 1% of the S. Ossetian population!. Under the bombing of a military base in Gori a bomb hit an apartment complex in Gori and 50 Georgians were reported dead. In Iraq such are called "collateral damage" -- unless they are men of military age, then they are Al-Qube terraists.

A last note, the Ossetians are a Persian people who were driven from their original homeland south of the River Don by invading Mongols.

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