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Posted on Aug 12, 2008 in War College

Georgia-South Ossetia-Russia Conflict-Update August 12, 2008

By Jerry D. Morelock

Georgian tanks race through the streets August 11, 2008 in Gori, Georgia. Russian forces have advanced into Georgia through the separatist enclave of Abkhazia in an apparent broadening of the conflict past the disputed region of South Ossetia. Photo by Cliff Volpe/Getty Images.

It is no state secret that Russian leadership continues to resent what it terms as “NATO’s aggressive actions” in Russia’s “near abroad”

Armchair General magazine’s editor-in-chief, Jerry Morelock (former Chief of Russia Branch on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon) provides this update into the Republic of Georgia-South Ossetia- Russia conflict. To read his initial article on the subject, click here. Be sure to also read Ralph Peters’ Assault on Georgia! Exclusive Military Analysis of South Ossetia Conflict, an exclusive.


August 12, 2008

Despite this conflict receiving extensive coverage by international media, events on the ground continue to be blanketed by the inevitable “fog of war.” Both Georgian and Russian political leaders have claimed to have ordered their forces to cease fire, yet both sides also claim that air and ground attacks against their respective forces are continuing. Georgia claims that Russian troops have seized the Georgian town of Gori, which lies south of the border with South Ossetia and sits astride a main East-West transportation route in the republic. Russia denies its troops hold Gori (although they can’t deny their planes have struck it) and international observers “can’t confirm” the Georgian claim (as of this writing).

Likewise, both sides have issued conflicting claims as to whether or not Russian troops have landed at Georgia’s important Black Sea port of Poti (Georgia claims the Russians are trying to occupy the city; Russia claims it briefly landed a reconnaissance force that has been withdrawn).

Both sides are accusing the other of “ethnic cleansing” in South Ossetia, backing their claims with the inevitable “atrocity” stories meant to enrage international public opinion. And Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, has even uttered the “G-word” (as our U. S. State Dept refers to it), accusing Georgia of “genocide” against ethnic Ossetians in the breakaway region.

Meanwhile, in Abkhazia (another of Georgia’s breakaway regions, and where actual “ethnic cleansing” of Georgians by Abkhaz separatists has taken place over the last decade or so), Abkhaz fighters backed by Russian troops are reportedly taking advantage of the situation in South Ossetia to attempt to push Georgian troops out of the Kodori Gorge – Georgia’s last toe hold in Abkhazia.

International organizations, such as the UN and EU, and interested nations (Ukraine, the Baltic nations, the U. S., France, etc.) continue to issue calls for a cease fire by all parties to the conflict and urge a settlement by diplomatic means. With Russia possessing overwhelming military strength in the region, it seems likely that Medvedev and Putin will be the ones deciding when the fighting will stop and under what conditions.

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