Friday, April 25, 2008

Georgia, Abkhazia, and Russia head Towards War

Russia claims it did not shoot down the UAV. However, only footage of the pilot waving the Russian flag and saying "You've been pawned" in Russian would be more indicting.

Fallout from Kosovo's independence combined with Russian probing of their limits has pushed Georgia, the de facto independent state of Abkhazia, and Russia to the brink of war.

The reason for the possible conflict is Russia's unofficial recognition of the breakaway republic. Russia is setting up diplomatic facilities that would function like embassies, recognizing Abkhazia legal documents, and lifting of Commonwealth of Independent States sanctions. Georgia views these as all but recognizing the breakaway republic. If United Nations negotiations fail as expected because of Russia's veto power, Georgia is planning a blitz war to reclaim Abkhazia before the Russians can reinforce the rebels.

Abkhazia broke away during a war after the fall of the Soviet Union. Abkhazia won by using ethnic cleansing against almost half of the population of the region (that was Georgian). Russian military help also aided the separatists. Georgia holds onto a sparsely populated region in the north but most of the people there are Georgian refugees.

Russian President Putin sees Abkhazia as a test. If he can unofficially, then officially recognize the breakaway republic he may be able to even annex the region. If he can do that with the Kosovo justification he can also pick away South Ossetia from Georgia. Serbia then could justify reclaiming northern Kosovo. The end game may end with Transnistria joining Russia and a new non-communist Russian empire a la the Soviet Union.

The anti-democratic, pro-imperialist trend in Russia is frightening. A storm may be required to curb it, but the fact blood spilling is almost a certainty (I hope I am work) is even more frightening.

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