RUSSIA’s victory over the US supported Georgian blitzkrieg on South Ossetia, has driven the US ruling class into a frenzy.
The Georgian offensive seems to have been inspired by the US supported Operation Storm, when Croatia ‘cleansed’ the Krajina of up to 200,000 Croatian Serbs in 1995.
The strategic changes brought in by the US Georgian defeat are being discussed in particular all over Europe, the Middle East and central Asia.
The Armenian pro-government newspaper, Hayots Ashkharh, stated last week that the Azerbaijan’s behaviour regarding the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, will largely depend on the outcome of the conflict in South Ossetia, as the hostilities in South Ossetia ‘become a special “political text” in the issue of selecting peaceful or military ways of settling conflicts in the South Caucasus’.
The newspaper said yesterday that Georgia’s failure to retake South Ossetia by force should serve as a lesson to Azerbaijan. The article was headlined: ‘The Georgian Blitzkrieg fails. This can become a lesson to Azerbaijan as well’.
It states: ‘The Georgian army took control of two regions of South Ossetia and the capital Tskhinvali in just a few hours as a result of a large-scale attack initiated by Georgia on the night of 7-8 August.’
It adds: ‘The international community expressed an ambiguous approach to the large-scale attack initiated by Georgia. Only a few standard peace-loving statements were made. The debates at the UN General Council, initiated at Russia’s demand, did not produce any results.’
Commenting further it states: ‘Such a course of events shows that the Georgian Blitzkrieg, which was initially quite successful, has already failed, and Saakashvili’s administration is facing a difficult dilemma. . .
‘The hostilities, which started in South Ossetia, are of interest to Armenia as this is the first serious attempt to settle a conflict in a military way in the Caucasus. Azerbaijan also already masters the political technologies and PR tools that were used in it. . .
‘If South Ossetia, which is weaker than Nagornyy Karabakh, manages to withstand this ordeal, the first attempt to turn the South Caucasus into the Balkans will fail, which cannot but serve as a lesson to Azerbaijan as well. . .
‘We hope that the expected failure of Georgia’s attempt to solve the conflict in a military way will become a lesson to Azerbaijan and will prevent senseless attempts to solve political issues in a military way.’
An immediate blow to the imperialist powers was that Azerbaijan has suspended oil deliveries through a pipeline connecting Baku with Georgia’s Black Sea port of Supsa.
‘We stopped the pumping of oil as a measure of precaution in connection with the developments in Georgia,’ BP’s Baku office said. ‘We are carefully watching the situation. The resumption of the pumping will depend on the normalization of the situation.’
This comes after the main export pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan has been closed since an explosion took place in its Turkish section a week ago.
The Azeri newspaper Yeni Musavat commented ‘Azerbaijan has already suffered the first serious loss – the transportation of Caspian oil and gas through Georgian territory has been halted.’
The paper added: ‘Russia has demonstrated that Azerbaijan is no longer an alternative energy source for the West.’
BP also denied the report that Russia bombed the Georgian section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) main oil export pipeline and that there were three explosions on the pipeline as a result.
Tamam Bayatli, BP Azerbaijan’s manager for public relations, said: ‘These reports are groundless. There were no explosions on the Georgian section of the BTC.’
Among the thousands of irregulars that flocked to defend South Ossetia were the Cossacks. They are now demanding a say in the political outcome.
The ataman (chieftain) of the Great Don Host, Viktor Vodolatskiy, and the ataman of the Terek Cossack Corps, Vasiliy Bondarev, who are in South Ossetia, have signed an appeal to Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev.
The press service of the Cossacks department in the Rostov Region said that in their letter, the Cossacks ask the Russian president to consider incorporating South Ossetia and the republic of Abkhazia into Russia.
The Cossacks department also specified that all Cossacks who are in the conflict zone are volunteers who came to military enlistment offices following an appeal from the ataman of the Great Don Host, Viktor Vodolatskiy, and were drafted into the Russian armed forces.
As well, Sergey Shamba, foreign minister of the unrecognised republic of Abkhazia, has called on the international community to ban Georgia from having armed forces.
He said: ‘In the last 100 years, Georgia has been an independent state for 21 years and has had time to unleash seven wars.
‘The international community, judging by this sad experience, should ban Georgia from having its own armed forces. Children should not be given matches’ Shamba concluded.
In Moscow the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, and the Communist Youth Union have been picketing outside the US embassy.
The pickets demand that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili be tried for his ‘war crimes’ in South Ossetia, and the US government, which ‘inspires’ him, to be put on trial too.
The pickets chanted ‘Yankee go home’, ‘Fascism will not pass’ and ‘Down with NATO’.
Meanwhile, Russian military experts have said in unison that the actions of Russia’s Armed Forces in the zone of the South Ossetian conflict were ‘successful’.
Director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis Aleksandr Sharavin said that the operation of the Russian troops in South Ossetia has brought about Russia’s full victory and the aggressor’s defeat.
He said that it was impossible to compare Russia’s actions in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict with the Chechen campaigns because in this case Russian peacekeepers had the support of the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
‘The aims set by the Russian military leadership have been achieved. The decision about the start of military actions was made somewhat late, but nevertheless, I think the operation of the Russian troops was successful,’ Sharavin said.
The first vice-president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, added that ‘In Abkhazia, Russian units rendered serious assistance to the republic’s Defence Ministry by disarming Georgian military formations which were illegally deployed in the upper part of the Kodori Gorge and by forcing them out of the security zone,’ Sivkov said.
‘By 9 August, the numerical strength of the Georgian group was 1.5 times higher than that of the Russian formations. In addition, mercenaries fought on the Georgian side, they were guided by US instructors. So, this was not just a military operation against the Georgian aggressors only, it was against their Western protectors, and we won fully,’ Sivkov said.
The expert said separately about the actions of the Russian Air Force which, according to official data, lost four aircraft – three Su-25 fighters and a long-distance Tu-22 bomber.
‘Given that Georgia is armed with the state-of-the-art Tor-M1 and Buk missiles, losing only four aircraft while gaining complete domination in the airspace, is, without doubt, a success,’ Sivkov said.
As an example he recalled how during the armed conflict in Kosovo the US air forces sustained huge losses despite the fact that, unlike Georgia, the Serbian only had some obsolete Soviet-made anti-missile installations.
On the other hand, head of the analytical department of the Institute of Political and Military, Analisys Aleksandr Khramchikhin, said it was a ‘failure’ that Russia had lost four aircraft, given that Georgia’s air defence troops were not well trained. He also noted obvious mistakes of the Russian pilots during air raids on Georgian facilities.
‘Of course this can be explained, in particular, by the fact that the pilots did not have enough flight experience,’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the joint statement issued by the presidents of Russia and France, which contains the six principles for the settlement of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict, fully meets Russia’ interests.
‘All the principles agreed either reflect the demands we put to the Georgian leadership in recent days or set out the intentions the Russian side has with regard to the duration and format of the peacekeeping operation,’ Lavrov told journalists in Moscow.
He said Sarkozy had shown ‘understanding of the heart of the matter’ and had immediately concentrated ‘on a businesslike discussion of the situation without any politically correct statements.
‘The heart of the matter is this: war was unleashed, aggressive actions were taken in contravention of all standards of international law. The actions taken by the Russian leadership to cut short this aggression met the understanding of the French colleague, because when he came to Moscow he had a clear aim and was determined to bring the situation back to within the legal framework.’
Interfax also reported Lavrov as saying that the return of Georgian troops to their barracks was the main condition for the implementation of all further measures to settle the conflict in South Ossetia.
‘Everything must be done for the Georgian armed forces not only to leave South Ossetia but also to withdraw from those parts of Georgia from which they can bomb South Ossetian territory’, he said.
If Georgia does not meet this demand, Lavrov said, ‘we shall have to take other measures to prevent any possibility of a repeat of the situation that took shape as a result of Georgian aggression. This is the absolute, indisputable condition for everything else,’ he added.
He added: ‘It is important that the president of France fully agreed with this. We hope that the president of France will convey these principles, including the full return of the Georgian armed forces to barracks, to the Georgian leadership’.
Interfax also quoted Lavrov as saying that Russia insisted on Georgia signing a legally binding document renouncing the use of force. Lavrov said the plan put forward by Medvedev and Sarkozy ‘sets out this decision informally, and there will have to be a legally binding treaty on the non-use of force’. He said the demand that Georgia should sign it was ‘a most important element, which should give the Ossetian people confidence that they will not be shelled and bombed any more’.